Day Ninety-Nine

08 Apr

A few weeks ago in an article for Book Riot, Elizabeth Bastos offered a list of famous books that she has never finished. The comments became a confessional, a laundry list of classics most people can’t seem to get all the way through.

I consider myself a fairly well-read person, but in looking at these lists, I realized just how many books I’ve always wanted to read but never found the time. To be fair, some books are read just to say you have read them, like literary trophies. Instead of winning gold medals, we read War and Peace and Anna Karenina. This then is my list of famous novels I own that I haven’t read yet, but really should in the near future. In no particular order:

Anna Karenina
The Last of the Mohicans
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Through the Looking-Glass
A Brief History of Time
The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
Pride and Prejudice
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
A Feast of Crows
From Hell
The Catcher in the Rye
The Sagan Diary
Call of the Wild
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Tale of Two Cities
Three Musketeers
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Don Quixote
Gulliver’s Travels
All The Young Warriors
A Modest Proposal
Yellow Medicine
To the Devil, My Regards
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The War of the Worlds
The Time Machine
The Red Badge of Courage
The Wizard of Oz
North and South
Common Sense
Man in the Iron Mask
Les Misérables
Great Expectations
The Lost Prince
Crime and Punishment
Treasure Island
The Scarlett Pimpernel
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Prince
Popular Tales From the Norse
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
The Man Who Would Be King
Canterbury Tales
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Around the World in 80 Days
The Iliad
The Odyssey
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Moby Dick
On Gold Mountain
Mosses From an Old Manse
The Voyage of the Beagle
On The Origin of Species
Twice-Told Tales
The Scorch Trials
The Pirates Own Book
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Bickerstaff-Partridge Papers
The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Man Who Would Be King
White Fang
Paradise Lost
Aesop’s Fables
The Legend of Kind Arthur and His Knights

I’m monumentally ashamed at how long this list is. Mind you, these are just the books I own that I haven’t read. I have them in the interest of reading them, either because I want to or feel like I should. This doesn’t come close to the list of books that I don’t own that I haven’t read. That list is in the hundreds and makes me very happy that institutions like libraries exist.

It is very rare for me to put down a book unfinished. Not that I read enormous tomes in one sitting, rather I usually don’t go more than a couple of days without reading once I’ve started a book. The exceptions recently have been Dracula (The beginning is very dry and I got distracted), The Picture of Dorian Gray (the characters at the beginning are so ridiculous, I’m having trouble getting past them to the heart of the story. They’re talking about Dorian Gray when I want to actually meet him), A Clash of Kings (these books are so dense, so packed with detail, you have to be really invested to catch it all. At the time I started it, I had too much going on to get into it properly), and Lord of the Rings (I’ve read it so many times I can pick up and put down without losing where I am in the story. I also tend to skip a good third of the text because Frodo annoys the crap out of me).

What’s maddening is that I have no excuse as to why I haven’t read them yet. I can’t say I don’t have time because I have always made time to read. Obviously I have an interest or I wouldn’t have taken the time to look for, purchase, and in most cases download them. I don’t have an excuse why these remain on my ‘to-be-read’ list and haven’t moved to my ‘read’ list. Other things seem to constantly turn up and take priority, and that thought makes me sad. Maybe I should take a good hard look at my priorities.

So, dear readers, what haven’t you read lately? What have you started and put down, and why?

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Posted by on April 8, 2012 in Daily, Discussion


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