10 Best Books I’ve Never Read

Greg Zimmerman

Staff Writer

Greg Zimmerman blogs about contemporary literary fiction at The New Dork Review of Books and holds down a full-time gig as a trade magazine editor. Follow him on Twitter: @NewDorkReview.

Comedy genius Jimmy Kimmel recently provided us with his list of the 11 best movies he never saw. Most of us have a similar list for books, as well, don’t we? And probably with similar reasons as Jimmy’s. (eg, Fight Club: “I’m sure this is a great movie, but it seems like a lot of the people who really, really love it are dickheads.”)

If you don’t have such a book list, it sure is a fun thought experiment. So, here are the 10 “best” books I’ve never read (yes, the word “best” takes on several different meanings over the course of this list).

10. Ulysses, by James Joyce — If I’m ever tempted to perform electroconvulsive therapy on myself, perhaps I’ll take a deep breath and read this book instead. It could be therapeutic, in a masochistic way. Or, if I’m ever tempted to read this book, perhaps I’ll take a deep breath and perform electroconvulsive therapy on myself instead.

9. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen — In vain have I struggled, etc., etc.

8. The Twilight series, by Stephenie Meyer — I’m sure these are great books, but the people who really, really love them are…um…(if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all).

7. Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo — I actually have no idea what this book is about. Strange, huh? I always assumed the title referred to those who are reading the book.

6. Midnight’s Children/The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie — Anyone else hear “magical realism” and run screaming in the other direction faster than Usain Bolt with a cheetah taped to his back? No? Okay, then.

5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez — I was going to read this, but I only have about 55 years of solitude left. (I’m really, really sorry for that one. There’s four more, but you can stop reading now, if you want. I totally wouldn’t blame you.)

4. Naked Lunch, by William Burroughs — If I wanted to read a heroin-fueled indecipherable, incoherent mess, I’d just pick up Toni Morrison. (Wait, what?)

3. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand — I shall pursue my individual happiness, as is the only true and moral purpose in life, by never reading this book.

2. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman — People who love this book seem to be the same people who, when they were teenagers, earnestly thought that saying “naked lady” three times quickly would actually result in a naked lady appearing.

1. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling — *ducks* …  Someday, I’ll read these — perhaps when news finally breaks that the 8th book is imminent.