Meme: Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I've Never Read – TBR bookshelf edition

As my regular visitors will have noticed, I’m going a bit nuts with memes. This one was thought up by Julia of The Broke and the Bookish and properly belongs to Top Ten Tuesday postings, but as I came to it late I am posting it today.

There were so many books to choose from that I decided to only include books that I actually own (and have in some cases owned for several years).

  • Brennu-Njáls Saga (The Saga of Burnt Njal) – This is one of the longer Sagas and by all accounts a juicy one, full of heroism, betrayals, passion, revenge, conspiracies and blood-feuds, but I have never got round to reading it. Shame on me, as this is one of the fundamental works of Icelandic literature.
  • Don Quixote by Cervantes – I actually bought a copy a couple of years ago, but I have never felt in the mood to read it.
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – I have started reading this something like five times, and never been able to bring myself to read farther than about 50 pages. However, I know this is a book I could like.
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – Same story as with Jonathan Strange, except only three tries.
  • After Babel by George Steiner – I have an M.A. degree in translation and this is a seminal book in that field, so I really should have read it, but I haven’t.
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas – I have read a couple of edited versions and one comic book and have seen several movies based on it, but I have never read the whole thing.
  • The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer (shorter version) – As someone who is deeply interested in folktales, mythology and anthropology, I feel I should have read this, even if some of the theories are now considered a bit dodgy.
  • Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco – After reading what Eco said about it in Mouse or Rat: Translation as Negotiation, I decided I wanted to read it, but it has been in my TBR bookcase for 5 years and still remains unread.
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White – I have actually finished the first book, The Sword in the Stone, and started the second, The Queen of Air and Darkness, but I never got any further, yet I loved it. Still can’t quite understand why I didn’t go on with it.
  • The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin – My regular readers will know that I actually started reading this one a couple of months ago and then put it on hold, but it fits the meme because I have owned this book for over 4 years without reading it, and yet I love travelogues.

Honourable mention that I don’t own but feel a bit guilty for not having read:
Sjálfstætt Fólk (Independent People) by Halldór Laxness – This is supposed to be THE Icelandic literary masterpiece, but I have never been able to bring myself to read it because I hate the way Laxness has written just about all the female main characters in those of his books I have read.


Jamie said…
Thanks for participating with us this week!

-Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish
George said…
Whenever I read a translated book that doesn't grab me, I don't know if the problem is the book or the translation. I read DON QUIXOTE in the Edith Grossman translation. It took me forever! However, I read THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO in the Robin Buss translation and loved every minute!
Bibliophile said…
George, I know what you mean about translations. I gave up on the English translation of "The Girl Who Played With Fire" because I was unhappy with it. I think I'll take a look at the Icelandic translation of "The Shadow of the Wind" to see if it appeals to me more than the English translation.
Anne Bennett said…
OK. So it's Saturday but I still wanted to participate. I hope you are willing to take a look at my top ten "I can't believe I haven't read" books, too.

I just finished The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon so I should put the Shadow of the Wind on my list, too.

Are you in Iceland blogging in English? Very impressive.

George said…
I managed to get through THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST. The books are deeply flawed (perhaps in part because of the translations), but Stieg Larsson's storytelling is certainly powerful. Lisbeth Salander is a compelling character.
Bibliophile said…
Anne, yes. I have a degree in English and work as a translator, and writing in English is one way of keeping my English fluid.

George, I liked the Icelandic translation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, so when I eventually do read the other two, I will go for those and not the English ones.

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