It’s All About the Books

I saw this post a couple of weeks ago over at Life After College (followed a BlogHer link!) and have wanted to do this meme-ish thing but have had trouble finding the time. (What a surprise…ahem.)

I wish I could find more information about the source of this list, but I poked around both websites Amy linked to and can’t figure out exactly where the list originated. I still think it’s cool though. Here’s what Amy had to say:

The Big Read is an NEA program designed to encourage community reading initiatives. Of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six.

The idea is to mark in bold the ones you’ve read. I was a bit appalled at myself that I haven’t read more of them! I really expected to have read at least half of them and it’s more like 1/4 - a lot more than the six they’re calling the national average, but still, I expected to do better!!!

Of course, a few of these are things I have no interest in reading - don’t care if someone calls them a classic. A few more I feel like I’ve read because I’ve heard so much about them and/or seen one or move movies made of the story, but in wracking my brain (ouch!) I don’t think I’ve ever actually read them. I’ve italicized those. Some of these are ones I should try. When I have time. Heh.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (I’ve tried to get through this but didn’t like it….might try again at some point
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (nope, not ALL of them!)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So there’s my list. How many have you read?

16 Responses to “It’s All About the Books”

  1. on 13 Oct 2008 at 8:21 am Tammy

    Wow interesting list! Some of them I wouldn’t count as classics! I’m amazed that they say the average is only six!! As I counted, I’ve read 53 of them. Many of them were ones I remembered from school. I had great English teachers who “made” us read a lot of books - for which I am grateful. But, I am also a huge reader, so I’ve read many of them on my own too. (Not lately, as all it seems I have the steam to read is Nora Roberts books that I’ve already read! No thinking required!)

  2. on 13 Oct 2008 at 8:55 am Janet

    I loved Watership Down…read it around the same time I first read The Hobbit. Even all these years later, when I finally went to England for the first time (2003), and drove past a field filled with bunnies…I thought of that book :-)

    Also loved A Prayer for Owen Meaney and The Secret History :-)

  3. on 13 Oct 2008 at 10:18 am Judy

    I’m going to call foul on that list. They list the complete works of Shakespeare AND Hamlet. Same with C.S.Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia AND The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
    That said, I count about 38 of them. If you are looking for Swallows and Amazons, I loved it and read it to my kids. British children on holidays camp on an island in a lake and have adventures without adults. And like Tammy, a lot of the ones on the list that I have read, I read in school.

  4. on 13 Oct 2008 at 12:52 pm bhavana

    I can’t believe I’ve only read 31. I feel a bit guilty, I thought for sure I’d have read more than that. Though some of the ones that I’ve read, classics or not, I hated. Some I really loved. I thought Wuthering Heights was terrible but I just loved The Time Traveler’s Wife. All in all this was a really cool meme-type post! :)

  5. on 13 Oct 2008 at 5:31 pm JC

    Eep, I’ve only read 19 of them! Ahem. I highly recommend A Confederacy of Dunces.

  6. on 15 Oct 2008 at 1:06 am Linda in London

    What a fun list, but it is not completely balanced since it has duplicates. I am going to do this me-me on my blog, and hopefully I remember more about the books I have read than just the title.

  7. on 15 Oct 2008 at 12:01 pm Rebecca in SoCal

    What fun to go down the list! But…just what I need…another list of books to read! Aack!

    I found myself thinking “Of course Deb read that. Oh, you haven’t read that?” And so many books I’d like to/been meaning to read, and several I never, ever heard of.

    Anyway, my total was 23.

  8. on 15 Oct 2008 at 8:21 pm Laume

    I lifted the list to a blog post and took it myself. I did about the same as you - about a quarter or maybe third of the books - if you give more weight to all the trilogies and the seven book series they counted as ONE item each. I was surprised at some of the books you hadn’t read and knew which books you would have read that I haven’t (Austen). I’ll post it eventually.

  9. on 17 Oct 2008 at 10:11 pm Deborah

    I’ve read 22… that doesn’t seem like very many, but the list is pretty random. I was surprised by some that you hadn’t read. I know you’ve read tons of books.

    The only one that I have read and you have not that I would strongly recommend is Handmaid’s Tale.

    By the way… have you read The Lace Reader? Or Love Walked In? I read them both lately and loved them.

  10. on 18 Oct 2008 at 11:33 pm JulieZS

    That is quite a list. I did this too as a post on my blog. I’ve read 61. Which is pretty good I guess, but I’m embarrassed at some of them that I haven’t read.

  11. on 19 Oct 2008 at 12:40 am Julie

    Interesting list. I posted mine as well. My total is 53, some of which I’ve read multiple times (like Austen, Rowling and Tolkien). And I’ve read a LOT of Shakespeare, but not ALL.

  12. on 19 Oct 2008 at 4:52 am wanda

    Great fun! I’m not taking the test but I did look through the list. My thought has always been that it doesn’t matter WHAT you read, it’s THAT you read!! ha ha I guess I can make up any kind of excuse for my tendencies!

  13. on 19 Oct 2008 at 11:22 pm amber

    I have read 49. And I have a few of these on my shelf, that I got with the best intentions…That count? Hm? No?

    I would say that ” A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” should be in this list. And ” East of Eden”… some I don’t get. But you should read “the Kite Runner”. I put it off for so long, and then was sooo moved!

    Which that you have read, would you say should totally be read?


  14. on 23 Oct 2008 at 3:00 am Bronnie

    oooh this is awesome!! I’m a huge book lover. I will definitely blog this!
    I’m quite amazed at how little I have read too!! lol

  15. […] classics… I stumbled across a blog post about classic books and thought it quite interesting as to how few I’ve actually read […]

  16. on 28 Oct 2008 at 5:29 pm Carol Dean Sharpe

    I was a lit major in college, and I still only read about half of these. I can think of so many books that should be on this list that aren’t. Who comes up with these anyway?