Here's an entertaining article, that's reassuring, too. Apparently, the "professionals" haven't read all those books we think they have either.
My own shelf:
Ulysses, James Joyce.
Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust.
Richard Bernstein of the New York Times writes:
OK, I never read Ulysses from beginning to end, but then again, neither, I believe, has anybody else, including most of the writers and scholars who declared it the greatest English-language book of the century in that Modern Library list last year.
On the up side, I have read many of the books that make other people's lists: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Bulgakov.
My biggest shame:
The Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad.
But I'm finally starting not to care too much. It was required reading in first-year university — how I aced that course is a mystery to me. I first tried reading Conrad when my grade 11 history teacher suggested I might like Nostromo. I've tried many times. Never got page 17.