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The Unread Books

Last weekend was the Wisconsin Book Festival, and although I didn’t go to any events because I’m lame, I did pick up a few new books.  Our campus book store had a whole display of used copies of EW 100 New Classics… how was I supposed to resist?

Luckily, I reorganized the big bookshelf in my living room last month, pulling out all of the unread books and making space for them to have their own shelf.  This was partially out of necessity to keep myself organized and partially out of a compulsive need to change something.  Boyfriend and I split up in the middle of September, and after breakups I tend to need to change something.  This time I rearranged my bookshelf, which was better recourse than the time I dyed my naturally light hair a hideous shade of dark brownish-black.  A bad choice, but I digress.

After all is said I done I have 28 unread books on the shelf — seven of which were added in the last week.  The bold books are the ones I got during the book festival, and the rest are ones I’ve been carting around promising I will read them.  Someday, someday…

Memoirs/Creative Nonfiction

  1. In the Land of Invisible Women by Quanta Ahmed, M.D.
  2. Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger
  3. The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
  4. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  5. An American Childhood by Anne Dillard
  6. An Unexpected Light by Jason Elliot
  7. “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” by Richard P. Feynman
  8. Glory Road by Don Haskins
  9. House by Tracy Kidder
  10. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  11. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris (this I’m saving until Christmas)
  12. Persepolis and Persepolis II by Marijane Satrapi (Fall Into Reading 2008)


  1. The Trouble With Poetry by Billy Collins
  2. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  3. Villette by Charlotte Bronte (Fall Into Reading 2008)
  4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  5. The Hours by Michael Cunningham
  6. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
  7. Because It’s Bitter, and Because It’s My Heart by Joyce Carol Oates
  8. Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates
  9. Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien


  1. Shakespeare’s Language by Frank Kermode
  2. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman
  3. Telling True Stories by Mark Kramer and Wendy Call
  4. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (Fall Into Reading 2008)
  5. Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam
  6. Being Good by Hsing Yen

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • benjaminwheeler October 24, 2008, 6:40 am

    I know exactly what you mean. There are times when, for not apparent reason, I’ll stop what I’m doing and rearrange my living space. Afterward, even though it’s the same stuff, having it in a different place makes things feel better, less stagnant, more comfortable. It’s familiar but foreign at the same time.

    Also, whenever you get around to it, let me know what you think of Kavalier and Clay. I read that, uh, sometime last year, and I loved the hell out of it.

  • Rebecca Reid October 24, 2008, 12:27 pm

    Great lists. So many of them are on my lists too. I’ve read Persepolis and The Hours but I think those are the only ones I’ve read…

  • bermudaonion October 24, 2008, 12:57 pm

    I have a lot of books, too, but I enjoy knowing I’ll have a choice when I’m through with my current read. It gives me a sense of security. I do have a couple “what was I thinking?” when I got that one, but most of them are books I’m looking forward to reading.

  • Kim October 24, 2008, 2:36 pm

    Ben: Good, I’m glad needed to rearrange isn’t just a weird me thing 🙂 I’m very exited about Kavalier and Clay, I’ve only heard good things about it from people that have great taste in books.

    Rebecca: I found The Hours at a used book store here in Madison and the cover looked so cool that I had to get it. Plus the movie looks fun, but I’d rather read the book first.

    bermudaonion: Yeah, you’re right, there is something nice knowing you have books waiting for you, and not just on a list of books to get someday, but actually where you can see them. There are a few on the list I’m not sure why I have, impulse purchases probably 🙂

  • bkclubcare October 24, 2008, 4:43 pm

    The Hours was intense – I actually read Mrs. Dalloway before and then watched the movie last. It was a good trilogy.

    I enjoyed The Year of Magical Thinking if ‘enjoy’ is quite the right word. I have yet to read any more Didion, though, and I do want to.

  • fyreflybooks October 24, 2008, 9:46 pm

    Kavalier and Clay is fantastic, and if it’s your first Chabon book (like it was for me), you’re in for a treat!

    The only other book on that list that I’ve read is Angela’s Ashes, which I didn’t really care for… although I think I’m the only one on the planet who feels that way.

  • raych October 24, 2008, 9:59 pm

    Also loved K&C, but have yet to like ANYthing else by Chabon. Sorrow.

    I clutch Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs to my bosom, though. Especially if you’re in your mid-late 20’s/early 30’s.

  • Andi October 25, 2008, 4:48 am

    Oh gosh, I’m right there with you on changing things up when I break up with someone. I generally chop my hair off or dye it a crazy red color. Not this time, just cleaned out my closet. lol

  • Kim October 25, 2008, 5:14 am

    bkclubcare: I’m waiting to read A Year of Magical Thinking for when I can sit down and do it all at the same time, I don’t think it’s the kind of book to read in pieces. So, I probably won’t get to it until over Christmas break.

    fyreflybooks: I’m way excited for Kavalier and Clay, it’s rapidly moving up my to read list.

    raych: I remember your review of Sex, Drugs…, I meant to read it awhile ago and then just never got around to it… story of my unread books pile 🙂

    Andi: I uasully change my hair to something embarrassing — dark red or dark brown — and no one has the heart to tell me it looks bad. This time I rearranged books, which I think is better. Cleaning your closet is better too 🙂

  • Louise October 26, 2008, 6:12 pm

    Great list I must say. I have some of your books on my own TBR-list, and I only read Angela’s Ashes from your list. I found it was a great read, and will keep an eye on your blog and look out for your review of it. I am afraid to begin counting how many unread books I actually have at home on my shelves, because I cannot stop buying and/or loaning. And if I loan something (library or friends) I read those books before I read anything I have at home 😉


  • Kim October 27, 2008, 2:24 am

    Lou: I got Angela’s Ashes at the library book sale last week; it’s sort of low on the book queue right now, but I’ve heard lots of good things about it.

  • Mike October 27, 2008, 6:41 pm

    K&C was my first Chabon, so my memory of it is fuzzy. As I recall, though, even with its bookends of magic realism it veers closer to the predictable than his far sexier Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Also: why isn’t Summerland more read? Anyone have a theory?

    On a last note, In Defense of Food seemed to me to simply repackage the more marketable ideas from The Omnivore’s Dilemma with limited evidence or analysis. It’s one of those books I wish I hadn’t taken the time to read.

  • Kim October 28, 2008, 12:42 am

    Mike: I don’t know anything by Chabon except this book, but if I like it as much as I hope I am going to like it I’m looking for others. I read like 2/3 of In Defense of Food earlier this summer and then gave up, but I want to finish it so I can say I’ve finished it. I’ve heard The Omnivore’s Dilemma is dry, so I have no doubt this book could just be a marketable repackage.