14 Books I Want to Read but Never Remember to

Read booksThese are listed in the order I remember them.

  1. Anything by Charles Dickens
    • …because I have a strong feeling that I would enjoy reading Dickens’ tomes. I’ve often seen his name mentioned in reviews of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books and I think that she listed him as one of her literary influences. I’ve also read that, like Rowling, his characters are whimsical, which is highly appealing to me. I can’t wait to try one of his books but whenever I visit the bookstore, I always think his books “Too big to buy right now.”
  2. If on a winter’s night a traveler… by Italo Calvino
    • …because I’ve heard that it’s a book about reading a book of the same title and I find that mind-boggling. But for the life of me, I always forget Calvino’s name when I visit the bookstore and though I remember the book’s title, I always think that it’s a sentence in book and that it’s too ambiguous a clue for the bookseller to search by.
  3. Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
    • …because I want to know if I’ll love her books no matter what. I’ve read some very bad reviews on this novel and it makes me wonder if my reading experience will be similar to those I’ve read. Would I also think Rowling dropped the ball with this novel? That she’s better suited for children’s books only? Only reading will tell. I bought this book shortly after it was published but it’s sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust. You see, it’s a hardback copy and it’s quite a nuisance to haul a big-ass hardback novel everywhere you go and I tend to travel with the books I’m currently reading so for now it sits on shelf with a smattering of dust for company.
  4. Anything by Nalo Hopkinson
    • …because I’ve realized that I’ve hardly read any fantasy novels by someone of African descent much less from the Caribbean or even the country I’m from. Actually, the only fantasy/sci-fi novel I’ve read by a person of color is Kindred by Octavia Butler…and I didn’t like it :/. Well, I read it in college and I really, really hated the cover of the book. (It’s the one of the girl in white on the cover. I thought it was eerie. Yea, I know that makes no sense but it’s how I felt). Also, I tend to dislike stories that incorporate time travel. (Yes, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as well. It’s one of my least liked books in the series.) Anyways, somehow I discovered Hopkinson and after learning that she’s from the Jamaica and that her fantasy novels tend to include Caribbean culture, I immediately wanted to read her books. But I always forget this want when I visit the bookstore and so forget to search for her. I guess I’ll have to place the purchase online.
  5. The Odyssey by Homer
    • …because Homer is the dude! Everyone has heard or read some sort of reference to The Odyssey and numerous authors refer to the text in their writing so I believe I must experience it for myself. Plus, I enjoy reading anything that references Greek mythology. I did read bits of The Odyssey in high school and in college but now I’d like to read the entire text. I always consider purchasing it when I visit the bookstore but somehow I always walk out without it. I probably had the same thought as when I see Dickens’ tomes: “Too big to buy right now.”
  6. I forgot both the title and the author’s name but it’s an account of Roman emperors’ lives. The book is quite scandalous.
    • …because I’m nosy. Whenever this book is mentioned, I’m always curious to read it to find out more. But, as you can tell, I can’t remember the title or the author’s name so I have yet to purchase it. If somehow you know what book I’m talking about, please share the title and author’s name.
  7. One Thousand and One Nights and The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
    • …because they are all classic texts from cultures other than Western Europe and if I read The Odyssey, I must read these too. I always visit their shelves whenever I go to a bookstore but they seem quite big so in the store they remain for now.
  8. Paradise Lost by John Milton
    • …because I am curious to know what it’s about. I’ve heard that it’s on Satan’s fall from Heaven and I would like to see how Milton details that. I guess I’ll have to read my Bible before I start on this so it’s easier for me to note how closely or how far he strays from the Bible’s recount of the event (it’s highly likely I won’t do this but thinking I will makes me feel great). I did attempt to read this back in college…probably freshman year. I gave up after a few sentences. I do have the book (since freshman year) and I have yet to crack it open again. To be revisited.
  9. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
    • …because I read Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor. Linden Hills is one of my favorite novels and the neighborhood that serves as the setting of the story symbolizes the different levels of hell Dante describes. Another reason why I want to read The Divine Comedy is because it’s often referenced in other texts and I like knowing where the references are from otherwise I feel left out (as if the author is sharing an inside joke). I have the book on my bookshelf. I tried reading it once but didn’t have the patience (that was in college as well). To be revisited.
  10. Donald Writes No More by Eddie Stone
    • …because I’ve read Donald Goines’ books and I know that the stories are a bit autobiographical. I always wanted to learn a bit more about Goines. His stories display the harsh reality of life on the streets. He doesn’t soften the blow of that reality but presents it as it is. I’ve searched in stores but have never found this book. I guess I’ll have to order it from Amazon.
  11. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
    • …because I must. I wanted to read this book before I even knew what it was about just because I liked its cover. It was years later that I discovered what it was about and that heightened my want to read it. Usually, whenever I visit the bookstore I’d go over to the sci-fi/fantasy section and gaze at the cover wondering what the lady on it is up to with that big-ass sword but now I have a copy that I bought second-hand at Second Story Books in Dupont Circle at one of its sidewalk sales. To be started.
  12. The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
    • …because it’s intriguing. I forgot where it was that I first heard of this book maybe it was the title that caught me. But since discovering it, I’ve always wanted to read it but have never gotten around to purchasing it. I pick it up every time I visit the bookstore and leaf through its pages but when it’s time to decide what stays and what goes, The Psychopath Test always goes. I tell myself, “Next time I’ll get it.”
  13. Bulfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch
    • …because it’s on mythology. I like to think of myself as a mythology enthusiast so of course I want to read this one too. This is another book I visit every time I go to a bookstore and I never buy it. I always tell myself “It’s not time yet.”
  14. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    • …because it’s always recommended to me and it has received great reviews. Plus, I’ve read that Coelho’s parents tried to turn him from becoming a writer by committing him to a mental institution three times. That made me want to know more about him and his work. Like The Psychopath Test, I pick it up every time I visit the bookstore but always leave it behind. “Next time I’ll get it.”

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8 thoughts on “14 Books I Want to Read but Never Remember to

  1. I have tried to read Rowling’s Casual Vacancy and found it very slow and almost tedious to read. I was so looking forward to it and was totally left disappointed. There were so many characters that even my handmade character chart was getting to be too much and the descriptions were so boring. It was as if she’s been writing fantasy too long so she feels the need to describe the world enough that you can picture it, I don’t need a two page description of a golf course though thanks!
    I keep hearing that when you make it to the end the whole thing ties together and it all is worth it but I couldn’t get there. Some of my friends have said this is their favourite book of all time. For me though, there were days where my husband would look at me and laugh because I would be cleaning the house or doing dishes instead of reading because I felt too guilty to start a different book. I couldn’t bare the thought of having to force myself to read even one more page of that one though. I did eventually give up about 300 pages in (out of 505 pages). I felt like that was enough of a shot to catch my attention and enough of my time wasted.

    I’ve heard her other books were better, under the pen name Robert Gailbraith. However, I question that also, these books were denied by many publishing companies because of their flaws. It wasn’t until it was leaked to be hers that she was finally able to publish and release them with success. Because I like to be fair I will probably give them a try one day but I’m honestly nervous to waste my money again.

    Sorry if this sounds bashy, I LOVED reading Harry Potter, but I was really disappointed. This is not hatred for her or her books but just the pure disappointment I felt as a reader who was full of excitement for this title.


    1. It sucks when you have to procrastinate by doing household chores to keep yourself from reading a boring book. This makes me a bit ambivalent about reading Casual Vacancy. Several of the reviews I’ve read had the same sentiments. They thought the story was tedious as well. I’d like to try the Robert Galbraith books as well. Those have received a mixture of good/bad reviews. I’d like to give her a chance.


  2. I have to say The Alchemist did not do it for me at all. The story itself was not bad, but the writing was heavy-handed in the extreme. It was as if Coelho was trying to shove his moral down readers’ throats and there were certain phrases that were repeated so often I reached a point where I wanted to throw the book across the room if I read them. I only finished it because at that point I hadn’t yet realised that I’m allowed to put down a book I don’t like.

    My college library had a leather-bound edition of the 1001 Nights. We weren’t allowed to check them out (it was several volumes), which is probably a good thing – I wouldn’t have returned them.

    I’ve actually read the Odyssey (not that big once you’re busy with it), and I have the Iliad as well but haven’t read it, and Paradise Lost and The Divine Comedy are on my list as well, along with all Shakespeare’s plays.


    1. You’re the first person I’ve encountered to say that about The Alchemist. I don’t like it when authors try to force their views on the reader either but I’ll give Coelho a chance to see if I react the same. I used to think it’s bad taste to leave a book unfinished if you’ve read more than a quarter of it but after attempting Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule, I said “To hell with that!” and started something new.

      I considered adding Shakespeare to this list as well but decided against it because I didn’t feel as strong a compulsion to read his plays as I did for these works. I would like to read his plays because they are always referenced in other works but I don’t have the patience for the language of his plays, beautiful as it may be. I’m always confused by it.


      1. If Shakespeare’s language irks you, you might want to give Paradise Lost a pass as well – Milton is from the same era and Paradise Lost is a poem, albeit a long one. Actually The Divine Comedy is also a poem and from even longer ago (1200s), but luckily it’s in Italian so we have the benefit of modern English translations. Not so much with Elizabethan English.

        You know, I’ve held Goodkind’s books in my hands so many times and just never felt the urge to actually buy them. If that’s the book that pushed you over the edge regarding non-finishing, then I’m not going to wonder about it any more. (BTW, the one that pushed me over the edge was Moby Dick.)


        1. True, but my curiosity about the text overrules my dislike of the language (for now).

          I liked the idea Goodkind had for his story but the execution irked me. I though the narration was repetitive in some spots and the protagonist too worried about being unable to bed the girl he likes. Moby Dick seems to be a hit and miss with people. Those I know who have read it either love it or hate it.


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