?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Sauntering Vaguely Downward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

Serious Business | Flickr
Bounty Information | Wanted Dead or Alive: Mad Scientess Nanila
Deeds of Derring-Do | Full of Wild Inaccuracies and Exaggerations

LibraryThing's 106 top unread books, via wiggyfish [20080430|12:32]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, ]

Bold the ones you've read, underline the ones you read for school, I'll underline the ones I can't remember much about instead, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish, asterisk beside the ones you own but haven't read. (I no longer own books I haven't read, unless I'm reading them now. I don't have space.)

I've also added little anecdotes beside a number of them, because I'm stuck at home with a bad head cold. Too ill to concentrate on work, but not so ill that I can sleep all day.



  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: I bought this as a present for imyril and read the first 50 or so pages standing in a rammed Waterstones. I have yet to read the rest.
  2. Anna Karenina
  3. Crime and Punishment
  4. Catch-22
  5. One Hundred Years of Solitude: I even tried to read it in Spanish. I failed.
  6. Wuthering Heights
  7. The Silmarillion: This book taught me that I wasn't a hardcore Tolkien fangeek.
  8. Life of Pi : a novel
  9. The Name of the Rose
  10. Don Quixote
  11. Moby Dick
  12. Ulysses: I tried reading this while drunk. It made sense. But I'm not willing to stay drunk long enough to finish it. Besides, somehow I always seem to find more interesting things to do than read Ulysses while I'm drunk.
  13. Madame Bovary: I love to hate this woman. And yes, it's "hate", not "despise".
  14. The Odyssey: I always thought that what Penelope did when he was away would make an equally interesting story. Fortunately, so did Margaret Atwood.
  15. Pride and Prejudice: I never managed to finish the book until I'd seen the BBC TV production of it, and now I love it.
  16. Jane Eyre: And as Example #2 of My Plebeian Tastes, I was more fond of this book than of "Wuthering Heights".
  17. The Tale of Two Cities
  18. The Brothers Karamazov
  19. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
  20. War and Peace: I should give this one another go. I tried it when I was 11, just to prove I had the vocabulary to read it, but I didn't understand much of the story.
  21. Vanity Fair: Another one I didn't appreciate until after listening to the BBC radio production of it. Thank you, chickenfeet2003.
  22. The Time Traveler’s Wife: I love it when romance novels get classified as Serious Literature.
  23. The Iliad: I remember the Wooden Horse of Troy malarkey. But that probably has more to do with Monty Python and Red Dwarf than it does with the poem. (See: My Plebeian Tastes)
  24. Emma
  25. The Blind Assassin: This is one of the few Atwoods I haven't read.
  26. The Kite Runner
  27. Mrs. Dalloway
  28. Great Expectations
  29. American Gods: I wanted to like this more than I did. Not one of my preferred Gaiman works. I'll make time to re-read the Sandman comics, but not this.
  30. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius: I cannot be the only person for whom the title is severely off-putting.
  31. Atlas Shrugged: OH NOES AYN RAND
  32. Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books
  33. Memoirs of a Geisha: See comment on "The Time Traveler's Wife".
  34. Middlesex: Incest and hermaphrodites. A modern work in fine classical tradition.
  35. Quicksilver: I went off Neal Stephenson after "Cryptonomicon".
  36. Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
  37. The Canterbury Tales: I've always wanted to see a good theatre production. I think it might motivate me to read them all the way through.
  38. The Historian: a novel
  39. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  40. Love in the Time of Cholera: Cemented Marquez as one of my favorite authors.
  41. Brave New World: See my LJ user profile, spot the reference.
  42. The Fountainhead: I think it was the rape scene that did my head in.
  43. Foucault’s Pendulum
  44. Middlemarch
  45. Frankenstein
  46. The Count of Monte Cristo: I re-read this whenever I experience heartbreak. It's my (tied for) favourite story of exacting, meticulous, patient and totally successful revenge. ETA: I was forgetting "Medea".
  47. Dracula: I find it difficult to untangle the various film versions from the story in my head any more. Does anyone else have this problem?
  48. A Clockwork Orange: Who's a naughty little devotchka then?
  49. Anansi Boys: See comment on "American Gods", except this is possibly even lower on the list.
  50. The Once and Future King: It's possible that I finished it. But that had to have been more than 20 years ago.
  51. The Grapes of Wrath: My favourite chapter will always be the one where the family stops off at the petrol station and the sharp-eyed lady behind the counter sells them ten-cent candy as if it were two-a-penny, and the truck drivers leave her a really big tip for it. It's this oasis of warmth in a tale of heartache and woe, and I must have read it 50 times. The ironic thing is, without the rest of the story, it would probably just be irritatingly twee.
  52. The Poisonwood Bible
  53. 1984
  54. Angels & Demons
  55. The Inferno: Um...are we talking about Dante here or not?
  56. The Satanic Verses
  57. Sense and Sensibility
  58. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  59. Mansfield Park
  60. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Another one that's inextricably entangled with the film. And with the "Spaced" parody episode.
  61. To the Lighthouse
  62. Tess of the D’Urbervilles: I read this at university, but not for a course. All I can remember now is that it made me cry for about a week.
  63. Oliver Twist
  64. Gulliver’s Travels
  65. Les Misérables
  66. The Corrections
  67. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: Lack of empathy with the characters kept me from continuing beyond the first 70 pages.
  68. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  69. Dune
  70. The Prince
  71. The Sound and the Fury
  72. Angela’s Ashes: a memoir
  73. The God of Small Things: The setting is what I remember most about this. It makes me think of warm juicy fruit fresh off the trees, and cloying heavy air, and the false sterility of air-conditioned buildings.
  74. A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present
  75. Cryptonomicon: See comment about "Quicksilver".
  76. Neverwhere: Ah, now here's a Gaiman favourite. Re-read regularly. Whilst riding the Underground, of course. Also the cause for my completely irrational fear of Angel Station.
  77. A Confederacy of Dunces
  78. A Short History of Nearly Everything
  79. Dubliners
  80. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Oh, Kundera. Rivaled in my affections only by Hrabal.
  81. Beloved
  82. Slaughterhouse-five
  83. The Scarlet Letter: Read this in high school during my proto-feminist state. It pissed me off.
  84. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: I didn't even do this the honour of taking it to a used bookshop. I recycled it.
  85. The Mists of Avalon
  86. Oryx and Crake: a novel: I don't remember liking this book all that much, but for some reason, little details have stayed with me, particularly the phosphorescent, citronella-scented children.
  87. Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed
  88. Cloud Atlas
  89. The Confusion
  90. Lolita: A once-a-year ceremonial re-read.
  91. Persuasion
  92. Northanger Abbey
  93. The Catcher in the Rye: I'm much more likely to re-read "Franny & Zooey" or "Nine Stories", though.
  94. On the Road
  95. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  96. Freakonomics: a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything: I read the chapter on "Why Drug Dealers Live With Their Mothers" whilst standing in a bookstore. I don't know why I didn't buy it - I must have been skint. I want to finish it. Thank you, LibraryThing, for reminding me.
  97. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an inquiry into values
  98. The Aeneid
  99. Watership Down
  100. Gravity’s Rainbow
  101. The Hobbit: I adored this when I was younger and couldn't get into the Lord of the Rings cycle (because Bilbo's birthday party seemed to take forever). Now I'm unlikely to re-read "The Hobbit", but will periodically dip into LotR.
  102. In Cold Blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
  103. White Teeth: You know when a book is so popular it actually makes you not want to read it?
  104. Treasure Island
  105. David Copperfield
  106. The Three Musketeers


I'm surprised at the number I know I've read all the way through (55). I'm also depressed at the number about which I recall very little. Additionally, there are ten or so on the list that I didn't underline because I'm pretty sure I read them but can remember nothing of them, so it's rather as if I haven't read them, innit?
linkReply

Comments:
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-04-30 18:09 (UTC)
I remember I tried to read it by picking it up and putting down a lot, as I do when I'm commuting. With a normal story, this necessitates some re-reading as I can get 20-40 pages in per tube journey and I sometimes lose the plot over the course of a work day. I quickly realized that strategy wasn't going to work with FP so I tried to sit down and read it, and it was exactly the same. :-P
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lesyeuxouverts
2008-04-30 13:56 (UTC)
The Catcher in the Rye: I'm much more likely to re-read "Franny & Zooey" or "Nine Stories", though.

My favourite is "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters".

I kind of want to do this but I am lazy. However, it's a contest between this and job applications ... Which I've done 3 of today !
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-04-30 18:07 (UTC)
Ooh yes, that one's good too. All three of those come before TCitR for me.

I think you chose well. It can't have taken that long to do it. ;-)

Oh also, in answer to your texted question earlier, I didn't temp through an agency, I just did it at one place (a science recruiter) for a short while, so I can't recommend anywhere for you. Let me ask around a bit though. I'm pretty sure my Canadian colleague did a bunch of temping before she started working at Imperial.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: wiggyfish
2008-04-30 15:23 (UTC)
# Eats, Shoots & Leaves: I didn't even do this the honour of taking it to a used bookshop. I recycled it.

HAHAHAHA. My copy still sits on the shelf, but yeah, if I ever decide to get rid of it, it probably shouldn't go where anyone can find it.

Freakonomics: a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything: ... I don't know why I didn't buy it ... I want to finish it.

But hey, now you can buy the second edition, which (IIRC from a hard-to-hear book talk) extended the drug dealer chapter. Hm. I should see if the library has it.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-04-30 18:13 (UTC)
HAHAHAHA. My copy still sits on the shelf, but yeah, if I ever decide to get rid of it, it probably shouldn't go where anyone can find it.

The tone is horribly superior and condescending. I agree that egregious grammatical mistakes are irritating, but I don't agree that we should be smugly self-righteous and outraged when correcting them. That sort of attitude turns ignorance into belligerence.

But hey, now you can buy the second edition, which (IIRC from a hard-to-hear book talk) extended the drug dealer chapter.

Excellent. I would claim to look for it in the library, but the truth is, I'll buy it, read it, loan it out multiple times and feel justified in my purchase. ;-)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: wiggyfish
2008-04-30 20:04 (UTC)
Check out Anguished English -- it's my standard recommendation to grammarians who dislike Ms. Screamypants.

And as to buying Freakonomics, that's perfectly sane -- it's just that I already DID that with the first edition and can't justify buying another copy of mostly-the-same book.

Edited at 2008-04-30 08:46 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-04-30 18:21 (UTC)
Diamond is a biologists writing about archaeology... that makes about as much sense as me writing about... oh... molecular chemistry.

Well, I agree with you up to a point. It depends on the level he's pitched it at. For instance, I'd feel a bit of a fraud giving talks about space physics when I'm trained as a chemist, except that I know my audience is educated to a maximum of A-level science (that's high school for Americans). I also run my talks by people doing research in the field first, to ensure that I'm not making false claims or misinterpreting their data. I imagine you could write reasonably well about molecular chemistry, given enough time to do the background reading and communication with specialists in the field, and if you were addressing a lay audience.

Edited at 2008-04-30 06:21 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-04-30 18:30 (UTC)
What what? No story with a predictable ending could possibly be worth absorbing? Well, excuse me. Apparently I have to go and throw out all of my historical fiction now. And the anthologies of myths and fairy tales. And my collection of Kurosawa films.

Edited at 2008-04-30 06:30 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-04-30 18:33 (UTC)
...I'm really not looking forward to a permanent diet of murder mysteries.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ironed_orchid
2008-04-30 22:08 (UTC)
I've read a fair few on that list. I may meme if I can't think of anything else to do tonight.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-05-01 15:22 (UTC)
It gave me a chance to reflect on past accomplishment, which was nice, because at the time I wasn't feeling terribly productive. ;-)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)