Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's Meme Time Again -- Top 106 Unread on LibraryThing

As usual, I'm behind the curve, but I saw on the LibraryThing blog that people have been ranking how they stand against the 106 books most often tagged as "unread" by the users of LibraryThing (why 106? 'Cause a plain old top 100 is too 5 years ago?).

The rules are as follows: bold the books you have read, italicize books you’ve started but not finished, strike through the books you read but hated (likely for school), and add an asterisk* to books you’ve read more than once. You're also supposed to underline those you own but still haven’t read yourself, but I don't have any of those. (For the uninitiated, the numbers represent "users listing book as unread"/"users listing book.")

My list, with commentary, is below.

  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell* by Susanna Clarke (236/9041) -- A fabulous book, one of my favorites
  2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (211/8954) -- Pure soap opera; slap a pink cover on it and stick it in the Romance aisle
  3. One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (183/11973) -- I still don't know what happened
  4. Crime and punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (176/10687) -- I've read enough Dostoevsky to know I don't want to read this
  5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (162/12137) -- One of the worst books ever; how it came to be a classic I'll never know
  6. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (158/10886)
  7. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (155/8789)
  8. Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra (152/6654) -- I stumbled through most of this in college, but it wasn't what I was expecting
  9. The Odyssey by Homer (136/10954) -- I've read bits and pieces over the years but never made it all the way through
  10. The brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (136/7174) -- See, this is the Dostoevsky I was talking about
  11. Ulysses* by James Joyce (135/6255) -- The best book ever written in English. Yes, it takes work, but it's so worth it
  12. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (132/6267)
  13. War and peace by Leo Tolstoy (132/5953) -- I've made numerous attempts on this tome; hated the war AND the peace
  14. Jane Eyre* by Charlotte Bronte (124/13765) -- One of the best heroines in literature, with nothing but her own steely sense of integrity to guide her
  15. A tale of two cities by Charles Dickens (124/7460) -- Not my favorite Dickens
  16. The name of the rose* by Umberto Eco (120/7706) -- So much fun!
  17. Moby Dick by Herman Melville (119/7719) -- Another one I made multiple attempts to read; now I've given myself permission to give up
  18. The Iliad by Homer (117/8723) -- Again, just read the bits that any literature student needs to read
  19. Emma* by Jane Austen (117/8949) -- When I was younger, I was all, "oh, how horrible that she should wind up with someone so much older" and now I'm all, "Where is my Mr. Knightley, goddammit?"
  20. Vanity fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (115/3827)
  21. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (114/7115) -- I'm not reading this until I figure out One Hundred Years of Solitude
  22. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (110/4806) -- Not a big Atwood fan
  23. The Canterbury tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (108/6165) -- One of these days I'll tackle the whole thing
  24. Pride and prejudice* by Jane Austen (108/18293) -- Elizabeth Bennett is one of the most likeable heroines I've ever met. Can I have Mr. Darcy with Mr. Knightley on the side?
  25. The historian: a novel by Elizabeth Kostova (108/6447)
  26. Great Expectations* by Charles Dickens (106/8595)
  27. The kite runner by Khaled Hosseini (106/13572)
  28. The time traveler's wife by Audrey Niffenegger (105/11414)
  29. Life of Pi: a novel by Yann Martel (105/12692) -- I don't care how many people tell me they like this book, I'm just not interested
  30. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies by Jared Diamond (104/7493) -- Can be dry in places, but a must-read
  31. Atlas shrugged* by Ayn Rand (102/5984) -- Skip all the speeches about capitalism and it's a great piece of science fiction; the scene where Dagny is flying her little plane chasing her mystery man is nail-biting suspense
  32. Foucault's pendulum* by Umberto Eco (101/5616) -- By the time I finish it, I'm starting to look for conspiracies everywhere too
  33. Dracula by Bram Stoker (100/6873) -- Just not that well-written, as far as I'm concerned
  34. The grapes of wrath by John Steinbeck (99/7812) -- I read most of Steinbeck when I was younger; why didn't I ever get around to this?
  35. A heartbreaking work of staggering genius by Dave Eggers (97/6451)
  36. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (97/9127)
  37. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (97/5565) -- I admire Woolf, but I hate her work
  38. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books by Azar Nafisi (96/4404)
  39. Middlemarch* by George Eliot (96/4159) -- I love Dorothea and I wish she had better taste in men
  40. Sense and sensibility* by Jane Austen (96/8591) -- Just finished reading this one again; I so identify with Elinor
  41. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (95/5167)
  42. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (94/11617) -- Gahh, I hated this book! Boring, with an infuriating heroine who won't stand up for herself
  43. The sound and the fury* by William Faulkner (94/5043) -- I used to adore Faulkner although I haven't read him for years
  44. Brave New World* by Aldous Huxley (93/12421) -- One of the first science fiction books I ever read
  45. Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle I) by Neal Stephenson (92/3525) -- A great start to the series; I only wish it had ended as well
  46. American gods: a novel by Neil Gaiman (92/10319) -- Really enjoyed this one; Shadow is a great character
  47. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (91/8871) -- One of the best books I read last year
  48. The poisonwood Bible: a novel by Barbara Kingsolver (91/7461) -- I've loved other books by Kingsolver, but this one is a stinker
  49. Wicked by Gregory Maguire (90/8905) -- I honestly don't see how this became so popular
  50. A portrait of the artist as a young man* by James Joyce (89/6646) -- Come on, didn't we all imagine we were Stephen Dedalus when we were young?
  51. The picture of Dorian Gray* by Oscar Wilde (89/7165) -- Still as powerful and creepy as the day it was written
  52. Dune* by Frank Herbert (89/9222) -- Thrilling, well-envisioned science fiction epic. Too bad all the sequels suck
  53. The satanic verses by Salman Rushdie (88/3251)
  54. Gulliver's travels* by Jonathan Swift (88/4857)
  55. Mansfield Park* by Jane Austen (88/5360) -- Yes, I am anti-Fanny, but it's still a great book
  56. The three musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (87/4127)
  57. The corrections by Jonathan Franzen (84/5066)
  58. The inferno by Dante Alighieri (84/5873)
  59. Oliver Twist* by Charles Dickens (83/4378) -- I first read this too young. They really shouldn't introduce kids to Dickens this way, even if it is about a kid.
  60. The Fountainhead* by Ayn Rand (83/5795) -- I'm actually kind of impressed that something with this twisted sexuality could be published in the '30s
  61. To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (83/4608)
  62. A clockwork orange* by Anthony Burgess (83/6754) -- Horrorshow!
  63. Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (83/4735) -- Somehow I ran out of energy for Hardy before I got through this one
  64. The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay: a novel by Michael Chabon (83/5956) -- An amazing book, tender, true, and funny
  65. Persuasion* by Jane Austen (82/6479) -- It's hard to choose between this and Pride and Prejudice as my favorite Austen
  66. One flew over the cuckoo's nest by Ken Kesey (82/5908) -- It's on my BookMooch wishlist
  67. The scarlet letter* by Nathaniel Hawthorne (82/7746)
  68. Robinson Crusoe* by Daniel Defoe (82/4437) -- An amazing depiction of capitalism and the Protestant work ethic; even in Paradise he can't relax and have fun
  69. Anansi boys: a novel by Neil Gaiman (81/6534) -- Not as great as American Gods, but still fun
  70. The once and future king* by T. H. White (81/4293) -- One of my childhood favorites
  71. Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan (80/6966)
  72. The god of small things by Arundhati Roy (80/5509)
  73. A short history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson (79/6266)
  74. Oryx and Crake: a novel by Margaret Atwood (78/3976)
  75. Dubliners* by James Joyce (78/5530) -- I had a great teacher who turned me on to Joyce
  76. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (78/5385) -- He'd be a great writer if he ever learned how to end things
  77. Angela's ashes: a memoir by Frank McCourt (77/6349)
  78. Beloved: a novel by Toni Morrison (77/5523)
  79. Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed by Jared Diamond (76/3822) -- I really have to get around to this
  80. The hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (75/2520)
  81. In cold blood by Truman Capote (75/5473)
  82. Lady Chatterley's lover by D.H. Lawrence (73/3169) -- Good sex scenes, stupid story
  83. confederacy of dunces by John Kennedy Toole (73/6061)
  84. Les misérables by Victor Hugo (73/4694) -- It's Javert I feel sorry for
  85. Watership Down by Richard Adams (72/6255)
  86. The prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (72/6363) --Somehow you'd think in my many years of studying the Renaissance I'd have read this, but I never did
  87. The amber spyglass by Philip Pullman (72/6645) -- Pullman has some Serious Issues, but I liked the trilogy
  88. Beowulf: a new verse translation* by Anonymous (72/6350) -- I used to have an elaborate theory about why Beowulf wasn't a hero, but I don't remember what it was anymore
  89. A farewell to arms by Ernest Hemingway (71/5122) -- Hemingway has some Serious Issues too; I admire his prose style, just not his characters
  90. Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (71/5554) -- It took me a few attempts to get into this, but I really liked it
  91. The Aeneid by Virgil (71/5057) -- I read some of it in Latin, does that count?
  92. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (69/4625)
  93. Sons and lovers by D.H. Lawrence (69/2563) -- My sister explained this to me; I still don't quite get it
  94. The personal history of David Copperfield* by Charles Dickens (69/4311) -- With Jane Eyre, one of the best books about growing up ever written
  95. The road by Cormac McCarthy (67/5099)
  96. Possession: a romance* by A.S. Byatt (67/4128) -- I read this twice because I'd forgotten I read it the first time
  97. The history of Tom Jones, a foundling* by Henry Fielding (67/2131) -- Delightful romp
  98. The book thief by Markus Zusak (67/3554)
  99. Gravity's rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (66/3261) -- One of my Dad's projects for years; I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole, although I did like The Crying of Lot 49
  100. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (66/3046)
  101. Tender is the night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (66/3131) -- I guess I ran out of steam on Fitzgerald before I got to this
  102. Candide, or, Optimism* by Voltaire (65/5083)
  103. Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro (65/4317)
  104. The plague by Albert Camus (65/4610) -- Too existential for me
  105. Jude the obscure by Thomas Hardy (65/2944) -- I never understood what he saw in Sue
  106. Cold mountain by Charles Frazier (64/4160) -- OK, OK, it made me cry

Two observations:

  • By my count, I've read 67 of these books. Does that make me a freak?
  • I can't believe that all of Jane Austen's books are in this list. Why aren't you people reading them? Go out there and do it immediately!

Edited May 22 because I don't follow directions very well.

No comments: