Rioter Swapna struck a nerve last month when she wrote about the perils of feeling dumb while reading, and we decided to find out which titles really left you scratching your head. It’s a phenomenon every reader has experienced at some point–maybe you read something everyone else loves and you just don’t see the appeal; maybe you read something everyone else loves and they actively make you feel like you’re dumb for not loving it; and maybe you read something that’s supposed to rock your world and you just plain don’t get it.
463 Riot readers completed our latest survey, sharing 406 unique titles that made them feel dumb (each respondent could provide up to three answers). We didn’t ask for specifics, so we’re not going to speculate about how these titles ended up on the list. But we’re sure interested in your take! Here are the top 17 titles, and here’s the full data set for your perusal.
- Ulysses by James Joyce (71 votes)
- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (43)
- The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (22)
- Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (18)
- Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (17)
- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (15)
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (15)
- A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (14)
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (14)
- Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (14)
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien (13)
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (13)
- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (12)
- Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (11)
- Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O’Toole (10)
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (10)
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (10)
What do you make of this list? Have you tried these titles and also felt dumb for some reason?
Check out other Riot polls: