Schoppa lists these five from his own collection:
1. A Suitable Boy, by Vikram SethSchoppa's list got me wondering about what major, unread titles I might find on my shelf and how long they've been there. These are five of the ones that jumped out at me:
2. Constantine's Sword, by James Carroll
3. Marie Antoinette, by Antonia Fraser
4. An Instance of the Fingerpost, by Iain Pears
5. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
(See the article for Schoppa's comments regarding each of the books and why he still feels compelled to read them after all the time that he has owned them.)
1. The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan - I bought this one in a pristine hard cover first edition way back in 1989 from a local bookstore. It is still in perfect mint condition, hardly ever having been opened and one book dealer offered me $385 for it a couple of years ago. When I finally get around to reading the book, I'll probably do so from a "reading copy" rather than risk doing any damage to the one on my shelves.What about you guys? Do you have any long-term unread books on your shelves - and will you continue to keep them indefinitely?
2. The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie - I bought two copies of this one from a B.Dalton bookstore in 1989 just as all the controversy about it began to hit the press. I've never really tried to read it, and bought the books more to show my support for the author than for any other reason. I traded one copy for a perfect first edition of John Irving's The World According to Garp and am still pleased about that. Several years ago, a local dealer offered me $300 for my remaining copy but I doubt it's worth that much today.
3. Beloved - Toni Morrison - I had a hunch back in 1987 that Morrison was going to win the Pulitzer prize that year and when I spotted a dozen first editions on a bargain book table I bought them all for something like four dollars each. I've been offered anything from $150 to $250 per copy since then but haven't sold any of them, why I don't know. I tried reading this one once but found it difficult to lose myself in Morrison's style - but I do plan to read the book even though I've had 12 copies in my collection for 21 years and haven't managed it yet. Sad, that.
4. Sarum - Edward Rutherford - As fascinating as I find Stonehenge and all the theories associated with its origin, I have still not managed to read this 897-page novel from 1987. But I'm not giving up on the idea.
5. R.E. Lee (four volumes) - Douglas Southall Freeman - Many historians believe these four books to be the definitive biography of Robert E. Lee and , although I've owned them for close to 20 years, I've only managed to read the first volume - which itself is over 600 pages long. The other three volumes will be read; it's only a question of when.