21 Books I’ve Been Meaning to Read

21 Books I've Been Meaning to Read - Title Image

I frequently get newsletters from different publishing companies and other book websites.  I like to get these since it keeps me updated on new and popular books.  Recently, I got one from Penguin Random House with a book list called 21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read.  While I’ve read some of the books, I didn’t feel like the list really represented what I have been meaning to read and it got me thinking about what my list would look like.  So, here is a list of the 21 books I’ve been meaning to read in no particular order!

  1. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

    Gulliver's Travels-Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I was supposed to read this twice in university, but I somehow managed to avoid it all together while still passing my classes.  Eventually, I would like to read it and I know what happens for the most part.  It seems pretty thin, from what I can remember.. so I really could knock it out in a weekend.  I just need to get myself into the mood.

  2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

    Memoirs of a Geisha - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    Honestly, I have no idea what this book is about.  It’s one of those books that I see everywhere and so many people have recommended it to me.  Every time I see it in the bookstore I stop and stare at it on the shelf.  However, I always decide to pass.  Maybe I’ll choose to read it within this next year?

  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I remember seeing this around the house when I was a teenager.  My mom had the paperback and I always thought the cutout of the upside-down poodle was really cool.  My mom isn’t an avid reader so it took her a while to finish it which lead me to seeing it around the house for a good long time.  I remember asking my mom if I could read it, but she said it was above my reading level and suggested I read it when I’m older.  I think I’m scared to read this one really.  I’ve built it up in my head (when I don’t even know what it’s about) and I’m worried it won’t live up to my expectations.

  4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    The Book Thief - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    This one is sad.  I don’t know why I haven’t read it.  I think I protested this just out of the fact that it was super popular.  My friend who never reads has even been telling me to read this.  I tried to borrow it from her, but ended up giving it back after reading the first paragraph.  I keep hearing how amazing it is and I think I just need to bite the bullet with this one and try it out!

  5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    This is another book that my non-reader friend has told me to read.  It took her over a year to read it, but she is proud of herself!  I just really haven’t been in the mood for series books in a long time and I know that’s what this is.  Also, I’ve heard it’s difficult to read because of the amount of information in the book.  But, this does seem like a good series for winter vacation since I’m just staying at home.

  6. The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

    The Fellowship of the Ring - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I read The Hobbit when I was as freshman in high school.  I really enjoyed it and of course I loved the movies as well.  I’ve been meaning to read them especially since one of my good friends is a huge LotR fan.  You know, I bash people who have watched the Harry Potter movies, but haven’t read the books.  It’s a bit hypocritical of me to do that when I’ve done the exact same thing with the LotR series.

  7. The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr

    The Liars Club - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    This is another one of those books that I saw around the house.  As I’ve gotten older, my mom keeps telling me I need to read it.  Since the book is a memoir based on Karr’s life in Southeast Texas, my mom was really able to relate to the book.  My mom always mentions different places that were referenced in the book and she gets so animated when she talks about it!  That is not something my mom usually does, so I will for sure one day read this.

  8. Beaches by Iris Rainer Dart

    Beaches - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    One day I asked my mom where she got my name from, and she said it came from the movie Beaches with Bette Midler.  After watching it, I was upset that I was named after the character Hillary, but my mom insists it has nothing to do with the character and she just thought the name was pretty.  Either way, the movie is based off this book!  I feel like since it’s my namesake I really should take the time to read it.

  9. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

    The Picture of Dorian Gray - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    One of my friends really really wanted me to read this because of The Confessions of Dorian Gray.  It had been on my list before then, but I would say it’s gotten closer to the top since then.  My friend’s favorite television show is Merlin and one of the actors, Alexander Vlahos, is the voice of Dorian so she really pushed me to read it.  I was pretty busy at the time and I’ve found that I don’t follow audio well.  So, it got pushed to the side.

  10. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

    1Q84 - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I have always heard so many good things about this book.  I actually got about half way through before I got bored and put it down.  Lately I’ve been wanting to finish reading it and find out what happens.

  11. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

    Moby-Dick - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I’ve attempted to read this before.  And while I don’t really WANT to read it, I want to read it just so I can say I did.  I feel like once I finish reading it you should be given a patch or pin to prove you succeeded!  Hey, that’s not a bad idea… Someone should make patches or pins for books so you can collect them like girl scouts badges.

  12. Dead Man Walking by Helen Prejean

    Dead Man Walking - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    The only reason I’ve wanted to read this for a long time is because one of the men interviewed by the nun actually murdered a distant relative of mine.  My mom would point them out to me at funerals and tell me about the book and the movie.  I haven’t seen the movie and I won’t until after I read the book, but since it’s woven into our family history, I’m really interested to read and research more on the subject.  The family also has a book called Dead Family Walking that I plan on reading along with this one.

  13. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

    A Clockwork Orange - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I feel bad saying this, but I have no idea what this book is about.  This book is always mentioned and there is art based off the book everywhere.  I feel like this is one of those books that I need to have read.  I feel pretty bad calling myself an English Literature major while I haven’t read this.

  14. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

    Catch-22 - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    Basically copy and paste what I said about A Clockwork Orange here.  This is the same predicament.

  15. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

    Middlesex - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    This is another one of those books that I saw my mom reading and sitting around the house often.  I also have no idea what this book is about, but I remember the cover and always wanted to read it.

  16. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    The Little Prince - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    The Little Prince is very popular in South Korea.  I have never felt bad before for not reading it, but here I feel so guilty.  You can go to rest stops and the theme is The Little Prince.  If you are looking for places to go in South Korea, you’ll always see photos from the Little Prince statue in Busan and Petite France in Seoul.  Everyone is always so excited about seeing The Little Prince everywhere and I just don’t get it because I haven’t read the book.

  17. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I’ve always wanted to read this, but I haven’t gotten myself to pick up the book quite yet.  Barnes and Nobles has this really pretty pink version of the book and I’ve got that in storage back in Texas.  I’m not quite sure why, but reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has always seemed daunting to me.

  18. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

    Winnie-the-Pooh - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    Who doesn’t like Winnie-the-Pooh?  I grew up watching the Disney cartoon and my VHS cover was beaten to bits.  My favorite character is Rabbit.  I’ve always gravitated towards the older grumpy characters in movies for some reason.  Piglet is a close second for me.  I think this is one of those cases where I haven’t read it because I have seen so much of the world through the eyes of Disney.  What if the book doesn’t live up to this whole world I’ve created in my head?  I guess I just need to try it out and see what happens.

  19. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

    The Martian Chronicles - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I’m almost certain this was a book assigned to me in university that I never read.  One of my cousins is really big into science fiction and I remember this being on a book shelf at their house.  Of course, I hear about Ray Bradbury all the time too.

  20. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

    My Sister's Keeper - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I actually tried to read this right when it came out in 2004, but it was a bit above my reading level and I just couldn’t handle it.  But I remember thinking “wow, this is a serious book.”  I haven’t see the movie and I really don’t want to, but I would like to pick this book up again and give it another try now that I’m older.

  21. Wicked by Gregory Maguire

    Wicked - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    No, I haven’t seen the musical, but I have listened to the sound track a million times over.  This is another book my mom read and I remember she wouldn’t let me borrow it because she was worried she wouldn’t get it back.  I also remember her friends not liking it because it wasn’t similar to the musical, but my mom still enjoyed it.


I really feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself while making this list.  You can’t force me to read a book if I’m not feeling it.  That goes for university and friend recommendations.  I’ve also learned that what I’ve wanted to read has been heavily influenced by what I saw my mom reading when I was younger.  I had never noticed that before now!

Now that I’ve written all these books down in a list, I feel compelled to read them all this coming year.  I’m not committing to it, but I think I will attempt to read some of the books on this list.  I don’t want to spend too much time reading classics when there is so much new content coming out daily!  But that is one of the problems book lovers have, our to be read pile is never ending.


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