My Literary Wall of Shame

Posted June 15, 2011 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Listology / 17 Comments

As most of you know, I’ve turned into a big reader; in 2009 I set myself a goal of reading 12 books and managed to read 14 books. In 2010, I thought I would try to read 24 books for the year, in which I completed 88; so this year my goal is 100 books. Seems like a big goal but I’ve become very addicted to reading and keep finding other books I want to read now. However I still have a pile of shame; a group of authors and books that I really should read but haven’t read yet. So for something different, I thought I’d talk about what I haven’t read.

Top 5 Unread Authors


5. Agatha Christie

The more I read, the more I discover my love of Crime and Mystery novels. I’ve been focusing mainly on the pulps as these books have been my favourites. I really should take some time to read some books from the master of mystery.

4. Charlotte Bronte

I’ve read a book by both Emily and Anne Bronte, but never Charlotte. I don’t know why; I think I focussed on the less known sisters as I heard they were darker stories but I will eventually have to read some Charlotte Bronte.

3. Jane Austen

Most people are expected to read one Jane Austen book in their lives and I need to read Pride and Prejudice soon. I haven’t been overly excited about reading Austen, though I’ve enjoyed the Gothic and Romantic books that came before her, I’ve never really dove into Victorian literature.

2. Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens has been put off for the same reason as Jane Austen. Victorian literature hasn’t excited me enough yet to want to read. I do try to read all the greats in English Literature but I’ve got a lot to read.

1. Shakespeare

I didn’t even read any Shakespeare while I was a school. The only book related subject at school I remember doing was Romeo & Juliet but even then we didn’t read the whole play, just some excerpts and then watched the movie. What was wrong with my high school?

Top 5 Unread Classics


5. War and Peace

I’ve been meaning to read this mammoth of a book; I read and enjoyed Anna Karenina and look forward to reading some more Tolstoy. I really think the size is the main thing that is holding me back.

4. Lord of the Flies

While I’ve read that this book is very disturbing, this only makes me want to read this more. I picked this book to put on this list, simply because it is one of the books people read in High School, so are surprised to know I haven’t read it.

3. Cloud Street

I had to pick some classic Australian literature to add to the list and I think Tim Winton is one Australian author I would like to read. I live in Australia and haven’t read much of its literature, but it’s on my to-read list.

2. Moby Dick

Not the number one book but this white whale does need to be read soon. If we look at the great novels of the 20th Century I think Moby Dick would be one of the books sitting on the top of the list.

1. Crime and Punishment

With my love of what little Russian literature I’ve read, Crime and Punishment has been a must read for me for a very long time. My wife hates Russian literature but I adore it and can’t wait to start this book (when I finish all the other books waiting to be read).

If you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them and if you are on Goodreads, I hope we are friends. I know there is heaps of books that need to be read, but this was just a glimpse in the major books that I need to read and a good excuse to try something different on this blog. What is on your reading wall of shame?

17 responses to “My Literary Wall of Shame

  1. How can you say I hate russian literature? Have I even read any of it? I just don’t like the way these russian literary characters seem to have a perfectly good relationship but feel the need to run off with someone else after their first partner has spent their life supporting them and helping them become the person they are today.

  2. Wow, you are being ambitious! I have some recommendations. For Agatha Christie, I would read And Then There Were None and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Those are probably her best. If you want a Miss Marple book, any of the early ones will do. I love Miss Marple. I like The Body in the Library and A Murder Is Announced.

    You should try Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I think you would like it. For Jane Austen, you might want to try Persuasion, which is a really good book and not one that a lot of people know. I love all Austen, but I’ve seen P&P and Emma filmed so many times now that I don’t need to reread them anymore.

    I read a lot of Shakespeare in my college days, and here’s what I liked to do. I would read the play, rent a good version of the movie and watch it, then read the play again. This really helped understanding. Or you might consider taking an online course. I think you should read Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing, at least.

    I admit to being hopelessly prejudiced against Dickens, but a lot of people like him. I don’t know if I would pick up War and Peace, Crime and Punishment or Moby-Dick if I didn’t have to read them for a course, so good luck. I look forward to reading your thoughts on these classics.

  3. Heh. I had to laugh when you mentioned Dickens. Sometimes I think I’m the only 19th c. literay fan who has never been able to finish any of his novels.

    LOVE Christie. My two top recommendations would be And Then There Were None and Crooked House. Great stories, and also- I know you like dark, macabre-ish tales.

  4. Actually, Gypsy isn’t the only one. I can’t stand Dickens, either–and I’ve really tried.

    Moby Dick is another one I couldn’t finish. What’s really annoying about it is that he alternates between telling the story, and going into long, professorial detail about the different species of whales, etc..

    I highly recommend Charlotte Bronte. The first nine chapters of Jane Eyre are my favorite storyline in the Victorian canon, hands down, though I wasn’t too crazy about the rest of the book. Her love interest, Mr. Rochester, is kind of a jerk. Villette was a much better book overall–it’s long and takes work to get through, but it will reward you.

    Excellent site design, by the way. Very impressive.

  5. Well, I’ll stick up for Dickens. If you want to try one of his books (I may have said this before) I’d recommend “A Tale of Two Cities.” It’s a small book, and despite the theme, not as dark as some of his others. His books are often bleak, because that was what he was trying to get across, how bad some people had it so that the rich could live their privileged lives. He was so disturbed by the condition of the working class it was a form of activism. Just like now, the upper classes didn’t much care who had to suffer for them to be comfortable. They’re not frothy light reads, but I think he’s worth it.

    And you know I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Janeite 🙂 I love all her books, although Emma is probably my least favorite. I second “Persuasion” as a good one to try first. If you want to watch a good dramatization of it, get the one with Cieran Hinds and Amanda Root.

  6. Gail

    Wow! Impressive blog.

    I third the ‘Persuasion’ for a Jane Austen read if you must.

    Have you started any Charles Dickens yet? Personally I’m a huge fan. If you simply want to tick him off your list. ‘A Christmas Carol’ is nice & short. 😛

  7. Bunny Blumschaefter

    A great, great list, Michael – there’s no shame in having something to look forward to! . The Christie novels are available in little paperbacks that you can buy used at amazon or ebay or alibris, and just keep them in the car for anytime you have a minute to spare. (BTW, the list is long enough already, but have you read any Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine yet? She is truly one of the best living mystery novellists) When you start your Shakespeare unit, I recommend augmenting it with later works that were influenced by the original: the best combo, IMO, is Hamlet, then John Updike’s novel Gertrude and Claudius (an imagining of the events immediately prior to Hamlet, told from the point of view of the teenaged queen, who was tolerating an arranged marriage to a guy she barely knew until his sexy renegade brother showed up,) and if you read Romeo and Juliet (it never gets old!) then you might as well rent “West Side Story” (dated, but in a sweet, beautiful way.) p.s. Tell your wife I have mixed feelings about Russian literature (I think part of the problem is just the way Russian translates into English) and I really liked Crime and Punishment. With that one, you’d then want to rent Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors, if you have not already seen it.

  8. Bill Burmester

    Great list – you have a lot of reading ahead of you!

    I finally got around to reading Cloudstreet earlier this year, and its classic status is justified. I could also recommend Peter Carey (especially The True History of the Kelly Gang) for good Australian literature.

    Replace Cloudstreet with Wuthering Heights, which I’m finally reading now, and it seems we have similar goals for the new year. I’ll get through War and Peace one day…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.