Have You Read….

Redshirt Knitting is on my regular blog reading list.  Her last entry was a MEME that she got from kmkat’s blog, who got it from CursingMama’s blog who got it from the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts).  OK, the NEA article is very old, but the internet doesn’t always move at light speed!

The point they are making is that Americans don’t read literature anymore.  The NEA asserts that most Americans have only read SIX of the following 100 books.  That would be very sad if really true.  Of course, people who are going to send this list around the internet are probably those who have read a lot more than SIX of these books, so it’s not any kind of survey.  It’s still fun to do.  I pass it along now to you.

Below are listed 100 works of literature.  The rules for the MEME are:

* Bold the books you have already read
* Italicize the books you intend to read
* Notes in parentheses next to note-worthy titles.

1) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2) The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
3) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
4) Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
5) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6) The Bible (most of it anyway)

7) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
8 ) Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell 
9) His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

10) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
11) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
12) Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
13) Catch 22 by Joseph Heller (it’s sitting on my bookshelf just waiting for me)
14) Complete Works of Shakespeare (some – but certainly not ALL)
15) Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
16) The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
17) Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
18 ) Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
19) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (one of the best books EVER)

20) Middlemarch by George Eliot
21) Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
22) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
23) Bleak House by Charles Dickens
24) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (condensed version)
25) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams  (the answer is 42)
26) Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
27) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 ) Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (hits close to home)
29) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
30) The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

31) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
32) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
33) Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
34) Emma by Jane Austen
35) Persuasion by Jane Austen
36) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis
37) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (also in my bookshelf, waiting for me)
38 ) Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
39) Memories of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
40) Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
41) Animal Farm by George Orwell
42) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (They’ve got to be kidding!  This is one of the WORST books of all time!!)
43) One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44) A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving (fantastic book)

45) The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
46) Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
47) Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
48 ) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
49) Lord of the Flies by William Golding (big impact for a 16 year old)
50) Atonement by Ian McEwan
51) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
52) Dune by Frank Herbert

53) Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
54) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
55) A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
56) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57) A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
58 ) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
59) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (great book)
60) Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

62) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
63) The Secret History by Donna Tartt
64) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
65) Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
66) On The Road by Jack Kerouac (I keep meaning to get to it)
67) Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
68 ) Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding (Again, joking, right?)
69) Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
70) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
71) Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
72) Dracula by Bram Stoker (started – didn’t finish)
73) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
74) Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson (HJ keeps recommending it, but what is even better is “Mother Tongue” 
75) Ulysses by James Joyce
76) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
77) Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
78 ) Germinal by Emile Zola
79) Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
80) Possession by AS Byatt
81) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
82) Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
83) The Color Purple by Alice Walker

84) The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
85) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
86) A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
87) Charlotte’s Web by EB White
88 ) The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
89) Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90) The Faraway Tree Collection by Enid Blyton
91) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
92) The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93) The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
94) Watership Down by Richard Adams
95) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
96) A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
97) The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 ) Hamlet by William Shakespeare
99) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
100) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

I have no idea who exactly came up with the list but it must have been a committee of some kind.  As others have pointed out, what about Mark Twain?  What about anything by Neal Stephenson (my current author idol)?  Anyway, it’s still an interesting list and makes you think about what you’ve read, what you read in school and what you’d pick up again today to read.  I read The Lord of the Flies at 16 in school and read it again just a few years ago.  It is just as haunting as ever.

I would like to recommend from this list, in particular:
A Prayer for Owen Meaney
The Time Traveler’s Wife
His Dark Materials
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

These are new-er books, excellently written.
Please don’t waste your time with The Da Vinci Code. What lousy writing!  Now, YOUR turn!

2 thoughts on “Have You Read….

  1. louise February 19, 2009 / 18:30

    Okay I have read 14 of these..do I get a prize 🙂 It’s too easy just to kick back and watch the movie..wouldn’t you agree?

  2. mandy February 19, 2009 / 18:45

    I would’ve pegged you for a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory enthusiast. Go figure! 🙂

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