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Pretentious Summer Reading List

jesus there were so many

You should read more this summer than 8 different copies of The Iliad

It’s the end of your first year, and memories from the first day of LitHum begin to haunt you. How were you so behind on reading? One by one, your classmates entered the room and began discussing the many works of fiction and non-fiction that they had read over the summer. You couldn’t believe the names that were coming out of their mouths; they just grew more and more formidable! We’ve all been there, feeling like we’re not educated enough to compete with everyone else. For all of you soon-to-be Proust-loving, Camus-reading, and Faulkner-worshipping scholars, look no further because we here at Bwog are offering a solution: the Pretentious Summer Reading List. Put on your spectacles, don your smoking jacket, and ready your pipe, because you have a tremendous amount of catching up to do.   

Here are some poems, they should be read carefully, this haiku is done:

  • Walt Witman’s Leaves of Grass
  • Maya Angelou’s (what?! A woman?!) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Allen Ginsberg’s Howl
  • Ulysses (because you don’t belong here if you haven’t read this at least 5 times)
  • Haikus by Issa, Shiki, and Buson

You Kant forget philosophy:

  • Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
  • Tractatus Logico-Philosophus (bonus points for reading this in latin!)
  • Foucault’s The Order of Things
  • Rand’s Atlas Shrugged for utter rapture
  • Plato’s The Republic
  • More’s Utopia

(Only for Barnard) (This is the feminist section): 

  • Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble
  • Plath’s The Bell Jar (but let’s face it, this is the #holybookofbarnard)
  • Woolf’s To The Lighthouse
  • Woolf’s Lady in the Looking Glass
  • Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

 Novels that Kanye has definitely not read:

  • Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
  • Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji
  • Jack Kerouac’s On the Road
  • Wallace’s Infinite Jest (obvi)
  • Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (is it pretentious to make fun of pretentious people or is it just really incredibly pretentious?)
  • Steinbeck’s East of Eden
  • Nobokov’s Lolita
  • Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow
  • Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily
  • Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea
  • Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying

Did you miss Hamilton? Yeah join the club:

  • The Federalist Papers -John Jay got sick after writing 5 (loser lol), James Madison wrote 29, and Hamilton wrote the other 51

We hope that you’ve been exposed to more Shakespeare than just Macbeth:

  • Hamlet
  • Macbeth
  • Othello
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Tempest
  • Henry VIII (but not Henry V, that’s too mainstream)
  • Romeo & Juliet (for the baby academics)

Now for a lighter list of books (but keep your smoking jacket on to appear elite):

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Feynman Lectures on Physics 
  • Breaking Dawn (Psych! Just making sure that you’re paying attention.)

OK, that’s enough, what are you? 

…But here are some authors to read in their original language for maximum overcompensation:

  • Hugo
  • Sartre
  • Proust
  • Zola
  • Marquez
  • Jerome
  • Murakami
  • Flaubert
  • Leskov

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6 Comments

  • Knausgaard's my struggle says:

    @Knausgaard's my struggle come on, Bwot

  • Okay but says:

    @Okay but the Glass Castle is not actually by Virginia Woolf

    1. Ross Chapman says:

      @Ross Chapman Whoops! Looks like our glasses got messed up – guess we need a new prescription.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It’s the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, and it was written in German…

  • Reclining Figure says:

    @Reclining Figure Utopia was written by Thomas More, not Moore (like Henry Moore)

  • Snooty McSnootsky says:

    @Snooty McSnootsky Please move Steinbeck to the “Lower-Middlebrow Schlock to Be Read ‘Ironically'” section.

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