Reading List

On the Shelf

These are books I already own, but haven't gotten around to reading yet. Many of them are relatively new, though some have been warming the shelf for quite a while now...

Alan Moore
This is the book I will use to flex on all the people who think they're hot stuff for getting through Infinite Jest. Even counting the endnotes, Jerusalem is almost 200 pages longer, at 1260 pages or so. I've seen it split up into three books before, but of course I was sure to get the true doorstopper edition. I've also heard some good things about the contents.
Andrei Bely
I saw a trustworthy person on Twitter recommend this once, so it went on the list and eventually ended up on the shelf when I found a cheap copy somewhere.
Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy
I need to get around to Tolstoy at some point, but my friend recently finished War and Peace, so I feel like I must read this instead.
The Makioka Sisters
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
I believe that this is the last major work of Tanizaki's that I have not yet read. I've noticed a lot of Japanese novels, at least the ones I've read, tend to be on the shorter side, but this one is pushing 400 pages and would definitely be the longest Japanese book I've read.
The Ambassadors
Henry James
I'm slowly (since they are so dense) making my way through James' major works and this is slated to be the next one.
Seiobo There Below
László Krasznahórkai
The only modern literature that I will debase myself by reading these days must naturally be written by a Hungarian with a name that's impossible to spell. If you noticed that I actually added an extra accent over the o in his last name, well done. Let me know if the book's any good. I guess I already own it though, so I'll most likely read it no matter what. Maybe you've got a good chicken paprikash recipe instead?
Saint Augustine
This book intrigued me, as it's pretty much the first known autobiography. Probably will have to wait until I get through at least some of the Bible, though.
A Journal of the Plague Year
Daniel Defoe
Haha, it's so relevant!
The Idiot
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Many, many years ago a dear friend told me this was the best way to start with old Dosto, and so I picked it up and have been sitting on it for almost as many years. At some point I betrayed him by reading Notes From Underground... and now Brothers Karamazov is looking tempting as well...
The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck
Unlike many, I somehow dodged this while in school. I guess we read "The Great Gatsby" instead. I didn't put that one in the other list, but at least I'm telling you here.
Vanity Fair
William Makepeace Thackeray
The Man Without Qualities
Robert Musil
Moll Flanders
Daniel Defoe
The Education of Henry Adams
Henry Adams
Herman Melville
This was Melville's most popular book during his lifetime, a semi-fictionalized account of his Polynesian travels, a subject that piques my interest in the same way I imagine as the 19th century reading public's.

These are books I'd like to read but don't own. If this list gets long enough, I might split it up into more categories, but for now it's manageable.

The Bible (KJV)
The Holy Spirit
Yup, here it is, the biggest (in more ways than one) gap in my reading so far. It's practically criminal that I'm reading Western literature without having read it, but I can't stop my eyes from drifting over towards all those younger, thinner books...
Bouvard et Pécuchet
Gustave Flaubert
A picaresque novel about two friends who stumble their way through and fail in nearly every field of science and art while accidentally exposing the hidden weaknesses of each? Sounds like just the book for me.
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas
My phone was broken, so I borrowed the abridged version of this book from a friend briefly while he went and apparently failed to obtain a Covid booster shot. It was quite gripping, and I'd like to get back to it someday. Full version next time, of course.
The Divine Comedy
The Canterbury Tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
The Faerie Queene
Edmund Spenser
Paradise Lost
John Milton
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I need to read more German literature so this is an obvious choice... though maybe I should start with something lighter like The Sorrows of Young Werther...
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club
Charles Dickens
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde
A History of New York
Washington Irving
According to Wikipedia: "Contemporary critics of the book described it as 'an attempt to annihilate the history of America'." What better endorsement could there be?
James Joyce
In a way, I think this shall be my literary final boss (I suppose Finnegan's Wake will be the even-stronger boss in the post-game then), which I will only tackle once I have established a strong enough literary foundation to understand the references and allusions. Many say it's the best novel ever (occasionally this statement is qualified by specifying "modernist"), so I want to be ready before I try it.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez
I saw somebody quote the first line somewhere once, and that was enough to convince me.
The Recognitions
William Gaddis
Extremely dense and difficult to understand, a book consciously written only for the most dedicated students of literature. I tried to read it once before, it was quite good, but it was just taking so long that eventually I fell off and the library due date crept up on me.
The Book of the New Sun
Gene Wolfe
This is supposed to be one of the only worthwhile sci-fi books. I've looked for it in bookstores a few times however every copy I've found is a new printing with hideous cover art. I'm willing to buy books so abused that they're close to coming apart, but I draw the line at ugly or overly-ostentatious cover design.
Sartor Resartus
Thomas Carlyle
Inspired by Tristram Shandy and apparently esteemed by many of the great American writers of the 19th century, not to mention Borges, I can't believe I haven't heard of this before.