Reading for Pleasure Wednesday: Top Unread Books

From Servetus: the 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. Bold the ones you’ve read, strike through the ones you read but do not remember well, and italicize the ones you have never heard of. Many are unread by me, and some are unknown to me. I am only interested in reading some of these.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights

The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: A novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick

Madame Bovary
The Odyssey

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad

The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The life and times of the wicked witch of the West

The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath

The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons

The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince

The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes: A memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed

The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An inquiry into values
The Aeneid

Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood: A true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield


13 thoughts on “Reading for Pleasure Wednesday: Top Unread Books

  1. I sent a copy of Guns, Germs, and Steel to Guy last summer. We were going to read it together. Alas, I have not.

    Are you sure you have not read Love in the time of Cholera? Seriously? Isn’t that in your area?
    And how did you managed to escape reading The Scarlet Letter, and Beloved?

    There are several on the list that I cannot imagine reading.

    Just finished When the Emperor was Devine. Wonderful. Just wonderful. But haunting. I will never forget it. You could probably read it in a day. I will post about it in a little bit.

  2. Chaser, that’s hilarious.

    Love in the Time of Cholera – by the time it came out I had already read my fill of Garcia Marquez and he’s far from my favorite writer, and there are so many. Perhaps I should read it, people keep telling me I’d like it. I think I’d have to be waiting for something and that would have to be the best reading material available, then I’d probably read it and enjoy it.

    Scarlet Letter – I couldn’t take honors English in high school because I was taking so many foreign languages and also because there wasn’t calm enough in the house for reading, I didn’t think I’d be able to pass it. Then I didn’t major in English in college, and had a lot of other reading to do, and then it’s been on the to read list ever since. I want to read it. I’m not actually a big reader of fiction, or at least, I don’t act like one, I’m too distracted, this is why I joined Reading for Pleasure Wednesday, to remind myself to read out of field and for pleasure!!!

    Beloved – all these white ladies in the English department I dislike liked that novel so much that I went on strike against it. When I read other Toni Morrison things, I found her sort of formulaic, B+, like Barbara Kingsolver, middlebrow, good enough if that’s all that’s around, but not what I’d choose first off, and so I used the fawning of these white ladies in their Dallas makeup as an excuse to rebel against reading Beloved. This is my eccentric and shocking view of Morrison (she reminds me too much of Faulkner, Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, and Jorge Amado, all of whom I recognize as worthy but all of whom I find to be too connect-the-dotsy).

    I await your post on the Emperor…

  3. That’s my impression of Morrison too (from afar and never having read her). The ladies who like identity politics must be using her to raise their status and their intellectual creds among their equals. A pluses rise above identity politics and its formulas for life and middlebrow success.

  4. I helped a friend with her senior thesis, which was on Love in the Time of Cholera. I’ve not read it but feel like I know enough not to read it. I must admit I own Scarlet Letter but have not gotten past the first eight or so pages. I love Hawthorne’s short stories, but Scarlett Letter just cannot seem to hold my attention. Morrison is often taught with Faulkner. Between the two, I like Faulkner better and he does write from his gut, well at least when he writes his po’ white trash characters.

  5. Yes, there’s a trite G.M.-Faulkner-Morrison-Allende teaching combination whose genesis I remember. I agree with Kitty about Faulkner – and I wonder what I’d really think of the Scarlet Letter … or Bukowski whom I haven’t read either!!!

  6. Yeah I have read some faulkner and he seems to write in a stream of consciousness way, from the gut. But maybe bukowsi was saying that he seems not to slow down enough to really feel it.

  7. I also read allende and found her writing light and not altogether unpleasant. Somehow, though, she is a lightweight, in my view, since little of the writing, except whimsical bits here or there really held me.

  8. Maybe Bukowski thinks Faulkner is too arty. He really is a high modernist and all. I think Allende is sort of like politically correct airplane reading … for the more intelligent and conscious, an alternative to the romance novel.

    One of my students long ago got in trouble with another professor because he wrote a paper called “Procreating the Text with Isabel Allende.” The professor thought he was against parenthood, which was why he didn’t have any other real response to the paper. That’s how I got to read it – the student wanted some professor to give an opinion. I thought it was quite astute. The idea was that all social and political problems are resolved intergenerationally through heterosexual reproduction – the children resolve the conflicts of the last generation, etc. – and that although there are characters of other groups represented positively, the resolution is always a resolution toward whiteness. It occurs to me that I should have told him to try and publish this paper – if he had, we could now look it up in JSTOR.

  9. I should state for the record that I don’t dislike Morrison and I certainly don’t find her inferior to Faulkner, just different. Faulkner depicts reality in a different way than Faulkner. For one thing, he characters are white even though there are blacks in his stories. Faulkner can be seen almost as an anti-racist even though I think I once read that he never went out of his way to portray this. But I say he is somewhat of an anti-racist because he depicts racial situation in a way that does not necessary favours whites, nor make excuses for whites, nor does he gloss over them with an indifferent air like many white authors of his time. He seems to do a justice by simply presenting the situation with verisimilitude, —although it is still from the white point of view, perhaps a white point of view that is not vested in justifying that point of view nevertheless.

    Morrison is a different bird. I think Bluest Eyes is one of the most poignant and memorable books that I have ever read. However, Song of Solomon is very patriarchal, actually, Morrison is patriarchal. Which is why I believe she supports Obama, which completely and utterly turns me off. Even though Morrison writes strong female characters, who survive against all odds, there is always that backdrop of wanting a man to succeed (not that there is anything wrong with it) but it seems to be a bigger desire than a favourable outcome for a woman. And I mean I expect patriarchy advocacy from Faulkner but hope for something different from Morrison. But as I said, they are not the same. He is almost a 100 years from her, they are coming from two different worlds, even though a lot of their story can almost be considered somewhat the same. Faulkner is the south, Morrison is not necessarily the south. Like Morrison’s Bluest Eyes, I will never forget Faulkner’s Light in August.

    “Procreating the Text with Isabel Allende.” Wow! Sounds like an excellent paper.

  10. Yes – I agree utterly on Faulkner, that’s well put – and it’s Song of Solomon that mainly turned me off from Morrison. Patriarchal, it’s true. I should reread the Bluest Eye, it’s been decades. Light in August made such an impression on me I could practically recite it, but it was so heartrending I am afraid to read it again. Actually, though, I should – it might be good for my paper!!!

  11. Those based on Greek mythology peek my interest. It’s the adventure I love. Along with The Hobbit, many of the books I read relate to my own wanderlust and adventure. Wanderlust aside, I prefer old school works by those politically incorrect dead white men–and women.

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