Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Just HAD to Buy…But Are Still Sitting on My Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, participants are asked to revisit any past topic, so I picked one with which I think many readers can identify—books I simply HAD to have at the moment, but that have consequently sat on my bookshelf untouched for months or even years.

First, the real books, hardback and paperback, that I just HAD to have:

  • The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins – When I first started this blog in 2009, everyone was reading Wilkie Collins, it seemed, and although I am not the biggest fan of Nineteenth century literature, I decided that this might be the book that would change my mind. And who knows, perhaps it would have, had I ever even bothered to read the first page.
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbary – This was another title, along with The Book Thief and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, that everyone seemed to be reading in 2009, so I HAD to have it. The only one of those popular titles I eventually read was The Book Thief.
  • The Gods of Gotham, Lindsay Faye – I bought this because Gillian Flynn promoted it on the Today Show when she was touring for her book Gone Girl. I’m a big fan of Flynn’s writing, and I’m always curious to know what my favorite authors are reading. I remembered that I had seen this at the grocery store, so I went that same afternoon and bought it. I’m sure it’s good. Gillian Flynn said so.
  • The Ambassadors (Penguin Classics) CoverThe Ambassadors, Henry James – Every now and again I get this idea that I am going to go back to being a Serious Reader, because being a Serious Reader will make me an all-around Better Person. I’m not a complete fool, and I know I will never read Ulysses (seriously, no desire) and probably will never make it around to reading Proust, so James seemed like the safe choice. No idea why I chose The Ambassadors over any of this other novels. (Full disclosure: The only works of Henry James I have read are Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw.)
  • Essence and Alchemy, Mindy Aftel – My first blog was a perfume blog. First I read Chandler Burr’s The Emperor of Scent, about the famed “nose” and perfume critic Luca Turin, and I had planned to read this. Turned out I was less interested in the mechanics and more interested in, as they say, the juice itself. I am sure this book is fascinating. Someday I might find out.
  • The Art of Eating, M.F.K. Fisher – A huge chunk of a book filled with Fisher’s essays about food and eating food. I bought this in the early days of my perfume blogging. I probably had some silly fantasy of becoming a real all-around asthete.
  • The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov – This was another book that so many book bloggers I follow and admired have recommended year after year. At least I actually own a copy. Baby steps.
  • 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus CoverThe last three books on this list: Charles C. Mann’s 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, and David Goldfield’s America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, were all purchased at the beginning of 2013 when I decided that I needed to read more non-fiction. They are lined up on top of a bookshelf in my office, mocking me ever so quietly.

And also, as a bonus, five Kindle purchases:

  • All Things, All at Once, Lee K. Abbott – I bought this last year because I was reading an interview with Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Battleborn (which I just recently purchased an also have not read yet) and she was talking about what an influence Abbott was for her. I bought this story collection right away. All it takes is someone whose book I think I might like talking about books they liked…and I’m done for.
  • A Naked Singularity, Sergio de la Pava – Someone at The Millions listed this as a “favorite” read for 2012, and also, it was on sale. And also, I don’t read enough foreign authors. And clearly, I still haven’t.
  • Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) CoverCatching Fire, Suzanne Collins – I bought this in 2011 because I had read The Hunger Games and it was on sale. Now I’ve seen the movie, which I know probably isn’t exactly like the book, and maybe not even as good, but probably there’s no chance now that I will read it or Mockingjay. I am terrible about trilogies and series. I dont’ know why I bother. But while we’re on the subject, what’s going to happen now that Philip Seymour Hoffman is gone?
  • Damage Control, Denise Hamilton – I read a review of this on NPR one day right before I was getting ready to go on a trip, and it sounded like a good vacation read so I bought it. This is sort of cheating because I actually did read part of it, but I lost interest very quickly and cannot really remember what it is even about.
  • The Hangman’s Daughter, Oliver Pötsch – It was on sale! I was sure I’d read a pretty good review of it somewhere! (This is actually the story of most unread/partially read titles on my Kindle.)

What books did you just HAVE to buy that you never actually got around to reading?

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4 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Just HAD to Buy…But Are Still Sitting on My Bookshelf

  1. Great pick, this was my choice this week too. I am glad I am not the only person who has lots of books sitting on their bookshelf still waiting to be read – I am embarrassed by how many I still need to read. Nice list 🙂 My TTT.

  2. I LOVE to read about food and cooking, but somehow I have never read any MFK Fisher–I really need to do something about that. I also remember hearing about The Elegance of the Hedgehog a lot when it first came out, but I’ve never picked it up. My TBR list just keeps growing . . . 🙂

  3. Apparently they’re recreating Hoffman with CGI! I thought that was pretty amazing/weird. It was very sad, though. 😥 I really love THG trilogy, so I’d definitely recommend all the books. 🙂 And The Elegance of the Hedgehog is on my TBR purely because of it’s awesome title. 🙂 My TTT!

  4. I have decided I don’t really like to read…I just like to buy books. That is why I have about 200 unread books on my shelves and no doubt more to come, unless someone stops me! And Kindle? Don’t even get me started….

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