Humiliation: A Party Game for Geeks

During a swampy run this morning, my mind wandered to David Lodge’s Changing Places and academic novels (props to my boy KW) in general. One memorable scene involves a parlor game called Humiliation. Lodge’s Desiree Zapp explains the rules:

The essence of the matter is that each person names a book which he hasn’t read but assumes the others have read, and scores a point for every person who has read it. (135)

In the novel, Howard Ringbaum wins by declaring that he never read Hamlet, a disclosure that the rest can’t believe. Given that the world’s total number of published books lies between 74 and 175 million, even the best-read folks can participate in this activity, and it’s fun to consider why we’ve resisted certain famous texts.

Lodge’s characters only play three rounds, but I’ll up it to ten. Remember, you need to pick books that you think other people have read but that you somehow avoided.

In no particular order, but humiliating nonetheless:

1. Hard Times, Charles Dickens (I loathe him and the time I’ve wasted on his books.)

2. The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas (I’ve seen, like, a thousand film adaptations, but no dice on the novel.)

3. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy (Isn’t War and Peace enough? Really.)

4. Angels in America, Tony Kushner (Gulp. No excuses.)

5. Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon (I’ve read every other Pynchon novel save this one and the new one; my theory is that my paperback copy is just too cramped and ugly.)

6. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand (I know that I should read this because Bert Cooper wants Dick Draper to read it, but I hated her tiny Anthem and just can’t get up the energy to tackle 700+ pages of a book I might not love.)

7. Dune, Frank Herbert (How I finished high school without reading my best friend’s favorite book, I’ll never know.)

8. The Professor’s House, Willa Cather (Oh, the shame. I own it. Damn.)

9. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (I totally want to read this. Who knows why I haven’t.)

10. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster (I love Howards End,  and I own this book, but I suspect it’s dull as dust.)

FAIL!! Will I get kicked out of the club for this? One could adapt the game for films, too, and I know that I’d score big with E.T.

 So, how many points do I earn?

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~ by Moldorf on March 8, 2010.

4 Responses to “Humiliation: A Party Game for Geeks”

  1. Only one point from me, which makes me humiliated! Look for my list later in the week. . .

  2. Well, silly, that’s one more than me!

  3. […] the Humiliation! March 11, 2010 by Bee My buddy JD recently introduced me to Humiliation–a geek’s party game that involves confessing some major literary works you’ve […]

  4. You’ve got five from me.

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