I haven’t read all those?

I was idly checking a few of the Top 100 type lists on this site and began to note the titles I should consider reading (and many I am embarrassed to admit I haven’t read yet). I started a pen and paper list on a 3×5 card but soon ran out of room so I returned to the computer to create a more extensive list. I transcribed all the titles from the major lists that I hadn’t read to date. But then I looked at some of the entries and made an executive decision about some of the texts I knew I would never read (Ayn Rand for instance) and pared a small number of titles from the list.

So these are the books experts tell us we should read yet I have not read them. I don’t know if the list is valuable to others but I am including it in this post since I have apparently overtaxed the WordPress menu system. Maybe I’ll add a link to this page on the WebLog to make it easier to reference and possibly keep up to date.

The Top Recommended Books I Have Yet To Read (103)

Dream of the Red Chamber
The Princess of Cleves
Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis
Money – Martin Amis
Alcools – Guillaume Apollinaire
Aurelien – Louis Aragon
The Origins of Totalitarianism – Hannah Arendt
The Theatre and its Double – Antonin Artaud
The Bottle Factory Outing – Beryl Bainbridge
Writing Degree Zero — Roland Barthes
The Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir
The Adventures of Augie March – Saul Bellow
Herzog – Saul Bellow
Petersburg — Andrei Bely
The Old Wives’ Tale – Arnold Bennett
Under the Sun of Satan – Georges Bernanos
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – Judy Blume
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui – Bertolt Brecht
The Sleepwalkers — Hermann Broch
The Thirty-Nine Steps — John Buchan
The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
Second Thoughts – Michel Butor
The Tartar Steppe – Dino Buzzati
Oscar And Lucinda – Peter Carey
Furor and Mystery – René Char
No Orchids For Miss Blandish – James Hadley Chase
Falconer – John Cheever
The Riddle of the Sands – Erskine Childers
Cold Nights — Pa Chin
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
The Satin Slipper – Paul Claudel
Les Vrilles de la vigne (French) – Colette
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard – Joseph Conrad
The BFG – Roald Dahl
Ubik – Philip K. Dick
Play It As It Lays – Joan Didion
Sybil – Benjamin Disraeli
The USA Trilogy – John Dos Passos
The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
Daniel Deronda — George Eliot
L. A. Confidential – James Ellroy
Capital of Pain – Paul Éluard
Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner
The Sportswriter – Richard Ford
The Order of Things – Michel Foucault
The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles
The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
Gaston – André Franquin
Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality – Sigmund Freud
The Death of Artemio Cruz — Carlos Fuentes
The Recognitions – William Gaddis
Neuromancer – William Gibson
Oblomov — Ivan Goncharov
The Opposing Shore – Julien Gracq
Lanark – Alasdair Gray
The Heart of the Matter – Graham Greene
The Good Soldier Švejk — Jaroslav Hašek
In Our Time – Ernest Hemingway
Les Misérables — Victor Hugo
The Bald Soprano – Eugène Ionesco
The Berlin Stories – Christopher Isherwood
Blake and Mortimer – Edgar P. Jacobs
The Ambassadors – Henry James
The Bostonians – Henry James
The Golden Bowl – Henry James
Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
The Wings of the Dove – Henry James
Snow Country — Yasunari Kawabata
Schindler’s List – Thomas Keneally
A Separate Peace — John Knowles
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting – Milan Kundera
The Joke – Milan Kundera
Écrits – Jacques Lacan
The Wonderful Adventures of Nils – Selma Lagerlö
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold – John le Carre
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy — John Le Carre
Women in Love – D.H. Lawrence
The Interrogation – J. M. G. Le Clézio
A Hero of Our Time — Mikhail Lermontov
The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
If This Is a Man – Primo Levi
The Periodic Table – Primo Levi
Tristes Tropiques – Claude Lévi-Strauss
Martin Eden – Jack London
Gypsy Ballads – Federico García Lorca
Dom Casmurro — Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
The Executioner’s Song – Norman Mailer
The Betrothed — Alessandro Manzoni
Of Human Bondage – W. Somerset Maugham
Thérèse Desqueyroux – François Mauriac
The Rosy Crucifixion – Henry Miller
Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Pursuit Of Love – Nancy Mitford
Watchmen – Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Contempt – Alberto Moravia
Cities of Salt — Abdelrahman Munif
The Man Without Qualities – Robert Musil
Doctor Zhivago — Boris Pasternak
Nightmare Abbey – Thomas Love Peacock
Amers – Saint-John Perse
Ballad of the Salt Sea – Hugo Pratt
Paroles – Jacques Prévert
Northern Lights [The Golden Compass] – Philip Pullman
Journal, 1887–1910 – Jules Renard
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge – Rainer Maria Rilke
Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson
Call It Sleep – Henry Roth
Haroun and the Sea of Stories – Salman Rushdie
Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie
Being and Nothingness – Jean-Paul Sartre
Tropisms – Nathalie Sarraute
Waverley — Walter Scott
The Strange Case of Peter the Lett – Georges Simenon
The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
The Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
White Teeth – Zadie Smith
The Man Who Loved Children – Christina Stead
Angle of Repose – Wallace Stegner
The Charterhouse of Parma – Stendhal
The Confessions of Nat Turner – William Styron
Some Prefer Nettles — Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
The Magnificent Ambersons – Booth Tarkington
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont – Elizabeth Taylor
Friday – Michel Tournier
The Last Chronicle of Barset – Anthony Trollope
The Way We Live Now – Anthony Trollope
Asterix the Gaul – René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
Le Silence de la mer – Vercors
Froth on the Daydream – Boris Vian
Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
Native Son – Richard Wright
Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
Germinal— Emile Zola
Confusion of Feelings – Stefan Zweig

12 responses

  1. Books,books everywhere but to read them all! I have also a list of books I haven’t completely read from cover to finish. James Joyce I must have read some thirty times but restricted to passages that have certain quality of momentariness. In a manner of speaking I am in nodding acquaintance with all great minds but have not chosen to hang on their every word. Some books like Fathers and Sons and the Imposter ( Cocteau) have taken me by surprise as though these have been growing into me as I stayed on and on. Over the years my favorite authors have let me rusticate as though they said,’ You have drunk us greedily when you were finding your feet but now drink only when you want to stay sober.’

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    • First it was Ten Little Niggers (not referring in the least to Negroes). Ten Little Indians must have come next (in book titles) which doesn’t make a bit of sense. I think the preferred book title now is And Then There Were None. There’s been more than one movie with the title Ten Little Indians, but oddly, I think the first movie was And Then There Were None. That’s the one I see surfacing now and again, but I don’t recall ever watching it.

      Not familiar with Johnny Mack Brown.

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  2. The different title bit got me on Hermann Hesse’s Beneath the Wheel. When I found The Prodigy a few years back, I was so excited to find another early work by Hesse. As I read on it seemed more and more familiar, but since it had been at least a couple of decades since I’d read Beneath the Wheel, I thought for the longest that the stories were just similar.

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    • A couple of years back I read a complete mystery by Japrisot and after finishing it I was highly critical that the author used almost the identical plot mechanisms leading to a similar solution that he had presented in an earlier mystery I had read.

      Then I checked online resources and as you probably guessed, it was the same novel with two different titles. As we know, this is very common when the title requires translation. I seldom see the sense in renaming British titles though.

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      • Oh, yes, the renaming of British titles! Then there’s the totally senseless merry-go-round of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Niggers. They can’t even keep the title to which it was changed.

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      • Ah, a bubble from my deepest memory: Not long after I realized that when Fuzzy St. John announced in a Johnny Mack Brown movie that he didn’t drink and I realized Fuzzy was only referring to adult beverages, I was side-whacked by movies made from Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Niggers … was it Ten Little Indians or was it And Then There Was None? Was this the precursor of slasher movies that set the cliché rolling down the hill?

        Life is full of curious lessons.

        (By the way, it was Johnny Mack Brown whom I first recognized as having two different names: his real name and the character’s name in the movie. That really cleared up a lot of confusion)

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  3. Surprised to see you’ve missed some of these, Mike, especially Germinal and Monte Cristo.

    The Count is coming up at 19thCenturyLit beginning next month and The Jungle in the spring. Also probably The Betrothed, but no date set.

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    • Several books on this list remain “unread” but actually in a state of “partially read.” In the case of The Count of Monte Cristo I was interrupted about 2/3 of the way through and just never got back to finish (like War and Peace I’ll probably have to start over, at least at the point where Edmond escapes and shows up rich and ready for revenge).

      I think it’s too long to read in French, but that is an idea to soften the chore of rereading.

      I had Germinal on my done-read list for years but then couldn’t verify it and the text seemed unfamiliar. However, I have read entire books before realizing I had read them earlier (this is especially common when the European and American publishers use different titles).

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