I Read Books

Some say you can learn a lot from books
Thrill right to second-hand living
Life is just as deadly as it looks
But fiction is more forgiving *


Ooh! A list of books. My stomach is churning with excitement. What this is, readers, is a list of the top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by users of cool, online book catalog LibraryThing. How many have you read? How many have you read and thrown away in disgust? How many are on your “to read” list?

Bloggers, like Kathy and Cardiogirl, may want to post their own lists and pass them along through the blogosphere. Readers may want to copy the list and e-mail it to their friends.

The original instructions, as specified by Dan in his LibraryThing meme, are as follows:

  • Bold what you have read
  • Italicize what you started but couldn’t finish
  • Strike through what you couldn’t stand
  • Set in all caps those you have no intention of reading

I had to change the instructions a bit to fit my reading habits.

  • I  boldfaced what I’ve read.
  • I set in italics titles I haven’t yet read but want to read.
  • I didn’t use strike-through, as there were no books I couldn’t stand.
  • I set in caps books I am unlikely to read (“no intention of reading” seems a little strong—I may read them!)
  • And I highlighted titles I have not heard of.
Here’s the list (and no, I don’t know what those numbers mean, either)!

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (149)

Anna Karenina (132)


Catch-22 (117)

One Hundred Years of Solitude (115)

Wuthering Heights (110)


Life of Pi: a Novel (94)

The Name of the Rose (91)

Don Quixote (91)

Moby Dick (86)

Ulysses (84)

Madame Bovary (83)

The Odyssey (83)

Pride and Prejudice (83)

Jane Eyre (80)

A Tale of Two Cities (80)


Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (79)


Vanity Fair (74)

The Time Traveler’s Wife (74)

The Iliad (73)

Emma (73)

The Blind Assassin (73)

The Kite Runner (71)

Mrs. Dalloway (70)

Great Expectations (70)

American Gods (68)

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (67)

Atlas Shrugged (67)

Reading Lolita in Tehran: a Memoir in Books (66)

Memoirs of a Geisha (66)

Middlesex (66)

Quicksilver (66)

Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (65)

The Canterbury Tales (64)

The Historian: a Novel (63)


Love in the Time of Cholera (62)

Brave New World (61)

The Fountainhead (61)

Foucault’s Pendulum (61)

Middlemarch (61)

Frankenstein (59)

The Count of Monte Cristo (59)

Dracula (59)

A Clockwork Orange (59)

Anansi Boys (58)

The Once and Future King (57)

The Grapes of Wrath (57)

The Poisonwood Bible: a Novel (57)

1984 (57)

Angels & Demons (56)


The Satanic Verses (55)

Sense and Sensibility (55)

The Picture of Dorian Gray (55)

Mansfield Park (55)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (54)

To the Lighthouse (54)

Tess of the D’Urbervilles (54)

Oliver Twist (54)

Gulliver’s Travels (53)

Les Misérables (53)

The Corrections (53)

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (52)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (52)

DUNE (51)

The Prince (51)

The Sound and the Fury (51)

Angela’s Ashes: a Memoir (51)

The God of Small Things (51)


Cryptonomicon (50)

Neverwhere (50)

A Confederacy of Dunces (50)

A Short History of Nearly Everything (50)

Dubliners (50)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (49)


Slaughterhouse-Five (49)

The Scarlet Letter (48)

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (48)

The Mists of Avalon (47)

Oryx and Crake: a Novel (47)

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (47)

Cloud Atlas (47)

The Confusion (46)

Lolita (46)

Persuasion (46)

Northanger Abbey (46)

The Catcher in the Rye (46)

On the Road (46)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (45)

Freakonomics : a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (45)

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an Inquiry into Values (45)

The Aeneid (45)

Watership Down (44)

Gravity’s Rainbow (44)

The Hobbit (44)

In Cold Blood: a True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences (44)

White Teeth (44)

Treasure Island (44)

David Copperfield (44)

The Three Musketeers (44)


Don’t have time to read? Check out Book-A-Minute.  Here’s Annie Berke’s condensed version of The Great Gatsby (warning: spoilers):

Daisy, I made all this money for you, because I love you.
I cannot reciprocate, because I represent the American Dream.
Now I must die, because I also represent the American Dream.
(Gatsby DIES.)
I hate New Yorkers.

THE END ((And if this list doesn’t give you any ideas, try What Should I Read Next?p

* Today’s lyrics are courtesy of Richard Thompson.

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14 Responses to “I Read Books”

  1. 1 Kathy

    Oh, boy. Kathy feeling stupid now. So many of those are on my “to read before I die” list. My husband has probably read more of the classics listed than I have. Maybe I could cheat and combine our readings? I can spot four immediately that he recently read. Most of the ones I’ve read were college reading. My favorite of the ones I have read? A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. That’s one I could read twice.

  2. 2 JD

    No! No one is allowed to feel stupid. Remember, this is the list of titles that most users marked as “unread,” so you’re in good company. I was an English major, so reading a lot of these books was mandatory and not necessarily enjoyable (tho I do have quite a few favorites).

    I LOVED Heartbreaking Work, or as Dave calls it A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius.

  3. 3 dcr

    Thanks for playing. And, just to avoid any confusion, it’s not “my” meme. I saw it on Doug’s blog, and he had been tagged with it by another blogger…

  4. 4 JD

    Thanks for the clarification, Dan. Credit where credit is due…

  5. 5 Cancuklehead

    MAN – what a great list of books. Based solely on what you have read, you should really look into “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.” It’s a good book and I think you would enjoy it. There are SO many good books there – one of my faves will always be “A Confederacy of Dunces” – but it hard to recommend to others. Heartbreaking work is good as well – man – I could go on all day … ok, I’ll stop now.

  6. 6 JD

    Canucklehead! Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll mentally un-highlight it and italicize it instead. I loved A Confederacy of Dunces, too—almost ready for a re-read of that and A Heartbreaking Work. Did you ever read Dave Eggars’ other book You Shall Know Our Velocity? It’s not quite as good as Heartbreaking, but still very weird and funny. Also had a book of short stories that I didn’t much care for.

    Thanks for the comment! READ MORE BOOKS!!!111@@@@

  7. 7 Lydia

    The condensed version of The Great Gatsby is hilarious! I enjoyed the book, though.

  8. 8 JD

    Lydia: Isn’t that funny! That whole site is great. I enjoyed Great Gatsby too, but the condensed version will do in a pinch.

  9. 9 Fergus Mayhew

    Found you in a strange way … looking for information about Richard Thompson, one of my favorite artists, and you popped up because of those lyrics.

    Very nice to have arrived here … what a marvellous list of books. Serendipity indeed.

    Fergus Mayhew’s last blog post..Nice Day With the Family

  10. 10 JD

    Fergus Mayhew: Hello, and welcome! How funny that Richard Thompson brought you here. I’m a big fan, as well.

    So! Music, books…what else do we have in common? I’m off to check out your site…

  11. 11 Stephanie Barr

    I don’t know how I rate. I’ve read 29 of them and probably had started another dozen but didn’t finish. But I tested out of all my college English (except for a really cool course called “Physics in Fiction” for a humanities grade), so I really haven’t read as much as I should have.

    A couple on this list are even on my all time favorites (bedroom shelves) booklist, like Count of Monte Cristo, Dune and Wuthering Heights.

    Stephanie Barr’s last blog post..Dyna-Soar and learning lessons from the past.

  12. 12 JD

    Stephanie Barr: I probably need to re-read this list and update it. I’m sure I’ve read a few more since I posted this. HA! Trust you to regard “Physics in Fiction” as cool!

  13. 13 stephanie barr

    But it was! It was to demonstrate how physics and science of the time affected the fiction of the time and vice versa.

    (That’s where I read Frankenstein, by the way)

  14. 14 JD

    stephanie barr: Well, when you put it like that!


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