The Island of Unread Books

So this list is going around revealing the top unread books in the Library Thing catalog. It’s apparently all over, but I saw it on SPM’s blog, pages turned, so I’m going to give her all the credit. Her poor husband has RLS and her parrot has gout, so for god’s sake she deserves it.

Anyhow, the list of books is below!

But before I post them…For the record, I don’t think the list says a whole lot about reading habits, or even the actual books that got nailed. Anyone who is going to be on Library Thing is a big fat nerd (in a good way, of course!), so I highly doubt these folks are opting for Your Best Life Now! instead of Foucault’s Pendulum. This list is composed of classic literature and contemporary literary bestsellers, books that well-meaning readers just haven’t gotten around to yet. But it’s still super fun and so I had to jump in and share my own anecdotes. You’re supposed to do all this fancy formatting to indicate your various shades of affection for the titles, but I just bolded the ones I’ve read.

  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
  2. Anna Karenina
  3. Crime and punishment
  4. Catch-22 (One of my favorite books ever.)
  5. One hundred years of solitude
  6. Wuthering Heights (Love that Heathcliff!)
  7. Life of Pi : a novel
  8. The name of the rose (Latin nerds unite!)
  9. Don Quixote (I bought this from a homeless man for $4 about 10 years ago, but haven’t read it yet. Now that I think about it, he probably stole it. But I hope not.)
  10. Moby Dick (Read about 30 pages in a B&B earlier this year. Actually liked it—I was surprised.)
  11. Ulysses (Haven’t worked up the courage.)
  12. Madame Bovary (I played the heroine herself in a brilliant high school video that my teacher carelessly misplaced. God that was a good video.)
  13. The Odyssey
  14. Pride and prejudice (It took me several tries to get past the first chapter, but now I love Jane.)
  15. Jane Eyre (Not this Jane. She was kind of annoying.)
  16. A tale of two cities
  17. The brothers Karamazov
  18. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
  19. War and peace (Took me forever. I think I picked the wrong Tolstoy.)
  20. Vanity fair
  21. The time traveler’s wife (Best romantic book ever.)
  22. The Iliad (Yeah, the whole thing, even the catalog of ships. For best effect, read near smoky campfire.)
  23. Emma
  24. The Blind Assassin
  25. The kite runner
  26. Mrs. Dalloway
  27. Great expectations
  28. American gods : a novel
  29. A heartbreaking work of staggering genius
  30. Atlas shrugged
  31. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
  32. Memoirs of a Geisha
  33. Middlesex
  34. Quicksilver
  35. Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
  36. The Canterbury 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
  42. Foucault’s pendulum
  43. Middlemarch
  44. Frankenstein
  45. The Count of Monte Cristo
  46. Dracula
  47. A clockwork orange
  48. Anansi boys : a novel
  49. The once and future king
  50. The grapes of wrath (Never got around to it. As a native Californian, I think I’m betraying my state.)
  51. The poisonwood Bible : a novel
  52. 1984
  53. Angels & demons (John had to read this one, ha ha. Don’t bother, everyone—it’s the same book as The Da Vinci Code.)
  54. The inferno
  55. The satanic verses (Loved it)
  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
  63. Gulliver’s travels
  64. Les misérables (Sooo much more boring than it had to be. Read the abridged version.)
  65. The corrections (Wonderful)
  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 (Wrote my AP English essay about this one. “Caddy smelled like trees.”)
  71. Angela’s ashes : a memoir
  72. The god of small things
  73. A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present
  74. Cryptonomicon
  75. Neverwhere
  76. A confederacy of dunces (John gave this to me about 10 years ago, telling me how the author died a failure before his book got published and went on to great acclaim. I hadn’t been published at the time. Somehow he thought this story was supposed to be inspiring.)
  77. A short history of nearly everything
  78. Dubliners
  79. The unbearable lightness of being
  80. Beloved : a novel
  81. Slaughterhouse-five
  82. The scarlet letter
  83. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Pu…
  84. The mists of Avalon (OK. I’m not really into the women stuff.)
  85. Oryx and Crake : a novel
  86. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
  87. Cloud atlas : a novel
  88. The confusion
  89. Lolita (One of my favorite books ever.)
  90. Persuasion
  91. Northanger abbey
  92. The catcher in the rye
  93. On the road
  94. The hunchback of Notre Dame
  95. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of… (John read it)
  96. Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance : an inquiry into …
  97. The Aeneid
  98. Watership Down
  99. Gravity’s rainbow
  100. In cold blood
  101. White teeth
  102. Treasure Island
  103. David Copperfield
  104. The three musketeers
  105. Cold mountain (I knew this one would be on the list!)
  106. Robinson Crusoe
  107. The bell jar
  108. The secret life of bees
  109. Beowulf : a new verse translation (I don’t know about this “new verse translation,” but I’ve certainly read some translation, and that counts, dammit.)
  110. The plague
  111. The Master and Margarita
  112. Atonement : a novel
  113. The handmaid’s tale
  114. Lady Chatterley’s lover

Isn’t this fun? It makes me feel like I should go read one of the titles I have in my library but haven’t read yet. It also makes me think of that homeless man. I hope he’s okay, even if he did steal Don Quixote.

One thought on “The Island of Unread Books

  1. I love this list! I mostly love it because I can lord over the vast percentage of the population and say: I have read over half of these books…

    Unfortunately, ‘Angels & Demons’ is one of those I’ve read. Not so proud of that, now am I, but otherwise I’m doing pretty well.


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