Books I Have Neglected

A little while ago, I wrote a post about the books I will probably never read (unless I break a leg or something, in which case I might give them a try).  I also have a list of other books which have been sitting on my shelves for months or years which I really do plan to read.  My good excuse is that I have been trying to make the most out university libraries which I will only have access to until the end of September so my official reading list and my Kindle have been neglected for a very long time.  My poor excuse is that I am also a pretty terrible procrastinator even when it comes  to getting round to things I enjoy like reading.

Books I Have Neglected

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

This nearly made it onto my list of books I will probably never read.  I have had my doubts about ‘On Beauty’ which is a modern take on ‘Howards End’ by E. M. Forster, one of the books I never finished.  I know that this is very unfair to Smith – just because I didn’t like ‘Howards End’ doesn’t necessarily mean that I will find ‘On Beauty’ to be equally tedious.  I also received ‘NW’ as a Christmas present which I will try and read before the Women’s Prize for Fiction event at the Southbank Centre in June.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (and every other nineteenth century classic novel)

‘Crime and Punishment’ and virtually every other nineteenth century classic novel I have said I will read has been neglected because I take it for granted that they are always there, especially now that I have a Kindle and can download them for free.  ‘Anna Karenina’ can also be added here.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

I have had this book for about seven years and I have still not read it yet.  I don’t have any preconceived doubts about it like I have with ‘On Beauty’.  It has just been ignored for no good reason and I will try to rectify this by the end of the year.

Untold Stories by Alan Bennett

I love Alan Bennett’s work but large hardback books can be a pain to carry along with all my other stuff when I commute to university or work.  This has been neglected purely because I am too lazy.  I have always said that e-readers have a practical purpose in that they are very useful for travelling.  I would probably have read this a lot sooner if I had it in eBook format instead.

I have also been sent some books/eBooks to read and review for this blog, many of which I have unintentionally neglected – I will try and get round to these asap but please bear with me if it takes weeks or even months!  So now I will stop apologising, procrastinating and neglecting my books and actually get round to reading some of them…

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “Books I Have Neglected

  1. I just read NW in March and only thought it was ok but everyone I told that to told me I had to read On Beauty immediately. So its on my someday list now as well..

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  2. I do recommend Zadie Smith’s On Beauty. You might also appreciate Elaine Scarry’s 1999 short volume On Beauty and Being Just. I, too, have NW still sitting on my shelf.

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  3. If only we could read a book in one day without neglecting other necessary tasks like eating and sleeping. I wish I had the power to speed read through a book and still enjoy it in such a way that I could hold conversations about it, review it at length with deep, below the surface reviews. But alas. I am currently at the one book a week level. But, until then…

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  4. I know how you feel. And I’m a painfully slow reader even when I do manage to get some time in front of a book. But stick with it! I haven’t read Crime and Punishment but I’ve read the other three and can recommend them all.

    P.S. If you’re looking for something 19th Century then I’d go for Anna Karenina if I were you. Loved it.

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  5. walttriznastories

    I have read Birdsong and I enjoyed it.
    It’s worth the effort.

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  6. Oh Dear, my list is much more shameful ( http://wp.me/p1mTHK-1iu )

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  7. I’ve been long considering reading On Beauty and was neve quite sure. However, I loved Howards End so, if there is any kind of connection, I’m pretty sure I’ll love it. Thanks!

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  8. I think this is something most readers are faced with. On Beauty hein. I read with my book club the year it came out and it can’t touch White Teeth. I don’t think she went far enough with it. It was just mediocre. Birdsong was put on my book club’s suggestion list for 2013-2014. Not sure if it will be picked. As for Crime and Punishment, I’ve always wanted fro read it and can’t believe I got an English Lit diploma and never had it as required reading for any of my classes. So it’s been lurking around on my TBR for a very long time. I may just get it on my Kindle, read it, and if I really enjoy it try to get a very nice edition of it. Happy reading….

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    • Not many degree programs in English Literature require you to read Russian Literature. In my case I majored in Englanglit and minored in CompLit so I enjoyed a fairly broad spectrum of world literature. Funny thing, though, I never took a course in American Literature and it’s taken me several decades to catch up with what many American readers consider old news in the reading department.

      One strong recommendation: when you branch out to read Crime and Punishment or any novels in translation be they from Russia or Argentina, pay attention to the translator. You might find that a lot of the reprints and ebooks are not the best translations. You certainly don’t want to read several hundred pages of a book and then learn that the translator maintained a puritan sensibility and modified or left out all the parts of the text that might have been considered questionable at the time. It’s not always true but in general the newer translations are the better.

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  9. On Beauty is also probably going to be one of the books I have but will never read. I have nothing against it really, it just doesn’t call to me and there seems to be so many other books I want to read instead. I bought On Beauty “just in case.”

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  10. Go for Anna Karenina. I read it ages ago. I loved it. It’s one of those books that has become part of me and that I intend to read again. What a pleasure in store.

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  11. I really enjoyed Birdsong, but I didn’t go in expecting much. Now Zadie Smith and I have had our issues, I try and try but I think that book is going back to our used bookstore. Some things are not meant to be. Good luck!

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  12. Please read ‘Birdsong’ – its a beautifully written book, even if the ending lets the rest of the novel down somewhat.

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  13. Please please please read Crime and Punishment. It would be a waste otherwise!

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  14. One of my joys is having lots of books to choose from when it is time for a new read. So whether it is a beside table full of lovely books, or a goodreads.com list – we can enjoy our literary richness!

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  15. I agree with you on Zadie Smith. I read On Beauty and it left me meh. I actually prefer Howard’s End to this one.

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  16. I have a whole shelf like this, so I sympathise. I’ll echo an earlier poster and give Anna Karenina seven thumbs up. It’s not a quick read, but it’s worth the investment.

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  17. Su Leslie

    Like you, I haven’t read Birdsong, and still haven’t got used to people staring open-mouthed at me if I admit this. I’m starting to feel like one of those kids who won’t eat vegetables purely because people make such a fuss about eating vegetables and not because I particularly dislike them! Untold Stories is great – but definitely a stay-at-home book in hardback!

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  18. Have you read Alan Bennett’s novella The Uncommon Reader?
    An utter delight, and may prove of solace in your present dilemma.

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  19. Look how beautiful those books are! Ugh, I wish I had the money to buy ALL the books. Books are prettier than chocolate, and they still make you feel good :3

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  20. Man, if you get a chance, you really should read Crime and Punishment. It’s one of my absolute favorites, though it does go on a bit more than necessary but I think that’s just how people wrote back then. Raskolnikov (probably not how you spell it but I don’t have the book in front of me) is fantastically twisted.

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