As we've acknowledged in an earlier post about things to say about books you haven't read, it'd be difficult to read every book. As NPR culture blogger Linda Holmes says, "The vast majority of the world's books, music, films, television and art, you will never see. It's just numbers."
So why waste your time powering through two or three books by an author you already know you don't enjoy? We suggest exploring new literary realms and old favorites instead. Still, if an intimidating friend or promising date asks you what you thought of Ulysses or The Old Man and the Sea, you better have an answer prepared. While the more straightforward, "I've never read it!" route is ideal, we understand that conversations about classics can be daunting and can lend themselves to bouts of priggishness and dishonesty. These situations can arise almost anywhere--company parties, chatty airplane rides, weddings--so it's important that you arm yourself! That's why we're supplying you with these conveniently condensed spoilers for 9 classic novels.
If you find yourself fuddling plot lines, remember this helpful hint: According to The Basic Patterns of Plot by William Foster Harris, there are three patterns that books follow. There's the happy ending (marriage), the unhappy ending (death) and the literary ending (not a whole lot happens, and characters contemplate or complain about their essential lack of free will).
Warning: Knowing a book's shocking plot twist, or lack thereof, does not necessarily qualify you to talk about it, unless your contribution to the conversation is, "I did not like the ending."
Enjoy these spoilers and let us about about your favorite literary endings in the comments!:
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!