Friday, January 11, 2013

100 Books

I checked "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath out from the library this week.  I've never read it before.  I feel like somehow I missed something by not reading it.  And that made me think of all the other books I've heard of and know passing references to but haven't actually read myself.

It's an embarrassingly long list.

So I sat down yesterday and decided to make myself a Top 100 To-Read list of books I should have read by now but haven't.  Do I think I'll get all these books read this year?  Hardly.  Are there tons of books not on this list that are classics that I have already read?  You betcha.  Was it a difficult list to compile?  Heavens, yes.  It's amazing how hard it is to find a good list of classics on the Internet.  If you do a search for "top 100 books," oh, yes, you'll get a million links, but most of the lists are for women only, men only, the 20th century only, and I didn't want to limit myself! 

There are a few on this list that I actually have read before but plan to read again.  When reading something as an assignment in the 8th, 9th, 10th grades, one doesn't have context.  There is no meaning.  How was I supposed to understand Les Miserables when I had no knowledge of French history?  I've noted those books where they're listed.

Obviously I don't expect you to do this.  Your reading repertoire is yours.  You may abhor the idea of reading classics altogether, or you may have read many of these but never touched Shakespeare, Jack London, Jules Verne, or Edgar Allen Poe (just a few of the authors who do not appear on this list because I've devoured their books with the ferocity of a rabid badger).  I'm not a huge fan of philosophy, so there's no Kierkegaard, Rousseau, or Freud (though I do list Plato, Machiavelli, Thoreau and Sun Tzu).  Regardless of your thoughts on the list itself, what would you put on yours?  Leave me a comment and let me know!


Top 100 Books to Read

1.  Anything by J.R.R. Tolkien - this is the only author listed as an author... I have to admit I've never read a single one of his works.  I should probably remedy that.
2.  Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
3.  (REREAD) To Kill a Mockingbird
4.  1984
5.  Bhagavad Gita
6.  Catch-22
7.  Wuthering Heights
8.  Rebecca
9.  Catcher in the Rye
10.  War & Peace
11.  Gone with the Wind
12.  Tess of the D'Urbervilles
13.  Middlemarch
14.  The Grapes of Wrath
15.  David Copperfield
16.  Watership Down
17.  (REREAD) The Great Gatsby
18.  (REREAD) Animal Farm
19.  Anna Karenina - I'm actually about 2/3 of the way through this one but need to pull out the Kindle and just finish it off once and for all
20.  Crime & Punishment
21.  Memoirs of a Geisha
22.  Lord of the Flies
23.  Brave New World - I have a vague feeling I've read this and 1984 before, but I can't be sure, so I'm adding them to the list
24.  On the Road
25.  Vanity Fair
26.  Madame Bovary
27.  (REREAD) Les Miserables
28.  All the King's Men
29.  Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret
30.  Atonement
31.  The Qur'an
32.  I, Claudius
33.  Invisible Man
34.  Midnight's Children
35.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
36.  Rabbit, Run
37.  Slaughterhouse Five
38.  The Joy Luck Club
39.  East of Eden
40.  The Communist Manifesto
41.  The English Patient
42.  Portrait of a Lady
43.  Don Quixote
44.  War of the Worlds
45.  Gulliver's Travels
46.  The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
47.  Dr. Zhivago
48.  All Quiet on the Western Front
49.  Fahrenheit 451
50.  Epic of Gilgamesh
51.  Faust
52.  The Sound and the Fury
53.  John Milton's 'Paradise' books
54.  The Phantom Tollbooth
55.  The Art of War
56.  Candide
57.  Doctor Faustus
58.  The Importance of Being Earnest
59.  The Hunchback of Notre Dame - like the others, I have a vague feeling I've read it, but I don't recall for sure
60.  Kim
61.  The Man in the Iron Mask - given my Dumas obsession, this is surprising, but I haven't read this one
62.  Lady Chatterley's Lover
63.  Moll Flanders
64.  Pilgrim's Progress
65.  Plato's "Republic"
66.  Tom Jones
67.  Walden
68.  A Streetcar Named Desire
69.  The Witch of Blackbird Pond
70.  The Color Purple
71.  Cat's Cradle
72.  In Cold Blood
73.  The Jungle
74.  Beloved
75.  Schindler's List
76.  Atlas Shrugged
77.  Brideshead Revisited
78.  For Whom the Bell Tolls
79.  Machiavelli's "The Prince"
80.  Into the Wild
81.  The Maltese Falcon
82.  Robin Hood
83.  William Tell
84.  Mutiny on the Bounty
85.  Rob Roy
86.  The Time Traveller's Wife
87.  The Book Thief
88.  The Call of Cthulhu
89.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
90.  Night
91.  Don Juan
92.  Nostradamus' "Prophecies"
93.  The Once and Future King
94.  Die Nibelungenlied
95.  The Origin of Species
96.  A Wrinkle in Time
97.  Death of a Salesman
98.  Cold Sassy Tree
99.  All Creatures Great and Small
100.  Our Town



farmwifetwo said...

1. Anything by J.R.R. Tolkien -
Half way through the fellowship of the ring and it's slow. But I can see where it would make a good movie.

2. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - read early 20's

3. (REREAD) To Kill a Mockingbird - Gr 9 english

4. 1984 - highschool just b/c

7. Wuthering Heights - didn't like

11. Gone with the Wind - didn't like

12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - I thought I did a Hardy in English as well... but I know it was about a village and the title had the village in it... but I don't see it listed anywhere... I'll remember around 3am.

13. Middlemarch - as long as it isn't "misselthwaite" the follow up to the secret garden... you'll be fine... that's a.. ummmmm.. interesting book.

14. The Grapes of Wrath - depressing.

19. Anna Karenina - tried didn't finish

22. Lord of the Flies - not interested

27. (REREAD) Les Miserables - have on hand and need to read

29. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret - read many of hers when I was that age...

41. The English Patient - I found this one interesting

45. Gulliver's Travels - does the Usborne version for 8yr olds count??

49. Fahrenheit 451 - did Martian Chronicles in Gr 10.

60. Kim - good and then I'll introduce to Laurie R King's meeting btwn Kim, Holmes and Russell...

68. Ivanhoe - another english book

78. For Whom the Bell Tolls - highschool just b/c

81. The Maltese Falcon - good

86. The Time Traveller's Wife - since I don't memorize, it was impossible to follow without notes.

87. The Book Thief - didn't like

95. The Origin of Species - dry but readable and interesting

96. A Wrinkle in Time - have here for the boys, read as a teen.

97. Death of a Salesman - Gr 12 English

Addlepated Monkey Mama said...

I just read "All Creatures Great and Small" last year and adored it. Happy reading!

Kim said...

Oh, this is delicious! You've inspired me. Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Beloved are among my all-time favorites. I've watched two different people reading Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. One was laughing out loud every few minutes and the other had a permanent goofy grin on their face. Must be some good stuff.
I will get to cracking on my list and begin...TONIGHT!

Beth said...

Holy crap you haven't read some fantastic books! I haven't memorized them but read yes. Admittedly the more :classic: ones were reading assignments but some - Hitchhikers, Catch 22, Animal Farm, Joy Luck Club, Gulliver Travels, etc. etc. etc. I got bored and these were just there. I was bored a LOT in high school.

Sarah said...

Tell me about it. My kids have read some of these and I haven't! My high school picked THE. WORST. BOOKS. EVER. for our literature. Seriously. "The Good Earth," for example, and "Heart of Darkness." And "The Old Man and the Sea." Plus the four on my re-read list. See what I mean? Ugh.

BridgyM said...

I hated "Heart of Darkness". I don't know how I didn't fall asleep in english with that one. Cliff notes were my friend. I do think I would have a better perspective since I wouldn't be writing a paper to go along with all of the reading.

WizzardofMOZ said...

Last book I read was the one they made me read in high school. Unless you count non fiction then it was "hacking windows" and "java script for dummies". :-)

So my list is small and all non fiction.

1. Linux for dummies
2. Wood working for beginners (lizz bought it for me)
3. Tom coburns waste book (every year)

Seriously though with the addition of the internet, fiction has become obsolete to me.