Writers
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Authors You Pretend To Like, Even Though You've Never Read Them

Updated May 8, 2019 1.1k votes 50 voters40 items

List RulesVote up the writers you say you're a fan of even though you've never finished any of their books.

Literary masterminds are remembered for their intellectual contributions and expert storytelling. Many of the authors you should read are labeled as such because they challenge accepted social practices, such as fraudulent behavior. F. Scott Fitzgerald parodies the concept of assuming a fictional persona for the sake of acceptance in his widely celebrated satire, The Great Gatsby. While assuming a male pseudonym, George Eliot (AKA Mary Ann Evans) challenges her readers to question their judgments with her heavy-hitter, Middlemarch. Despite the messages imbued in these texts, countless readers lie about having read authors like Fitzgerald and Eliot and others in an attempt to maintain their intellectual reputation.

The amount of information on the internet, in popular media, and engrained into the study of contemporary literature that references famous historical authors such as Dickens, Dostoevsky, and Chopin is surmountable enough for people to successfully lie about reading books like Crime and Punishment. After all, Crime and Punishment - along with A Tale of Two Cities, Lord of the Rings, and Jane Eyre - is all among the must read books of the modern generation. There is, however, really no such thing as books you have to read, and although there is much to gain from a weekend with Agatha Christie or Franz Kafka, there is no official standard for what makes an author invaluable. 

  • 1
    39
    12
    War and Peace, Anna Karenina
    Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (; Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой, tr. Lev Nikoláyevich Tolstóy; [lʲef nʲɪkɐˈlaɪvʲɪtɕ tɐlˈstoj] (listen); 9 September [O.S. 28 August] 1828 – 20 November [O.S. 7...  more
  • 2
    32
    11
    The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American fiction writer, whose works helped to illustrate the flamboyance and excess of the Jazz Age. While he achieved...  more
  • 3
    28
    11
    Self-Reliance, The essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion...  more
  • 4
    25
    9
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was a British writer and lay theologian. He held academic positions in English literature at both Oxford University (Magdalen College,...  more
  • 5
    27
    12
    The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit
    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (; 3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, who is best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit,...  more
  • 6
    21
    5
    The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds
    Herbert George Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English writer. He was prolific in many genres, writing dozens of novels, short stories, and works of social commentary, history,...  more
  • 7
    31
    18
    To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own
    Adeline Virginia Woolf (; née Stephen; 25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and also a pioneer in the use of...  more
  • 8
    18
    3
    Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four
    Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and essayist, journalist and critic, whose work is characterised by lucid...  more
  • 9
    19
    5
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass
    Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (; 27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898), better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English writer of world-famous children's fiction, notably Alice's Adventures in...  more
  • 10
    18
    5
    A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations
    Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the...  more
  • 11
    21
    10
    The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, At the Mountains of Madness
    Howard Phillips Lovecraft (US: ; August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American writer of weird fiction and horror fiction. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he spent most of his life there, and...  more
  • 12
    19
    8
    Pride and Prejudice, Emma
    Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of...  more
  • 13
    15
    7
    Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath
    John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. (; February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was an American author. He won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do...  more
  • 14
    20
    16
    The Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms
    Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and sportsman. His economical and understated style—which he termed the iceberg...  more
  • 15
    18
    15
    Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes
    Ray Douglas Bradbury (; August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was an American author and screenwriter. He worked in a variety of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery...  more
  • 16
    14
    10
    Wuthering Heights, Poems by Currer
    Emily Jane Brontë (, commonly ; 30 July 1818 – 19 December 1848) was an English novelist and poet who is best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, now considered a classic of English...  more
  • 17
    16
    13
    The A.B.C. Murders, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
    Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, (née Miller; 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was an English writer. She is known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections,...  more
  • 18
    21
    21
    The Bell Jar, The Colossus and Other Poems
    Sylvia Plath (; October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College at the...  more
  • 19
    14
    13
    The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a Scottish writer, who created the character Sherlock Holmes. Originally a physician, in 1887 he published A Study in Scarlet, the...  more
  • 20
    9
    7
    Jane Eyre, Villette
    Charlotte Brontë (, commonly ; 21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855) was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood and whose novels became classics of...  more
  • 21
    13
    15
    Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle
    Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (; November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American writer. In a career spanning over 50 years, Vonnegut published fourteen novels, three short story collections, five plays, and...  more
  • 22
    12
    13
    The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment
    Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (; Russian: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский, tr. Fyódor Mikháylovich Dostoyévskiy, IPA: [ˈfʲɵdər mʲɪˈxajləvʲɪtɕ dəstɐˈjɛfskʲɪj] (listen); 11 November 1821 – 9 February...  more
  • 23
    11
    13
    The Picture of Dorian Gray, Salome
    Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most...  more
  • 24
    13
    15
    Jude the Obscure, Tess of the d'Urbervilles
    Thomas Hardy (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by...  more
  • 25
    13
    18
    Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
    James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic. He contributed to the modernist avant-garde and is...  more