Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Big Read

Sleep is not coming easily, so I just read a friend's blog. She has this list from The Big Read which endeavors to encourage community reading initiatives. This is something that has always been of interest to my mother, and she passed on to me an extreme love of reading, though I admit I only read for about 20 minutes a day anymore. I used to read for full days at a time! Anyway, of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six. I find this a bit hard to swallow - I have read 49. (Maybe 50 - I can't remember if I finished Anne of Green Gables, so I didn't count it. I do remember that she goes to live at her aunts? house? after she is orphaned? and the aunt is mean. I think. Or maybe I made that up. I also remember green wallpaper?)

So, the boldface are books I have read. The underlined boldface are books I would definitely read again, because I loved them so much. The italics are books I'd like to read, but to be perfectly honest, I have not heard of many of the books on this list which were not read, so please comment if you think I would like one of them. (Generally, I read whatever I can find and am still working on Adam's collection after 7 years together...) Some other books that I love are in my profile - but I am surprised that some books didn't make the cut: The Picture of Dorian Gray (love this), Beloved (hated it, but it was literature...), The Scarlett Letter (pretty good), and a recent one, The Poisonwood Bible.

What would your list look like?

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 (HATED IT)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (HATED IT)
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
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
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 Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (can't remember...)

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 Curios Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - 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 (hated)
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 (HATED IT)
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 (This movie - a cartoon! - scared the crap out of me as a child. But perhaps I am ready for the book...)
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
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


Mel said...

I've read 37. That's embarrassing for an English teacher. Eep!

It is nice to see some more "modern classics" on the list, but you're right -- where's Barbara Kingsolver? Amy Tan? I'd throw some David Sedaris in there, too, but maybe that's just me. Oh, well, I guess you can't please every bookworm.

CaraBee said...

Well done, you! I like your picks of Scarlett Letter and Dorian Grey.

Maureen said...

I don't know your tastes, but I highly recommend The Time Traveler's Wife. Strange concept, but I really enjoyed it! I think I heard they just filmed a movie version (which will probably suck).

Jessica said...

I've read a couple of your italics books. The Five People You Meet In Heaven was a very fast read and it was pretty good. The movie was just okay. My sister, who's best friend died in a car accident, lent it to me so I think it moved me quite a bit, I got emotional.

My list on here is probably pretty short, unless you let me count movies I've seen :)

Liz Baer said...

I've read 61 of them. Lol The ones you highlighted were good or on my list of "want-to-reads". Of the ones you did not bold or italicize, I would recommend:

Cstch 22- Joseph Heller. It's excellent, one of my favorites. It is definitely written for a male audience, and takes some getting used to. It took me a long time to read it, because I got sick of it. (definitely a challenging read- difficult to understand sometimes) But the ending makes it so satisfying it's worth it to pick it back up.

The Time Traveller's Wife- Audrey Niffenegger- YOU WILL LOVE THIS!!!
I have it- you can borrow it. It's about a man who doesn't live in the present -- all the time. And he visits a woman all throughout his life, but she DOES live in the present. It sounds weird, but you would definitely love it.

The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini- This is a definite don't read. Mom liked it- it made me rather sickened. There is a scene of violence that completely threw me off acceptance of the book as a whole.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime- Mark Haddon.
This book might help you understand me a little bit more actually. It's about a boy with autism who tells a story in his own perspective. You don't get much out of the story itself- which is very simple and slightly stupid, but you get a lot out of understanding his character.

Heart of Darkness- Joseph Conrad
I read this for school and despised it. End of story.

Jamie Gill said...

I've read 25. I agree with Liz; Heart of Darkness was a terrible book. I actually am really surprised it was on the list. The only reason I can think of for being a top book is because of the lenses it uses.

I loved Dorian Gray as well. I normally don't like books with such a strong presence of the author, but Oscar Wilde is so entertaining.

We read an interesting essay a few weeks ago in English that you should check out. It's called "I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read" by Francine Prose and it discusses the flaws in modern English classes. Prose argues that the books taught portray obvious moral decisions, and deeper books need to be taught. I think you will enjoy it.