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These are 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. Bold the ones you've read.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights (and then a guy I kinda had a crush on tried to pay me to write a paper on it for him. I'm so glad I survived high school without strangling anyone.)
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose (I've seen Eco live at the Writer's Garret.)
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: the fates of human societies (love Jared Diamond)
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 (I bought it in an airport bookstore after recognizing Eggers' name from the paperback compilation of Might magazine's stories, which in turn I bought because it had a couple of pieces by Ted Rall. I LOVE YOU TED RALL)
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 (do LibraryThing members have a fixation with Gaiman?)
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
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
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections (This was horrible & three hours of my life I'll never get back. If you read it, stop at the point where Alfred falls off the cruise ship. The rest of the book you'll be wishing he'd died in that incident.)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (hey, Chabon!)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Dune (I quit reading after the fourth book, but the first book? was not that bad.)
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 (a while back we realized we owned three copies of this. We traded them all in for credit at a used bookstore.)
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas (revme gave me a copy of this; it's in my to-read queue)
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
The Three Musketeers

It's a bit embarrassing how many of those I read thanks to the English program at D'Evelyn.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 30th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
I agree with Middlesex and Middlemarch - I hated both. I really enjoyed Freakonomics, and you might, too.
May. 1st, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
I started Middlesex but didn't finish it.

Freakonomics is on my Amazon to-buy queue. I read an excerpt online and it's perpetually checked out at my local library branch, so I figure I'll buy it after my to-read queue's a little shorter. I read a lot more during the summer so I hope to get to it this fall.
Apr. 30th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)
I've only read 37 (which includes 2 I read half of - Zen & The Art and the Aeneid which we were only assigned the first part of) so you've got me beat, but most of the ones I haven't read I mostly don't have on my shelf to make me look smart. :) The only one I have and haven't read is A People's History of the US, which I Keep Meaning To Read. Maybe I will soon. My HS English classes tended to the "modern classics" and other obscure literature for some reason (although I avoided Beloved which is the classic T.M. to have read because we read Sula instead).

I love Jared Diamond too. And Neal Stephenson, though it doesn't surprise me that Quicksilver and The Confusion both made the unread list. Someone ought to have edited, as in Cut Down in Length, that series. It was great but incredibly hard to get through.

Any particular recommendations from the true classics?
Apr. 30th, 2008 05:02 am (UTC)
I would say it depends on what you like to read the most; because I don't know Jared Diamond and Neal Stephenson, I can't particularly offer something based on that. However, the "classics" I enjoyed on this list include:

Les Miserables (very dense with random French Revolution history; feel free to skim a bit in those parts)
The Grapes of Wrath (will leave you feeling...something)
The Count of Monte Cristo (an awesomely done novel of intrigue and revenge)

but I am also a big fan of the Dune series (read them in order) and The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors)

The Rand works (Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead) are fascinating novels, but don't get too wrapped up in her philosophy, unless you...like it. Interesting take on capitalism and the view/value of human life compared to others.

The Bronte novels (Sense & Sensibility, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights) are good trashy English novels...the kind to read in the bathtub or poolside, but with a decent vocabulary. However, I immensely enjoyed Vanity Fair (which no one ever reads) because it's hilariously tongue-in-cheek witty, and I had to read it with a dictionary near by. Love that.

Wow, I didn't mean to geek out so much, and I don't even know you. :)
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:07 am (UTC)
Thanks! I've actually read Grapes of Wrath, Dune (whole series), Poisonwood Bible (and many other BK works), and Jane Eyre. Couldn't get into Wuthering Heights when I tried but I should try again. (Psst...S&S is by Austen, not one of the Brontes.) Don't think I'll ever read Ayn Rand because the philosophy would just be too exasperating. But I'll put the others on my library list.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu

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