“Oh yeah, I read that, but it was a long time ago,” you might say to an intellectual friend who wants to discuss a deep-rooted Nietszchian theory. “Refresh my memory?”
There are about 8 billion books out there that we’re all supposed to have read but haven’t. Maybe you chose to focus all of your attention on Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead of finishing Wuthering Heights, or you meant to finish Beloved but you know, the Hills was on.
Luckily, Jezebel has written up a trusty and hilarious “guide” to assure you have the right points of reference to accurately converse about all the classics you haven’t read. Think of it as SparkNotes for life instead of papers…but note that “guide” is in quotations, as it will only help you if music is blasting really loud and you just need enough time to confuse everyone before you exit the conversation.
The best summary is on War and Peace, where the article’s genius author provides the following for you to say (should Tolstoy’s epic novel come up at a dinner party or while waiting for the bus):
“Ah! War and Peace. So good. I love how Leo Tolstoy points out how both war and peace are literally happening around us all the time because that’s just how the world works. Sometimes you have war and other times, you have peace. Not just literal war and peace, but metaphorical war and peace, too. Those are my main feelings on that and also this book is very long.”
Sounds about right to us. Carry on, scholars!