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Top Ten Unread Books That Have Been On My TBR Shelf Since Before I Began Blogging

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Not my catchiest title, I’ll admit. But this week’s Top Ten Tuesday forces me to admit which books I’ve been putting off reading for far too long. As you’ll see, mostly my excuse is just plain, good old-fashioned laziness….

Top Ten Unread Books That Have Been On My TBR Shelf Since Before I Began Blogging

1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot – Eliot seems like the natural choice for readers making their way through the most famous English female writers, from Austen to the Brontës to Gaskell. I’ve done all three of those authors, but I’ve yet to build up the enthusiasm to face Eliot’s grimmer style of writing. Plus I’m sad to say that The Mill on the Floss kind of bored me to tears.

2. A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini – I’ve had this book on my shelf for far too many years, although I periodically forget about it because it keeps getting buried underneath newer, unread books.

3. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens – I’ve read my fair share of Dickens, but I haven’t been able to get into one of his more famous, and shorter, novels.

4. Ulysses, by James Joyce – Ah, my old nemesis. Ulysses has been on my TBR for years, and I’ve never yet mustered the enthusiasm to tackle this monster of a book.

5. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, by Mary Wollstonecraft – As a long-avowed feminist, it seems like enormous laziness on my part that I have yet to read what is arguably the first feminist treatise in history. No excuses here. I’m just lazy.

6. The Aeneid, by Virgil – I managed to study Classics for three years at university without ever reading the Aeneid cover-to-cover. #studentlyfe.

I'm Very Good

7. Waverley, by Walter Scott – As you can imagine, I’m thoroughly ashamed of the fact that I didn’t read this book while in Scotland. It would be entirely appropriate. In my defence, I did borrow it from the library, intending to read it, but somehow I was never in the mood. Instead I read English, American, Turkish, and Croatian books, but almost nothing actually set in Scotland, or by a Scottish author.

8. Baba Jaga je snijela jaje (Baba Yaga Laid an Egg), by Dubravka Ugrešić – I left my Croatian copy back home in Australia, so although I technically read the English translation that I stumbled upon in a bookstore in Edinburgh, the Croatian original is still sitting on my shelf, unread.

9. Let Us Compare Mythologies, by Leonard Cohen – Leonard Cohen writes and sings about sex. A lot. Some other stuff too, but mostly there’s a hell of a lot of sex. Despite this, I do like both his poetry and his music – it just means that you have to be prepared to suppress your knee-jerk ‘prude’ reactions whenever you read his books. Maybe watching an episode of Orange is the New Black or Outlander might help with that process, I don’t know.

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10. The Madwoman in the Attic, by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar – Another piece of classic feminist criticism that I’ve yet to read (despite referring to a chapter or two in more than one university essay over the past few years!).

Which books have been sitting on your TBR shelf for far too long?


25 replies on “Top Ten Unread Books That Have Been On My TBR Shelf Since Before I Began Blogging”

Am I allowed only ten?! Middlemarch is certainly one of those I’m trying to summon up the stamina for. Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh I stalled on many years ago…

I empathise!

The only books I’ve read on your list are A Tale of Two Cities and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, both of which I really enjoyed. Middlemarch has been on my TBR for a while as well. It sounds like a novel I would enjoy, but it’s chunky size is definitely a bit intimidating!
Great list! :)

Oh i am so sorry to hear you don’t get on with Eliot one of my favourite writers. Maybe start with something shorter like Silas Marner? I too have Madwoman in the Attic and have used it extensively in essays but never read the book in its entirety – mind you that goes for a lot of my lit crit stuff

So many good ones here! I just managed to cross off Middlemarch in February of this year. I absolutely loved it!

Wollstonecraft!!! MAKE IT HAPPEN. :) I read a third of Middlemarch a couple weeks ago. It’s actually pretty good, but I’m back in school, so I want lighter reading for now. The mini-series is REALLY good. A Tale of Two Cities is worth a read for the ending. He was definitely experimenting with something different in this book. I liked it by the end. The beginning is also beautiful. :) Uh, I own that Gilbert and Gubar book. I can’t finish it even though I love it. SO DENSE AND HUGE. I’ve read everything in it on Austen and Bronte and Milton and I think someone else…

Haha, yes, I definitely have to stop making excuses about Wollstonecraft. :D And Eliot too. I’m actually quite interested to see the miniseries, and since I hate watching movies without having read the book that should encourage me to get on with reading it.

A Tale of Two Cities is my favorite Dickens!! It is such a great book. I didn’t really care for A Thousand Splendid Suns – I know a lot of people really like it, but I preferred The Kite Runner.

Wow, that’s so funny, because A Thousand Splendid Suns was recommended to me as ‘everyone says Kite Runner is better, but I actually think this is’. Hosseini must be a good writer, his two best-known books seem to polarise opinions a lot! :)

I did not really keep track of my TBR before I started blogging, so I can’t answer this question. I know I’m not going to feel bad about never reading Ulysses — it just is not at all my kind of book, and I’m no longer a lit major, so I don’t feel like I have to read it.

Lots and LOTS of nonfiction on mine! I try not to let any books sit around unread for longer than five years, because I feel like if I haven’t read it in five years of owning it, it’s because I didn’t want to in the first place. But I haven’t kept to that super religiously, and I have tons of nonfiction I still need to get through.

That’s a good system – I’m sure I have books that I’ve had on my shelf for more than five years. I used to feel the exact same way about nonfiction, but in the past year or so I read a few essay collections that were so great, I actually started to get very excited about nonfiction. I think it really depends on the author and how they write. :)

I’ve cleared a lot of mine away due to no space, but if I had space many that are on your list would be on mine.

I can’t recommend A Thousand Splendid Suns enough though, it’s a beautiful book.

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