Books I Would Read If I Were

I’ve read a few books in my life, and I hope to read a few more. But there are many that I’ll never be able to get through, even if I’d really like to. The big irony of recent years is that while book sales are going up, reading is going down. At least, that’s what I’ve read.

So, here is my list of books—some I’ve already bought, some I haven’t—that I probably will never read. They are books I would read if only I were…

More Patient

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. 976 pages. Even Oprah can’t motivate me enough to get through this one.
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. 824 pages, small type. Already tried and failed.
  • The Brothers K by David James Duncan. 656 pages. Pathetic, I know.
  • Anything by Charles Dickens. Didn’t he get paid by the word?


  • God, Freedom, and Evil by Alvin Plantinga. Too philosophically erudite for me.
  • Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. Utterly incomprehensible to me of little brain.
  • Ecrits: A Selection by Jacques Lacan. Okay, maybe I wouldn’t read this, even if I were smarter. But I tried to read some of it in grad school and understood—oh, I don’t know—maybe two or three words.
  • Too many more to mention.


15 Again

Anybody else out there have books you would like to read, if only? Go on, make a list.

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2 Responses to Books I Would Read If I Were

  1. Jason says:

    haha :)  Karl, this is a  great post.  One of those things everyone thinks about but few (if any) talk about. 

    I have attempted Bros K. (by Dosteyevsky) several times without getting 1/3 of the way through it.  Too bad, because I’m told it will ease the tension between faith and doubt.  Oh well, I guess I’ll be tense.  Bros K. (by Duncan), on the other hand, I have read twice.  I enjoyed it immensely the first time thru; not so much the second (same thing with Steinbeck’s ‘East of Eden”.  Loved it the first time, not the second).  Loved “Catcher in the Rye,” mostly because it gave me an in with my 12th grade English teacher, who I loved and respected.  She loved that book. 

    My sister *loves* Dickens, but I (like you, I think) find him tedious.  (However, IIRC, he was greatly impressed with the city of Philadelphia during his tour of America), which gives him a connection to this bloghost.

    Here’s my list of books I would like to finish but haven’t:

    –The Bible (My Grandmother, who is 86, has read it straight through 5 times and made copious notes on a total of 3 volumes).  A little intimidating. 

    –“Sources of the Self” by Charles Taylor, which, I gather, purports to give a sense of where modern man gathers his sense of himself.  he starts from the Greeks and goes forward. But dang, I can’t get through it.

    Here’s 2 authors I read a lot of (I know they are the equivalent of bubblegum but love them anyway):   Elmore Leonard and Ed McBain.— both these guys write crime fiction of completely different sorts.  Both are very entertaining.  Leonard is better, but McBain is great if you want to get a sense of the underbelly of New York City. However, I feel guilty whenb reading them, knowing this somehow isn’t as enriching as, say, Tolstoy (Of whom I haven’t read a lick).

    One note on Joyce:  “Dubliners” is really good.

  2. Aunt Ginny says:

    How about Saint Nick? I can read a few pages of Nick Wolterstorff and then I start zoning out! Great guy, but too deep for me! I’m glad someone can think those thoughts. What did the scarecrow get the Wizard of Oz so he could be a “deep thought thinker”? I could use me one of them thar things.

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