Friday, October 05, 2007

One page at a time

I see P. Z. has another book meme thing (following Wilkins). Now the point of this one is not to show how well-read you are, or to list classics (indeed, some of these books are far from great), but to see which books one might have left unread (a commenter at one of those two places thinks the list is of those books most likely to be labeled "to be read" at LibraryThing). Bold means I finished it; italics means I read part of it.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
This one's long, but if you get past the slow beginning you won't be able to stop.
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
I loved this – no trouble here.
Catch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
I blazed through this one in a couple of days.
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Same here – what a great book. In fact I think it was the very next thing I read after One Hundred Years of Solitude (so, a good week).
Don Quixote
Okay, you got me. I did read part I though, which is plenty long.
Moby Dick
Ulysses
I read all the way to the end – the last three chapters are brilliant – but I skipped some in the middle.
Madame Bovary
High school extra credit. Not worth it to me at the time.
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Not as gripping as Crime and Punishment, but worth reading. I'm sure a lot of it went right over my head though (read it 20+ years ago).
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Someday.
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Iliad
Emma
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Never.
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex
Quicksilver
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Skip Ulysses if you must and read this one instead.
Love in the Time of Cholera
I guess I'm just afraid it won't be as good as One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Brave New World
High school.
The Fountainhead
Foucault's Pendulum
Middlemarch
Finished Book I, before it picks up (if it ever does, that is).
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
1984
Angels & Demons
Isn't this Dan Brown?
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Never read any Rushdie. I hear Midnight's Children is good.
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
A while ago. Too clever by, well, more than half.
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Not this one, but The Mayor of Casterbridge is a kick in the head (that's good).
Oliver Twist
I barely cracked this. I did a book report on it though.
Gulliver's Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Why would anyone stop reading this one? It's short and very readable.
Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
I did bog down in As I Lay Dying, which I picked precisely because it was short. On the other hand, I finished Absalom, Absalom, which is not only long, but also, as I read it, purposely oppressive in its difficult prose. Must be a masochist (I don't hate it I don't).
Angela's Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People's History of the United States : 1492-present
Howard Zinn, right? No thanks.
Cryptonomicon
I like this guy, really I do, but I don't know about those doorstops.
Neverwhere
A Confederacy of Dunces
This I found overrated.
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners
This is a book of short stories, for crying out loud. Just read it.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
This is good, but The Joke is the key Kundera. I think I've had enough though.
Beloved
I did bog down in Song of Solomon. Just didn't grab me.
Slaughterhouse-five
The Scarlet Letter
High school. I did finish it, out of pure spite (though not without bitter complaint). I do hope they don't assign it any more.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
About 400 pages too long, but I did get through it.
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Lolita
Now, Ada is the one to ask about. A long time ago I puzzled through about 20 pages of that one. My guess here also is that once you get over the hump you're set.
Persuasion
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
Why yes. (See my post here.)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
I actually liked this. He messes it up ultimately, but for a non-philosopher (okay, he was a grad student in philosophy) he does pretty well. That is, while making mistakes of his own, he at least avoids other mistakes made by certain name-brand philosophers who will remain undesignated by me here today.
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity's Rainbow
Good one to ask about. Never started it. I did read V though, which isn't that much shorter (nothing since except Crying).
The Hobbit
Get real.
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers
Not sure what I was expecting here. I got about half way though.

Now of course there are plenty of others one might ask about. Proust, for example. Like many others, I too have begun Recherche without reaching the end. On the other hand, though, I have read Swann's Way, However you want to translate the second one, and The Guermantes Way, petering out some 200 pages into Sodom and Gomorrah. Great stuff, but it really does take determination.

One more thing. I eventually did read Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, which I liked, I think. The reason I mention this is that when I picked up his When We Were Orphans at one of those library book sales I said that I had been putting him off, and that I would try Never Let Me Go first. So maybe I'll start The Unconsoled – and not finish it.

5 comments:

Daniel said...

How can you not finish "The Picture of Dorian Grey"? It's only, like, 80 pages long! Towards the end there are even a few sentences which aren't just concatenations of bon mots!!

I stopped reading "The Collected Works of Oscar Wilde" in... whatever play was after "Lady Windermere's Fan". I barely made it through "Lady Windermere's Fan"; whatever was after it was worse. "The Importance of Being Earnest" was far and away better than any of Wilde's other plays, from what I read.

I am somewhere in the early parts of Lolita; I misplaced my copy for a while. I'll probably start from the beginning next time.

That's all of the fiction I can recall not finishing. I am pretty sure if I tried to read the Silmarillion now, I wouldn't make it. Not that it's worth reading past the creation myth, anyway; once you start getting more characters than the Valar, you start getting genealogies. And then you stop getting anything but genealogies.

Ossifer said...

PZ forgot some--like the Constitution.

And you forgot like the relevant Penal Code for your region too! Some interesting material on conspiracy, ID theft, etc. etc.--even.......Candy-related Crimes You might find it interesting. So might say some little sack of meaningless shit like.......Scott Squatmann and some of V-boys.

Duck said...

I own The Silmarillion – I actually bought it relatively recently for some reason – but I can't imagine reading it. I just started the first Patrick O'Brian book, Master and Commander (as recommended by the CT folks). It's good, but all that nautical terminology keeps sending me to the dictionary. Let's see if I get through it.

Pest said...

75% of the tomes on the list should be burnt. Including Tolkeen. Perhaps even Dostoyevsky's novels, you stoopid little phuck.

At least C & P has a theme, unlike most of your futile scribbling. Or Raskalnikov's another of your heros, perhaps.

Excalibur said...

""""""a non-philosopher (okay, he was a grad student in philosophy)."""""

More utter shit. You're not a philosopher.

There is no philosophy. Merely logic, mathematics, language, data (ie physical sciences), and then speculations on the data. Indeed one might even argue (as Goodman and Quine at least suggested early on) there is no such thing as "logic," except by consensus.