Confess: books you haven't read

July 23, 2008
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At England's Ways with Words literary festival, authors were asked to name books that they are ashamed to admit they haven't read. See story here.

For me, that would be a long list, including "Catch-22," "Moby Dick," "Remembrance of Things Past," "War and Peace" and anything by a Bronte. I've also been neglegent in visiting with Rushdie, Dostoyevsky, Mailer and many, many others.

On the more popular front, I just scanned the New York Times hardcover fiction best seller list and found that I've read none of the authors in the top 15.

The reality is, even compulsive readers have major gaps.

So, fess up, what books are you ashamed to admit you never read.
  • I haven't read Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, and Dickens--mainly because acquiring an English degree meant I could pick and choose what I wanted to read. And what self-respecting 19- or 20-year-old English major would read Dickens when she could be mooning over Anne Sexton and deconstructing Beatles lyrics?
  • Wow, where do I begin?

    I finished Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas just last year, and I only recently purchased Slaughter House V. I'm in the middle of American Brutus, so Vonnegut's classic will have to wait a bit longer.

    I would like to re-read The Great Gatsby and Salinger's, Catcher in the Rye, as I was in my very early teens when I last skimmed the pages of those classics. I was required to read a great many of the so-called classics in high school. These include All Quiet on the Western Front, Of Mice and Men, Where the Red Fern Grows, etc. My minor in English Literature also required that I read a great bit of Shakespeare, Chaucer, etc.

    I am ashamed to admit that I have not read anything by Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote or Jack Kerouac, and I need to add The Bible to my must read list. After all, it's about time I figure out what all the fuss is about. :)
  • Add my name to the list of those that have not read Rushdie, Dostoyevsky, or Mailer. Also add to that list Oscar Wilde. I am currently reading number 20 on the NYTimes list you reference. I have read Trumans, In Cold Blood and would also like to reread The Catcher in the Rye. Add Jack Kerouac to the list of omissions.
  • Re:Correction

    Above post I meant Truman Capote's in Cold Blood.
  • For me, my shame lies within the mystery field. Working at a mystery bookstore, the shocked responses don't come from the all time classics, but the mystery classics. So I will admit that I haven't read a single book by Dorothy L. Sayers, Ross MacDonald, Ross Thomas, John D. MacDonald, Tony Hillerman, James Lee Burke, Robert Crais, Archer Mayor, Elizabeth George, Mickey Spillane or Margery Allingham.

    Basically I'm saying, I ought to be fired shortly after I post this comment. In my defense, I do plan on starting most of those authors soon, especially Mayor, Spillane, and Burke.

    Luckily I feel I'm decently well read for the classics for in high school I went on a kick of those. So there's none of those I feel shame about more than the authors already mentioned.
  • I think 'Catcher in the Rye' is my most obvious gap although I have not read Dickens or Wilde either. The difference being I plan to read Catcher but really have no desire for the others.
    I have read all those mystery writeres - can I have your job?
  • I have tried a few times to read James Joyce's Ulysses, and I just can't do it. It's exhausting.
  • I haven't read anything by native son, Kurt Vonnegut. I tried to read the first few pages of one of his books, but was not successful. However, I like some of the other authors/books mentioned. For example, I enjoyed 'Catcher in the Rye' and Capote's 'In Cold Blood' which was nearly as creepy as some novels written today.
  • Years ago, I asked for and received a set of the Harvard Classics for Christmas. For the most part, these lovely leather volumes with their gilt-edged pages remain untouched, just as they were the day I opened the box.
  • I've just started working my way through Clifton Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan. So far, I've read Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Analects of Confucius and just got Aeschylus's Oresteia from the library.

    It's because I have NOT so many of the classics that I undertook this 100-must-read-books challenge.
  • Surprising to me, I have read In Cold Blood, Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye. Maybe my public school education wasn't so bad afterall.

    Haven't read: Dante

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  1. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

  2. 85 feet for an ambitious project? I could shoot ej*culate farther than that.

  3. I tried, can't take it anymore. Untill Katz is replaced I can't listen anymore.

  4. Perhaps, but they've had a very active program to reduce rainwater/sump pump inflows for a number of years. But you are correct that controlling these peak flows will require spending more money - surge tanks, lines or removing storm water inflow at the source.

  5. All sewage goes to the Carmel treatment plant on the White River at 96th St. Rainfall should not affect sewage flows, but somehow it does - and the increased rate is more than the plant can handle a few times each year. One big source is typically homeowners who have their sump pumps connect into the sanitary sewer line rather than to the storm sewer line or yard. So we (Carmel and Clay Twp) need someway to hold the excess flow for a few days until the plant can process this material. Carmel wants the surge tank located at the treatment plant but than means an expensive underground line has to be installed through residential areas while CTRWD wants the surge tank located further 'upstream' from the treatment plant which costs less. Either solution works from an environmental control perspective. The less expensive solution means some people would likely have an unsightly tank near them. Carmel wants the more expensive solution - surprise!