BookRiot’s 10 Books That Make You Feel Dumb

BookRiot conducted a survey with 463 of their readers to find out which books have left readers feeling dumb.  Their list includes 17 of the top novels to have dumbfounded readers but here I will share with you the top 10.  I’m particularly interested in the list entries as a number of them are on my TBR list so I’d love to hear if you all agree with BookRiot readers.  Some of these books have also been featured on my FBF posts as part of the All Time 100 list so I know some of you have already read some of these books.  So guys, without further ado here is the top 10 books that leave you feeling dumb…let me know what you think.

  1. Ulysses by James Joyce (71 votes)
  2. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (43)
  3. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (22)
  4. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (18)
  5. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (17)
  6. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (15)
  7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (15)
  8. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (14)
  9. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (14)
  10. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (14)

To see the rest of the list (which is surprising so go check it out) head over to BookRiot



6 thoughts on “BookRiot’s 10 Books That Make You Feel Dumb

Add yours

  1. That’s strange. I would never classify Pride and Prejudice as a book that makes anyone feel dumb. For a classic, it’s very readable and accessible. For most women, I think it’s the first adult classic they read.


  2. I feel the same way about ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and I’m not sure about ‘Catcher in the Rye’ either. “heart of darkness’ didn’t leave me feeling dumb, just incredibly depressed. Not a book I would go back to.


  3. I can’t say books ever leave me feeling dumb – if the writer can’t get his/her point over that’s his/her fault, not mine!! Like everyone else I can’t see why anyone would include P&P. Ulysses I abandoned very quickly – dreadful nonsense!


    1. Feel the same as you, can’t recall ever being left feeling dumb – only inspired by great books. I thought all the entries were a bit strange actually but had to share 🙂


  4. After having read your post several times, as I didn’t quite get the correlation between ’dumb’ and some of these books, I clicked on BookRiot, and frankly I am aghast. Either I don’t get it or someone is deliberately playing around in our heads. I agree with FictionFan in that ‘I can’t say books ever leave me feeling dumb.’ I’ve read most all of the 17 books noted on BookRiot’s list – and I must reiterate FictionFan here, if a reader feels ’dumb’ while reading some of these classics, sorry but they (the reader not the book) probably are. Ulysses is a highly intelligent rendering of a day in the life – and Confederacy of Dunces is a brilliant undertaking of genius. I could go on but what would be the point? To quote Ignatius Reilly (main character in Confederacy): “As the tree is bent, so it will grow.”


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