book meme

from from afternoonjazz:

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,
underline the ones you read for school,
italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish (or read excerpts).
add * beside the ones you liked and would (or did) read again or recommend. Even if you read them for school in the first place.
Put a ^ beside the ones you hated.

The Aeneid
* The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
American Gods
Anansi Boys
Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir
Angels & Demons
Anna Karenina
Atlas Shrugged
Beloved
The Blind Assassin
Brave New World
The Brothers Karamazov
The Canterbury Tales
The Catcher in the Rye
* Catch-22
A Clockwork Orange
Cloud Atlas
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
A Confederacy of Dunces
The Confusion
The Corrections
The Count of Monte Cristo
Crime and Punishment
Cryptonomicon
* The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
David Copperfield
Don Quixote
Dracula
Dubliners
Dune
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Emma
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Fountainhead
Frankenstein
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
The God of Small Things
The Grapes of Wrath
Gravity’s Rainbow
Great Expectations
Gulliver’s Travels
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
* A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The Historian: a novel
The Hobbit
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Iliad
In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences
The Inferno
Jane Eyre
* Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
The Kite Runner
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
* Lolita
Love in the Time of Cholera
Madame Bovary
Mansfield Park
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlemarch
Middlesex
Mrs. Dalloway
The Mists of Avalon
Moby Dick
The Name of the Rose
Neverwhere
1984
Northanger Abbey
The Odyssey
Oliver Twist
The Once and Future King
One Hundred Years of Solitude
On the Road
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Oryx and Crake
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present
Persuasion
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Poisonwood Bible
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Pride and Prejudice
The Prince
Quicksilver
Reading Lolita in Tehran
The Satanic Verses
* The Scarlet Letter
Sense and Sensibility
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Silmarillion
Slaughterhouse-five
* The Sound and the Fury
A Tale of Two Cities
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Time Traveler’s Wife
To the Lighthouse
Treasure Island
The Three Musketeers
Ulysses
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Vanity Fair
War and Peace
Watership Down
White Teeth
Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Wuthering Heights
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

11 thoughts on “book meme

  1. Only the ones I’ve read, for brevity (bolding omitted):
    ————————————
    * The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
    * Brave New World
    The Canterbury Tales
    * The Catcher in the Rye
    * Catch-22
    ^ Cryptonomicon — I like his other books. Shallow, but fun, good summer reading. This book sucks. To make matters worse, everyone assumes I must like it because I’m a mathematician.
    ^ David Copperfield
    * Dubliners
    ^ Eats, Shoots & Leaves — Aside: Lynne Truss is a blight upon society and a shining example of England’s continued butchery of the English language. I counted 3 grammatical errors on a single 2-page spread from this supposed treatise on grammar. Anyone who believes that having this book on their shelf “makes them look smart” shouldn’t have dropped out of high school before passing 10th grade English. See also the New Yorker’s excellent, scathing review of this book.
    Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
    Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
    A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
    * The Hobbit
    The Iliad
    The Inferno
    Life of Pi — Again, this makes you look smart? What the hell? A mediocre piece of pulp fiction, popular only because Americans can’t decide how they want to feel about religion.
    * Lolita
    * Love in the Time of Cholera
    Middlesex
    The Odyssey
    On the Road
    * A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present — My (marxist) US History teacher made us read this. I am forever grateful.
    * A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man — The most influential book of my adolescence.
    The Prince
    The Satanic Verses
    * Slaughterhouse-five
    A Tale of Two Cities
    * Ulysses
    ****** The Unbearable Lightness of Being — Best novel yet written. Period. I honestly can’t conceive of a universe in which a better novel exists.
    ^ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance — A girlfriend made me read this book because she thought it was great. I broke up with her because of it.

    1. Wow Steve, I agree with you 600% on Life of Pi and Zen… Those two books in particular are doubly irritating because of the sheer number of people who are taken aback when you voice your opinion that they suck. What is it about these books that strikes a chord in everyone but us? Zen was worse for me because of the higher level of pretension. What a pathetic piece of pseudo-philosophical putrescence.

      Based on our haterade correlation, I’m putting “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” on my must-read list.

      Link to New Yorker review of “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves?”

    2. I think the premise of the meme is flawed. These books are marked as unread but it does not necessarily follow that they are kept on the shelf to make one appear smart. Perhaps they were simply recommended. Or they are part of a cultural cannon despite their lack of quality. I, for one, cannot wrap my head around the fact that so many people want to read Anansi Boys.

  2. I have read these oneses!

    *The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
    American Gods
    Atlas Shrugged
    *Beloved (actually my least favorite of Butler’s books, but still great)
    Brave New World
    The Canterbury Tales
    The Catcher in the Rye
    * Catch-22
    A Clockwork Orange
    *Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
    Crime and Punishment

    For some reason Firefox is not letting me bold or underline today…
    Cryptonomicon
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    Don Quixote
    Dracula
    Dune
    The Fountainhead
    The Grapes of Wrath
    Great Expectations
    Gulliver’s Travels
    *Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
    A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
    *The Hobbit
    In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences
    The Inferno
    Jane Eyre
    ****Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
    The Kite Runner
    *Life of Pi
    Lolita
    Love in the Time of Cholera
    Middlesex
    Moby Dick
    Neverwhere
    1984
    The Odyssey
    The Once and Future King
    One Hundred Years of Solitude
    On the Road
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    Oryx and Crake (I preferred Handmaid’s Tale…)
    Pride and Prejudice
    ^The Scarlet Letter
    The Silmarillion
    Slaughterhouse-five
    The Sound and the Fury
    ^Tess of the D’Urbervilles
    *Watership Down
    Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
    ^Wuthering Heights
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

  3. what, no greek mythology, and no A Brief History of Time?
    Also, I feel dumb for only reading like 15 of these books. Tangentially, do you know what I’m reading right now? Protools: 210m Music Production Techniques. Uuugh.

    1. Right now I’m re-reading Stranger in a Strange Land. I last read it in HS, and I remembered Heinlein being a little obsessed with the orgies, but this time what’s creeping me out is how incredibly sexist he makes his male characters. I mean I know Jubal Harshaw is supposed to be that kinda dude and all, but does he have to pat them on the ass and ask “go get me a drink that’s a good girl?” Bleh.

  4. The Aeneid*
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
    American Gods
    Anansi Boys
    Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir
    Angels & Demons
    Anna Karenina
    Atlas Shrugged
    Beloved
    The Blind Assassin
    Brave New World
    The Brothers Karamazov
    The Canterbury Tales*
    The Catcher in the Rye
    Catch-22
    A Clockwork Orange
    Cloud Atlas*
    Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
    A Confederacy of Dunces
    The Confusion
    The Corrections^
    The Count of Monte Cristo
    Crime and Punishment
    Cryptonomicon
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    David Copperfield
    Don Quixote
    Dracula*
    Dubliners*
    Dune
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves^ (agree with commentary above)
    Emma*
    Foucault’s Pendulum
    The Fountainhead
    Frankenstein
    Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything*
    The God of Small Things
    The Grapes of Wrath^ (my hatred of being forced to read Steinbeck for 4 years in my California high school knows no bounds)
    Gravity’s Rainbow
    Great Expectations
    Gulliver’s Travels
    Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
    A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius*
    The Historian: a novel^ (drivel)
    The Hobbit
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    The Iliad
    In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences
    The Inferno*
    Jane Eyre
    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
    The Kite Runner
    Les Misérables
    Life of Pi
    Lolita*
    Love in the Time of Cholera*
    Madame Bovary
    Mansfield Park*
    Memoirs of a Geisha
    Middlemarch
    Middlesex
    Mrs. Dalloway
    The Mists of Avalon
    Moby Dick (more of a thing that I read just to say I’d read it than something I actually enjoyed)
    The Name of the Rose
    Neverwhere
    1984
    Northanger Abbey*
    The Odyssey
    Oliver Twist
    The Once and Future King
    One Hundred Years of Solitude*
    On the Road
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    Oryx and Crake
    A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present
    Persuasion*
    The Picture of Dorian Gray
    The Poisonwood Bible
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man*
    Pride and Prejudice* (read it first on my own, then for school…twice)
    The Prince
    Quicksilver
    Reading Lolita in Tehran
    The Satanic Verses
    The Scarlet Letter*
    Sense and Sensibility
    A Short History of Nearly Everything
    The Silmarillion
    Slaughterhouse-five
    The Sound and the Fury^ (HATE Faulkner. HATE)
    A Tale of Two Cities*
    Tess of the D’Urbervilles^ (Hated it at the time; found it stupid and found Tess to not stand up to the lofty ideals of an Austen heroine, which was kind of an unfair thing to hold her to; I might like it if I re-read it)
    The Time Traveler’s Wife
    To the Lighthouse
    Treasure Island
    The Three Musketeers
    Ulysses (someday I will read it all)
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being
    Vanity Fair
    War and Peace
    Watership Down
    White Teeth^
    Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
    Wuthering Heights* (love it for its pulpiness)
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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