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Guest Post – Not To Be Read List

This guest post is from Lisa Roe, from Online Publicist. She’s a favorite in the book blogging community due to her love of books and willingness to trade free books for reviews. 😉

My hand is duly stuck up in the air, my wrist working itself into a frenzy as it flaps my hand back and forth. Fingers outstretched, I accept my judgment and fate:

I have not read The Kite Runner, do not own a copy of it, and have no current plans to acquire it. *sheepish grin*

Trish’s review of Hosseini’s juggernaut (May 29), and her embarrassment at thinking she is the last person on the planet to cover it made me chuckle a bit. I feel as though I’m always the last one to hop on board the bestseller/classics train. And I work in the publishing industry! If it’s difficult for me to keep up, then there’s no hope for anyone!

I completely understand where Trish is coming from. I was in a bookstore with my boyfriend the other day and left feeling as though I have never read a book before in my entire life. As we walked past shelves and shelves of Coelho, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Lamott, Dickens and Giffin, our conversation consisted of, “Have you read this?” “No.” “This?” “No.” “This?” “No.” “This?” “No. Now leave me alone.”

Aagh! I was sure I had read a book somewhere along the way. I mean, I’m in my 30’s. I’ve gone to a number of different universities (Literacy does not equal decisiveness. ?) I’ve been dragging books along with me since I was a toddler and my pudgy fingers first fumbled with the half-inch thick pages of cardboard books. I know books!

And while I have a very rich appreciation for the Canons of Literature and Bestsellers, I am hosting a moment of rebellion. I pound my fist on the table and refuse to comply! I am very aware of how amazing a shared reading experience is. One that fosters conversation and encourages freethinking. It’s what my work is all about! My encouragement here is to point out that there is an average of 170,000 books published in the US every year, which is an impossible TBR stack to keep up with. And while I have absolutely nothing ill to say towards my unread titles or authors, I really only have time in my life to read 167,000 titles a year. Really now. I’m only human…

I now happily and unashamedly stand on my desk (thank you Dead Poet’s Society) and proudly declare the titles I have never and chances are, will never read!

  • The Alchemist
  • Catch-22
  • Dante’s Inferno (but I keep buying copies of it)
  • Great Expectations
  • Harry Potter 5, 6 & 7 (I read the first 4! Does that count?)
  • The Hobbit
  • Marley & Me
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma
  • The Secret
  • The Shopaholic books
  • Tuesdays with Morrie
  • A Wrinkle in Time

What’s on your Not To Be Read (NTBR) list?

| Tags: , , 39 comments »

39 Responses to “Guest Post – Not To Be Read List”

  1. Michelle

    Here from NCLM…how fun to have a guest post! On my NTBR list includes:

    Anything by the Bronte sisters
    Anything by Danielle Steele
    Catch 22
    The Grapes of Wrath
    The Lord of the Flies

    But you never know.


  2. bybee

    Almost everything on your list, except I want to read The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

    Wonderful guest post! Kind of takes the sting out of Trish getting married and going on a honeymoon.


  3. Mrs S | Blue Archipelago

    Hey Lisa – good to see your typeface 😉

    I think I’d have to say Pride & Prejudice – War & Peace – Les Miserables.

    You’re so right – there are too many books available in this world for us to read in a lifetime. Though I often wish I could give up work and just read all day to try and make at least some headway!


  4. bkclubcare

    What a great idea! I don’t think I will ever attempt War & Peace, either. Nor Dante! I tried to read Grapes of Wrath and put it down, and tried The Last of the Mohicans and prefer the movie. I’ve only read one Harry Potter and I’m not sure which one it was! So I doubt I’ll ever get to it.

    On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed Lord ofthe Flies, Catch22 and Les Miserables, go figure.


  5. Alicia

    i agree the secret i would not read!

    here from nacomleavmo


  6. Kim

    I am always years behind in reading the newest best sellers. I have read a lot of the books you mentioned, but some I don’t remember too well! I did enjoy The Kite Runner, but only read it recently. NCLM


  7. Kim L

    War and Peace
    anything by John Grisham and Michael Chrichton that I haven’t already read.
    anything self-help

    That pretty much sums it up


  8. Rebecca Reid

    I won’t be reading War and Peace….


  9. -

    Catch 22’s definitely on my NTBR list. War and Peach as well! 😛


  10. Christina

    Interesting question! Anything by Orson Scott Card. (I hated Ender’s Game and not just because it was required reading.) War & Peace. I’m sure there are more, they just don’t come to mind.


  11. Jeane

    I’m never going to read Tuesdays with Morrie, Catch-22, or The Da Vinci Code! But a lot of those others on your list I’ve read and liked. It makes me laugh when people say I’m well-read, or read alot, because every time I go to the library or a bookstore, ninety percent of the titles on the shelves are complete strangers to me!


  12. mellymel

    War & Peace
    Da Vinci Code
    Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    Clockwork Orange

    pretty much sci-fi, fantasy or anything over 500 pages is out 🙂


  13. Matt’s Blogosphere 6/8/2008 « Enter the Octopus

    […] A “not-to-be-read list?” […]

  14. lisamm

    I liked the Da Vinci Code and Tuesdays with Morrie (gasp! horror!)

    but I will NOT be reading:

    War and Peace
    Harry Potter (back off! I don’t care what anyone says! It’s NOT my thing!!)
    The Book Thief
    The Secret


  15. ChristineMM

    “A New Earth”. After hearing it praised on Oprah I picked up a used copy dirt cheap. I cannot bring myself to read it. I glanced at a few pages and it seems like a rehash of stuff well covered over and over in self-help books.

    “The Secret”, glanced at the first few pages at a relative’s house. Seems the same thing. blah, blah, blah.

    “Atonement” I could not get through the first chapter. I gave up. I wondered what was wrong with me?

    I am surprised at some of what is on other’s lists. “The Book Thief” really affected me last year (it was great IMO) , and “Lord of the Flies” I read two years ago I think it was, and it really shook me up. Both of those actually put me in a mood that stayed with me all day long even when not reading!


  16. Nymeth

    lol, I love this idea. I wish I would put The Alchemist NTBR list. Unfortunately I can’t, because I’ve read it, along with 3 other books by Coelho (people kept giving them to me and insisting!) I want those hours of my life back. I know a lot of people like him, but I honestly can’t think of an author I dislike more. So everything else by him would be on my list.

    Angels & Demons (The Da Vinci code was enough)
    Moby Dick
    The Scarlet Letter
    The Secret (and pretty much any other self-help book…they are not my thing)
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


  17. Michael Wade

    Great post, Lisa.

    I’ve got to say something on behalf of War and Peace. I’m a mere 1000 pages into it and can honestly say that, Shakespeare aside, it’s the best thing I’ve read. Great characters and stunning insight. Don’t let its size keep you from tackling it.

    As for my Not To Be Read List:

    – anything by Harold Robbins

    – most dysfunctional family books


  18. Tina

    Wow! great question.

    1) ANYTHING with the words Harry Potter;
    2) ANYTHING that will make me cry;
    3) ANYTHING that will make me look too scholarly;
    4) A math book;
    5) Anything further by:

    John Grisham


  19. BooksPlease

    I agree with Michael about War and Peace. It’s a great book and I was surprised how easy it is to read.

    I’ve read about half of your NTBR books, but I can’t imagine I’ll ever read Catch 22 or Clockwork Orange, or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or … I’ll have to think about the rest.

    Great post.


  20. Megan

    Interesting reading comments and seeing many books I have read because they were either a) on my younger brothers’ bookshelves, b) assigned in my Lit major classes in college, or c) easily accessible during my hours working in a public library. I think my NTBR list currently includes
    1. a lot of classic philosophy
    2. anything I haven’t already read by Augusten Burroughs
    and 3. science fiction as a genre (I just don’t get it).


  21. Lisa Roe

    LOL. Your responses have me cracking up! It’s funny that so many people mentioned War and Peace. I suppose that one is so far outside of my ability to relate (I’m right there with you, MellyMel. I have a hard time approaching anything beyond 300 pages) that it completely slipped past me!

    It’s great to see all of you here. ‘m SO happy everyone had fun with this and came up with their own NTBR’s!


  22. callmeabookworm

    Most anything that has been nominated for or won a prestigious book award, Man Booker and the like. I have many of them, but something keeps me from reading them. Why? I know not!


  23. Cheryl

    Nice guest blog Lisa. Good to hear that I am not the only one that feels that way sometimes about books and having someone ask if I have read it.

    It is hard to say what I won’t read but I guess I would have to say

    Nora Roberts, Danielle Steele, Dean Koontz (tried a few and couldn’t get into them), James Patterson (tried reading and got bored but did realize that I like his audio books better), Jeffery Deaver (read The Sleeping Doll and it was ok).

    There are a few others but can’t think of them right now


  24. ravenous reader

    DaVinci Code
    The Secret
    Harry Potter

    I join you in having NOT read everything on your list (with the exception of Wrinkle in Time).

    I typically shy away from anything that’s proclaimed a “blockbuster hit,” anything that has a movie in the works before the book even hits the shelf, or anything that has action figures or other merchandise assocaiated with it. Maybe I’ve missed some really good reads that way – but there’s always plenty to read, so I’m not worried 🙂


  25. This Book For Free

    I have read Harry Potter in audio, and Shopaholic in books. I love Shopaholic series, very funny!

    I found that I can catch up to classics better in audio like when I”m scrubbing my toilet. What better time to listen eh?


  26. Sam Houston

    DaVinci Code
    Harry Potter series
    Everything by James Patterson
    Everything by Tom Clancy
    Everything by Danielle Steele

    And I’m afraid that War and Peace is going to be on the list no matter how hard I try to read and enjoy it. I’ve been struggling with it since December and that’s probably part of the problem. I need to put everything else aside and concentrate on the thing.


  27. Jennifer

    What a brilliant post! As much as I loved The Kite Runner, I absolutely love this call to action. I will post my own NTBR list tonight.


  28. Bonnie Jacobs

    I tried to read “Omnivore’s Dilemma” and even wrote a review that explains why I didn’t finish it:

    I like “Great Expectations” enough to have re-read it.

    When Madeleine L’Engle died last year, I re-read “A Wrinkle in Time” and rated it a 10/10. (But Lisa, you know I like time travel.)

    I do have an “un-listed” NTBR list, by which I mean it would never have occurred to me to “list” them. What a fun idea you’ve come up with!

    My NTBR:

    Romance novels, including Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele, and especially series romance novels

    Horror novels, including Dean Koontz (I read “Intensity” for a book club, and all I remember is a body hanging in a closet of an RV) and Stephen King (even though I liked his book “On Writing” because I’m a writer)

    Vampire novels, such as those by Laurell K. Hamilton, because I can’t imagine anything less compelling to me

    Most nearly anything that promises to change my life, like “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, because I would have to have a reason to want or need to change

    Most thrillers, ’cause I’m already “thrilled” with life and don’t need adrenaline-filled books to be excited and feel alive


  29. Alessandra

    Brilliant post, Lisa!
    I won’t be reading:

    Les Miserables
    War and Peace
    anything else by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons were enough)
    Stephen King
    John Grisham


  30. kegsoccer

    Lol, definitely “The Secret”. There’s just no way it will ever happen 🙂


  31. gautami tripathy

    I loved this NTBR list. I got a long one myself.

    Lisa, I am gonna answer this on my blog by linking this your site too!

    Wot say!


  32. gautami tripathy

    I posted mine. Do check it out folks::


  33. tara

    War and Peace.
    Anna Karenina.

    Not to be argumentative, but The Omnivore’s Dilemma is really amazing and eye opening.


  34. Dawn

    *War and Peace (at least not until the kids are all in school; I tried it this fall with the library book group and felt very out of place … like the common dream of being in a class for final exam, and you realize you haven’t attended class all semester!)

    *science fiction genre

    *ditto fantasy as a genre, although I did enjoy the Harry Potter series, which I read to “preview” before reading with the kids. I’ve tried the Hobbit and LOTR series several times and it doesn’t click!

    *anything with the Oprah seal on it; I may read the book, but with a different cover!

    I’ll look forward to reading your guest post next week, Lisa!


  35. John Mutford

    Great post idea. Though I do want to read Catch-22. I read the Alchemist and I’d say leave it on your NTBR list at all cost.

    I, like you, have only read the first part of the Potter series. I stopped at three. The fourth looked so huge and I really wasn’t enjoying it enough for that. Actually, most books on my NTBR list are by authors that I’ve read but just haven’t enjoyed.


  36. Julie

    Ha ha, this is fabulous. My NTBR list would have to include:

    – graphic novels

    – Jodi Picoult

    – teenage vampire romances

    And I totally support you on Harry Potter. I have read them all but wish I hadn’t. OTOH I loved Catch-22.


  37. April

    I have yet to read The Kite Runner, also. I ended up getting a copy from paperbackswap, but have no clue when/if I will get around to reading it. The Time Traveler’s Wife was always on my list of not wanting to read books. But for some reason, I picked up a copy and decided to give it a try. Prior to reading it, I honestly did not think that I would have any interest in it, but ended up LOVING it!! Overall, I think that I am pretty open to giving any kind of book at least a try. That is unless it contains excessive graphic violence of any kind. That is not for me at all.


  38. My Not To Be Read List « The Literary Pursuit

    […] Not To Be Read List Inspired by this post, I’m going to post my NTBR […]

  39. Kris

    Jodi Piccoult books don’t appeal to me.
    I could never get into Harry Potter.
    Kite Runner sounded like it might be upsetting.
    Marley and Me seems to be a guy’s kind of book.

    My recommendation is to read Wrinkle in Time. I loved it at 9 years old and I’m rereading it again now. It’s still great.

    I want to read more Carl Hiassen. He’s my favorite. I loved “Skinny Dip.”

    If I’m wrong on any of my judgements, please feel free to correct me!


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