Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Join as a sustainer and support independent local news for your community.
This is where you'll find all the new & noteworthy books you hear about on Morning Edition, Fresh Air, All Things Considered and weekend programming. Look for the I Read It On NHPR display at Gibson's Bookstore, 45 S. Main Street, Concord NH

The Most Popular Books Left Unread

Logan Shannon

We’ve all been there, crack open a new book, read the first few chapters and then for whatever reason, just…stop. And that’s it. The book slowly migrates from bedside, to under the bed, and ends up in a pile with a bookmark placed somewhere in chapter two. Enough of the “best sellers” and “the book” to read this summer, we’re adjusting our aspirations to consider the books purchased optimistically in June and are left, un-read, by Labor Day. Dr. Jordan Ellenberg has come up with an entertaining and un-scientific formula to determine the most un-read books of summer.

Jordan's list which uses an unscientific algorithm--we'll use that term lightly--attempts to reveal how many of the most popular books we try to finish never get finished. You can listen to his interview with Virginia here.

In an unscientific poll of our own, we asked the WOM team what books they've left unfinished:

Taylor Quimby - A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Logan Shannon - Moby Dick by Herman Melville "Please don't tell my High School English teacher."

Molly Donahue 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez "I really liked it, I just haven't managed to finish it."

Zach Nugent  - The Known World by Edward P. Jones

Maureen McMurrayThe French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles

Virginia PrescottFalling Man by Don DeLillo

You can also check out the hashtag #unreadbooks on twitter, and please, don't leave us hanging, let us know what book(s) you've left unread. We've compiled a few of the latest below. 

Dr. Jordan Ellenburg is a professor of mathematics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the author of How Not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.