me meme

A list of the top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded but you never actually crack the cover.

Bold the ones you’ve read, underline the ones you read for school (I don’t recall having to read any of these for school), italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish. Put an asterisk * next to the ones you’d read again or recommend to someone, even if you originally read them for school.

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. The Silmarillion
8. Life of Pi : a novel

9. The Name of the Rose
10. Don Quixote
11. Moby Dick

12. Ulysses
13. Madame Bovary
14. The Odyssey
15. Pride and Prejudice
16. Jane Eyre
17. A Tale of Two Cities
18. The Brothers Karamazov
19. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies *
20. War and Peace
21. Vanity Fair
22. The Time Traveler’s Wife
23. The Iliad
24. Emma
25. The Blind Assassin
26. The Kite Runner
27. Mrs. Dalloway
28. Great Expectations
29. American Gods *
30. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
31. Atlas Shrugged
32. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
33. Memoirs of a Geisha *
34. Middlesex
35. Quicksilver
36. Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
37. The Canterbury Tales
38. The Historian : a novel
39. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
40. Love in the Time of Cholera
41. Brave New World *
42. The Fountainhead
43. Foucault’s Pendulum

44. Middlemarch
45. Frankenstein
46. The Count of Monte Cristo
47. Dracula
48. A Clockwork Orange
49. Anansi Boys *
50. The Once and Future King
51. The Grapes of Wrath
52. The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
53. 1984 *
54. Angels & Demons
55. The Inferno *
56. The Satanic Verses

57. Sense and Sensibility
58. The Picture of Dorian Gray
59. Mansfield Park
60. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
61. To the Lighthouse
62. Tess of the D’Urbervilles
63. Oliver Twist
64. Gulliver’s Travels

65. Les Misérables
66. The Corrections
67. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
68. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
69. Dune *
70. The Prince *

71. The Sound and the Fury
72. Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
73. The God of Small Things
74. A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
75. Cryptonomicon *
76. Neverwhere

77. A Confederacy of Dunces
78. A Short History of Nearly Everything
79. Dubliners
80. The Unbearable Lightness of Being *
81. Beloved
82. Slaughterhouse-Five *

83. The Scarlet Letter
84. Eats, Shoots & Leaves
85. The Mists of Avalon
86. Oryx and Crake : a novel
87. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
88. Cloud Atlas
89. The Confusion
90. Lolita
91. Persuasion
92. Northanger Abbey
93. The Catcher in the Rye
94. On the Road
95. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
96. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything *
97. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

98. The Aeneid
99. Watership Down *
100. Gravity’s Rainbow
101. The Hobbit
102. In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
103. White Teeth
104. Treasure Island
105. David Copperfield
106. The Three Musketeers

11 thoughts on “me meme

  1. I tried to read Moby Dick, but man I found it got to long for me, Satanic Verses came out when i was in um grade 8 (I’m not old I swear), read some of it, but found it was one of those over hyped books. I have read Clock Work about 5 times actually. The edition that Kubrick used only had 18 out of the 21 chapters (I think there was 21?).

  2. The Satanic Verses sucked pretty hard.

    A Clockwork Orange I’ve tried to read at least a dozen times, but I can’t read books written in an accent or dialect. Just can’t do it. Brain doesn’t go.

  3. Did you ever try reading the book aloud? Irvine Welsh was difficult for me at first, luckily my copy of Trainspotting came with a dictionary which made it quite easy to read, but it was annoying having to keep referring to it. I found that after I read the first 5 chapters a loud, it was very easy to hear the accent in my head when I was reading. I took a break from him for about 4 years and then read Filth,(which is AMAZING) it only took me 40 pages to get back into the swing of things.

    Please forgive my memory because I read A Clockwork 10 years ago when I was 15, but isn’t the slang Polish? Is it Polish? I can’t recall…I know I used a dictionary to define the slang words before I read it and now I can’t recall which one it was.

    For me it’s harder to read anything that has a natural or realistic sentence structure. Like Catcher for example, when I read it at 14/15 I had been use to reading Oscar Wilde, Jim Carroll, Sylvia Plath and their style is very precise. Holden’s narration for me was quite choppy at first, and it had such a halting jumpy tone to it. It was difficult for me to find a flow. Again it simply took some getting use to, which I did from reading aloud. Some people thought I was crazy; my parents use to always ask me who I was taking to.

    Anything with experimental grammar is hard on my head too. Have you ever read Selby’s Last Exit to Brooklyn? My Lowered, the first part that’s narrated by speed freak has no punctuation. At all. It took me 10 pages until I realized that it wasn’t coming, and I had to go back and re-read some parts because I didn’t catch on that they were conversations. Geez and the last few pages of The Demon has no punctuation and is all in caps.

  4. I haven’t read Last Exit to Brooklyn. I’m the same way with oddly-structured writing; most of my early learn-to-read material was Charles Dickens or Time Magazine.

    J.G. Ballard took me a long, long time to deal with.

    …I’ll try reading it aloud, though, that’s a good idea. I don’t really subvocalize when I read, which I think is probably the problem.

  5. Last Exit is strange, actually stranger than Requiem; Requiem was a tad more structured, though it’s still written in a personal dialect, each narrative has a different tone to it. It took me forever to realize that Jim was a slang word. I spent the first 10 pages wondering who this jim character was. Last Exit is like that, the book being separated into different sections, narrated by different characters all living in the same area in Brooklyn. The last section is pretty awesome, it’s the day in the life of tenants of a walk up in Brooklyn. Each character has a tone, and dialect. The tranny speed freak’s narrative was by far the hardest to read, but it’s also the first. Tra La La’s part is my favorite. It really made the book for me. The book itself is plotless, it just shows you different point of veiws. There’s a certain flow to Tra La La’ narrative, it’s almost musical. I love it’s flow…I re-read it all the time. I”m not sure if you saw the movie, in the movie Tra La La’s part came across more…..tragic? I guess that’s the word. I know on film it disturbed me, but in print there’s just something to the delivery. I always said it was either the worst thing I ever read, or the best.

    Ballard? Really, maybe I just read too much Ballard. I love how he crosses genres. Some authors only stick to one style of writing. I know he has a large body of work, I don’t even think I’ve made a dent. My first book from him was Crash, and I admit that first was tricky for me at first, but I got sucked in all that engine coolant and the citron’s…man my one issue with the movie is, they should have kept the same cars. Man those cars are the sex. Have you ever been in one? My dad had one in his body shop that they were fixing, and I use to just sit in it…I digress. I then read The Drowned world, which blew me away…then Empire of the Sun, which was so beautifully written, broke my heart…then it was The Kindness of Women. Those books were very artless in their delivery. Some of the sex scenes had a very medical feel. I then got into his strange isolated community plots, Running Wild, Cocaine Nights, and Super Cannes. Super Cannes was very hard for me. I could not get into it at first. I dunno..I found the beginning ..stale, for lack of a better word. (Sorry for the ramble…I love Ballard)

    I grew up reading very formal wording, so when I read Catcher, it totally blew me away. I guess because I read as much as I do, I like to read things that experiment with the structure and formatting. I think this comes from my adoration of e.e. cummings.

    In order for me to focus I have to narrate in my head, which is why I can’t read with headphones on…it’s way too distracting for me. I always wonder how those people can do it. Doesn’t the lyrics of a song distract from the text you’re reading? Maybe I just be simple like that. I just re-read this and I love how I come off all smart like in some of my reading, because the rest of it is kinda embarrassing. At the moment I’m reading First Blood-David Morrell. Which is what the movie Rambo was based on. Never seen Rambo…but the book is awesome.

  6. I really like Ballard (and I did from day one – the first book I read was The Atrocity Exhibition), it just took me a while to get my brain in the right gear to actually get what was going on.

    First Blood, the first Rambo movie, is a great film. The others are mindless action movies, but the first one is really fantastic.

  7. You know, I”m lovin’ this book. It’s intense. I feel for poor Rambo, a creation of the government, he’s only a pawn in their game. I’ve never seen any of the Rambo movies, or Rocky, in fact I think the only Stalone movies I”ve ever seen are his classics, Over the Top and Stop or my Mom will Shoot…pretty much anything that’s not his typical “action” I have no clue what the plot of the movie First Blood is, or even why they casted Stalone to begin with, his portrayal, is a far stretch from the character in the book. However my only reference to the Rambo movies, is the parody I read in my Cherry Poptart comics.

    I’m torn because now I kinda want to see the movie, I”m very curious to see what they make of it. For some reason I think the whole, war state of mind being created by government, power struggle, controlled by the man, metaphor included in the Forrest cat and mouse game was thrown out the window. Given the way I’ve seen Stallone look in the movie, I have another feeling that the anti-Vietnam/un fair treatment of those who served when they were brought back theme was taken out too…

    It’s almost a shame because the book is actually not as trivial as they made the franchise.

    It’s an interesting commentary on what being trained and created for war does to a man. It’s not as good as Jarhead, but Jarhead was more…sensitive, is the word I think I’m looking for. It’s also non fiction, so it’s way more personal.

    Should I break the ban! I’m so torn.

  8. I think I might…I know my brother has the box set. I know my curiosity is going to get the better of me.

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