Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Book List Meme: Three Books That Have Been On My TBR List the Longest

Oh no ... Rebecca is making us confess in this week's Book List.  Which are the Three Books That Have Been On My TBR List the Longest?  Let me see ...

Well, besides Doctor Zhivago, Ulysses, and Don Quixote which I have admitted to owning and not reading for far too long due to intimidation, I think it might be these four (synopses from Powell's website) --

The Pope's Rhinoceros -- Lawrence Norfolk
Norfolk's rollicking, picaresque novel is based on one of history's most bizarre chapters: the attempt in the sixteenth century to procure a rhinoceros as a bribe for Pope Leo X. With an epic cast of characters, The Pope's Rhinoceros is both a fabulous adventure tale and a portrait of an age rushing headlong into crisis.
The Autumn of the Patriarch -- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
From charity to deceit, benevolence to violence, fear of God to extreme cruelty, the dictator of The Autumn of the Patriarch embodies the best and the worst of human nature. Gabriel García Márquez, the renowned master of magical realism, vividly portrays the dying tyrant caught in the prison of his own dictator-ship. Employing an innovative, dreamlike style, and overflowing with symbolic descriptions, the novel transports the reader to a world that is at once fanciful and real.
Mason & Dixon -- Thomas Pynchon
Charles Mason (1928-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as reimagined by Thomas Pynchon, in an updated 18th-century novel featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, and major caffeine abuse. Unreflectively entangled in crimes of demarcation, Mason and Dixon take us long on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary American and back to England, into the shadowy yet redemptive turns of their later lives, through incongruities in conscience, parallaxes of personality, tales of questionable altitude told and intimated by voices clamoring not to be lost. Along the way they encounter a plentiful cast of characters, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Samuel Johnson, as well as a Chinese feng shui master, a Swedish irredentist, a talking dog, and a robot duck. The quarrelsome, daring, mismatched pair - Mason as melancholy and Gothic as Dixon is cheerful and pre-Romantic - pursue a linear narrative of irregular lives, observing, and managing to participate in, the many occasions of madness presented them by the Age of Reason.
The History of the Siege of Lisbon -- Jose Saramago
In this “ingenious” novel (New York Times) by “one of Europe’s most original and remarkable writers” (Los Angeles Times), a proofreader’s deliberate slip opens the door to romance-and confounds the facts of Portugal’s past. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero.
I had to choose four books this time because these have been sitting around forever!  I actually read maybe the first fifth of Mason & Dixon and the first couple chapters of The History of the Siege of Lisbon and now I don't remember why I didn't continue with either one.  I think they were both timing issues.  I really need to get through these books because they have possibly been on my nightstand for about twelve years.  Everything else on my TBR stacks seems to be relatively recent -- added within the last two or three years.

Have you enjoyed any of these?  If so, let me know and encourage me to read them soon!

Making a new goal that includes reading books in a timely manner,


  1. I have SO many of these. My biggest one in War and Peace. I WILL read that book. Yes I will.

    Haven't read any of yours, though. Sorry. :(

  2. I haven't read any of these, but the Lisbon one sounds fascinating...perhaps I will...wait...NO. Adding more to my TBR pile would be disastrous.

    Great list!

  3. Oh, good grief, Kristen! I wouldn't know how to answer this because I have books that have been on my TBR shelf longer than you've been alive! Seriously.

  4. I've read Autumn of the Patriarch - many, many years ago (25 years or so), it was one of my boyfriend of the time's favourite books. It was also the first book I ever read by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It contains some haunting images, but no paragraphs and no chapters. I really must re-read it.

    Ulysses ought to be on my longterm TBR pile, except wisely I've refrained from obtaining a copy, because I know I'll never get round to reading it (even though that one was another favourite of the same boyfriend's!). Yes, I couldn't tell you what colour his eyes were, but his taste in books, no problem. :)

    And on my bookshelf? - difficult one, because I do tend to read books within a few years (3 at the most, usually within a year) of buying them - so I'll go with The Remains of the Day, but even that is a cheat because technically it's my partner's book, I would never have bought it.

  5. I'll be 100% honest ... those books would probably sit on my shelves unread FOREVER! : 0

  6. Pynchon's book would be untouched by me lol! He's a little intimidating to me. But The Pope's Rhinoceros sounds like a fun book.

  7. Paige - I think maybe if I just choose one a year and give myself permission to ignore the others, I might be able to get through them. Maybe?

    Cecelia - Haha ... don't do it! No more books on the TBR!

    Rose City - One day I am going to come down and look at your shelves. They fascinate me!

    Tracy - I won't even get started on my husband's books that I've considered reading but haven't picked up yet ...

    Jenners - I'm afraid some of these will. Perhaps I should set a time limit and any that are unread at that point just need to go.

    Lilly - I liked the part I read and can't remember why I stopped reading it. I think that it might have been that it was so long and I wanted to read something else at the time. I have no idea!

  8. I've never heard of these books you've listed, lol. It's amazing how long some books sit unread isn't it?

  9. LOL!!! The reason I haven't posted this list yet is because I can't narrow my list down!!! Maybe I should take pictures of my stacks instead??

  10. Rebecca - The worst is when you find something in the house that you didn't even remember you had!

    Tif - I think these are my only ones that have been around for a double digit number of years. I'll draw the line there and make myself feel better!