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Books People Don’t Read

Tak­en from

These are the 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-round­ed. Bold the ones you’ve read, under­line the ones you read for school, ital­i­cize the ones you start­ed but did­n’t fin­ish.

Here’s the twist: add (*) beside the ones you liked and would (or did) read again or rec­om­mend. Even if you read them for school in the first place.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Nor­rell
Anna Karen­i­na
Crime and Pun­ish­ment
One Hun­dred Years of Soli­tude
Wuther­ing Heights
The Sil­mar­il­lion
Life of Pi : a nov­el
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey*
Pride and Prej­u­dice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Broth­ers Kara­ma­zov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Soci­eties*
War and Peace
Van­i­ty Fair
The Time Trav­el­er’s Wife
The Ili­ad
The Blind Assas­sin
The Kite Run­ner
Mrs. Dal­loway
Great Expec­ta­tions
Amer­i­can Gods
A Heart­break­ing Work of Stag­ger­ing Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Read­ing Loli­ta in Tehran: A Mem­oir in Books
Mem­oirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Can­ter­bury Tales
The His­to­ri­anl
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
The Once and Future King*
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poi­son­wood Bible: A Nov­el
Angels & Demons
The Divine Com­e­dy (The Infer­no, The Pur­ga­to­rio, and The Par­adiso)
The Satan­ic Vers­es
Sense and Sen­si­bil­i­ty
The Pic­ture of Dori­an Gray
Mans­field Park
One Flew Over the Cuck­oo’s Nest
To the Light­house
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliv­er Twist
Gul­liv­er’s Trav­els*
Les Misérables
The Cor­rec­tions
The Amaz­ing Adven­tures of Kava­lier & Clay
The Curi­ous Inci­dent of the Dog in the Night-Time
Dune* (and the rest of the series, except the most recent one by his son, I think)
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
The Scar­let Let­ter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tol­er­ance Approach to Punc­tu­a­tion*
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
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 Hob­bitt*
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Trea­sure Island
David Cop­per­field
The Three Mus­ke­teers*

For what it’s worth, I haven’t even heard of a few of these. Oth­ers, I’ve pur­pose­ly avoid­ed (like Moby Dick–I was very hap­py that the advanced Eng­lish class­es in my high school did­n’t have to do that one!). The ones I liked, we prob­a­bly own. We have A People’s His­to­ry of the Unit­ed States and used it a bit for home­school­ing, but I haven’t read it front to back. I keep mean­ing to.

3 comments to Books People Don’t Read

  • It’s kind of spooky — how much my list cor­re­sponds to yours. One you missed, how­ev­er, that is real­ly worth read­ing is “The Curi­ous Inci­dent of the Dog In The Night­time”. I have a son with Asberg­ers Syn­drome, an afflic­tion con­sid­ered by some to be on the Autis­tic Spec­trum. This book did more to help me under­stand my son than any­thing any doc­tor has ever told me.

  • cyn

    Thanks for the tip. Maaybe I should have marked the books that I want to read, too. There are sev­er­al.

    Have you read Eliz­a­beth Moon’s Speed of Dark? It’s writ­ten from the point of view of a high-func­tion­ing autis­tic per­son. I did­n’t get very far in it, honestly–I was so much in the man’s head that I felt uncom­fort­able. It’s one that I intend to go back to, though–Moon is a won­der­ful writer.

  • No, I haven’t. But I will.