These are the top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. Bold what you have read, italicize those you started but couldn’t finish, and strike through what you couldn’t stand. Add an asterisk to those you’ve read more than once. Underline those on your to-read list.

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 (abridged version)
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
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 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
The Once and Future King*
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible: a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
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 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
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake: a novel
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 Hobbit*
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

13 thoughts on “dorkshelf

  1. How is it that you managed to skip On the Road? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s the most fantasticalexpealidocious book ever written, I’m just curious.
    Guns, Germs, and Steal sounds like something that would pull me deeper into the agoraphobia.


    1. I just haven’t read OTR yet. I will.
      GG & S isn’t a book about scary things, more a book about how different cultures turned out and why. Fascinating stuff.


  2. Right there with you with Ayn Rand, only I read Fountainhead and not Atlas Shrugged. You might like the abridged version.
    I read the Satanic Verses years ago, and liked it, but not as much as Midnight’s Children. Apparently Rushdie’s writing irritates a lot of people, though, and not just in the blasphemic sense.


  3. What’s the matter with Freakonomics? I eye it in bookstores each time, and pass, but always mean to get to it some day. Is it really god-awful?


  4. Man, i recently got through dune and it’s an obsession now, trying to figure out why so many people i like and respect enjoyed this piece of shit. I hated all 300-odd pieces of homophobic, fat-phobic, misogynist, faux-mythological toilet paper that comprised that book. Every humorless sentence was like a tiny dagger jutting through my pupil and into my brain. I only vaguely enjoyed the epilogue. Granted, I didn’t read it as a 14-year old boy, but people with good taste seem to reread this thing, even after they become thinking adults. Only one person so far seems to agree with me: anne tagonist breaks it down, and by “it,” I mean thermodynamics and sandworm poop.
    So, ‘splain to me Lucy. If’n you have a moment.


      1. OH THANK GOD. I will say that Sting in the movie (which i still haven’t seen despite plaintive howling by all my friends at once, shame on me!) has inspired an auspicious pop culture twist. My circle have begun to substitute the standard fortune cookie “…in bed” with “…in space underpants.” To wit: “Behind every successful man there are many more successful men in space underpants.”


    1. La Comédie Post-Humaine
      I read the Dune books ages ago, and feel no
      special attachment to them now.
      How to explain them: think of them as if
      Philip K. Dick and Nietzsche got together and
      rewrote Lord of the Rings.
      As to why people take the books seriously, I think
      it’s because
      the books sure seem to take themselves very seriously.
      Sometimes that’s all it takes. The sententiousness, oh
      the sententiousness.
      Also, I think it’s safe to say that Frank Herbert
      was trying to be very insistent about many different
      grand ideas and themes, but this came out so muddled
      that the result is a swirling opaqueness
      which, accidentally, is something into which people
      project more texture and complexity
      than are actually there.


  5. James Joyce…shudder…
    “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Pain in My Ass” is more like it. God, I loathed that book and I still haven’t forgiven Ulander for making us read it. We spent an entire class session just talking about the title! (What makes it a portrait? Why is it the artist and not an artist? I don’t freakin’ care!!!) Reading that book was the literary equivalent of slowly pulling out my fingernails.


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