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Here Are The Books You’ve Started But Haven’t Finished


In an enlightening interview, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio—who in about 36 hours will be Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio—further contributed to the sense that despite his dominance among several demographics even in the Democratic primary, for a certain kind of liberal there is a definite sense that he is “one of us.” Here is part of the exchange:

What books have you been reading?

Well, I keep half-reading books; I cannot tell a lie. I am somewhere in The Power Broker, as is everyone I’ve ever met.

Which other books is everyone Bill de Blasio has ever met somewhere in the middle of?

Infinte Jest

“Did you at least get to the part where they play Eschaton?” No, no you did not.

The Death and Life of Great American Cities

You quickly discover that this is one of those books where everything in it that people talk about actually all appears in the first section. Much like …

Capital, Volume One

You know you should try to read it. But those footnotes! Bill de Blasio has probably finished this one, though, amirite??


You powered through that weird early chapter and then felt back on solid ground for awhile, but by the time Leopold Bloom was eating lunch, you didn’t understand what was going on (although, yes, at the end of the chapter, when it read, “Pprrpffrrppffff,” that is in fact Leopold Bloom farting.)

The Brothers Karamazov

Since it was slow at the beginning, you skipped ahead a bit and read “The Grand Inquisitor” section—so profound! And but then, all those Russian names :-(.

The Golden Notebook

Sooooo long.


You are an inferior person for not having finished this. You’ll just have to live with that. [Proceeds to live with that.]

Cloud Atlas

You keep forgetting whether it’s the 1970s, the 2000s, or the future, and at some point (the equivalent of 1992?) you just give up.

Wolf Hall

News that there is an equally long, equally good sequel made you want to finish it even more, so that you can enjoy the next one, and even less, knowing that there was a whole other one. Plus you are behind on “Scandal,” which is basically this but with more attractive people.


I mean, it is kind of a downer.

Silent Spring

You know you should read this. And it’s not even that long! But it would kill her to throw in a wisecracking sidekick or something?

Another Country

You started it because it sounded cool—the Village! Sex! It turns out there is such a thing as too much of the Village and even too much sex.

Tree of Smoke

You devoured Jesus’ Son in college, twice. Now you’re somewhere in the middle of the National Book Award-winning novel, where you will remain. Lesson: Short stories named after a Velvet Underground lyric are more likely to be read.

The Years of Lyndon Johnson

You’ve read certain snippets, like the history of the Senate at the beginning of the third book and the parts excerpted in The New Yorker. But does LBJ really need five books? Mr. Caro, we’re still working on the one you wrote about Robert Moses!

Image via shutterstock.