1. Summa Theologica: A classic, yes. But I am neither a Catholic nor an Aristotelian. Get this randomly chosen excerpt: "There is nothing to prevent a thing which in one way is divided from being another way undivided, as what is divided in number may be undivided in species; thus it may be that a thing is in one way one, and in another way many."
2. Sartre’s Being and Nothingness – This can seem intriguing when I browse it, but then I have the urge to pick up Pascal and I never come back. I haven’t finished Heidegger’s Being and Time either, but I am not embarrassed by that fact.
3. Harry Potter, various installments – I can’t get through them, and yes I have tried the deeper and darker #3.
4. Gibbon on Rome – I read volume one, but stopped paying attention somewhere in the middle. The main thesis — that Christianity wrecked the Roman empire — simply isn’t true, and I don’t find the prose mesmerizing, at least not in a positive fashion.
5. Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water. This is the only one on the list I decided I should start reading. It is superb and gripping, and my guilt will be gone soon.
Some people will flagellate themselves with such a list, others attack the books. The real question is which one this exercise induces you to pick up.