Sunday, June 01, 2008

That Book Meme

You've probably seen this all over the place. If not, here goes.

The top 100 or so books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users.
Bold the books you have read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish. I'm marking the ones I've listened to on CD or tape with an asterisk.

It seems weirdly weighted, doesn't it? Many of Austen's novels are there. I adore Austen, but there's a lot of Austen on the list. And she's one of VERY few women.

My depressive teen 19th century Russian novel reading stage pays off well for this sort of list, too. I think I was supposed to read several of those Dickens' novels in high school. My eyes may have passed over some of them, but other than Oliver Twist, I don't think I actually read them. I do distinctly remember failing a quiz about the time a clock was stopped in some house, though. I also failed the Julius Caesar quiz in high school. (If they'd asked me to read 19th century Russian novels, I would have done so much better!)

It's a very white list. VERY. And very novel heavy! And 20th century heavy. (I haven't even heard of some of these, but then, I'm 400 years behind in my reading!)

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 (My eyes may have passed over it, for school, but...)
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
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion is this
There is 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


  1. So glad to meet someone who went through Russian novels as a teen. I read Anna Karenina when I was about 15 or 16; I can attest to the fact that I was much too you (and innocent) to understand it! I took to the Russians once I had finished every Austen and every Bronte (Charlotte, Anne & Emily).

    Of the ones I've read on the list that you haven't, I would highly recommend The Poisonwood Bible and White Teeth. The Kite Runner is good popcorn. I would actively recommend AGAINST Confederacy of Dunces: there is a good reason it's unread.

  2. Actually, all those points you make about the list might speak well for the american readership, as these are the books most often marked *unread* by (et cetera). Maybe these people don't read them because they're reading a wider variety of author types?
    We can hope?
    Or pretend?

  3. How weird is it that you have two Susan readers who join you in the teenage Russian novel reading history? I vividly remember reading Anna Karenina on a HS bus trip to Washington DC.

  4. Anonymous10:23 AM

    AT someone other than my mother who likes these books ... difficult to find readers today .... i love jane Eyre .... Have u read georgette heyer ever .... those r lovly too ...