WWLSR – What Would Lisa Simpson Read? This is a new project I have taken on totally for no reason other than I love the Simpsons, and also that I love reading. I have been an avid/obsessed watcher of the Simpsons my entire life (I was born in 1984 so I was just old enough to comprehend the episodes when they debuted in 1989) and make about a dozen references on any given day… since I have been so involved in book clubs recently I thought it would be fun to read the books that Lisa reads on the show, in the order that she reads them. There is a Lisa Simpson book club out there in Tumblr land, but their reading list is missing a few titles, and is also not in chronological order. I’m a little OCD, so I’m rewatching all the episodes from se01ep01 to the current season so I can make a complete list of books read or referenced by Lisa Simpson. I’ve created a group on the Goodreads website (find it here!) but will also post about it and include my screenshots (Yes, I am ridiculously thorough). This post covers seasons 1, 2 and most of season 3.
Season 1 – December 17, 1989 to May 13, 1990
se01ep02 – Lisa reads the dictionary while playing scrabble with the family. We don’t want to read the dictionary though, that’s boring.
se01ep10 – Lisa sits on the couch reading a book, though no title is shown.
se01ep11 – Lisa reads a generic book on Albania in preparation for their Albanian exchange student. As exciting as a book on Albania would be, I think we can find something better.
Season 2 – October 11, 1990 to May 9, 1991
se02ep03 – Lisa picks up a copy of How to Cook for Forty Humans while aboard Kang and Kodos’ ship in one of the Hallowe’en stories. That’s not a real book so we can’t read it, but later in the episode she reads Bart the classic Edgar Allen Poe poem The Raven, so a collection of Poe’s writing seems in order *selection #1*
Lisa reads Poe’s The Raven.
se02ep06 – Lisa helps Bart mentally prepare for a mini-golf tournament against Todd Flanders, and begins by taking him to the library. There she searches for ‘putting’ in the card catalogue, and once Bart has been loaded up with books she states “And finally the most important book of all, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.” *selection #2*
se02ep08 – Lisa is shown with books twice in this episode. First reading on the couch while Bart and his friends watch wrestling on TV and again on the school bus when Bart announces he will be jumping Springfield Gorge on his skateboard. No titles are shown for these books, sadly.
se02ep19 – Lisa reads a book at her desk at the beginning of this episode, though no title is shown. Later, Lisa pays close attention as Mr. Bergstrom reads Charlotte’s Web to the class in this episode, when Miss Hoover is out sick with Lyme Disease. Lisa later gushes about how Mr. Bergstrom cried at the end of the book to Marge which prompts laughter from Bart and Homer. *selection #3*
se02ep21 – Bart makes fun of Lisa for reading Casper the Friendly Ghost comics on their way to a comic convention. This can be a bonus selection to read alongside Charlotte’s Web because both are fairly easy. Later in the episode Lisa shows off a stack of Casper comics as well as a pile of Lois Lane comics while riding in the car.
Season 3 – September 19, 1991 to May 7, 1992
se03ep02 – Lisa reads a Reader’s Digest in this episode, and is also shown studying books on American history while she writes her speech for the competition. No titles are shown.
se03ep06 – Lisa studies Judaic teachings of forgiveness in order to convince Krusty’s father, Rabbi Krustofski, to forgive his son for becoming an entertainer. In a final effort to win him over she finds a quote for Bart from Sammy Davis Jr.’s memoir Yes I can, which ultimately convinces the Rabbi to make amends with Krusty. *selection #4*
se03ep11 – Lisa is shown reading a book while Homer asks her questions about Germany after the nuclear power plant is bought from Mr. Burns by a German company and Homer fears he will be fired. It looks to be a text book but no title is shown.
se03ep18 – Lisa reads (and steals!) a whole lotta books in this episode, but we don’t see any titles, unless we count the Teacher’s Guides. Which we won’t.
se03ep19 – In this episode Santa’s Little Helper has an operation that requires the Simpson family to enforce a stricter budget. Lisa is assigned an essay on Copernicus in class, and in the scene above states “Can’t you see I’m reading a third-rate biography of Copernicus I found at the bus station?” *selection #5* (though we should aim for a first rate biography!)
se03ep21 – Lisa is shown reading a book on the floor with the family in this episode, but no title is shown.
se03ep23 – Lisa spends this entire episode reading and referencing an issue of Eternity magazine… too bad it’s not a real magazine (I did google this and apparently there was an Eternity magazine, but it was a monthly conservative Christian magazine published from 1950 to 1988. I don’t think Lisa would be interested in reading that.)
se03ep24 – There’s a whole whack of books in this episode! Lisa encourages the family to spend their $2000 on a subscription of classics; “Well, I think we should invest in a set of The Great Books Of Western Civilization. Look at this ad from The New Republic For Kids: Each month, a new classic will be delivered to our door. Paradise Regained, Martin Chuzzlewit or Herman Melville’s twin-classics Omoo and Typee.” Later in the episode Herb gifts Lisa a copy of Ethan Frome.
*selection #6* Paradise Regained by John Milton
*selection #7* Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
*selection #8* Typee by Herman Melville
*selection #9* Omoo by Herman Melville
*selection #10* Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Stay tuned for season 4 and onwards!