Friday, January 02, 2009

No one can accuse me of not being "well-rounded" - a book meme from Ravelry

"What we have here is the top 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, (don't have the patience to do this in Blogger - I've noted them instead.) italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish. "

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22 (in high school)
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary (college)
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair (college)

The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner (I have this, and will certainly read it this year, hi Beth.)
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations (College)

American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (A favorite of mine. Wish I could have edited it.)
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex (I'm interested in this one.)
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 (my husband has read this in French. Pfeh feh.)
A Clockwork Orange (College)
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath (high school I guess)
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel (Ick.)
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
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 (on the shelf)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay ***I LOVE THIS BOOK!****
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury (college)
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present Cryptonomicon
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners (college)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter (high school)
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 (I am sick of Malcolm Gladwell and I haven't even read his books yet! as a New Yorker subscriber, I am just tired of him.)
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 , oddly enough, I LOVE THIS BOOK TOO!!
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield (high school)
The Three Musketeers

What, no Bleak House? Bleak House was the first (and, as near as I can recall, the ONLY) book that I was assigned to read and never finished.

My favorite professor ever, Leroy Panek, assigned this my senior year, and I just couldn't make it. I was directing a play, designing another play, taking a full load of English/American Studies, writing about Henry James, and dating TWO guys!

Plus, I had read so much Dickens (for Leroy - I worked my schedule so that I had a class with him every semester) that it was coming out my eyeballs, and I was developing a hatred not just for the author or the period, but for the nation and possibly even extending to the language. So I bailed on this cutting critique of the Victorian British legal system.

Perhaps he knew, and never forgave me, and thus my many daydreams of a life with Leroy went unfulfilled. Honestly, I loved this man, in the way only a tubby girl who likes to read can love an English teacher who is really, really funny.

( As you read this with a horror and fascination, keep in mind that I was in college 1980-1984, a heady time of extravagant optimism and poor boundries. The climate of social sensitivity - and general good sense - were not enough to prevent the routine coupling of professors and students, some entering into relationships that lasted years. Even lifetimes - many of the profs on our campus were married to former students, and many of those spouses were on the faculty as well.

It would have been considered poor form, I suppose, for some co-ed to be boffing the prof who was grading her work that semester. But aside from issues of fairness in grading for a specific class - the whole age-difference-power-differential thing? Not even on the radar screen. Not

My love for Leroy was pure, though, which is to say, completely unrequited. I loved college boys in person, and adored Leroy, unattainable, with his snide hand gestures, in his comb-over and cowboy boots.

Do you suppose he googles himself?


Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

Nine on that list that I can say for certain. Of which none can I recite any of the basic plot and story, save for maybe Wuthering Heights and Great Expectations.

NOW: Name the greatest book that is NOT on said list that you have read and that you think belongs there. Scrap Eats, Shoots & Leaves as being too "new" to be a "classic". sub whatever else.

Just off the top of my head: The Old Man & The Sea? Perhaps overrated but at least worth attention..........

betsy said...

well, it's not a list of classics. It's a list of books that people own but have never read, from a site called LibraryThing where people - bookish-type people - inventory and rate the books they own.

I don't notice much Hemingway on there - I think people had to read a lot of it for school, and after that, you're either a Hemingway person or you're not. (I'm not, though I do admire some of his writing, I wouldn't read him for fun.)They don't tend to be big scary tomes, either.

Ironweed by William Kennedy. Heartbreaking. Everyone should read it. (You'd probably find it full of progressive politics and economic overtones, and thus a nightmare, but if you just read it as a story about a guy, it's beautiful.)

Anonymous said...

Panek? Ew.

Funny, yes. But Ewwwww.

I took two classes (required) and spent the rest of my four years avoiding him! Couldn't get a good grade from that man if my life depended on it! And Ewwww.


betsy said...

I didn't say he was attractive.
I said I was in love with him.
You know - teacher love. (If I recall correctly, you are immune from teacher love. Perhaps I got your portion, because I have had an extra dose my whole life.)

For example, I used to write poems about Kathy Mangan. Not kidding.

Yeah, so he's no Ethan Sidel. ((Who, as you know, married a girl from my class. Sigh.)

Anonymous said...

oh oh oh you must go out and read "confederacy of dunces" - immediately. a lot of those are by margaret atwood who is my most favoritist author in the whole wide world!

betsy said...

I'm an Atwood fan as well! I loved Cats Eye especially, and The Robber Bride and Handmaidens Tale...but looking on the web, I see there are a ton I haven't read.

I LOVED the subplot in Robber Bride, where one of the characters was a history professor, and taught about how technological advances like button flies and toilet paper changed military history.

Come to think of it, I really like books about college professors.
Of which there is no shortage.