Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top Ten Books I Just Had to Buy...But Are Still Sitting on My Bookshelf

Well, this week's Top Ten Tuesday list by The Broke and the Bookish was ridiculously easy. All I had to do was scoot over to my bookcase and pick up the row of books I've been meaning to read and never have...and if I'm truthful, most likely never will. Sigh.

Here they are, in alphabetical order by author's last name.

1. Herbert Rowbarge by Natalie Babbitt. I bought the paperback edition sometimes in the 80s and it has moved from bookshelf to bookshelf from apartment to house to apartment to house to house. I bought it because I loved Natalie Babbits's outstanding children's novel Tuck Everlasting. But for some reason I have never cracked this one open so I can't even say what it's about. I keep it because I've had it so long. Silly reason, I know.
2. Arthur & George by Julian Barnes. I love detective fiction and I love Victorian settings. After seeing many good reviews, I snatched up a copy, which remains unread.
3. Possession by A. S. Byatt. This one is not actually on my bookshelf. Somehow I ended up with two hardcover copies, and after years of them both sitting reproachfully on my shelf, I finally donated them to a library. I did start the novel and did not like it. The Children's Hour, her latest, has gotten rave reviews. I may give it a try, but a library copy this time.
4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Don't remember how I even came to own this one. It's a classic and I really should read it, I know. But there it sits on the shelf.
5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Bought the hardcover edition after it won the Newbery Award. Again, right up my alley as I love ghosts, graveyards, etc. This one, though, I swear I will read--and soon.
6. Freddy and Frederick by Mark Helprin. Bought this at a used bookstore for one dollar. According to the jacket flap, it's a funny allegory about fictional members of the British royal family. But it's more than 500 pages long!
7. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Another one I've had for years. I think I started it once, then put it down. Maybe I'll watch the movie.
8. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. I know, I know; it's a classic. But I'm not a fan of Henry James. This novel is supposed to be one of his more accessible ones. I started it, but it was a snore. Sorry, Henry James fans.
9. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. Everyone has read this memoir, even people who are not particularly bookish. Except me. I know I would like it, too. So why does it remain unread? I think because when everyone was busy reading it, I wasn't. Now it feels like I missed the bus.
10. Atonement and Saturday by Ian McEwan. Yes, not one, but two of his novels sit on my shelf, unread. Both books have interesting subjects and good reviews. They just didn't click with me.

So there's my shameful list. What untouched books sit on your shelves? Confess!


  1. Nice list. I wasn't too impressed with Possession. I did enjoy Remains of the Day although I thought Never Let Me Go was much better. Have a great week.

  2. The Remains of the Day is so wonderful. It's one of my very favorite books ever. It's so quietly tragic. I sobbed through the last 45 pages.

  3. I really enjoyed Madame Bovary, and The Remains of the Day is brilliant. The movie is good too, but I would definitely recommend reading the book first. Ishiguro's prose is outstanding and really makes the story what it is.

  4. Atonement is on so many lists. It is one of my favorites. I would also recommend The Remains of the Day.

    Check out my list here: http://hawthornescarlet.blogspot.com/2011/03/top-ten-tuesday-tbr.html

  5. I read The Portrait of the Lady a while ago and enjoyed it, though it was hard work!