This post may include Amazon links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I’d been toying with the idea of doing a post on books I’ve never read, so when I saw this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt of “Books on My TBR List the Longest,” I knew it was a perfect fit. Hosting for this fun weekly meme has moved over to That Artsy Reader Girl, so many thanks to Jana for taking that on. Now, onto some books that even I’m amazed I’ve never read.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – Of the books on this list, The Bell Jar is the one I’m most interested in reading. A modern classic with a focus on mental illness would fit in nicely with Everything Here is Beautiful and My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward, two similarly themed books that have really worked for me recently.
Carrie by Stephan King – Back in my teens and 20’s, I was a huge Stephen King fan and devoured many of his books. The Stand and 11/22/63 rank up there among my all time favorite books, but somehow I missed Carrie along the way. I rarely want to read a book after seeing the movie which may be why I skipped Carrie.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson – I haven’t always luck with Pulitzer Prize winning novels. In fact, for about 10 years I refused to read them and that was the fate of Gilead. Donna Tartt and The Goldfinch finally put an end to my self-imposed ban, so I might finally be ready to take on this slim award-winning volume.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – The Harry Potter franchise is what first inspired me to do this list. People are always amazed that I haven’t read ANY of the Harry Potter books, and further, I have no desire to read them! Back in the day I went to the first couple of movies with my sons, but that was more than enough of the Boy Wizard for me.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou – This is one of those books that I feel like I need to read, but for some reason I never actually want to. I’m not sure why I’ve avoided Angelou’s memoir for so long, but since I’ve recently come to appreciate memoirs more and more, it may be time to give hers a try.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – People are gaga over Gaiman books and yet I’ve not read any. In the past the magical realism angle has thrown me off, but that’s something I appreciated in last year’s Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, so it might finally be time to give The Ocean at the End of the Lane a try.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey – How have I never read this? I think One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest suffered the same fate as Carrie: I saw the movie. Nonetheless, I do think it’s a book I’d enjoy and really should make some time for in my reading life.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – High school and college kind of burned me out on classic English writers, and even though Rebecca is a more modern story, in my mind it fell into the same category. I’ve passed Rebecca over for years, but it’s one of the books that I’m most interested in working into my reading line-up.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – A book about a horrific school shooting hits a little close to home for me and explains why I’ve delayed reading We need to Talk About Kevin. Still it’s a book that has long been on my TBR list and since school shootings have sadly become more and more frequent, it may be time.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – I know. You’re probably shocked. How is it possible that I’ve lived to be as old as I am without reading this classic? When I was much younger, I read a lot of the Bronte books, and while they were good in many ways, I’m just not a huge fan. (Sacrilege, I know.) So, never getting to Wuthering Heights makes sense.
Disclaimer: There are Amazon Associate links contained in this post.
Sarah's Book Shelves says
I want to read Rebecca too! Maybe a buddy read later in the year?
And I’ve never read Harry Potter either (well, I read the first one and didn’t care enough to read any after that)…figure I’ll read those with my kids at some point.
Yes! Let’s do a buddy read of Rebecca sometime this year. Renee wants to do it, also.
I find ‘the bell jar’ quite depressing.
‘wuthering heights’ I have read but I guess the way it is written, sometimes I find it very easy to understand and other times not so much.
‘harry potter’- always a favorite
‘the ocean at the end of the land’ is a book I have talked about regretting reading for one particularly gross-out scene and I really kind of wish people would stop talking about the book.
the other titles on your list, I haven’t read.
have a lovely day.
Thanks, Lissa. I seem to be getting mixed comments on The Ocean. Seems like people either loved it or really disliked it. It’s one I may keep pushing back.
I read Rebecca for the first time last year and loved it! The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a miss for me, I think I just didn’t understand it!
Thanks for stopping by, Angela. I’m looking forward to reading Rebecca even more now.
Katherine DiAntonio says
I Love this idea. I had never read any Harry Potter and decided last year to listen to it. It’s long but I loved it and it is also how I fell in love with Audiobooks. I can’t drive in the car without one now.
Thank you, Katherine. I’m completely hooked on audiobooks in the car, too. My commute is only about 20 minutes each way and sometimes I wish it was longer!
Deb Nance at Readerbuzz says
No, no, no. You need to read Gilead right now. I mean right now. Such a great story.
Noted! I’ll try to get to Gilead this year.
Ugh, I am not a big Bronte fan, either; I have read Wuthering Heights but I would definitely not read it again – ha! Stick with your instincts, Susie; you know what you like! 😉
Good advice. Thanks, Tara.
We won’t talk about not reading Harry Potter. Though I do know that he and his buds are not for everyone. Ha! However, read Rebecca, skip Wuthering Heights, Carrie is a bit of letdown if you like The Stand, and I’m not sure I’ve read One Flew Over…all I can think of is the movie and Nurse Ratchett and crazy Jack. LOL
Thanks for the advice, Kay. I appreciate hearing which ones I should weed out. Rebecca is definitely number one on this list.
Gilead is such a beautiful story. I can’t recommend it enough!
Thanks doe the input. After comments, I want to read Gilead even more.
I had the same experience with Harry Potter. I had never read any of the books, and people were amazed by that. But then I let a few people talk me into reading one. I was disappointed. I didn’t like it at all. I feel like I’m the only person whose read it that didn’t like it.
Carol JOHNSTON says
Give your busy reading eyes a break and watch the original black/white movies of Wuthering heights with Laurence Olivier i watch it every few years! Rebecca is great! Highly recommend them
Don’t forget popcorn!
Great advice, Carol. Thanks.
Ann Marie says
I think I read The Bell Jar in high school but that could be a false memory. Rebecca is on my life-long mental TBR too. We Need to Talk About Kevin has moved house with me three times now if I’m counting correctly. Still unread, of course.
Sarah, Renee and I have talked about doing a buddy read of Rebecca sometime later this year. Join us?
Ann Marie says
I’d love to! Thanks for asking.
Of these: I’ve only read the Bell Jar, so I’m with you about the rest of them. Oh I did read the first Harry Potter but that was sort of plenty for me. The Bell Jar is good but I read it so long ago. Enjoy these.
Are we the only two people on the planet who haven’t read Harry Potter?! HBO just aired all the movies so I may watch those and then decide if I want the books.
As for the rest I’ll give you one I think you must read and one I feel you should cross of your TBR. Yes, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is magical, but the story is so lovely and quirky (and it’s not a big book). I’ve never read any other Gaiman and am not really interested, but this is worth it.
I felt like you did and so read Kevin and truly wish I hadn’t. There is nothing to be learned and even though Shriver’s prose is excellent the story is beyond horrific. It goes above and beyond anything I’ve ever read (including A Little Life) and was the first book I’ve read that left me physically nauseous. I only got through it because the violence is all at the end. Still, I had to put it down for long stretches. It is one of the very few books I’ve ever read that I regret because I’ll never unsee what he did. If you’re a hardy soul, then maybe, but if you’re remotely tender hearted it’s crushing.
I’ve had mixed comments about The Ocean, so think I need to try it and decide for myself.
I appreciate your perspective on We Need to Talk About Kevin. I’m going to take it off my list. I don’t need to read a book that disturbing and then walk into a school building every day. You saved me!
I love this post idea Susie and your list could be mine exactly as I’ve never read any of those books either! I’ve always been a little scared to read We Need to talk about Kevin, maybe because I’m raising teenage boys I’m not sure but after reading what Catherine just said about it I think I made the right choice. I’m not really tempted to try the Harry Potter books either but I do want to read Maya Angelo’s book and Rebecca…maybe I could join in if you and Sarah do a buddy read:)
I really hope we do get around to that buddy read, and of course we’d want you to join us. I think it would be really fun to read Rebecca together and discuss it.
Gilead is my favorite book of all time. It’s very introspective and not particularly fast-paced, but it’s one of those books that makes you go, “Finally someone articulated exactly how I was feeling!”
Wow! That’s quite an endorsement. I want to read it even more now. Thank you.