The Most Begun "Read but Unfinished" (Initiated) book ever
There are many books, whether contemporary or classic, which are often picked up by readers and started but that the readers never finished.

This is NOT about it being a bad book. It's more or less about it being hard to actually finish, as in it can be quite a challenge to read it.

What do you think is the most initated/begun book ever?
1 Catch-22 (Catch-22, #1)
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 393,692 ratings
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2 The Lord of the Rings (The ...
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4.43 of 5 stars 4.43 avg rating — 292,285 ratings
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3 Ulysses
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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 60,416 ratings
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4 Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
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3.4 of 5 stars 3.40 avg rating — 307,570 ratings
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5 Holy Bible: King James Version
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4.39 of 5 stars 4.39 avg rating — 119,562 ratings
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6 Atlas Shrugged
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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66 avg rating — 210,373 ratings
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7 War and Peace
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4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 118,192 ratings
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8 Wicked: The Life and Times ...
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3.47 of 5 stars 3.47 avg rating — 402,429 ratings
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9 Anna Karenina
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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 303,927 ratings
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10 The Silmarillion
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 107,602 ratings
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11 One Hundred Years of Solitude
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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 415,823 ratings
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12 Don Quixote
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 102,734 ratings
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13 Wuthering Heights
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 676,310 ratings
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14 Crime and Punishment
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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 291,087 ratings
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15 Les Misérables
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 414,236 ratings
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16 Pride and Prejudice
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4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 1,372,751 ratings
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17 On the Road
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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66 avg rating — 204,898 ratings
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18 Life of Pi
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 784,369 ratings
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19 Great Expectations
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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 337,632 ratings
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20 Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74 avg rating — 102,741 ratings
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21 Dracula
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 423,690 ratings
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22 Gravity's Rainbow
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 20,143 ratings
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23 A Tale of Two Cities
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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76 avg rating — 506,287 ratings
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24 Zen and the Art of Motorcyc...
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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 106,384 ratings
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25 The Hobbit
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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 1,571,230 ratings
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26 Infinite Jest
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4.34 of 5 stars 4.34 avg rating — 33,831 ratings
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27 Paradise Lost
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 77,391 ratings
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28 Lolita
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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 370,941 ratings
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29 A Confederacy of Dunces
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 132,482 ratings
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30 The Canterbury Tales
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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46 avg rating — 114,925 ratings
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31 The Iliad
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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 186,366 ratings
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32 The Scarlet Letter
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3.32 of 5 stars 3.32 avg rating — 381,102 ratings
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33 Love in the Time of Cholera
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 237,545 ratings
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34 The Divine Comedy
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 60,852 ratings
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35 Heart of Darkness
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3.38 of 5 stars 3.38 avg rating — 165,589 ratings
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36 The Grapes of Wrath
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 383,814 ratings
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37 Atonement
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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 269,090 ratings
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38 The Satanic Verses
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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 30,248 ratings
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39 The Hitchhiker's Guide to t...
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 716,842 ratings
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40 A Brief History of Time
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 108,682 ratings
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41 The Catcher in the Rye
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 1,490,078 ratings
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42 Sophie's World
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 97,372 ratings
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43 The Fountainhead
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 194,892 ratings
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44 The Brothers Karamazov
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4.27 of 5 stars 4.27 avg rating — 118,443 ratings
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45 Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1)
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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 359,589 ratings
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46 A Portrait of the Artist as...
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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57 avg rating — 73,366 ratings
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47 Lord of the Flies
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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60 avg rating — 1,225,660 ratings
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48 The Sound and the Fury
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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 97,612 ratings
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49 Finnegans Wake
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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65 avg rating — 7,524 ratings
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50 Naked Lunch
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3.48 of 5 stars 3.48 avg rating — 45,129 ratings
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51 Interview with the Vampire ...
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 311,908 ratings
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52 The Historian
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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74 avg rating — 162,511 ratings
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53 Jane Eyre
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 887,774 ratings
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54 1984
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 1,326,941 ratings
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55 Vanity Fair
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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73 avg rating — 69,333 ratings
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56 The Name of the Rose
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4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 146,674 ratings
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57 Gone with the Wind
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4.25 of 5 stars 4.25 avg rating — 638,979 ratings
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58 Mrs. Dalloway
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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76 avg rating — 97,285 ratings
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59 Frankenstein
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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 621,076 ratings
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60 Twilight (Twilight, #1)
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3.56 of 5 stars 3.56 avg rating — 2,545,617 ratings
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61 Eat, Pray, Love
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3.43 of 5 stars 3.43 avg rating — 850,638 ratings
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62 Swann's Way (In Search of L...
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 18,854 ratings
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63 Walden
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 80,844 ratings
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64 The Odyssey
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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 556,910 ratings
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65 The Count of Monte Cristo
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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15 avg rating — 439,875 ratings
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66 The Pillars of the Earth  (...
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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26 avg rating — 329,249 ratings
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67 The Fellowship of the Ring ...
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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 1,162,828 ratings
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68 The Shack: Where Tragedy Co...
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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66 avg rating — 282,217 ratings
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69 The Old Man and the Sea
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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 313,170 ratings
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70 The Da Vinci Code (Robert L...
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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 1,214,019 ratings
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71 The Time Traveler's Wife
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 917,274 ratings
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72 The Origin of Species
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 44,600 ratings
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73 Sense and Sensibility
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 575,311 ratings
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74 Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Ete...
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4.3 of 5 stars 4.30 avg rating — 22,851 ratings
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75 The Mists of Avalon (Avalon...
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 128,330 ratings
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76 The Trial
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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 96,649 ratings
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77 David Copperfield
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 113,279 ratings
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78 Middlesex
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 389,505 ratings
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79 Little Women (Little Women,...
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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 960,830 ratings
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80 The Adventures of Huckleber...
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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 819,560 ratings
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81 Foucault's Pendulum
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 35,591 ratings
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82 Midnight's Children
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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 59,783 ratings
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83 The Book Thief
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4.36 of 5 stars 4.36 avg rating — 658,471 ratings
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84 The Lovely Bones
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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 1,179,485 ratings
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85 Beloved
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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 175,361 ratings
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86 The Unbearable Lightness of...
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 167,368 ratings
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87 American Gods (American God...
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 295,481 ratings
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88 Eragon (The Inheritance Cyc...
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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 725,035 ratings
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89 The Great Gatsby
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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 1,781,412 ratings
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90 For Whom the Bell Tolls
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 145,767 ratings
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91 A Heartbreaking Work of Sta...
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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65 avg rating — 122,282 ratings
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92 Animal Farm
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 1,350,992 ratings
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93 Lady Chatterley's Lover
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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46 avg rating — 50,763 ratings
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94 A Clockwork Orange
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 325,057 ratings
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95 The Red Badge of Courage
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3.15 of 5 stars 3.15 avg rating — 55,539 ratings
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96 In Cold Blood
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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 305,326 ratings
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97 The Master and Margarita
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4.33 of 5 stars 4.33 avg rating — 91,938 ratings
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98 Things Fall Apart (The Afri...
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3.55 of 5 stars 3.55 avg rating — 149,330 ratings
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99 Cryptonomicon
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4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 55,745 ratings
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100 The Sun Also Rises
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 213,662 ratings
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flag this list (?)
1,409 books · 9,226 voters · list created July 31st, 2008 by Leila (votes) .
209 likes · like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Leila
Leila
554 books
100 friends
Collin
Collin
121 books
25 friends
Barbara
Barbara
2962 books
51 friends
Heather
Heather
132 books
8 friends
Nicole
Nicole
871 books
34 friends
Antoine
Antoine
948 books
132 friends
Ryan
Ryan
247 books
54 friends
Bluediamond
Bluediamond
707 books
25 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-50 of 242) (242 new)


message 1: by Erica (new)

Erica I think you should add Wicked. I know 3 people including myself who have started reading this book but put it down cause it was so HORRIBLE!


message 2: by Annie (new)

Annie Add 'Great Expectations' and 'Wicked'


message 3: by Leila (new)

Leila Erica and Annie - you can, if you'd like, add the books by your own :) You can do so by searching for the books where it says 'find/add books to list', in the top column on the righ :)


message 4: by Annie (new)

Annie perfect, thanks :)


message 5: by Philip (new)

Philip Some people consider CATCH-22 to be the funniest book they've ever read - I wouldn't know, because I've never been able to get through more than 40 or 50 pages, and didn't find those particularly fun. ATLAS SHRUGGED reads like a dream compared to this one (and I've read ATLAS SHRUGGED 2-and-1/3 times!)


message 6: by Arthur (new)

Arthur Philip wrote: "Some people consider CATCH-22 to be the funniest book they've ever read - I wouldn't know, because I've never been able to get through more than 40 or 50 pages"

Could not agree more.


message 7: by Tish (new)

Tish i jsut added Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon. it is written in old english and after about 20 pages of not understanding the Kings english,i gave up
tish


message 8: by Rachel (new)

Rachel  Byrne Please keep trying with Catch-22. It is truly worth the effort. I admit that I had help with my first reading of the book; it was assigned reading in a Humanities class. I was definitely not interested--but I am SO glad I struggled with it and discovered the humor and the humanity.


message 9: by Arthur (new)

Arthur There are so many good books out there that I don't see a point of struggling when I can simply enjoy reading. It is a hobby, not a job.


message 10: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Oh God, The Crying of Lot 49! It's the shortest book on my 'to read' shelf and every time I pick it up I put it down after 3 pages.

Whoever enjoys Pynchon must be mad!


message 11: by Victoria (new)

Victoria The Mists of Avalon was awesome. I couldn't put it down!! Although it is sort of long i suppose. And not everyone is obsessed with King Arthur books :)


message 12: by Amy (last edited Jul 08, 2009 08:04AM) (new)


message 13: by Marianna (new)

Marianna The Old Man and the Sea is so short. I got through that one real quick before I ever thought it was boring or anything like that.


message 14: by Emma (new)

Emma I couldn't get through Wicked even though I tried like eight times. I was totally surprised that such and awful book was that popular.

But American Gods and The Book Theif...? I loved those. I couldn't put either of them down.


message 15: by Jay (new)

Jay Holy shit who actually struggles with Heart of Darkness? Joyce, Pynchon, Wallace, Tolstoy... all of these make sense. How is Conrad so high on the list?


message 16: by Leila (new)

Leila Jorge Luis wrote: "Holy shit who actually struggles with Heart of Darkness? Joyce, Pynchon, Wallace, Tolstoy... all of these make sense. How is Conrad so high on the list?"

I had a VERY hard time with that book :) Couldn't get through it.


message 17: by Chuck (new)

Chuck Leila wrote: "I had a VERY hard time with that book:) Couldn't get through it" Was referring to Heart of Darkness. Just go rent Apocalypse Now and then reread. Same story, even to the name of the antagonist.


message 18: by branka (new)

branka Catch 22 is absolutely worth the read. Stop being a bunch of quitters and try again.


message 19: by Janet (new)

Janet Eclipse

The whole demon pregnancy thing really wierded me out and since I wasn't really enjoying the series anyways...


message 20: by Khanh (new)

Khanh I had such a hard time with One Hundred Years of Solitude, it became a chore having to keep up with all the similarly named characters and different side-stories, moving from past, present to future. I know thats the whole point with 'magical realism' but it was very distracting & I have a short attention span.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Helter Skelter and In Cold Blood are the only two books I've never been able to finish.

There are paragraphs in books that make my eyes glaze over...as much as I like Tom Clancy books just about any paragraph that goes into detail about weaponry has me glazing, but I can push through to get to the next paragraph that draws my interest. It happens in other books too, were I might've figured out the plot or the characters are all over place and I get confused or I don't like the language or the politics are annoying or a whole host of things yet I "keep on keeping on" and plug away until the book is finished.

In the two books I voted for I literally put them down and chose to not finish them. Maybe when I'm older...


message 22: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 25, 2009 10:10PM) (new)

Erica wrote: "I think you should add Wicked. I know 3 people including myself who have started reading this book but put it down cause it was so HORRIBLE!"


Thanks for the warning as I have even come close to buying this book. There are so many many books I have started but been UNable to finish. Sometimes I do go back to them 2 or 3 times and finally do finish them but I sure prefer the ones I cannot put down and must stay up all night to read.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Emma wrote: "I couldn't get through Wicked even though I tried like eight times. I was totally surprised that such and awful book was that popular.

But American Gods and The Book Theif...? I loved those. I ..."


I made it thru The Book Thief but it wasn't easy. I couldn't read American Gods. I didn't like the title but the book was worse. I got half way before giving up.




message 24: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Jorge Luis wrote: "Holy shit who actually struggles with Heart of Darkness? Joyce, Pynchon, Wallace, Tolstoy... all of these make sense. How is Conrad so high on the list?"

I think I can answer for Conrad, though I swear I finished every word of Lord Jim, Victory and others. He's a gorgeous but self-conscious stylist. "Get on with it, already" I want to shout. ....Then again, some people love the very feature others hate. I guess that's why bald guys are able to score.


message 25: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Der Zauberberg. I am ashamed to say I just don't get its appeal. I tried to care about Hans Castorp but just wound up thinking about tuberculosis and wondering what all these people were going on about and why. My Ugly-Americanism is showing, I guess. I'm not saying The Magic Mountain isn't one of the Century's great novels, I'm sure it is. I'm saying I, personally, couldn't get WITH it, and because I could not--I don't know WHY not.


ღ Carol jinx~☆~ Rachel wrote: "Please keep trying with Catch-22. It is truly worth the effort. I admit that I had help with my first reading of the book; it was assigned reading in a Humanities class. I was definitely not intere..."


I totally agree it is worth the effort. So is Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities.


message 27: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Canary wrote: "Erica wrote: "I think you should add Wicked. I know 3 people including myself who have started reading this book but put it down cause it was so HORRIBLE!"


Thanks for the warning as I have eve..."


Canary, Horrible how ? Gruesome ? Sadistic ? What ? I know nothing of it.


message 28: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Marianna wrote: "The Old Man and the Sea is so short. I got through that one real quick before I ever thought it was boring or anything like that."

I like it much better now that I'm an old man myself (68). Did you know that Sr. Fuentes was real ? He was Hemingway's boat pilot....died a few years back at very advanced age.


message 29: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Ingrid wrote: "I've tried to read The Life of Pi twice and couldn't get through it...it's one of the few books I've ever not finished."

My wife and I finished Life of Pi reading out loud to each other....kept hoping it would add up to something and were disappointed when it didn't. What you have here I think is the AFFECTATION of significance. What do these Canadians know about tigers named Richard Parker and why the hell should I care ?


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Carol wrote: "Rachel wrote: "Please keep trying with Catch-22. It is truly worth the effort. I admit that I had help with my first reading of the book; it was assigned reading in a Humanities class. I was defin..."

I found it to be so amusing it wasn't an effort. If its an effort and you are not enjoying it why bother unless its a requirement for a class? I try to read only what I enjoy. Life is too short to read boring, painful pointless books.




message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Thom wrote: "Ingrid wrote: "I've tried to read The Life of Pi twice and couldn't get through it...it's one of the few books I've ever not finished."

My wife and I finished Life of Pi reading out loud to each o..."


How nice to read out loud to each other. I am rarely allowed to do that.




message 32: by Mush (new)

Mush I've started 49. I've finished 36.

Has anyone ever finished Ulysses? *giggle*


message 33: by Alyson (new)

Alyson Greene It's so interesting to see this list. Some of the books I totally agree with. I struggled and struggled through ATLAS SHRUGGED, I got like 2/3 of the way through, but my bookmark has been in that same spot for years.

And The SOUND and the FURY, that book makes me feel like a moron! I had to read each page twice until I gave it the obligatory 30 pages and gave up.


But LORD OF THE FLIES? I don't get it. I read it once in high school, and then read it again, in two days, for a college assignment.


I also loved THE BOOK THIEF and it kept me turning pages, but I've heard from others that it was difficult for them.

I think sometimes it's the narrative structure more than the lexile level that makes a book difficult. I know that was the case for me with THE SOUND AND THE FURY and I bet it's the case for others with LORD OF THE FLIES and THE BOOK THIEF.


message 34: by Yvonne (new)

Yvonne I just read Life of Pi for the second time. Finished it in 2 days, without stopping. One of my absolute favourites.

Couldn't get through Catch-22, American Gods; and once in awhile i pick up my unfinished Midnight's Children and give it a little go, only to get past a few pages only.


message 35: by Susana (new)

Susana Kuri marsch I have tried to read Wuthering Heights three times at different points in my life, and have never made it past the first 20 or 30 pages, and I really don't know why.


message 36: by Michelle (new)

Michelle A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving I have a large imagination, so the annoying voice in this book was far too annoying for me to continue. I didn't get past chapter 2.


message 37: by Arthur (new)

Arthur Yvonne wrote: "I just read Life of Pi for the second time. Finished it in 2 days, without stopping. One of my absolute favourites.

Couldn't get through Catch-22, American Gods; and once in awhile i pick up my u..."


WOW!
At leat I am not alone in my dislike of AG.
Thank you very much.



message 38: by Xsupercharliex (new)

Xsupercharliex Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

It's so odd that all the first 73 books on this list that I've read I have no problem with reading through at all, but the hardest of them all for me is the 74th. Am I just weird? I don't understand how the others are hard at all, but then everyone's different!


message 39: by Xsupercharliex (new)

Xsupercharliex Thom wrote: "Ingrid wrote: "I've tried to read The Life of Pi twice and couldn't get through it...it's one of the few books I've ever not finished."

My wife and I finished Life of Pi reading out loud to each o..."


Oh wow =) I don't know anyone else who does that, how wonderful.


message 40: by Morgan (new)

Morgan F I always considered myself one to finish what I've started, but going throught this list and continually voting has shown me what a quitter I am. Then again, some of my favorites are on this list, but there is also ones that I certainly struggled to finish.


message 41: by JoAnn (new)

JoAnn Victoria wrote: "The Mists of Avalon was awesome. I couldn't put it down!! Although it is sort of long i suppose. And not everyone is obsessed with King Arthur books :)"

I totally agree! It is one of my all time favorite books!



message 42: by JoAnn (new)

JoAnn I totally agree! It is one of my all time favorite books!


message 43: by JoAnn (new)

JoAnn Kathy wrote: "Helter Skelter and In Cold Blood are the only two books I've never been able to finish.

There are paragraphs in books that make my eyes glaze over...as much as I like Tom Clancy books just abou..."





message 44: by JoAnn (last edited Nov 22, 2009 08:38AM) (new)

JoAnn Perhaps it is the blood and the gore. I can only read so much of that stuff and it starts to get to me!
Then, I usually put the book down, and seldom pick it back up!


message 45: by Emma (new)

Emma 'Atlas Shrugged' is abominable to finish - it loses momentum very quickly, and I hit a road block around page 900. 'Catch 22', however, I re-read every year - it's my favourite. Several of these - Pride and Prejudice, any Gabriel Garcia Marquez, In Cold Blood (SUCH a compelling read), Middlesex, Atonement, both Salman Rushdie novels on the list- are books that I adored and could not put down. It's all about taste I think - there are several well-known works that I've struggled through on this list that people I know love. Admittedly also with 'The Satanic Verses' I though the first part was amazing, but had to struggle through the second part - after much delay and effort - and then loved the rest. Some books are a journey like that.


message 46: by Toni (new)

Toni Mine was New Moon. It was not hard to read just totally lost my interest.


message 47: by John (new)

John Murphy Atlas Shrugged was tough, but well worth the time.


message 48: by Marty (new)

Marty My high school English teacher had us read "A Tale of Two Cities" by Dickens. I had a rough time and essentially skimmed and skipped to meet minimum requirements for class discussion and obligatory paper. I saw the old black and white movie a few years later and was captured by the final line "Tis a far, far better thing I do than ere I've done before...tis a far better rest I go to..." (best I can do from memory) I read it and loved it.


message 49: by Holly (new)

Holly I started "invisible man" by Raplh Ellison in 2002 and I periodicall go back to finish it but i can't finish the last 100 pages. Something keeps compelling to put the book down


message 50: by Selena (new)

Selena Garcia I started reading "The Lovely Bones" and I thought it was great, but...I stopped before reading half the book because it started talking about Susie's sister way too much and it was boring. I think I could never actually read the whole book.


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