Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

I have not participated in a book blogging community meme for what seems to be years, but this week’s Top Ten Tuesday subject was one that resonated with me: it’s all about the books I feel everyone has read but me. Because I blog primarily about classics (and I recently was shortlisted as one of the top three Classics Book Bloggers participating in BBAW), I feel rather guilty about some of these classic books that I have not yet read.

I still have many years of reading yet ahead of me, though, so I hope I can make a dent on those books I do want to read!

  1. Anything by Thomas Hardy. Although I love Victorian writers, I still have not gotten to any novels by this later Victorian. I have heard him praised for years throughout the blogosphere, so I know I should remedy this at some point.
  2. Anything by Henry James. I will remedy this with my Classics Book Club in just another month! I look forward to my first experience. (Technically, I think I must have read The Turn of the Screw, but I don’t remember reading it; I just remember the movie clips we watched in school.)
  3. The Aeneid by Virgil. I absolutely loved reading Homer a few years ago, and yet time keeps passing without my reading this Roman classic. It’s waiting for me!
  4.  Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. People often tell me that I will love this book, that it’s one of the best. I wonder if it’s the length that makes me hesitate to pick it up next? I do hope to get to it in the next year.
  5. A Room with a View by E.M. Foster. I keep seeing this reviewed on classics blogs. I own it, but haven’t yet given it a try.
  6. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I really loved Nabokov’s writing in the collection of his short stories I read a few years ago, but I still haven’t pick up his most famous/controversial novel. I’ve heard it’s simply wonderful, though, so one day I’ll have to abandon my fears and see what Nabokov does with the writing here.
  7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  I started an audiobook of this but quickly abandoned it. I should try again.
  8. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I’m afraid of this book. I don’t think it will be my style.
  9. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. I don’t like scary books, so this will probably remain on my “Everyone but me has read this one” list.
  10. The last volume of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein. I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. Someday, maybe, I’ll give that last book a chance, but after The Two Towers, I was just burned out with the entire good versus evil formulaic odyssey.

Which books have you read from this list? Which classic books do feel everyone has read except yourself?

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. Great post Rebecca! I love lists like these. My first reaction was to urge you to read Henry James, as well as A Room with a View (although I admit I liked the movie better). But then I read on, and thought I’d let you know that I, too, have yet to read We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I have a copy on my shelves now, which makes it a bit more likely I’ll read it, but it has yet to reach the top of my queue. Someday!

  2. I haven’t read most from this list, but I read Daisy Miller by Henry James recently, and really liked it. And I’m in the middle of reading Vanity Fair and LOVE it. It’s destined to be a favorite. 😀

  3. If it helps, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is not really scary, just atmospheric. The only “scary” is really psychological, as in “these people are scary.”

    I have a hard time imagining you with Catch-22…

    1. That’s exactly what I was going to comment! We Have Always Lived in the Castle isn’t scary like a ghost story, or something that might keep you awake at night — it’s more about people that you would never want to meet, and you’re glad they’re not real!!

  4. I’ve read a little James, Lolita, Brave New World, and Lord of the Rings, but that’s it! Many of these are on my TBR list as well. I don’t like scary books either (I thought I was the only one, ha!), but Amanda’s comment gives me hope that We Have Always Lived in the Castle might work for me!

  5. You’re not the only one, Rebecca. The only one on your list I’ve read is two books by Thomas Hardy — Under the Greenwood Tree and Tess of the d’Urbervilles. I never liked The Hobbit so I don’t think I’ll be reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

  6. I agree with Amanda about the Shirley Jackson. I’d say it’s disturbing more than scary, for psychological reasons rather than gory ones. Also, I hope you do read A Room With a View! It’s one of my favourite classics.

    1. Nymeth » I can’t handle pyschological scary movies, but maybe in a book I can. I’ll have to try it. (and P.S. congrats on finishing your dissertation!)

  7. I’ve read some Henry James, Catch-22, and Vanity Fair. I have to agree with everyone telling you that Vanity Fair is awesome because it is. I often wonder if Margaret Mitchell had read Vanity Fair because Becky reminds me of Scarlett O’Hara. Not sure if that makes you more or less willing to read it. 🙂

  8. Oh, Rebecca! Fear not, as many of the things on your list could readily go on one by me! I’ve not read anything by Thomas Hardy (I don’t think starting Far From the Madding Crowd three times and giving up before I’ve made it 20 pages in counts!), nor have I ever completed Vanity Fair, despite having started it twice, and even making it a good way through it and enjoying it too!

    Also, I am totally with you on that last LoTR book… I think I’ve shared this story before, but just in case I haven’t: my highschool boyfriend really loved LoTR and because of him I went to see the first movie. I thought that one was ok, so I decided to read the books… I made it through the first two and was SO BORED by the second one that I just gave up and decided I would never finish them. Then I ended up seeing the second movie and also found it so excruciatingly boring that I vowed to never watch the final film either. So in both mediums I’ve made it 2/3 of the way through before giving up!

    1. Steph » lol re: LotR. I watched the movies and didn’t mind them. I think because each movie was about 2 hours of my time instead of 500 pages of reading! The reading takes far longer. I’m not a movie person in general. Movies don’t move me. But. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who was so bored by the books I couldn’t finish them!

  9. I’m sort of pleased with myself that I have read eight of those! I tried to read Vanity Fair and loooooathed it and didn’t finish, and I’ve always suspected I wouldn’t be a fan of Henry James either, but have never put that to the test. But there are tons of classics to which I am a stranger — Gertrude Stein is a closed book to me (fine with it); Wide Sargasso Sea! I have never read; I’ve got nothing by Tolstoy; The Bluest Eye; Heart of Darkness; All the King’s Men; anything by Theodore Dreiser; A Clockwork Orange. Ah, so many things.

    1. Jenny » yeay! see, I knew there were people who had read the things I haven’t yet gotten too! I haven’t read Theodore Dreiser either, but I don’t feel like TONS have read him so maybe that’s why he didn’t end up on my list. I like Tolstoy, wasn’t crazy about The Bluest Eye but I was a teenager when I read it. I’m not sure what I think of Gertrude Stein. I’m okay with her being a closed book now but maybe in a few more years I”ll give her a try…

  10. I really enjoyed We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It was very atmospheric. I have also read Lolita and The Lord of the Rings, but I haven’t read any of the other books you mention…

    1. Kailana » I’m glad I’m not alone in not having read these authors! And from the other comments about WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE, maybe I do need to give it a try.

  11. I LOVE A Room with a View, it’s one of my favorites. And it’s short. But if you decide to watch a movie adaptation, don’t even bother with the recent BBC version, which adds a horrible epilogue which is NOT in the book — the 1980s version with Helena Bonham Carter is REALLY good.

    The only Hardy I’ve read is Tess of the D’Urbervilles, which I found very slow. However, I’m going to read The Mayor of Casterbridge with my classics group in December, and I’ve heard it’s excellent. I’ll definitely post about it. I’ve also read Vanity Fair which was pretty good but I felt like it could have used some editing. Becky Sharp is one of those heroines which people either love or hate.

    1. Karen K. » I’ll keep that movie tip in mind. I do need to read A ROOM WITH A VIEW. I’d say “why haven’t I yet?” but I know why. There are so many books, and so little time! I’m looking forward to trying Hardy sometime. And Vanity Fair — I’m glad to hear it’s good, and I can understand the need for editing…so many books are like that. Anyway, thanks for the insight.

  12. Skip Lolita, which I never “got,” but for Henry James, it’s hard to beat A Portrait of a Lady. The characters there have a vividness–poor Ralph! evil Madame Merle!–that James does not always achieve.

    He’s stunning.

    1. Shelley » I’ve heard either love it or hate it re:Lolita, but I’m so pleased to hear that PORTRAIT OF A LADY is so rewarding. Can’t wait until my book group starts it!

  13. I’m going to add my two cents in for We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It’s one of my all-time faves, and I wouldn’t call it a scary book. I think Merricat and Connie are two of the most interesting characters in literary fiction.

    I read Lolita quite a few years ago, and all I really remember about it is liking Nabokov’s prose. I need to reread it, but I’ll probably wait a few years for that.

  14. I would gladly join you in reading any of the books you listed (except LOTR, as I haven’t read book 1 or 2 yet). I’m sure it doesn’t help much, but I haven’t read any of them either.

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