Friday, June 06, 2008

Yet another book meme list

It seems that this month memes of readings lists are the rages. Since I happen to like reading, I tend to fall for them like a sucker. Here is another one I found, which caught my eye because it actually asks about books I may have started but not finished. Is that something a librarian should admit? Maybe some other librarian. Personally, I subscribe to the Reader's Bill of Rights. One of the rights clearly states: "The right to not finish." The way I see it, life is way too short to waste it plodding through a bad book or just a book that you does not engage you. Drop it and move on. Why keep adding to the misery? There are many good books out there, go get one of those instead. Anyhow, here is the meme as seen in Ruminations (any snarky comments are all mine):

The106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish and underline the ones read for school.

The list itself:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude (did I mention this is the greatest novel of all time, well, in my view at least)
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary (I read this an undergraduate. Not impressed.)
The Odyssey
A Tale of Two Cities
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations (Read it when I taught it to high school freshmen. This is so not a book for that age group. Pretty much ruined Dickens for me).
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged (damn this was bad.)
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books (this was bad too. That author is probably among the most condescending people I have met in writing. Boring as hell book too; I have no idea why others think it's such a big deal.)
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys (just bought it. May take me a while to get to it.)
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
A Canterbury Tale
Tess of the D’urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
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
Beloved (read it for African American lit. class in graduate school. You do what you have to, what can I say?)
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 (one of the biggest wastes of time I ever inflicted on myself. I hear the author pretty much became a recluse after. I hope he stays that way. Holden Caufield has to be classified as one of the greatest losers of all time. Why this is inflicted on high school teens everywhere is beyond me. This was definitely one I should have dropped.)
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield

So, how did I do? 26 read plus 3 read for school. Meh. It is not exactly the greatest list of all time, and once again, it is mostly "classics," which is leading me to think that a lot of these memes are just people with guilty consciences for not having read X or Y. Look folks, the world will not end if you have not read X or Y. Bad comes to worse, remember Wikipedia is your friend. Look some of them up so you can have a sense what the big deal may be and then go read what you like. Kind of tough advice from an English major, but then again, my interests in that field were always to the unconventional and more interesting like science fiction. If anything, after grad school, I lost a lot of the "fear" (or maybe "respect" is a better word). If a writer is good, I will read him or her. Otherwise, there are plenty of other books out there.

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