Crime and Punishment. Perhaps you're thinking, "maybe I should read that canonical novel!" I'm going to stop you right there.
This is not to say that Crime and Punishment lacks literary merit. Of course it has it. It's perfectly suited for classroom reading as a long-winded think-piece on the nature of guilt, sin, and redemption. So by all means, read it, if you're into that. But if you're wondering if you should read it out of some grim sense of obligation to the English homework you never did, don't.
Here's the plot, so that you can fake it on your next date:
1. Young man Raskolnikov is losing his mind. See also: extreme angst.
2. So he decides: SCREW EVERYTHING. Then he takes an ax to an old lady and her sister. Granted, the old lady is a swindler, a loan shark and an unsavory sort, and killing her is no biggie. But her sister isn't, and he kills her anyway. He's a jerk.
3. Then he's like OH NO I MURDERED PEOPLE and plunges into a fugue state. Really nice people inexplicably rally around him.
4. An out-of-town detective is assigned the case, and he suspects Raskolnikov, because Raskolnikov is the worst murderer ever. He says and does all kinds of insanely incriminating things all the time.
5. Meanwhile his mom and sister are also struggling. And Raskolnikov is like, I DON'T EVEN KNOW YOU BROADS and they're like, be our family, what's wrong with you? This goes on for like, give or take, a million pages.
6. Somehow, Raskolnikov is able to spit some game at a young woman who seems lost and fragile—just the sort to get emotionally involved with a murderer.
7. But then he decides he cannot be with an EMOTIONALLY STUNTED PROTO MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL, and must admit to the horrors he has committed. This goes on for about a hundred years until finally he gets shipped off to prison.
8. Raskolnikov makes no friends in prison.