Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Current 106 Most Pretendy Books

Via Lori at Holy Buck, Fatman!, I give you the 106 Most Pretentious Books of all time. That should really read "The 106 Books People Most Frequently Pretend They're Going To Read... Or Mean To Read Because They're Supposed To... Or Just Keep in Mind For Next Time They're Really Bored - As of Now", because it's actually a list of the 106 books most frequently tagged as "unread" on LibraryThing.

Books I've finished are italicized. Books I started and then put down because life is too motherfucking short are struck-out. Books I myself mean to read are bolded.

* Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

* Anna Karenina

* Crime and Punishment

* Catch-22

* One Hundred Years of Solitude

* Wuthering Heights

* The Silmarillion

* Life of Pi

* The Name of the Rose

* Don Quixote
. Maybe. Cannot remember. I saw Man of La Mancha in dinner theater, though, and I'm pretty sure that counts. "To dream... the imposs... ible dreammm!"

* Moby-Dick

* Ulysses. I haven't read it, although Cousin A Prime thinks I would like it. One of these days I'll tune in for Bloomsday, when leading lights read it on the radio. I think it's on WBAI.

* Madame Bovary. It's something about gloves, right? Or was that Mary Todd Lincoln?

* The Odyssey
. In GREEK, motherfuckers!

* Pride and Prejudice

* Jane Eyre

* A Tale of Two Cities

* The Brothers Karamazov. No, I haven't read it, although I've seen The Flying Karamazov Brothers juggle a bowling ball, a chainsaw, and a squid, all the while making jokes about socialism, so, again, I think we should count that.

* Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
. Despite the fact that the subject is right up my alley, and despite the fact that the author, Jared Diamond, did much of his research in MY library, I have never gotten past Chapter Three of this book.

* War and Peace

* Vanity Fair. I swear half this list is titles people remember from playing Authors.

* The Time Traveler's Wife. No, I ain't read it. But somebody gave me a copy... if anyone wants one.

* The Iliad
. ALSO in Greek, bitches.

* Emma

* The Blind Assassin. Love Margaret Atwood, except that one about the woman who had an abortion and consequently thought she was a bear. So maybe I'll read this.

* The Kite Runner

* Mrs. Dalloway

* Great Expectations

* American Gods: A Novel

* A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

* Atlas Shrugged
. Lori agrees with me that this book is a piece of shit, but I am semi-engaged in a war of words with a commenter over my characterization of The Fountainhead as "pretty close to evil," so I will decline to disparage this one. Er, any more than I just have. Fuck it. Your Neighborhood Librarian shrugged.

* Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

* Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel

* Middlesex: A Novel

* Quicksilver
and The Confusion. Love the crap out of Neal Stephenson, from Zodiac through Snow Crash, but the Baroque Cycle just wasn't snappy enough for me.

* Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West. Good politics, but the same cannot be said for his most recent book, What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy, reviewed over on Pink Me. Awful.

* The Canterbury Tales

* The Historian

* A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

* Love in the Time of Cholera

* Brave New world

* The Fountainhead. Gave me the creeps but Christina Ricci totally recommends it.

* Foucault's Pendulum. Just couldn't make it through.

* Middlemarch

* Frankenstein

* The Count of Monte Cristo

* Dracula

* A Clockwork Orange. And everything else Anthony Burgess wrote.

* Anansi Boys. This list sure is loaded up with Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson, isn't it? You can tell that it's culled from the libraries of online social networkers.

* The Once and Future King

* The Grapes of Wrath

* The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel

* Nineteen Eighty-Four

* Angels & Demons. GOD. I forced myself to listen to The DaVinci Code just so I could help patrons who wanted something just like it. I decided that I'd rather force the citizenry to read Marina Warner than force myself to read anything else by Dan Brown.

* The Inferno
. I'm assuming this refers to the Divine Comedy, and in that case, I'd say I've probably read it. I must have, right?

* The Satanic Verses: A Novel

* Sense and Sensibility

* The Picture of Dorian Gray

* Mansfield Park

* One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

* To the Lighthouse. I was going to say the only Virginia Woolf I've ever read was Orlando, and that about 10 times, but I think we had to read To The Lighthouse in my one and only college English class. I AP'ed out of English, and it wasn't until I needed a stray 6 credits to graduate that I opted for a class called "From Beowulf to Virginia Woolf". It was summer. It was reading.

* Tess of the D'Urbervilles

* Oliver Twist. And I was in the musical at the St. Mark's CYO. "Never before has a boy wanted more."

* Gulliver's Travels

* Les Miserables

* The Corrections. Got a copy of this one laying around too.

* The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Here you go. THIS book I actually intend to read.

* The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

* Dune

* The Prince

* The Sound and the Fury. Never have read any Faulkner. Kind of strange, because I like a) Southern fiction, b) alcohol, and c) strong titles.

* Angela's Ashes

* The God of Small Things

* People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present. The graphic novel version (A People's History of American Empire) is sitting on my bed right this minute.

* Cryptonomicon. SO good.

* Neverwhere: A Novel

* A Confederacy of Dunces. HATED this book.

* A Short History of Nearly Everything

* Dubliners

* The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel

* Beloved. I am going to get this on audio one of these days.

* Slaughterhouse-Five

* The Scarlet Letter

* Eats, Shoots & Leaves

* The Mists of Avalon

* Oryx and Crake : a novel. On audio, read by Campbell Scott. Oooooh.

* Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. See above RE: Guns, Germs & Steel.

* Cloud Atlas: A Novel

* Lolita

* Persuasion

* Northanger Abbey

* The Catcher in the Rye

* On the Road. I always smile when a young person comes in looking for this book. I love the thought of reading it for the first time.

* 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. But god, it was laying on my college boyfriend's desk the entire time we lived together.

* The Aeneid. In English. Uh, pals. My Latin always sucked.

* Watership Down: A Novel

* Gravity's Rainbow. No, but Bob read it, and that should count. I read The Crying of Lot 49, and I loved it, but I never could get through anything else Pynchon wrote. Hm. Although it looks like there may be a graphic novel version of Gravity's Rainbow, with Frank Miller on board. I could read that.

* The Hobbit. My dad had a nice slipcased edition of this book, with the runes all around the title and the maps on the endpapers. I figured out how to read the runes, and for a while I wrote in my diary in those runes. Prefigured the punishing Greek translations I had to do for my undergrad Classics major by, oh, ten, twelve years.

* In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences

* White Teeth: A Novel

* Treasure Island. Listening to it on audio right now! Alfred Molina reads it, and his amazingly various pirate voices make me think that Gore Verbinsky could have saved a lotta money, just hired Molina to play Barbossa AND Davy Jones AND Bootstrap Bill AND possibly even Chow-Yun Fat. Gonna review it soon on Pink Me.

* David Copperfield

* The Three Musketeers

Unlike Lori, I did NOT take a Jane Austen class, ever ever ever. And I have never seen what people see in her. I can't even remember which ones I've started. I tried one a few years ago again. There was a carriage ride, and a ha-ha, and it was really important who rode in which carriage, and I just could not deal. In fact, I briefly considered naming this blog The Librarian Who Doesn't Like Jane Austen - I figured I would be the only one who fit that description.

Just not a classic literature type, really. All the classics on this list that I've read I read as a really young girl - like 8 or 9. After I finished all the Judy Blumes and Nancy Drews, I started in on my parents' bookshelves. Many other books that I read at the time for some reason DON'T make this list: Fear of Flying, for example. Tropic of Capricorn. The Complete Saki.

It's no wonder, is it.