Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Just Had To Buy But...

...Are Still Sitting On my Bookshelves. Presumably unread. This happens to me now much less often than before. Budget restrictions send me to the library regularly. One of many great things about the library: if you bring home a bunch of books that don't get read for whatever reason, they just go back to languish on their shelves.

There was a time though, when I'd go off to the bookstore and come home with a stack of books I was positive I meant to read immediately if not sooner. But for some books, that 'immediately' just never came. Either my interests changed or shifted or I got caught up reading something totally different or the book was not what I thought it would be. Or, as has been known to happen to me, more and more lately, I simply forget I bought the book to begin with.

Then, of course there are those BIG BEHEMOTHS, usually biographies, that I really and truly do mean to read but somehow have never gotten around to. These books, by the way, are not part of my current TBR List, the books on that list exist in a separate universe. Let's put it this way: the books on my active TBR List are the ones most likely to get read sooner, rather than later.
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by Jen at her blog, The Broke and the Bookish. Check out the other participants and their Top Ten Entries here.

So they sit, on my bookshelves, quietly and patiently awaiting their turn. A few will eventually get read. Some, unfortunately, will not.

1) THE SURVIVOR by John H. Harris - The book about Bill Clinton I really want to read one of these days. I like Harris. I like Clinton.

2) T.R. THE LAST ROMANTIC by H.W. Brands - The bio of Theodore Roosevelt. A huge book, possibly that's why I haven't plunged in.

3) THE CONFUSION by Neal Stephenson - This is an undertaking that will probably stay undertook. Once I heard that there was a great deal of animal cruelty in this historical trilogy (because of the time it's set in), I said: nope, not for me. Much as I love Stephenson's classic CRYPTONOMICON.

4) JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL by Susanna Clarke - I've read a third of this but for whatever reason, got distracted and just never went back. I though at one time I had read the whole thing, but I was wrong. I will read this, though. I just have to find the right time. I'm thinking maybe the audio might work a little better.

5) DISRAELI by Robert Blake - Another of those humongous biographies. I am very interested in Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, an extraordinary man, the first and far as I know, the only Jewish Prime Minister England has ever had. I will read this.

6)HELL TO PAY by George Pelecanos - A few years ago, everyone raved about this book and the series. I knew it was graphic, but I bought the autographed copy anyway. I wanted to like this. Read the first few pages and that was it. Not for me.

7) THE GOLDEN BOWL by Henry James - Been meaning and meaning to read James for years. The books pile up on my shelves. I still haven't taken the plunge. I am very intimidated.

8) ERAGON by Christopher Paolini - Bought this with the best of intentions. I love dragons and people did rave about it. But for whatever reason I've just never been able to get much into this one.

9) THE FRIENDSHIP Wordsworth & Coleridge by Adam Sisman - I definitely mean to read this at some point. I like this whole idea of great creative minds being friends. I wonder about it.

10) SEIZE THE FIRE Heroism, Duty, and the Battle of Trafalgar by Adam Nicolson - I know I'm going to read this, the question is when and what type of mood should I be in.


  1. I really enjoyed Eragon, sorry it didn't work for you. Maybe I should start going to the library again, it's nice that the books stare accusingly from their shelf instead of the ones in my house.. Well, after I finish the books I own and haven't read :)

  2. Yours is the second list with Jonathan Strange on it. I've been tempted to get that one, but have successfully resisted so far...

    Here's my list of the temptations I could not resist: http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2011/03/top-ten-tuesday-is-weekly-meme-created.html

  3. Daisy: It's hard when your friends love a book and you're so/so. I may give this one another good look one of these days.

  4. Bev: The thing is, I do WANT to read it. I really do. But I'm thinking the audio version is how I'm going to do it.

  5. I took JSMN back to the library without finishing it! Part of me loved it and part of me could not see a way to the end of it!

    And if you like TR, can I suggest the Edmumd Morris trilogy, if you haven't read it? My father swears by them, reading them all a second time before I borrow them!

    LOVE your blog, adding your link to my blogroll!


  6. Thanks, Lorna: I think you've hit it on the head with Jonathan Strange - I can't see an end to it either. But I own it, so I'll persevere at some point.

    Yes, the Edmund Morris trilogy (Even more enormous in scope that Brand's book!) has been recommended to me. I'm thinking about it. ;)

    So much to read, so litte...well, you know.

  7. Jonathan Strange is definitely a bit of a slog at times (all those footnotes!) but by the end I quite liked it.

    I thought Eragon was derivative of all the other fantasy novels I've read, so I was not impressed. I know a lot of people who liked it, though.

  8. Dani: That's the whole confusion thing for me, I know I'll like it. At some point, it will get done. But I don't want it to be a chore. :)

    I have friends who loved ERAGON. I may give it another go at some point. But...

    My favorite dragon books, I must admit, are Naomi Novik's brilliant Temeraire series.

  9. Henry James: always worth it, a master. The Bostonians and The Ambassadors still stick with me 30 years later.
    Eragon: written by a 16 year old. A 16 year old with tremendous talent as a storyteller, but still...16.

  10. Reading this list with Henry James' name on it reminds me of Donna Leon's series featuring Commissario Guido Brunette, police inspector in Venice. His spouse, Paola Brunette, is an English literature professor who is never without a book by Henry James.

    Brunette opines often, "There are three people in my marriage--myself, Paola and Henry James." Or else he complains that she takes James on vacation with her.

    Anyway, that is a series you might investigate whenever you get out from under the TBR lists, library books and purchased tomes. Good luck!

  11. Healigan: I must stop being intimidated by James and just wade in - right?

    ERAGON was a sensation, I know, when it was first published. A 16 year old after all. Maybe I expected too much.

  12. Kathy: I did read one Donna Leon a while back - someone gave it to me for my birthday - and I loved it. I can't imagine why I haven't kept up.
    I will definitely be reading more in that series.
    I think, over the summer would be a good time.

    I'll keep an eye out for the James references. ;)

  13. gautami triphathy: I'm heading right over to your blog to comment. I saw a couple of familiar titles on your list. Books that have been languishing around here also. ;)

  14. Donna Leon's series is great. Two friends of mine and I are addicts.

    We share the books. I get them out of the library--or, upon occasion, purchase one, and then hand them over.

    Leon deals with social issues, but built into the plot, and character development, a good plot, observations on life in Venice and in Italy.

    Over at DBB we've had discussions about this series, especially about Paola Brunette, who has strong views, but is always still home to make fantastic lunches and dinners for her family--and loves Henry James.

  15. Kathy, I know, eventually I'm going to read this series. Then I can join in the discussion if it pops up again. I like DBB.

  16. Yes, DBB is very good; it's challenging. Everyone has strong opinions on books, authors, movies social issues, including women's roles, and grammar and punctuation!

    Can spend an entire post discussing commas, semi-colons, parentheses and emdashes. Or errors in books and newspapers. But it's all fun and sometimes informative.

  17. Sometimes I'll not pay attention for a few days and some new and interesting conversation has sprung up and I just have to join in. It's a great blog.

  18. Big biographies are hard for me to get into. They usually take a log time—so long that I forget what happened at the beginning, so I'm constantly having to backtrack and try and recall what's already happened. While I love authors' books, I often don't care a whole lot about their actual lives. :/ That's kind of...shallow? Mean? But I know some people who read biographies and detest fiction. Fortunately there are enough genres to go around!

  19. couchpotatocritic:Oh, I love historical biographies. What I like to do is use a pencil to outline bits and pieces I might want to remember as I go along. And honestly, I think most of the stuff in these long tomes isn't meant for us to remember. I think as long as you get the gist of the person's story, you're doing all right.
    So much to read, so little time. You know how it goes...

    I don't read many lives of writers, mostly historical personages. I love reading about Churchill, for instance.


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