12 votes

What are some books you've bought ages ago, but never have gotten around to?

I buy a bunch of books each year, but it seems less than half of them get read.

Sometimes I'm just satisfied by the notion that I will eventually read the book and never get around to it.
However, I do actually go back to some of these books. For instance I bought Gene Wolfe's Shadow of the Torturer/Sword of the Lictor back in 2015 but recently finished it back in summer of 2018.

Some have sat on the shelf for much longer.

Orson Scott Card's Xenocide comes to mind. I read Ender's Game back in 2013, read the sequel some time in 2014, and told myself I'd get around to the third book (Xenocide) but I never have.

Another one I picked up last year that I've been meaning to read is The Confessions of Saint Augustine.

So, what are some books you've been neglecting? Write them down here to put them to rest, or even better, to motivate yourself to actually read them!!

11 comments

  1. Tlon_Uqbar Link
    I got a copy of The Brothers Karamazov as a prize in a writing contest in high school. It sat on my shelf for over 5 years before I got to it. Part was that it's a pretty big book. Part of it was...

    I got a copy of The Brothers Karamazov as a prize in a writing contest in high school. It sat on my shelf for over 5 years before I got to it. Part was that it's a pretty big book. Part of it was that I was afraid it wouldn't live up to the hype. It absolutely did and instantly became one of my favorite books.

    Similarly I have a nice hardcover copy of Murakami's 1Q83 that I still need to get around to (bought it when that came out, however many years ago). I'm not the biggest Murakami fan, but I want to give him another try. Of course I chose a massive book to give him another try on. I will read it though! (Someday).

    5 votes
  2. Dovey Link
    I have a lovely copy of Swann's Way, the first volume of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. I've had it several years now and never got very far with it. I do like it but reading it seems...

    I have a lovely copy of Swann's Way, the first volume of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. I've had it several years now and never got very far with it. I do like it but reading it seems like a lot of work, and now I'd have to go back and start over because it's been too long. Maybe some day.

    4 votes
  3. [4]
    JuniperMonkeys Link
    Beryl Markham's West with the Night. Every time I read this, I get a third of the way through. I love aviation history and general historical derring-do, but Markham's got a sort of carefree...
    • Beryl Markham's West with the Night. Every time I read this, I get a third of the way through. I love aviation history and general historical derring-do, but Markham's got a sort of carefree privilege rustling with gleeful colonialist plumage, and I have a really hard time with it. Hemingway loved it. I guess it is like Super Hemingway. I don't really like Hemingway. Currently trying Markham again, though.

    • Guy Gavriel Kay's Lions of Al-Rassan. Aside from Under Heaven, which I liked very much, I've found Kay's books to be very... god, I don't even know. To me, they're cosmic background fiction -- I think he's a technically good writer, nothing generalizable about the way he writes rubs me the wrong way... I dunno. They just don't grab me. I've heard Lions is great, but there it sits, and has sat since about 2009.

    • Ian McDonald's Dervish House and River of Gods. I'm pretty sure Desolation Road is a way better book in my mind than it actually was, so I don't really want to ruin it. I think River of Gods has been sitting on my Kindle since the first weirdo trapezoid Kindle.

    • James Hornfisher, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour; Randy Shilts, And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic; Christine Alexander, Eastern Inferno: The Journals of a German Panzerjäger on the Eastern Front, 1941-1943; etc. After this string last year, I started trying to read less books with colons in the title. I'll get to these when I can space them out with more non-colon books.

    • David Talbot's Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love. This is my dumbest one; aside from the colon, I forgot what this is about, so every time I pick a new book it's just a nothin' in my brain. I just looked it up and apparently it's about San Francisco in the '70s. I thought Philly was the City of Love, though. Anyway, it has really good reviews. It sounds interesting. I'll have forgotten about it by the time I give up on West with the Night again.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      cadadr Link Parent
      Oh I have that, got it because set in Istanbul, where I am from. But I decided to not read it when trying to trim down the piles of books half if which was impulse-bought. Do you think it is...

      Ian McDonald's Dervish House

      Oh I have that, got it because set in Istanbul, where I am from. But I decided to not read it when trying to trim down the piles of books half if which was impulse-bought. Do you think it is particularly interesting and/or well-put-together?

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        patience_limited Link Parent
        I quite liked Dervish House, but I'm a completist where Ian McDonald is concerned. It's a quieter and more character-driven story than the India and Brasil settings.

        I quite liked Dervish House, but I'm a completist where Ian McDonald is concerned. It's a quieter and more character-driven story than the India and Brasil settings.

        2 votes
  4. cadadr Link
    I have around 70-80 of them. I have started a marathon where I will try to read at least one per week. Currently I am reading Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt, which has already become a...

    I have around 70-80 of them. I have started a marathon where I will try to read at least one per week. Currently I am reading Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt, which has already become a favourite of mine halfway through (I will talk about it tommorrow in the "what are you reading these days" thread).

    Glancing my "unread" shelf for some highlights...

    • A collection of plays by Melih Cevdet Anday, a (late) well known poet, who is quite good at writing theatre pieces too.

    • I nostri antenati by Italo Calvino, a collection of three historical-fantastic novellas. I have read Il visconte dimezzato and Il cavaliere inesistente, but i haven't read Il barone rampante yet.

    • Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey; and a few other stuff about the genocide and what happened later.

    • Historiai of Heredotos and the Fragments of Herakleitos, I was really into Greek mythology but study and life impedes me the enjoyment of reading these.

    • Piccoli equivoci senza importanza by Antonio Tabucchi. Tabucchi is a great author that likes to play language games, but this one is particularly difficult.

    • Ulysses anf Dublibers by Joyce. Ulysses is the epitome of a difficult text for a non-native. But I will do it, I am totally sure, I guess...

    • I have been reading the Bible on and off since a fuckton of time. The original plan was that I would read it first and then read the Quran and make historical, mythological and literary comparisons. Then four years passed and I am at page 600 something, at the beginning of Esdra (it., guess it's Ezra in English). Maybe I pull it off this summer when I finally learn if I will qualify for a master's. God knows (even the most religious person would doubt that if they read till the end of the two Chronicles, w/o skipping and with an open mind)...

    2 votes
  5. patience_limited Link
    Doris Kearns Goodwin, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream; I'm not quite up for a journey through where my country could have done better and chose not to. Yuval Noah Hariri, Homo Deus; this...

    Doris Kearns Goodwin, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream; I'm not quite up for a journey through where my country could have done better and chose not to.
    Yuval Noah Hariri, Homo Deus; this should be in my sweet spot for recreational reading, but the hype around Hariri lately is off-putting.
    Halldor Laxness, Independent People; more on my "should read" than my "want to read" list.
    Rebecca Goldstein, Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity; want to read, just haven't gotten around to it
    Brendan Burns, Designing Distributed Systems; just not feeling the enthusiasm for new toys right now.

    1 vote
  6. versificator Link
    Shōgun (1975) Gardens of the Moon (1999) I struggle to pick up fiction in general.

    Shōgun (1975)

    Gardens of the Moon (1999)

    I struggle to pick up fiction in general.

    1 vote
  7. kavi Link
    I have a copy of C++ Primer. It's good, but I only got a far as printing out Hello World before giving up. It's just a harder language, which I'm not ready for yet. The syntax is kind of weird...

    I have a copy of C++ Primer. It's good, but I only got a far as printing out Hello World before giving up.

    It's just a harder language, which I'm not ready for yet. The syntax is kind of weird too, although it's probably because it's a low level language. Prefer Python to get stuff down and Haskell when I have a cheatsheet.

    1 vote
  8. writingsolo Link
    I've had a copy of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest on my bookshelf for over a decade now. I read the first few pages when I was in high school, thought, "this is too much for me," and put it...

    I've had a copy of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest on my bookshelf for over a decade now. I read the first few pages when I was in high school, thought, "this is too much for me," and put it aside. Read his short stories, his essays. Devoured them. But this book, it makes me feel like I'm trying to read Finnegans Wake by Joyce. I think it's about time to give it another shot. Either that, or put it on the communal bookshelf.

    I also have several Best American Short Stories collections that I mean to read, but those don't always measure up to my expectations, so I'm generally hesitant to read them. I absolutely hate reading books with writing styles that strike me as pat or expected. I want to feel like the author has read a lot of literature, and not just page turners.