Thursday, July 02, 2009

Books Just Waiting to be Read

Veronica, of Toddled Dredge fame, recently posted a list of books that she has that are waiting to be read. (I guess I'm talking about books as if they are alive, but what the heck.) She encouraged others to post their lists so that "we can all shower each other with comments about which books are not worth the bother, which books saved my life, which books kept me reading till dawn."

This is a perfect project for me because I am notorious for buying books and then not reading them. Whenever anyone comes over to my house and makes noises about being impressed at what they find on my shelves, I feel compelled to disclose that many, many of them have not been read.

I made a quick run through the two main book depositories in my house and came up with the following books that I have but haven't read yet and still WANT to read. (This does not include the books on my summer reading list.) There are a few I left out because I am very ambivalent about them. Life is too short to read books you aren't interested in.

Without further adieu, Mary-LUE's Neglected Books List (in no particular order):

  1. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  3. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  4. The Path to the Spiders' Nest by Italo Calvino
  5. The Cranford Chronicles by Elizabeth Gaskell
  6. A People Betrayed by Alfred Döblin
  7. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  8. The Illustrated Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm
  9. Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell
  10. Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
  11. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
  12. The Gifts of the Christ Child & Other Stories and Fairy Tales by George MacDonald
  13. The Short Day Dying by Peter Hobbs
  14. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  15. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  16. Real Christianity by William Wilberforce
  17. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
  18. The Rock That is Higher by Madeleine L'Engle
  19. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  20. Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation by Neil Howe and William Strauss

So, there it is, my list of books that have been left unread. I am so itching to explain why each book is on the list. But is that really necessary? Do you need to know which ones were book club selections that I didn't have time to read or which ones I bought because I liked the cover, etc. The only one I will explain is the last one. Most of my reading for my Master's project is journal articles. However, I need to at least get through a good chunk of this book. This one is a MUST READ and a MUST READ SOON actually. I'm hoping by posting it, I will get motivated to actually get started.

I wouldn't be me if I didn't decide to add a little bit to this project. If people are going to be coming by to look at my list of neglected books, I think I will take advantage of their presence to list a few of my "wish everyone would read and love" books. It's much shorter than the first one. I promise.

  1. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I think this story is worth reading, even if you are not a science fiction fan.
  2. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. Don't let Barbra Streisand's film version interfere with this very compelling story of the adult lives of three children from an abused family.
  3. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. This book won a Pulitzer Prize for a reason. It transcends the Western genre because of it's wit and in-depth characterization of the men of the Hat Creek Cattle Company.
  4. Microserfs by Douglas Coupland. Simply one of my favorite books ever and, I think, one of Coupland's best.
  5. All Families are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland. This book is very different than Microserfs but still retains Coupland's ever present theme of dysfunctional families and community.
  6. A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley. This is a book I bought because I liked the cover. I was working at a job where there was very little for me to do and so I read and read and read. It is the story how one man, Tucker Caliban, began the mass exodus all black people from a Faulkneresque Southern state. This is a book that has never failed me as a book recommendation. Every person who has read it based on my suggestion has loved it.
  7. Kindred by Octavia Butler. There are many different reasons to read this book but the BEST reason to read it is the fascinating story of an African American woman who is inexplicably drawn through time to the pre-Civil War South.

And finally, because I am just feeling a little bit cantankerous, here is one book I came across on my shelves that I could have gone my whole life without reading:

So let me know what you think of these books. Have you read any of them? What are your favorites? If you WANT to know why I have these particular books on my list or if you just can't stand some of my recommended books, let me know. Reading is such a subjective endeavor. I know that something I think is the best thing since chocolate truffles might be someone else's cold oatmeal. And if you are interested in participating, head over to Veronica's place and leave your link in the comments to her post.


Mel said...

I so adore Pat Conroy's writing style.

And is this where I confess that I've gotten through only 2 of the books on the nightstand? Two.

Oh, and not 'since summer happened'....since the start of the new year.

I know, I know..dont' bother pointing out which way the corner is...LOL

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's a lot of books.

I'm not telling you what I'm reading -- it's too shameful. Well, actually it's very good and very moving and I'm LOVING it -- but it's v. frothy.

And I agree with Mel: Pat Conroy's writing style is delicious.

Veronica Mitchell said...

The only one of those I have read is Gifts of the Child Christ and I loved it. Have read it multiple times in my life. His short stories are much better than his novels.

Knittinchick said...

Donald Miller is great... there is even a rarely found book about his road trip that I found quirkily delightful!

Anonymous said...

I have read "Gifts of the Christ Child" and love it, and like VM, think his short stories and fairy tales are best.

I also really liked "Woman in White." In fact, I am surprised and disappointed to find that apparently I no longer have it. (I just unpacked my books out of storage from Maur. I know I HAD it there ;(

Read "Pillars of the Earth" in college (recommended by Art Hist prof) and it was okay, as I recall; interesting about cathedrals and how they were built.

Didn't like "Blue Like Jazz" but a lot of people do. The only part I liked was his descriptions of Ptld, my home town. We even have mutual friends/acquaintances. Although Escape from New York pizza is a hole-in-the-wall place on NW 23rd that makes awesome pizza but in no way could be described as a "sports bar," which he does.

I really liked "I Capture the Castle."

I have not read ANY of your recommendations! Dang! I will have to save this post.

Terri B. said...

Ack! I need a clone to get through my unread books! I finally got my vlog post up where I chat about some of my TBR books. It only took me two days to get it all figured out.

John Ross said...

Enders Game, read a long time ago, remember likeing it. Micro Serfs - very entertaining. all on the pile that I've read. My isssue is not reading all the books I have, it's getting enough books to read that I want to read....I've been going through a phase - re-reading all of the William Gibson books, after having gone through all the Tony HIllermans. I know, it's not great ming expanding stuff, but still, i manage to glean some human truths in there somewhere I think.

good l uck on your summer Musts.

Beck said...

I've also read:
WAlden - Meh.
The HIstorian - wildly overrated.
The WOman IN White - very good. Why am I capitalizing every 2nd letter? I dunno.
I have read none of your recommended books! ALL RIGHT! A library list!

Laughing Stars said...

The only book on your list I've read is The Prince of Tides, which I really liked. I love your "neglected books" list. The Historian is on my list, too:

Sheila said...

I loved I Capture the Castle - it was surprisingly delightful. If you like Prince of Tides, you should try his Beach Music. One of the best books I've ever read!

Mary-LUE said...

Sheila, I did read Beach Music. I enjoyed it but I do have to say that I preferred The Prince of Tides. Maybe it was because it was my "first" Conroy!

Shari said...

Oh Mary-Lue, I'll never forget reading Prince of Tides and how it moved me beyond words. I'm making a library list from this post, so thank you for all the great book ideas! :)

Btw, I'm blogging again. :)

I've been praying for you guys all week as you're dealing with your mom's passing. I can't even imagine how you must be feeling. My parents are 70-something, and I keep thinking about how I'm going to feel when they're gone. It's SO hard.

Much love to all of you as you go through this.