Monday, March 2, 2020

The Unread Shelf Reading Project 2020 and Beyond

I have talked about this at the end of December HERE and I meant to create a book list post to keep me accountable and motivated. I am seriously determined to read all of the books on my shelves and weed out what I know I won't ever read again. My personal goal is to keep only what I would reread and then actually begin rereading them. 

The general idea of The Unread Shelf Reading Project is to read those unread books on your bookshelf. Whitney, at The Unread Shelf, suggested choosing 10-12 books to commit to reading in 2020. I went overboard and chose all of my unread books. The first list I hope to read this year and next, the second list, when I finish the first, in 2022-23, and the third list, after I complete the second, in 2024 and beyond.

Whitney assigned monthly challenges to make it interesting. I listed the categories I wanted to use in blue parentheses

As I finish a book, it will be linked to the review post, and my final decision will be listed in yellow brackets.


Weber: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (completed/no review) [discard]
Lewis: Babbitt (any unread book) [keeper]
Adler: How to Read a Book (keeper) [keeper]
Shakespeare: Hamlet [keeper]
Brittain: Testament of Friendship (gifted to me) [keeper]
Brontë: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Hardy: Under the Greenwood Tree [keeper]
Thomas: Sacred Marriage [keeper]
Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises (owned the longest) [keeper]
Adams: Watership Down
Murphy: Eight Twenty Eight (recently obtained) [keeper]
McCullers: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Mann: The Magic Mountain
Brown: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Wells: Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells
Dinesen: Out of Africa
Eliot: Mill on the Floss
Equiano: The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings
Haley: Roots
Prior: On Reading Well (shortest read)
Turner: These is My Words
Robinson: Gilead
Hemingway: A Farewell to Arms (forgotten how I acquired this) [keeper]
Royster: Southern Horrors and Other Writings
Rand: Atlas Shrugged
Bergreen: Over the Edge of the World
Tomalin: Thomas Hardy (favorite genre: biographies) [keeper]
Twain: The Innocents Abroad
Austen: Sanditon, The Watsons, and Lady Susan
Stone: Love is Eternal
Irving: Old Christmas
Owen: Mortification of Sin
Morrison: The Bluest Eye
Tan: The Joy Luck Club
Twain: Roughing It
Hardy: A Pair of Blue Eyes
Hardy: The Trumpet Major
Twain: Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc
Twain: The Prince and the Pauper
McCullough: 1776
Verne: 20000 Leagues Under the Sea
Reagan: An American Life
Dickens: Bleak House (scared to death)
Rand: Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
Bloom: The Closing of the American Mind
Frazier: Cold Mountain
Dickens: David Copperfield
McCullough: John Adams


Eliot: Middlemarch
Somerset: Of Human Bondage
James: The Turn of the Screw
Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury
Collins: The Woman in White
Bédier: The Romance of Tristan & Iseult
Achebe: Things Fall Apart
Steinbeck: To a God Unknown
Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Sinclair: The Jungle
Polo: The Travels of Marco Polo
Douglass: My Bondage and My Freedom
Hirsi Ali: Infidel
Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
Stockett: The Help
Shetterly: Hidden Figures
Johnson: A History of Christianity
Yousafzai: I Am Malala
Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Tennyson: Idylls of the King
Henty: In Freedoms Cause
Moyes: Me Before You
Scott: Ivanhoe
McCullough: The Pioneers
Powell: Julie and Julia
Malory: Le Morte d'Arthur
Marshall: The Light and the Glory
L'Amour: The Lonesome Gods
Hugo: Les Miserables
Lowry: Number the Stars
White: The Once and Future King
Reagan: The Reagan Diaries
Reagan: In His Own Hand
Lawrence: Sons and Lovers
Kilmeade: Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates
Torrey: To the Edge of the World
Noonan: What Character Was King
De Laclos: Dangerous Liaisons
Tuchman: A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century


Churchill: The Age of Revolution
Churchill: The Great Democracies
Shakespeare: Julius Caesar
Anderson: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Whitman: Leaves of Grass
Markos: On the Shoulders of Hobbits
Wilder: Our Town
Thackery: Vanity Fair
Smith: The Wealth of Nations, Volumes I-V
Milton: Paradise Lost
Shaw: Pygmalion
Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France
Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet
Unk: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Virgil: The Aenied
Stone: The Agony and the Ecstasy
Bailey: The American Spirit, Volume 1
Zusak: The Book Thief
Coffin: The Boys of '76
Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
Aristophanes: The Complete Plays
Doyle: The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Vol. II
Reagan: The City on a Hill
Zola: The Kill
Saint-Exupéry: The Little Prince
Buck: The Good Earth
Vasari: Lives of the Artists
Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest
Dante: The Inferno
Dostoyevsky: The Idiot
Angle: The New Nation Grows
Homer: The Odyssey (Ed. by...)
Homer: The Odyssey (Ed. by...)
Poe: The Fall of the House of Usher & Other Stories
Zola: The Earth
Moliere: The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, and Other Plays
Emerson: The Portable Emerson
Dante: Purgatorio
Unk: The Thousand Nights and One Night, Vol. 1-4
Unk. The Song of Roland
Sophocles: The Theban Plays
Basile: The Tale of Tales
Hardy: A Laodicean
Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Schweikart: A Patriot History of the United States
Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire
West: Adam Smith
Unk: Beowulf (Ed. by...)
Boc...: Decameron
Bulfinch: Bulfinch's Mythology
Miller: Death of a Salesman
Weisberger: The Devil Wears Prada
Sparks: The Notebook
Marlowe: Doctor Faustus
Goethe: Faust
Grant: The Patriot's Handbook
Hamilton, Jay, Madison: The Federalist Papers
Ibsen: Four Great Plays
Lattimore: Greek Lyrics
Wadsworth: Poems
Austen: History of England
Homer: Iliad of Homer (Ed. by...)
Dodds: Married to a Difficult Man
Jefferson: Notes on the State of Virginia
DIckens: Nicholas Nickleby
Coffin: The Spirit of Liberty
Doyle: Sherlock Holmes Mysteries
Rand: The Virtue of Selfishness
Popov: Tortured for His Faith
Foley: These are the Generations
Bainton: The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century
McCarthy: The Road
Trifkovic: The Sword and the Prophet
Rand: The Romantic Manifesto
Kirk: The Roots of the American Order
Limbaugh: Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner
Limbaugh: Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims
Limbaugh: Rush Revere and the American Revolution
Limbaugh: Rush Revere and the First Patriots
Limbaugh: Rush Revere and the Presidency
Journo: What Justice Demands
Ghate: Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism
Sures: Facets of Ayn Rand


Fanda Classiclit said...

Ruth, you have some hidden gems there!
First: Dickens - David Copperfield is by far my most favorite of Dickens. The plot, the characters, all is very satisfying and thoroughly written. Bleak House - well, when you get through, it isn't as bleak as you think. Not my favorite, but still like it.

Second: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: you will love it from the first page!

The Bluest Eye and Watership Down are also on my list, together with both Hardy's

George B. Edwards, Jr. said...

I love to read these lists, Ruth. The novels I liked best on your list were those by Adams, Mann, Eliot, Rand and Dickens. Those that I have re-read were by Mann, Eliot and Dickens. And Hamlet throughout life, a man for all seasons.

Wishing you fulfillment all the way in this project.

Silvia said...

Hey, it’s ambitious but what would life be without this type of goals?

I have many of those titles as well. Some that I read and love are The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Gilead, and for a light but not fluff
book, The Joy Star Club.

I should push myself a bit to read some of those biographies I too have.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ruth,
Well you know by now that I do like Hemingway's work, although candidly I'm not a big fan of 'The Sun Also Rises.' A Farewell To Arms is a wonderful read though, I would read that one first so you're not soured by The Sun Also Rises, you cannot judge all of his work by the hard-boiled style of the latter novel. I like anything from Hardy and Twain. Jules Verne is another great author, his work Magellania is one of my favorites. Shakespeare is read in our home all year long for school, and I grow to appreciate it the older I get! The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is my next read, I'm looking forward to it I think. You've a great list as usual. Have a great week!

Jillian said...

Cold Mountain is one of my favorites. I feel that Frazier writes women VERY well. :) David Copperfield is my favorite major novel by Dickens (A Christmas Carol being my favorite story by him, by far.) Out of Africa is truly lovely in places. And I love A Farewell to Arms. That was Margaret Mitchell's favorite modern novel. YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT JOHN ADAMS. Great to see Brittain on this list. x

Ruth said...

FANDA: I am so intimidated by the Dickens on my shelves....David Copperfield, Bleak House, and Nicholas Nickleby (which I won after your History Challenge!) But I know once I commit myself, I will be grateful to have read them. I already started The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but I am taking a break. I will return to it this year. I will finish it!!!

GEORGE: I'm encouraged by your endorsements. I look forward to reading Watership Down w/ my kids. I cannot wait. And in fact, we are reading Hamlet right now. It's wonderful. Thanks for your input.

SILVIA: Believe it not, those titles you mention I am really looking forward to also. And, yes, you should read more biographies. I think they would resonate with you. I feel like most lives are truly amazing! You should look at The Well-Educated Mind biography list. Cleo and I read about some awesome people.

DEAN: OK, so I already started reading The Sun Also Rises, and I am really enjoying it. I husband thinks I'm nuts. He HATED it and thinks I'm a weirdo for enjoying it. We'll see how much I can take, though, because I am only 4-5 chapters in. I do look forward to A Farewell to Arms. Can't wait to get to that, also. My kids and I just finished Around the World in 80 Days, and I've never heard of Magellania. Does that have anything to do w/ Magellan? I started The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and immediately was hooked. But I think it is my timing right now bc I needed to take a break. Sometimes I find it a little too long winded or drawn out. But I do expect to return to it, maybe after April.

JILLIAN: Hey! Good to see you here. I do hope all is well with you and your plans. BTW, I finished Testament of Friendship, and I'm letting it simmer a little before I write about it. It was an amazing testimony! I do expect to attempt Out of Africa again. I am determined to finish it. And I'm really intimidated by David Copperfield. So intimidated by Dickens. Really putting these off. But thank you for the encouragement. I need it.

Anonymous said...

Magellania is about the Strait of Magellan. I'm glad you like The Sun Also Rises so far. Notice I didn't say I hated it, just that I wasn't a big fan, I like other things of Hemingway's much better, although curiously and not very politically correct, I did enjoy the bullfighting references very much! I just knew you were going say Brontë's novel was long winded. Not to be dismissive or disrespectful to them, but depending on my emotional state at the time, I too sometimes find the Brontë sister's writing voluble...nothing like Hemingway's short and to-the-point style - with one exception, and I know we differ on this, but I seem to always enjoy reading Wuthering Heights!! YIKES, yes I said that out loud to you :)

Jillian said...

Hey! Good to see you here. I do hope all is well with you and your plans. BTW, I finished Testament of Friendship, and I'm letting it simmer a little before I write about it. It was an amazing testimony! I do expect to attempt Out of Africa again. I am determined to finish it. And I'm really intimidated by David Copperfield. So intimidated by Dickens. Really putting these off. But thank you for the encouragement. I need it.

Hi Ruth! I'm so excited to know you enjoyed Testament. Vera is just lovely. I think you'll like David Copperfield. I'm intimidated by Dickens as well, but David Copperfield is up there. :) By the way, I saw over at Pete's place that you're so-so on Tenant. If I may? Start with Agnes Grey. It's Anne's first book & isn't as refined as Tenant, but I think you'll find it more palatable. I read it back in 2012 (my time flies!) & really liked it. (I've also read Tenant.) Anne is very straightforward -- moreso than her sisters. In Agnes Grey, she basically tells you what it was like to be a governess in 19th century England. The novel feels a lot more personal because she actually was a governess in 19th century England. I respect Tenant but didn't find it as "close" a novel as Agnes Grey (possibly due to the rotating perspective), so I always claim Agnes as my favorite by Anne. I think Anne is actually my favorite Bronte, however; she didn't mince words. She was direct and blunt and had things to say, & said them. In Tenant, she DEFINITELY says something; you just have to wait for it. I can imagine folks being stunned back then that such a novel came out of such a quiet woman. But read Agnes first, is my humble advice. That'll let you see what she's about.

Oh, PS: Forgot to say that I've red that biography on Thomas Hardy you have listed. I love Tomalin's work & that biography was EXCELLENT. :)

Jillian said...

LOL, sorry I left your comment in my comment, Ruth! (laughing) I copied it into the comment box pop-up so I could reference what you'd written as I responded without having to click back and forth. Forgot to delete it. :P

Ruthiella said...

Oh, don't be intimidated by Dickens. I used to be until I read him. His books are fun, if you like his style. I think often we tend to emphasis the social criticism in Dickens' works and forget that his books are also very funny! If you like audio books, I would recommend trying any Dickens in that format. The stories work beautifully when read aloud.

I love your list and how you have made your self accountable! Good luck to you. I would say that this is eternally my project but I keep acquiring books or checking them out from the library instead of reading what I already own. The struggle is real! LOL

George B. Edwards, Jr. said...

Watership Down will be a delightful saga for you and your family to explore, Ruth. One of those fun for the family things. In stark contrast, The Jungle, after the drawn-out and boring (to me) opening chapter about a wedding quickly descends into a morass of absolute on-the-job viciousness and hopelessness involving the working family of main character Jurgis Rudkus in Chicago in all of its sordid details. It features appalling and hopeless working conditions that are described in a relentless manner and actions filled with brutality towards men and women alike. Definitely not for the family, but if you like to venture to the fictive (but based on reality) dark side of life, The Jungle is calling your name.

Some literary luminary that I don't recall the name of said that Dickens was one of the best friends mankind ever had, despite whatever faults he had as a writer. Introductions like those by Nabokov are able to show a reader like me how there is symbolism and also layers of meaning he may have missed in the story. Of course, you can greatly enjoy Dickens without going into critical essays. I believe any reader who loves A Christmas Carol would be won over by the larger works. And funny characters are also to be found as has been pointed out, eccentrics that are thrown into the mix with pleasing effect, for those who are humorously inclined.

Good luck exploring any and all of the works on this list. I'm glad Hamlet is going so well for you all.

Ruth said...

JILLIAN: No problem! LOL!! You've suggested that bio on Hardy...and I cannot wait to read it this year! I was so excited to find a copy at my local used bookstore. :D And I will return to Tenant this summer.

Ruth said...

RUTHIELLA: Well, I will have to face my fears w/ Dickens, right? I have liked everything I've read by him so far, except Pickwick Papers. So we'll see how I do when I get to these others. Thank you for the encouragement.

GEORGE: Looking forward to starting Watership Down. I hope my kids enjoy it. But I won't be reading The Jungle with them. Also, Dickens is a wonderful creator of characters. Thank you, too, for the encouragement, and for the heads up with The Jungle. I had no idea what is was about until I looked closer at the cover and recognized that it was a piece of meat. Oh boy!

Laura, The Start of a Good Life said...

I love this! I've been focusing on reading only what's on my shelves this year as well- but I hadn't considered putting together a full on list like this! You've inspired me!

Ruth said...

LAURA: You should check out The Unread Shelf Project for more ideas. Glad you are inspired!