Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The unread meme

There's a new meme going around--the top 106 books tagged "unread" in the Library Thing catalog (why 106? I copied and pasted 114, which is just as random). I saw this first at Only Books All the Time. I never can remember which books I'm supposed to underline or bold or italicize to reveal this, that and the other, so I've simply bolded the ones I haven't read and provided a brief annotation.

  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

  2. Anna Karenina

  3. Crime and punishment

  4. Catch-22

  5. One hundred years of solitude

  6. Wuthering Heights

  7. Life of Pi : a novel

  8. The name of the rose

  9. Don Quixote

  10. Moby Dick

  11. Ulysses (The first three chapters only. Maybe next year?)

  12. Madame Bovary

  13. The Odyssey

  14. Pride and prejudice

  15. Jane Eyre

  16. A tale of two cities

  17. The brothers Karamazov

  18. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies (Own it. Got it free from someone at Readerville who found it way too dry.)

  19. War and peace

  20. Vanity fair (I have my mother-in-law's leatherbound edition on my shelf. She hasn't asked about it in awhile, so it isn't currently top priority.)

  21. The time traveler's wife

  22. The Iliad

  23. Emma

  24. The Blind Assassin

  25. The kite runner (Do I need to?)

  26. Mrs. Dalloway

  27. Great expectations

  28. American gods : a novel (Started it in one of those awful soul-sucking bureaucratic lines one day. Can't attempt it again until I recover.)

  29. A heartbreaking work of staggering genius (Do I have to?)

  30. Atlas shrugged (I read Anthem and found that quite enough, thank you.)

  31. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books

  32. Memoirs of a Geisha (No way, no how.)

  33. Middlesex (I'll get around to it eventually. I liked The Virgin Suicides.)

  34. Quicksilver (Um, probably never.)

  35. Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West … (My high school crowd was obsessed with Wizard of Oz, so much so that I can safely say I wouldn't touch this one with a ten-foot pole.)

  36. The Canterbury tales (Only a few tales)

  37. The historian : a novel

  38. A portrait of the artist as a young man

  39. Love in the time of cholera

  40. Brave new world

  41. The Fountainhead (My daughter told some guy who was interested in dating her awhile back that the only books I'd forbidden her to read were Ayn Rand's and Dan Brown's--his favorite authors. Which, of course, isn't true. All I'd done is tell her Brown wasn't worth bothering with when she asked about The Da Vinci Code and beg her, back when she was in high school and prone to making grand pronouncements, not to put me in the position of having to deal with yet another political stage she was sure to out grow: ergo, keep away from the Rand.)

  42. Foucault's pendulum (One of these days.)

  43. Middlemarch

  44. Frankenstein

  45. The Count of Monte Cristo

  46. Dracula

  47. A clockwork orange (Nope, don't think I ever will.)

  48. Anansi boys : a novel (Someday, probably. S. owns a copy.)

  49. The once and future king (Someday.)

  50. The grapes of wrath

  51. The poisonwood Bible : a novel

  52. 1984

  53. Angels & demons (Why no, I don't believe so.)

  54. The inferno (Just bits of it. Certainly not a priority.)

  55. The satanic verses (Own it. Someday.)

  56. Sense and sensibility

  57. The picture of Dorian Gray

  58. Mansfield Park

  59. One flew over the cuckoo's nest

  60. To the lighthouse

  61. Tess of the D'Urbervilles

  62. Oliver Twist (Probably not.)

  63. Gulliver's travels (Probably not, but own a copy.)

  64. Les misérables (A definite someday.)

  65. The corrections

  66. The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay : a novel

  67. The curious incident of the dog in the night-time

  68. Dune

  69. The prince

  70. The sound and the fury

  71. Angela's ashes : a memoir

  72. The god of small things

  73. A people's history of the United States : 1492-present (Eventually.)

  74. Cryptonomicon (Nope.)

  75. Neverwhere (Nope.)

  76. A confederacy of dunces

  77. A short history of nearly everything

  78. Dubliners (Individual stories, but not the whole thing.)

  79. The unbearable lightness of being (I've read other Kunderas, but not this one.)

  80. Beloved : a novel

  81. Slaughterhouse-five

  82. The scarlet letter

  83. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Pu… (Maybe someday.)

  84. The mists of Avalon (Not interested at this point.)

  85. Oryx and Crake : a novel

  86. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed (Bought it earlier this year)

  87. Cloud atlas : a novel

  88. The confusion (Never heard of it.)

  89. Lolita

  90. Persuasion

  91. Northanger abbey

  92. The catcher in the rye

  93. On the road (Nope.)

  94. The hunchback of Notre Dame (The sewer system did me in. Maybe I'll attempt it again at some point.)

  95. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of… (Nope, but it's currently on reserve and I handle it everyday. . .)

  96. Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance : an inquiry into … (Started, but never finished.)

  97. The Aeneid (Translated sections in Latin class, but never read in its entirety. A definite someday.)

  98. Watership Down

  99. Gravity's rainbow (Not yet.)

  100. In cold blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its …

  101. White teeth

  102. Treasure Island (I think I read a children's version at some point.)

  103. David Copperfield

  104. The three musketeers (A definite someday.)

  105. Cold mountain

  106. Robinson Crusoe (Maybe in a month or two. . .)

  107. The bell jar

  108. The secret life of bees (No way, no how.)

  109. Beowulf : a new verse translation

  110. The plague

  111. The Master and Margarita (A definite someday.)

  112. Atonement : a novel

  113. The handmaid's tale

  114. Lady Chatterley's lover (If not for the Outmoded Challenge, then shortly thereafter.)


  1. Anonymous12:14 PM

    I love how you did this. I have never done one of these because I also can never keep all of the instructions straight. Actually, the whole thing so confuses me that I even give up on reading them - but yours was fun! (And I could follow it!)

    I've actually read and enjoyed quite a few of your "no how, no way" books, but I totally relate. I'm suspicious of those books that everyone is raving breathlessly about. Some of my "do I have to?" or "no, I don't believe I will" books are The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Three Cups of Tea, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, and The Secret.

  2. Oh, yes, to all the ones you mentioned. I have no desire to read them, either. The Secret takes a particularly good skewing at Why We Read Books

  3. Anonymous1:23 PM

    Susan, I hadn't come across that blog before and it looks wonderful! How am I ever going to read all of these books I've got stacked up everywhere if you people keep pointing to me towards more great blogs?!? :P


  4. I say a big fat YES to The Kite Runner!

  5. Is it better than a Thousand Splendid Suns, Suey? My mother-in-law intends to give me her copy of that one when she's done.

  6. The Unbearable Lightness of being is my favourite Kundera, but I think the movie is even better and I usually HATE movie versions of books. Of course this may have something to do with the delectable Daniel Day-Lewis.
    Do give the Neil Gaiman books a go, they are all wonderful, in my opinion.
    No you don't need to read The Kite Runner, but I found the Dave Eggers book quite engaging in a self-conscious, Gen Y sort of way.

  7. Anonymous7:56 AM

    Middlesex is one of my favorite books; for me it was a real pageturner, I didn't want to put it down. I have no urge to read The Virgin Suicides, though, even though Eugenides is a great storyteller if that's anything to go by.

    The Unbearable Lightness of Being is also good - IMHO at least ;-). I should put it on the reread list. Lazy Cow, you are right about the movie. I also tend to think the movie is better than the book even though last time I watched the movie or read the book is at least five years ago (that's why I put "tend to").

    Master and Margarita is great! I needed some time to get drawn in, but once that happened, I was sold. Try to read an edition that has some explanatory comments or endnotes as that will greatly enhance your understanding of the book and the many references to the time when it was written (Stalinist Soviet-Union, repressive society etc.). There is a very good tv-series of the book, made two years ago or so for Russian tv. If I am not mistaken, it is available on dvd in the US (Amazon?) with English subtitles. Worth a try if you liked the book.

  8. Anonymous11:51 AM

    Good advice to your daughter on Ayn Rand. An English teacher recommended that I read ATLAS SHRUGGED in high school, and for months I dragged that book everywhere I went, reading it. Afterwards, naturally, I obnoxiously went around professing Rand's genius. Afterwards, naturally, I came to my senses.

    I liked GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL but there are portions that are bit dry. Unfortunately, I found COLLAPSE to be even drier and eventually gave it away on bookmooch unfinished.

    I too enjoy your way of doing this meme. It was much easier to read.


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