1. Bold what you have read
2. Italicise what you started but couldn't finish
The second seems to be the main point –apparently this is a list of the books more often left unfinished or something like that. To make it slightly more interesting I will add a couple of comments here and there, on all the unfinished books and some of the others.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Well, almost –perhaps I should have italicized. When I had to read it for high school I did finish it, but cheated and skipped some of the chapters which are unrelated sub-stories told by characters within the novel. I have the firm intention of rereading it without cheating some day.
This was the second novel I read in my life –the first being Robinson Crusoe- or so I thought for most of my childhood. Later I discovered that the version I had read was a heavily abridged edition, perhaps a fourth of the length of the original novel. (Robinson I had read unabridged, honestly!) I only caught up with the whole book some four or five years ago. Great stuff.
This one is high on my list of Great Books that Suck –okey, I exaggerate, but it had little or nothing that appealed to me. I like Stendhal much better than Flaubert.
Tried it right after finishing The Iliad with no problems, but got distracted with other stuff and never picked it up again. Needless to say I fully intend to read it some day.
Pride and Prejudice
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
See my review of the whole Baroque Cycle. I fully understand why this one is on the list; it took me about half a year to go through it. The other two volumes are quite more difficult to put down.
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian: a novel
I’m starting to read this one just now! Looks promising, so it will soon become a bolded item.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
This one and The Name on the Rose were very high on my list of Favourite Books Ever for several years (roughly the second half of my teens). I can’t understand what happened to Eco after this; The Island of the Day Before and Baudolino were miles below the previous novels in quality. I have not read The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, but my hopes are not high.
The Count of Monte Cristo
Read it in a children’s edition which must have been about one twentieth of the size of the original book… so no, I don’t even count it as unfinished. Definitely want to read it some day.
A Clockwork Orange
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible: a novel
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Yes, I read the complete edition of this one, including the description of the battle of Waterloo, the philosophy of convents and the disquisition on criminal jargons. And loved it, by the way.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Read this one on recommendation by my cynical friend, which reminds me that it's been a while since the last time we had one of our little blogfights -maybe he will come and make some sarcastic comments on my readings to enliven things a bit
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
??? How can many people leave this book unfinished? It must be the easiest to read great novel ever written. Maybe they were put off by discussions of prime numbers and the Monty Hall problem?
I assume it is Machiavelli. It was long ago that I tried, and I’m not sure why I didn’t finish it. Probably I just didn’t find it interesting.
The Sound and the Fury
Angela's Ashes: a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People's History of the United States: 1492-present
Yes, I got this one and read it in the last months, after finishing The Baroque Cycle. It is better crafted as a novel and mostly more exciting to read, but the ending is more disappointing and it didn’t have as many little fascinating things as TBC. Also, I am somewhat less interested in twentieth-century geekery than in seventeenth-century geekery. Leibniz beats Turing all the way.
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Notice that the first two parts of The Baroque Cycle are on the list, but not the third. Anyone who has invested the time of going through the first two will not leave the last one unfinished and make the whole previous effort pointless.
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
I read most of this one standing at the WH Smith shop of the Heathrow bus terminal, once that I got stuck waiting there a couple of hours for a bus and had finished off my reading material on the plane.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an Inquiry into Values
Made a half-hearted attempt as a teenager. Didn’t get too far.
I'm not surprised about The Silmarillion, but it's perplexing that The Hobbit is on the list and Lord of the Rings is not. I know many people who tried it and left it at the prologue or shortly after.
In Cold Blood : A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences
Another surprise. How can you pick up this book and (assuming you like pirate stories, and if not why would you pick it up?) not read it complete? What’s wrong with you?
The Three Musketeers
See here for some intensely personal comments on Dumas.
Overall: 32 read and 5 unfinished, out of 106 in total. Or if you insist on counting the Quixote as unfinished, then I count The Historian as finished to balance –I am reading it now and liking it, so it is just a matter of days till it can be added to the list. How did you do?