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Arts Vanity: Five Books You Don’t Have to Have Read to Be an Arts Editor

Aline G. Damas '20

Many people believe that in order to be a Crimson Arts Executive you have to be well-versed in arts and culture, but that’s not true — all you need to know is how to type “flawed but compelling” and sprinkle it in your reviews. But if you are feeling insecure about your cultural appraising skills, I’ve rounded out a list of books that you don’t have to have read in order to have an opinion.

5. “The Twilight Saga” by Stephanie Meyers*

Even though this is one of the greatest young adult book series of all time, I’ll be honest — you could just as easily watch its movie series adaptation, a riveting and accurate portrayal that includes the most talented cast of its time. Its actors may look constantly constipated but Anna Kendrick, Kristen Stewart, and Rob Pattinson went on to have brilliant careers. “Twilight” is so epic that even when minor characters like Billy die, you will find yourself in tears. No wait, was that Harry?

4. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez

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Don’t read this unless you are ready to make a very large diagram to track the characters and their various generations of offspring. If someone can ever tell me how one of those Aureliano is related to Renata Remedios, I’d be very grateful.

3. “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy

If you ever do try to tackle this book, only read the first sentence, the parts from the dog’s point of view (25 pages), and the parts about the farming (300 pages). That comes up to reading about a third of it, which is basically reading the whole thing. Surely nothing is more important than understanding the mechanization of 19th century agriculture.

2. “Ulysses” by James Joyce

What makes “Ulysses” so highbrow? You have to read at least four other books to understand it. Skip all of it, because even though nothing actually happens in the plot, Joyce still manages to write over a thousand pages. Also half of these pages are littered with gibberish: “BRONZE BY GOLD HEARD THE HOOFIRONS, STEELYRINING IMPERthnthn thnthnthn.” Bless you!

1. “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo

Sure, this classic novel that also happens to be my favorite is a beautiful and epic depiction of the June Rebellion of 1832, but it is also over a thousand pages. And that’s if it’s just an English translation. Seriously, why read this when you can watch Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean? Just be sure that when you talk about the actual book, you don’t reference how good the “Bring Him Home” number was.

*“The Twilight Saga” is comprised of four books — this is not cheating, I swear.

—Outgoing TV Executive Aline G. Damas ’20 would actually recommend you read all these books someday — plus all of the works of the Bronte sisters, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen.

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