Books you have on your shelf, taunting you to be read

Do you have books on your shelf you just haven’t gotten around to cracking?

Gargantua et Pantagruel in the original Middle French. I have only a vague knowledge of even modern French, but I’m familiar with the books in translation, and I figure that with a couple of English versions and a French dictionary on hand I can puzzle my way through it…one of these years.

Almost. I bought the first Game of Thrones on the Kindle and haven’t read it yet. I started it, and it sounded good, but the hype is seriously making me not want to read it, so rather than ruin it, I’ll wait until the furor has died down a bit.

No, the books on my shelves tend to be books that I’ve read already, the books that I mean to read are on my night stand and in my car and in the kitchen while the books that I feel I should read are crammed in drawers or under piles of papers so that I don’t have to look at them.

I will finish you, Great Gatsby! But first, I need to organize my closet, and that tile grout’s looking pretty gross, and you know, I’ve always wanted to read Beowulf in the original old english…

Slaughterhouse 5.

Never have I gotten past chapter one in either. I keep intending to and I keep getting distracted. I’ve read “Shogun”, “Armor” and a few others multiple times while those two have languished on the shelf.

I have a couple:

Ratification, about the Constitutional Convention

April 1865-About the end of the Civil War and the Lincoln assasination.

Lord of the Rings. I read the Hobbit years ago and liked it. I’ve started LotR several times but never can get into it and before I’m 100 pages in I’m reading something else.

Infinite Jest and Freedom (which, according to the Amazon link, was an Oprah Book Club selection. That’s pretty funny, considering Franzen’s anti-Oprah reaction after she did the same for The Corrections). I’ve had both for a while, but can’t find the motivation to start reading them. Maybe over the summer.

Many years ago I forced myself to read all of *Dune. *It seemed endless, and I should have spent the time reading *Watership Down, *which I’ve had since the '70s, and still haven’t read.

Seeing as how I’m a compulsive book buyer, yes, there are about 60 books sitting on a shelf that I have not cracked open. I’m not a particularly fast reader, but I’ll get around to them eventually.

Oh man, too many. William Gaddis’s JR, Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones, William Vollmann’s Europe Central, Montaigne’s Essays, a couple of books by Jacques Roubaud, and a few mysteries by Mary Higgins Clark.


A few years ago due to indecision on what book to read next I instituted an incredibly nerdy but surprisingly fun method of choosing my next read.

I have an excel spreadsheet of every book I own and use a random number generator to choose which book to read on a rotating fiction then factual basis. As Forest Gump said, ‘You never know what you’re going to get’ and it means that books that would probably otherwise be languishing unread on the shelf for years get their moment in the sun.

Just started ‘The Dispossessed’ by Ursula Le Guin, next on the list is, ‘The Nuclear Destruction of Britain’ by Magnus Clarke (don’t look at me like that), then ‘The Ultras’ by Eoin McNamee.

I highly recommend the above method of book selection :slight_smile:

Edited to add a reply to the below comment

I’ve recently read 'The Kindly One’s by Jonathan Littell and while there is no doubt its well written its one of the few books I very nearly gave up before the end as it gave me a distinctly unclean feeling reading it and I don’t think I’ve come across as repellent a main character in any fiction before.

‘Europe Central’ by William Vollman is quite pretentious and heavy going at times, and also has a character that you would take great pleasure punching in the face, but it’s also quite interesting and well written.

Feck, sorry for the double post, mea culpa.

The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes. It wouldn’t be so bad, except it’s in hardcover and so fricken HUGE that it overwhelms the other books on the shelf, compelling visitors to ask what I thought of it.

Can I still claim to have read “The Lord of the Rings” if I skipped all the poems and songs?

A bunch of library books all due back too soon. Hell, I’m just gonna pay the fines (until it gets up to $10). The books aren’t in front of me, but one is the history of Schrafft’s resaurant in the last century (with recipes), one is by Kevin Sorbo, who suffered a stroke in New Zealand while making the Hercules TV series, one that looks juicy is the memoirs of Frank Langella. And Confessions of A Tarot Card Reader by Jane Stern (the Road Food food writer - I was surprised to find she was now divorced from Michael Stern.) All of these books are calling to me, and yet here I am on the intertubes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Bought it when it first came out. Really must get around to finding out what happened in the end. Someday, someday…

A few others in a similar vein. I read a lot, but I just haven’t gotten around to a few titles.

I’m actually bothered more by the titles I’ve *tried *to read, and *want *to finish, but I’'ve never made it all the way. Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid is probably the elephant in this category.

Same here. I’ve started it before, but never finished. But I do intend to read it; I’m thinking there must be something to all the hype.

At last count, 271 books reside on my bookshelves. That’s 271 UNREAD books. The read once but might read again number about 135. And I try to be merciless about taking books to a used book store.

I’ve been stuck on the first chapter of Amerika, or The Man Who Disappeared (Kafka) for a year now. I really want to read it but the print is so damned small that my eyes just give out after a page or two. Once I’m interrupted, I find out that there are more enjoyable things to do than squint at a trade paperback and I forget about it for a month or two. I think I’ll just wait until I’m in a home and then I’ll make a volunteer read it to me.