Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I Want to Read

Here's the truth: (1) These books are on every Must-Read list. (2) I want to read books that many, many people have said are amazing. 

But something about each of these puts me off.

Today I will make my stand. I'm crossing these off my (long) list of books I must read before I die. 

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The whole idea of this book is creepy to me. Yes, I've heard over and over that Nabokov is an amazing writer. But I can't get past the subject of the book. I don't think I ever will.

Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
The title. Ugh. 

Ulysses by James Joyce
I've read a page or two from this one. It took me hours and, when I got the end, I still wasn't very clear about what I'd read. Do I really want to do that to myself?

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
This one seems dangerously close to my idea of porn. Ick.

The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
If there is one book that was a universally bad experience for those of us who loved to read in high school, it was Heart of Darkness. HofD spoiled Joseph Conrad for me. Forever, I think.

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
I dare to call myself a reader, and yet I've never read Faulkner. Nothing. And everything he's written is on every Good Book list. But he just doesn't ring my bell.

The Golden Bowl by Henry James
Henry James is another author I've skipped over. Again, no bells ringing with this author.

Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
How long is this book? Is it a book or a life experience? 
Does it ever end? And does it have any plot?

War and Peace. Crime and Punishment. Fathers and Sons.
Or any of those other enormous Russian novels. Shudder.

Beloved by Toni Morrison
I hate to admit this, but I've never read Beloved. Or any other Toni Morrison. And I don't think I ever will. Why TM isn't working for me I do not understand. Everything about her says she should be a perfect author for me. And yet, no.

Have I acted in haste? Should I reconsider any of these? Talk me into it!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.


  1. Hi! Wow, I haven't even seen let alone read the books you mentioned in this post! Sorry that I couldn't recommend you any books, but really these books don't look engaging to me too!

  2. I had to read Sons and Lovers and Beloved in my final year graduation. I really liked Beloved though it was a dark book. Never finished Sons and Lovers. Want to read Lolita and Ulysses, but I'm not sure about it. Not too keen on War and Peace.

    1. So many people have told me they love Beloved, but I haven't been able to get into it.

  3. Even as a lit major, I agree with most of you're "uh-uh, not-gonna' read" choices. With the exception of Faulkner, however. I took a course in Contemporary Fiction in undergraduate school and read him again in Novels WWI-WWII in graduate school which led me to reading most of his "stuff." I think his literary appreciation is based on his ability to do something "first" or the "best it could be done. One can always read ABOUT a book or an author and then choose NOT to read it/him. We call that freedom of choice

    1. I have a difficult time with male authors. I just don't, by nature, connect with many of the common themes of male authors.

    2. I have read a few, very few, male authors who wrote in female main characters and did a darned good job of it, as well as a woman author could, but even one example (for the moment) escapes me....ahhh, maybe Jaime Ford, author of Songs of Willow, his latest ,or The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Spoiler alert--his characters can get into very depressing/downer situations and-- voila!- there is a last minute (literally last few pages) twist that "saves the day." I think the Greeks called this "Deux ex machin" "god from the machine." It seems in many tragedies, the appropriate god or goddess would be lowered onto the stage (think chains and pulleys) to "save" the hero." RAE

  4. I'd have to agree with your list completely! I did read The Sound and the Fury and . . . well, I think you can live a long and happy life without experiencing it. Lolita, Ulysses, War and Peace--these are books I tried hard to avoid to in college, and I was successful! Interesting that you bring up Beloved . . . just recently, I was chastising myself for never reading it. I haven't tried to avoid it, but I just never did read, and for some reason I was feeling guilty about it.

  5. I read both the Sound and the Fury and Beloved in high school and didn't care for them at all. And just because they were high school reading either as I did enjoy a lot of the books forced upon me. So those I can say that you are totally fine never experiences. I did read War and Peace and while I enjoyed it, it is a very long ass book and definately not for everyone. If you are going to spend that much time in a book then it should really be something you know you'll love.

    My TTT is here.

  6. Enormous novels in general just put me off. I'm done feeling guilty about not reading them, so I think it's great to remove them from TBRs. I actually do want to read Lolita (of course the subject matter is a bit worrying), but the SIZE of the book just... I can't. Maybe one day. When I'm not studying for exams or something!

  7. I can't say much about there books but my friend read Lolita and she did like it, as much as you can like a book with a subject like this. She said that the author wrote amazingly. At that time I considered reading Lolita but that book is waaay to twisted for my taste.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. :))

  8. I think the only book I've read on your list is Beloved, and it's been awhile but I liked it when I read it. A lot of these books are not for me either. This is a very freeing topic this week!

  9. I have never read Toni Morrison either. I don't know that I have seen most of your choices before so I guess they aren't taunting me yet! Thanks for stopping by mine today!

  10. Your TTT post reminded me of all the classics I have yet to read. Some of the ones you listed, I haven't even heard of! So, I'm a bit ashamed. I really can't give you advice on any of them, but if you ever do attempt one or all of these, I hope you find it/them enlightening, if not enjoyable.

    Thanks for visiting!

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

  11. I haven't read a single of these but I do own Crime and Punishment so I might read it some day.

  12. Gotta say I love Faulkner, especially As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. As for Lolita, I picked it up when I was in college, right after it came out. I was hoping for a sexy novel. Instead I was blown away by the language and the writing. A great book. I'm not fond of Henry James, but I've sure read a lot of his books. Grad school will do that to you.

    1. Your words and Rae's words remind me to take another look at books before quickly dismissing them. Thank you, Bill.

  13. I think DH Lawrence, the Russians and Morrison are actually readable and you should rethink them. But Henry James makes me shudder. And I'm scared of Ulysses. !!

  14. So many thoughts on these books.

    1. I've read Lolita and I think it's worth it. The subject matter is icky, but it's handled well.
    2. I'm in the middle of Ulysses and I'm mostly liking it, but YMMV.
    3. Tropic of Cancer isn't really porny at all, IMO. Everyone associates it with the smut charges; hell, when I went to look for it at the library here it was in the "erotica" section, not "literature!" But aside from crass references to anatomy and frankness about "yeah we had sex," there's not much about sex at all. What is there is hardly titillating, IMO. There are other things that make a difficult read---it's very surreal and lacking in structure and actually reminds me a lot of Ulysses---but its reputation is unwarranted.
    4. Beloved is a difficult book but one well worth reading. It's not a novel so much at it is a novel-long epic poem.
    5. Sons and Lovers is eh. I finished it but I hated just about every character in the book by the end.
    6. With you on Faulkner. I had to read Light in August for a class but just couldn't get into it.

    1. Thank you for your honest thoughts on these books. I will think about this a little more.


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