March 18, 2015

Unread Books

Back in 2008 I participated in a book meme -- the top 106 books marked as *unread* at Library Thing were pushed around the internet with instructions.

Those of us engaging in the meme republished the list, but bolded the books we'd read  (underlined those we read for school -- I skipped this step) and italicized those we'd started but hadn't finished.

I stumbled upon this old meme when reviewing the timing of some reading I'd done in my blog posts, and thought it would be interesting to revisit.  Unsurprisingly, the top 106 books marked as "unread" in the Library Project had changed a bit since 2008.

In addition to the original old bold/italics rules, I've also added yellow dark blue highlighting to indicate new books that took the place of other books that were in the top 106 on the 2008 list.  At least half of the movement onto the current list is older books that cannot claim that they were only recently published as the reason they made the cut -- fascinating!  Also interesting (to me), there's not much movement off the list in the last 7 years over the current top third of the list -- it looks relatively static. But the middle 3rd has about 1/3 new entrants, and the last 3rd of the list is made up of roughly 50% new entrants in the last 7 years, so quite dynamic.

Here's my updated list (which, conveniently, serves as a nice list of potential books to add to my reading or audiobook wish list):


Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (262 times)
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (254 times)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (227 times)
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (222 times)
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (193 times)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (190 times)
The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien (183 times)
Ulysses by James Joyce (181 times)
War and Peace by Léon Tolstoï (178 times)
The Brothers Karamazov by Fedor Mikhaïlovitch Dostoïevski (173 times)
The Odyssey by Homer (168 times)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (162 times)
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (159 times)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (157 times)
The Iliad by Homer (157 times)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (154 times) – in high school, very little memory
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (147 times)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (146 times)
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (146 times) – In French
Love in The Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (145 times)
Moby Dick by Herman Melville (143 times)
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (136 times)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (135 times)
Dracula by Bram Stoker (133 times)
Emma by Jane Austen (133 times)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (129 times)
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (129 times)
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (126 times)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (126 times)
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (125 times) -- revisit
Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco (125 times)
The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (125 times)
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (121 times)
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (121 times)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (121 times) – in high school, very little memory
Middlemarch by George Eliot (120 times)
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (120 times)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (120 times)
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (120 times)
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (119 times)
Dune by Frank Herbert (118 times)
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (118 times) – started as an audiobook and couldn’t finish it.  So. Many. Details.  No Plot.
The Inferno by Dante Alighieri (117 times)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (117 times)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (117 times) – revisit
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (116 times)
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (115 times)
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (115 times) – this month’s book club selection, plan to finish
Atonement by Ian McEwan (115 times)
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (114 times)
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (114 times) – revisit
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (113 times)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (112 times)
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (112 times) – revisit
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (112 times) – revisit
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (111 times)
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (111 times)
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (110 times)
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (109 times)
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (109 times)
The Once and Future King by T. H. White (109 times)
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (107 times)
The Aeneid by Virgil (107 times)
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (106 times) – audiobook
Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson (105 times)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (105 times)
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (105 times)
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (105 times)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (105 times)
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (105 times)
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (105 times)
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare (104 times) – also, who does this?  The COMPLETE WORKS? Pick some works!
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (104 times) – revisit
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (103 times)
The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli (102 times)
Dubliners by James Joyce (102 times)
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (101 times)
Beowulf by Beowulf Poet (101 times)
Beloved by Toni Morrison (101 times)
On the Road by Jack Kerouac (99 times)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (99 times)
The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (98 times)
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (98 times)
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (98 times)
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (98 times)
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (98 times)
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (97 times)
Possession by A. S. Byatt (97 times)
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (96 times)
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott (95 times)
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (95 times)
Watership Down by Richard Adams (95 times)
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (95 times)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (93 times)
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence (93 times)
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (93 times)
The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (92 times)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (92 times) – on my bedside table, to be read soon
Underworld by Don DeLillo (92 times)
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (92 times)
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (91 times)
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père (90 times)
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (90 times)
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond (89 times)
The Idiot by Fedor Mikhaïlovitch Dostoïevski (89 times)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (89 times)

2 comments:

Angela said...

Fascinating! Since I've started reading more classics, there are definitely many more on this list that I've finished than there would have been a year or two ago. (Also, yeah, school helped with some of them. But after 15-20 years I feel like there are probably a few that are worth revisiting.)

bt said...

Same story with me. I started hitting classics a bit more heavily in the last couple of years and it's definitely helped on this list.