Reading List

Kitchen Witch has got me thinking with this list of books. Back-tracking to Infinite Drivel I found out what they have in common: the list is the books most frequently marked “unread” on librarything.

Lists, books – how can I resist? (Especially when I’m in the middle of a Book Binge.) I was already mentally filling in my responses whilst reading Kitchen Witch’s list…


I’ve read it;
I’ve read some of it;
I intend to read it (although in many cases this is an intention of many years standing, so I’m not sure it counts for much);
I don’t want to/am not planning to read it;
I’ve never heard of it (ignorant, uncultured lout that I am).


Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment (I read some of my Mum’s copy of this when I was probably too young to appreciate it. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get very far. I’ve never got any further, maybe someday.)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (I think I even have a copy of this somewhere. I bought a couple of boxes of cheap editions of assorted novels from The Book People last summer. Of course I over-estimated my reading capacity – a year later many are still unread. Quite a few of them are on this list!)
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion (Started three times. Gave up, donated to charity shop – I do like Tolkein, but this one just wasn’t my thing.)
Life of Pi: A Novel (Brilliant or weird? I still don’t know.)
The Name of the Rose (Possibly the worst book I have never read. After wading through a chapter of this pretentious tosh I chucked it in the bin. After all, if I donated it to the charity shop, some other poor bugger would end up suffering the same fate. Oh, you liked it? Good for you. Each to their own and all that.)
Don Quixote
Moby Dick (I read a lot of extracts from this at school. I had an English teacher who liked using bits of books for comprehension work. Sometimes we fell in love with the books and went on to read the whole thing, which was probably all part of his cunning plan!)
Ulysses (I also read various extracts from this at school, loved it, always intended to read it. Just realised that it has slipped my mind for the last 25 years.)
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre (I would probably enjoy this, but I’ve read so much about it already; I know the story. I was given a copy that has been sitting on my bookshelf (unread) for over a decade now. I think I’ve just admitted to myself that it is likely to stay that way.)
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
*Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace (Although I did once use my Mum’s copy to get ideas for names when I had acquired a new kitten. However he ended up being Jeremy Hilary PhD, so I don’t know what that says about me or about War and Peace…)
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife (Many times!)
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations (I even got started on this a while back. Top tip: do not try to read a novel with very small print when you are due for an eye test and need new glasses. Big baaaddd headaches will result. Anyway, now I have those new glasses, I wonder why I didn’t finish the book?)
*American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
*Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books (Maybe.)
Memoirs of a Geisha
*Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales (I’ve only read very short extracts.)
*The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (I can remember reading this, I know I read it when I was at school. I can’t remember anything at all about it. My memory is crap! Time for a re-read I think.)
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange (Another one from the bargain box – but I keep picking it up, putting it down and picking something else. I suspect this will remain unread.)
*Anansi Boys
*The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
*The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons (Not the greatest book I’ve ever read, but a long way from being the worst. So many people told me that I would love this and that I would love the Da Vinci Code. Well I gave ’em a go. I didn’t love them; inevitably they were a let down, anything would have been after such gushing praise. The “amazing” books turned out to be very run of the mill Alistair Maclean type thrillery things. Nowt wrong with that, but the build up left me disappointed.)
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses (Just bought Midnight’s Children, so maybe I’ll change my mind about this one, time will tell.)
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray (This list has made me realise just how many bits of books I read at school.)
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Had to dither about this one, is it a ‘no’ or a ‘maybe sometime’? Still not sure.)
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables (Nothing like being made into a musical to put me off for life! Yes, I know the book doesn’t sing. Yes, I know I’m being an idiot.)
*The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (This one ought to have its own category: being read right now.)
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
*Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
*Cloud Atlas
*The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road (Sitting in the pile of books next to my bed.)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down (I’m too much of a wimp.)
*Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood (Another one from the bargain box set. Another one currently sitting in the ‘To be read’ pile at the side of the bed.)
White Teeth (I keep getting this on my recommended lists at Amazon, so I might actually try it, e-x-c-e-p-t… one of the people who was the most enthusiastic in their recommendation of the Da Vinci Code has told me that this is “brilliant”. So that’s putting me right off.)
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers


Which leaves me with four random thoughts:

1. I’ve probably only given up on four books in my life – two of them are here (the other two being something by Iris Murdoch – I forget which book it was – and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) . I used to make a point of finishing every book that I read, but then (halfway through the long-forgotten Iris Murdoch novel) I thought “Why am I doing this?” I read for enjoyment after all. So I don’t have a problem with unfinished books. I’ll never read everything I want to in my life as it is, why waste time on things I’m not enjoying?

2. I am slightly perturbed by the large number of books that I’ve read extracts from/bits of (as opposed to those where I started at page 1 and didn’t reaching the end).

3. I don’t read enough

4. Am I the only person in the world who hasn’t read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell?

How about you?

3 comments to Reading List

  • Errrmmmm…am reading Jonathan Strange at the moment…although, to be honest, I’ve been reading it for about a month. Not sure I’m going to finish it. It’s good but…well, I find it a bit too rambling and none of the characters are actually likeable (and none of them are thoroughly dislikeable either). It’s a bit bleugh.

    Try to get a copy of American Gods – it’s by Neil Gaiman – it’s a jolly good read! (Anansi Boys is a sort of follow-up? No, it includes a character from American Gods).

  • I liked ‘American Gods’, sort of – had only read ‘Stardust’ before that, which is completely different, but enjoyed ‘Anansi Boys’ rather better. ‘AG’ is quite… strange. But ‘JS&Mr.N’ is fab. Utterly fab.

  • I think I might have to give American Gods a try. I’m definitely going to have to try JS&MrN, if only to see what all the fuss is about, everyone seems to be talking about it!