5 Books I Have NOT Read, But Should


So I have decided to use this blog post to shame myself a little bit. The shame comes from a list books that I have not read, but feel that I should have by now. Particularly because I own all the books on the list, buying them with the thought that I should read them. Now obviously I have not felt enough guilt about not reading them to actually read them, so obviously I am not that shamed by it, but it is something I keep telling myself I need to do.

What I mean by books I need / should read are ones that I just remember being a big deal at some point in my past. Either they were widely regarded novels that I had not read that related to some other cultural artifact I was interested in or they are often used as references in other areas I am interested in and feel I should understand the source material better. I know that is vague, but you will understand better when you actually see the list, which will go from my feeling of least shameful to most.

5. Catcher in the Rye

IMG_0465I will be honest I think this is because I saw movies where it was referenced and there is a whole following around this book. Its popularity continues into today and it is most well known for its connection to the shooting of John Lennon. What in some ways resparked the interest with my post is it being an influence of Perks of Being a Wallflower, which is a book that I also want to read. Which for me means I need to read Catcher in the Rye before I read Perks of Being a Wallflower.

4. Catch-22

IMG_0466This is another one that due to its acclaim and the fact that the phrase Catch-22 has become a common phrase makes me really interested in reading the book. It is very well regarded and considered one of the greats for the twentieth century. The story sounds interesting and the combination of satirical and somewhat historical novel is just great.

3. Atlas Shrugged

IMG_0467Okay, so this is cheating a little bit because I have attempted to start this book multiple times and just cannot get enough momentum to keep going. I will admit I do not think I have made it through the first 100 pages, which with a book that size I feel like you need  to at least get to that point before you can truly say you give up on something. At the same time Atlas Shrugged is referenced all the time in discussions of politics, religion, capitalism, philosphy, etc. It would probably be good to have an understanding of what people are discussing. My mom says I should just watch part 1 and 2 of the movie and then pick up the book from part 3, but that is cheating in my opinion and won’t really count as having read the book.

2. 1984

IMG_0468This is one that I really, really, really need to read. It is one of the quintessential dystopia novels, again referenced a lot when talking about where the world is headed and what to expect. Just saying 1984 so much comes to people’s minds, even those of us who haven’t read the book. When the whole Amazon Kindle debacle happened I still understood the irony generally, even if I did not have the specifics.

1. Neuromancer

IMG_0469This is my ultimate shame. I have studied digital media and one of the biggest names in cyber punk is Neuromancer. Now to acquit myself slightly I have read other William Gibson and loved it, but I have not seemed to find the time to read Neuromancer. It is the book that was often discussed in many of my classes and again many discussions that people have today about the Internet and worldwide web can be traced back to this book in particular. It being my field of study just makes it that much worse that I have not read this book.

So there you have it, my not-so-secret shame that there are some probably amazing books that I have not read yet. I will read these at some point, especially now that I have posted about it hopefully it will get me moving in that direction, although I am reading like 4 or 5 books right now (not a good idea). And anyone who says that I should have read some of these in high school, David and I have had this discussion. Go to five friends from college and find out what they read in high school – there will be less that matches up than you might think.

8 responses to “5 Books I Have NOT Read, But Should

  1. I’ve only read two of those, Neuromancer, and I barely remember 1984, as it was when I was in grade school (might have even been IN 1984, now that I think about it).

    I have a small pile of books, too, for the exact same reason, I should read them because they’re considered classics — Lord of the Flies is one, The Metamorphosis. I’ll get to them at some point, but sadly my free reading time has slowed down to a crawl.

    Have you read Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash? I feel SC is just as ‘important’ a book as Neuromancer, possibly even more so — it’s a little more of a comic book vibe (probably because it was originally conceived as a graphic novel) but it’s a lot of fun and eye-opening to see how many elements of virtual worlds can be traced back to that single vision.


    • I have not read “Snow Crash” it is another one that I need to read and had heard about during my studies, but “Neuromancer” was definitely mentioned more often (at least in my memory). I also have not bought “Snow Crash” yet, but do notice it every time I am in a bookstore. There are really too many books I need / want to read and I often get distracted by new books that have come out.


  2. ‘My mom says I should just watch part 1 and 2 of the [Atlas Shrugged] movie and then pick up the book from part 3, but that is cheating in my opinion and won’t really count as having read the book.’

    Ooh, yeah, don’t do that! That would be very bad. Not only do the movies fail to capture the power of the novel, but they actually spoil the novel. Atlas Shrugged is partly a mystery story. Avoid the movies like the plague until you’ve read the novel.


    • Thanks for the insight. I really do want to read the whole book. I think one of the problems I have had sometimes is I need to carve out some time to just sit and read for a good long while where I do not have other distractions so I can really get far enough into the book that I have the momentum to keep going.


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  5. My secret shame is my list of books to read is way more low brow than your list of books.


    • Well while I want to and feel like I need to read these books, I am also indulging in some lower brow entertainment reading. Recently finished Ready Player One and that is just a smorgasbord of nostalgic references and really has something for everyone.


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