Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Feel as if Everyone has Read but Me

Ah, I love this question. Everyone can make a list like this. Right?
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Do come join the fun...

I'll start with the world of classics, where we all have missed something or other. Well, all of us except for perhaps a very few English professors.

1. Moby Dick (Herman Melville). Someday, I do actually plan to read this, if only to say I have. And because the first line is awesome.

2. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald). See above.

3. Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë). I probably will read this one, too... I just expect to dislike all the characters, which usually makes me loathe a story and regret wasting my time on it.

4. Anything by Tolstoy, but specifically, War and Peace or Anna Karenina. Most people seem to have read one or the other. I devoted my attention for endless rambling tales of chill and despair to Dostoevsky, though. And yes, I do hope eventually to read one or the other, or both.

5. Hamlet (Shakespeare). Not technically a book, but still. Lou and I joke that we're together one good Shakespeare reader; he's read the tragedies, and I've read the comedies. Or a goodly number of them, anyway.

6. Anything by James Patterson. The only thing that makes me think everyone but me has read his books is the sheer number of books he sells.

7. Lord of the Flies (William Golding). And reading The Hunger Games didn't make me any more likely to pick it up.

8. The Shannara books (Terry Brooks). I'm afraid I won't feel like a proper fantasy reader until I've read at least some of them.

9. Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov). Surely I'm not the only person who got fifteen pages in and was too squicked out to continue. But it feels like it. I just... ewwww.

10. The Call of Cthulhu (H.P. Lovecraft). This is a short story, but when you're into fantasy fiction and nerd stuff and The Hog's Head... yeah. I feel like I'm missing a nerd credential without this. One of these days!

What do you feel as if everyone has read but you?


  1. Well, I have to say...you have the most cultured list I've seen! I've read Anna Karenina! If you read one Tolstoy in your life...read Anna! I haven't read Brook's Shannara series but I have enjoyed his Landover books.

  2. Kathy, LOL. I could've put down Anna and the French Kiss and Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, like others have done, but the only people I know who have read those are YA bloggers. :)

    I do really want to read Anna Karenina... maybe after I finish this last monster Wheel of Time book. And I definitely plan to get to Brooks.

  3. Gatsby seems to vary opinion but I rate it!

    My number one is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Seemed to be a talking point at university, as though *everyone* had to have read it.

  4. That's another one I haven't read, CharmedLassie! I'd forgotten. Thanks for commenting!

  5. I'm hoping my comment will go through; I've had some problems.

    When I first read LotR, Prydain, and Narnia, I hungered for more fantasy and began The Sword of Shannara. I'm sorry to say it was so painfully derivative and corny that I couldn't finish it. Perhaps Broks has improved over time.

    I've always felt guilty about not having read Moby Dick. As I don't care for fish, sea stories, or obsession, I haven't been really motivated. Still, I kind of keep it on a mental list. Just so I can say I did.

    I read The Handmaid's Tale when it came out and didn't care much for it, but we're a lot closer to it today.

    I actually liked Lord of the Flies, and any LOST lover will appreciate it.

    I no longer feel there are "must reads because everyone is reading them." If I want to read something I will; if not, I won't. ;-)

  6. I'm with you... I assume tons of folks read James P. since he writes one every 4 months and sells them like crazy! As far as your list goes, I have read Gatsby and Hamlet, but that's all. I have a beautiful copy of Wuthering Heights that I should give a try, but it just hasn't happened yet!

  7. One cannot truly appreciate Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan without reading a little of Moby Dick. :)

    Definitely read Wuthering Heights; it's not a pleasant read but it was, how shall I say, instructive.

    The Sword of Shannara is terribly derivative but still a worthwhile read. Of the Shannara books, I would only recommend it and The Elf Stones of Shannara.

    I've read War and Peace by Tolstoy and The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky so now all I have to do is read The City of God by St. Augustine and my life will be complete. Well, at least until the Cubs win the World Series & then the parousia will come.

    Lord of the Flies is also a terribly unpleasant book but probably worth reading at least once.

  8. Arabella, I got a kick out of your reasons for not reading Moby Dick.

    I handle derivative fairly well if it doesn't actually sound like plagiarism, so we'll see how I do with Shannara.

    Bailey, thanks for commenting! It was fun to find someone else who put "anything by James Patterson." I'm not alone! :)

    George, I've seen all of the Star Wars movies, but not much of Star Trek. But that's good to know, in case I decide to get into the latter in the future.

    If I read Wuthering Heights, it will be entirely on your recommendation.

    So the Cubs are the key to the parousia, eh? I'd wondered. It's probably all spelled out in a Bible code somewhere. :P

  9. I can't believe you made it through school without reading Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, Wuthering Heights, or Hamlet..I think that's why everyone's read them, because everyone usually has too..though Gatsby and Hamlet are worth the read, and Wuthering Heights is fun when you're 14..we had to read The Handmaid's Tale too, but I don't know if thats as common.

    There really isn't so much of the rambling despair in Tolstoy, Anna has Kitty and Levin to make things happy, and War and Peace has Pierre, Natasha, and snarky comments about the French..

    I feel completely out of it, I've never even heard of James Patterson!

    My list includes A Room of One's Own, or Of Her Own...you know, Virginia Woolf..

    Anything by Tom Clancy, Michael Crieton (sp), or any of those I-write-a-billion-books-on-science/law/businessy stuff authors. I can't say I've ever tried, but I know people like them.

    Moby Dick..and 10000 leagues under the sea..I just can't get into them.

  10. In a word: homeschooled, Masha. And while I believe I got an excellent education, above what is generally available in the public schools, I do rather wish I'd been pushed to read more classics. It's a small complaint, though, since I've caught up on some of them since. Just not those. :D

    I tried to read Tom Clancy and was bored out of my mind by all the submarine jargon. Lots of fun for the right sort of guy, I suppose. And Crichton's Jurassic Park novels are two of the very few books I actually regret reading (still can't think of velociraptors without a shudder), despite the chaos theory being tolerably interesting. I've thoroughly enjoyed some of John Grisham's work, though. Matters of taste, I suppose.

    As for Tolstoy, I am looking forward to Anna. And I shouldn't be too hard on Dostoevsky, considering how much I loved Crime and Punishment.

  11. Anything by Jonathan Franzen. More than once I have gone to the bookstore and opened up Freedom only to have a feeling of "this is a great and terrible duty" wash over me, whereupon I close the book and go find something esle. But I feel like I really should, I just. . .I don't know.

    You are definitely not the only one to be squicked by Lolita, and I don't blame anyone for not liking it. But if you can, power through the squick and read it all the way through once. It's More Complicated Than That.

    Lord of the Flies is worth a miss. The Handmaid's Tale is ok. Moby Dick is demanding, but brilliant. The Great Gatsby, you can read that in two hours; go read it now! Such a beautiful book about such awful, awful people.

    And Anna's great, but War and Peace is still my favorite. There's plenty of despair in both, but also plenty of everything else. They are great books to read and go, wow, being human is complicated, huh.

    Oh, and I'd never heard of James Patterson, either.

  12. I've never even attempted Franzen, Laura. And to be very honest, I'd never heard of James Patterson till I read an article about how much he produces and sells and how, a year or two ago. :)

    Thanks so much for all the thoughts on the various books!


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