Lauren Leto

How To Fake Like You’ve Read Dostoevsky

Posted in book porn by Lauren Leto on January 2, 2010

Reading books is hard, yo! Fake your favorite author.

If you’re trying to present yourself as someone who is a brooding intellectual, let’s do a quick review of Fyodor Dostoevsky.

1. Knowing Dostoevsky’s first name is not important. Knowing how to pronounce his name is important. Say it like this: DOS [like the “dos” in “Dos Equis,” you drunk] –  TOY [the dirty kind]- EV [the nickname for that Russian guy you slept with] – SKI [the sport I cannot do]. Also, Dostoevsky is spelled various ways, but since you’re already too dumb and lazy to read, let’s only focus on this spelling. It’s how most Americans spell it and  America – fuck yeah!

2. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are not the same thing. Just because they are both Russian authors does not mean that you should put them in the same camp. Tolstoy will be covered in another post.

3. Crime and Punishment is like the Tell Tale Heart (you know the story by the first major Goth guy, right?). A man kills and the guilt eats away at him psychologically (very barebones of the plot, try not to talk specifics). No one who is a fan of Dostoevsky would only read Crime and Punishment. Name drop The Brothers Karamazov, say that you still read over Zosima’s passages when you need to feel inspired about your worldview.

4. Dostoevsky got exiled to Siberia because he’s a badass motherfucker.

5. Dostoevsky focused on ethical questions such as the role of free will and God in a man’s life. He wanted people to understand that depravity breeds depravity. Hopelessness will lead to hopelessness. Basically, if you act like an antisocial asshole, you’ll be an antisocial asshole (see: The Underground Man). This is because Dostoevsky was against nihilism and rationalism – he wanted to show how thinking without emotions leads to actions without emotions. But I’m probably getting too philosophical for you.

Good luck.

Salinger here.

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19 Responses

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  1. John Lovell said, on January 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    “bad ass” and “mother fucker” should be single words: “badass,” “motherfucker.” Someone as erudite as you should know this. But maybe you just don’t use them often enough.

  2. Sharlene said, on January 2, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Can your next post about faking that you’ve read something be about:

    Why you should pretend you like Midnight’s Children better than Satanic Verses: a Primer in Salman Rushdie

  3. Andrew said, on January 2, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    To avoid getting bogged down by your surface-level knowledge of Dostoevsky, have a couple conversational outs. For example, Taxi Driver was inspired in part by Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground.

    If movies are your thing, then link the two to segue into talking about Scorsese or DeNiro (or even Cybil Shepherd if you have nothing else to talk about. Remember Moonlighting?)

    For the more politically minded, make the jump from existentialism to assassination. John Hinckley Jr’s Jodie Foster obsession and his assassination attempt of Reagan were fueled by Taxi Driver fantasies (and by over-extension Dostoevsky).

    Always play to your strengths. Don’t talk about Dostoevsky if you don’t know him, move towards something you do know.

  4. jonathan said, on January 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    English major related to Jared Leto?!

  5. Brandondorf said, on January 2, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    The difference between Tolstoy and Dostoevsky is that Dostoevsky is exponentially better.

  6. Max said, on January 2, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I wish there were more women like you in the world.

  7. Ellen said, on January 2, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    I read this article/essay by an author of whom I am very fond, and it reminded me a bit of one of you posts. Maybe you should check it out.
    http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6712772.html?q=future+of+reading

  8. […] Lauren Leto – How to fake like you’ve read Dostoevsky […]

  9. OldSchoolBill said, on January 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Coming Soon!!
    How To Fake Like You’ve Read Lauren Leto by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
    The story of a Russian living in Siberia trying to understand the philosophical emotions of American Crime and Punishment!

  10. יעלי said, on January 4, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    How can I fake knowledge if you do not bring me quotes I could use.
    After all, knowledge is expressed during a simple conversation no one talks about Dostoevsky.

    Let sentences be seen like we knew the story, without having knowledge such as:
    “To be or not to be”
    You said that and every one think you read Shakespeare and maybe you just know this
    Quote….

  11. Kerem said, on January 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Awesome! LOL😀

  12. yogialb said, on January 4, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Bring more quotes… I need more quotes to sound convincing…

  13. Erik Rodríguez said, on January 4, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I am a mexican photographer, and i travel around the world , personally admire the american culture, and also the russian culture, i think the last one its more complex, try to read more and fake less. And of course Dostoiesvsky was in a superior plattform of knowledge than others who try to imitate his work, like many american writers or aprentices.

  14. Erik Rodríguez said, on January 4, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    OMG, you are so gorgeous, i just saw your avatar, what a nice photo!!!

  15. palcsi said, on January 4, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    One should NOT be familiar with Dostoevsky’s writings. There’s much in it that is good to be ignorant of.

  16. оО said, on January 13, 2010 at 4:24 am

    Та вы ебанько ребята. Читайте Русских Классикоф.

  17. Aaron Long said, on January 14, 2010 at 3:18 am

    So, Fyodor Tolstoy married his cousin named Edgar Dostoevsky, whom he had sex with in Siberia and then he went off and murdered some bitch with an axe, regretting it shortly thereafter? It, of course, being everything, not just the murdering. Plus he liked vampires and shopped at Hot Topic.

    Oooo, man!! I’m so excited for my book club meeting, I’m going to look so badass knowing about the guy that wrote Anna Karenina…!!

  18. L Ryan-Harper said, on November 14, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Why would it be necessary for anyone to fake their favorite author? That would imply the author’s books were read. Unless, you just particularly like dead guys who wrote books, gambled, drank heavily and were given to epileptic fits, but don’t give a damn about what he wrote.


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