Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"Even educated fleas do it..." *

Swiped from just about everyone else on the Internet.

These are the top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users (as of today). As usual, bold what you have read, italicise what you started but couldn’t finish, and strike through what you couldn’t stand. Add an asterisk* to those you’ve read more than once. Underline those on your to-read list (they are actually in my possession, on my TBR shelf, is how I interpreted this one). I also took the liberty of annotating because I know you all care desperately about what I think.


Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I will give this another shot; I think you have to be in the right mood to get through this book. And someone on Badger’s list just reiterated what I have heard a thousand times: the first 100 pages SUCK. Oh, great.

Anna Karenina. I want to love this book; I just can’t seem to.

Crime and Punishment

Catch-22. The movie was brilliant.

One Hundred Years of Solitude
. I think Marquez is a genius; see Love in the Time of Cholera.

Wuthering Heights
* I have read it more than once but I still hate it.

The Silmarillion

Life of Pi. Someone explain all the fuss about this book to me, please?

The Name of the Rose

Don Quixote

Moby Dick. Melville bores the crap out of me.

Ulysses. Had to read it for a class; it was all right, and parts were terrific.

Madame Bovary

The Odyssey. How did I get thru college not having to read this?

Pride and Prejudice* Total comfort reading.

Jane Eyre*

A Tale of Two Cities

The Brothers Karamazov. My Russian reading experience is woefully pathetic; I’ve read some Chekhov and Gogol, and parts of Doctor Zhivago, but that’s it.

Guns, Germs, and Steel

War and Peace. I had a friend who ripped his copy into thirds so he didn’t have to carry the whole thing around with him; this might be smart.

Vanity Fair

The Time Traveller’s Wife

The Iliad. See The Odyssey.


The Blind Assassin

The Kite Runner

Mrs. Dalloway

Great Expectations*

American Gods. I love Gaiman’s Sandman but his novels…eh.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggars is the most self-absorbed writer I have ever encountered. I didn’t just hate this book, I DESPISED it.

Atlas Shrugged. I read The Fountainhead; I don’t need to read this, too. Sorry.

Reading Lolita in Tehran. See Life of Pi.

Memoirs of a Geisha. YAWWWWN.

Middlesex. GREAT book, when the hell is Eugenides going to get on the stick and write another?


Wicked. Oh how I wanted to love this. But I didn’t.

The Canterbury Tales. Funny and totally irreverent.

The Historian. I really liked this.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Love in the Time of Cholera* One of my favorite books ever.

Brave New World. Dated but still interesting.

The Fountainhead. I remember really liking this but I don’t think I will ever reread it.

Foucault’s Pendulum



The Count of Monte Cristo. Oh God. I hated this. Interminable, melodramatic. It might make an excellent comic book, though.


A Clockwork Orange

Anansi Boys

The Once and Future King. H thinks this book is brilliant. The Arthurian legends have never really done it for me though.

The Grapes of Wrath

The Poisonwood Bible


Angels & Demons
. If you’ve read this, you don’t need to read Da Vinci Code, and vice versa.

The Inferno. I have the Pinsky translation on my shelf.

The Satanic Verses* In my top ten favorite books, ever. Admittedly, the first time I read it, I had an amazingly brilliant and patient prof walking us through all the nuances and history, and that made a huge difference to my reading experience of this book.

Sense and Sensibility. My least favorite Austen.

The Picture of Dorian Gray*

Mansfield Park

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

To the Lighthouse

Tess of the D’Urbervilles
. Did anyone else want to slap Tess silly?

Oliver Twist

Gulliver’s Travels

Les Misérables

The Corrections

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I think Chabon is one of the most overrated contemporary writers. And his wife is a lunatic.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


The Prince
. As a junior high schooler, I developed a wholly inappropriate crush on Machiavelli. So sue me.

The Sound and the Fury. I’ve read other Faulkner; he was ok but I have no pressing need to read more.

Angela’s Ashes

The God of Small Things. It’s not often a Booker prize winner disappoints but I have never gotten past the first chapter about the family’s pickle business….

A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present



A Confederacy of Dunces

A Short History of Nearly Everything. I love Bryson but this one just doesn’t pique my interest.


The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The Scarlet Letter

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

The Mists of Avalon

Oryx and Crake


Cloud Atlas. Mitchell is brilliant, a contemporary writer to watch, right up there with Byatt.

The Confusion. Have never heard of this.

Lolita. BRILLIANT. If you haven’t read it, you do not know what you are missing.


Northanger Abbey
. What is WRONG with all these people who haven’t read any Austen, hmmmm?

The Catcher in the Rye*

On the Road

The Hunchback of Notre Dame


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Aeneid. See Odyssey & Iliad.

Watership Down. I think I read this as a teenager but I can’t recall a damn thing about it so it doesn’t count.

Gravity’s Rainbow

The Hobbit. Tried to reread this recently with the boys but they are too young right now and it scared them. Maybe in a few years.

In Cold Blood. I should have loved this book; someone please tell me why I didn’t.

White Teeth

Treasure Island. Will probably read this with the boys at some point.

David Copperfield

The Three Musketeers. Will probably read this with the boys at some point.


* Cole Porter, "Let's Do It"


Paula said...

I call my boys by the dogs name half the time, how do you remember all of this?

Although I must say I loved The Time Traveller’s Wife even though it was a bit sad(I remember because I read it only a year or two ago) and I'm reading Bid Time Return now which is not on the list but I'm enjoying it non-the-less.

David said...

I don't stack up that well, just Catcher, 1984, Brave New World, and Dune.

I started Dune four times before it took, but it was worth it.

Strange, I seem to have read a lot of books though.

Kathy said...

I have tried and tried to read Michael Chabon. I didn't really like Summerland, I couldn't finish Kavalier and Clay, and I'm currently unable to get interested in The Yiddish Policemen's Union.

Jess said...

It took me a while to get into Summerland, but I ultimately liked it. And reading Kavalier and Clay made me so happy. I was kind of blissed-out about the whole thing. But that's all I've read of his so far. I tried one of his wife's books - not only poorly written but also deadly boring. Ugh. I can't even remember the title.

I only ever read The Odyssey in high school - no other Homer, ever - and I've wanted to reread it for a long time. We had the best class discussions ever about it in sophomore English. Is it sad that I remember it so fondly? A bunch of 10th graders ripping into Odysseus?

Jess said...

PS You can buy War and Peace in 2 volumes - it's awfully handy. It's a giant soap opera if you skim the war stuff (ahem).

teachergirl said...

You didn't love In Cold Blood because it scared the ever loving bejesus out of you. It was required reading first semester of my senior year of high school and I couldn't sleep soundly until Christmas. I still have nightmares. It was amazing, but it still makes me crazy. I picked it up a few weeks ago and I broke out in a cold sweat.