Are there books you will never read? I boldly wrote a blog post about it here: Books I'll Never Read (Plus a Couple of Those I Didn't Think I'd Read, But Did, and Loved), but that was in 2018, and, since then, I've changed my mind and went ahead and read War and Peace and Moby Dick that were on my books-I'll-never-read list, and I'm glad I did.
Still, I have books I feel no desire to read. Maybe you do, too.
I was motivated to look more closely at the books I feel no desire to read when I recently read an article in the Baltimore Sun by Nara Schoenberg called "What Your 'Unread Books' List Reveals. Schoenberg notes that Paris Review editor Loren Stein feels that our literary omissions may say more about us than the books we've actually read.
So what are the books I feel I should read but don't really want to read? And what do these books say about me?
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I have a paperback copy of this book. And I bought an ebook of it. And I've been told over and over that it's a fantastic story. Nevertheless, I don't want to read it. People have hinted at a deep and disturbing sadness in this book, and while I can take a deep sadness, I'm not sure I can take a disturbing sadness.
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
In high school, we read (and every last one of us!) hated Heart of Darkness. It became a symbol for us of a book that English teachers feel compelled to force on their students, whether students have any interest in reading it or not. I have a whole list of books including The Scarlet Letter and All Quiet on the Western Front that may have been spoiled for me simply because they were on lists approved by English teachers.
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
It's on the 1000 Books You Must Read list, but it has no appeal to me. I am afraid the emphasis is on action over character development and that's something I'm not terribly interested in.
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
I have never read William Faulkner and I can't seem to find any interest in reading any of his books. What does Faulkner have to say that would speak to me?
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Mysteries. I don't like mysteries and I avoid them. A mystery that reminds me of a math problem, and that's what I don't like about it. There's only one possible answer, one right ending, and that makes reading the story tedious. To me.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
There's something intimidating to me about Russian writers.
So what do these books have to say about me as a reader?
What do your unread books say about you?