Thursday 25 November 2010

Read and Unread

I'm glad that a lot of you are thinking of joining in the novella weekend - turns out I will most likely be going to the musical, so my time will be cut a bit, but should still be plenty of reading time left. I don't seem to have much reading time at the moment, and there i one book in particular that I'm adoring, but have still spent two months reading...

So this is another not-very-time-consuming post: the following list (not in any particular order) has been doing the rounds of blogs and Facebook, and I thought I'd join in. Thanks for everyone who sent it to me. I saw it a few years ago, and it is a bizarre list (including some duplications). It's not the same as the list they came up with during the Big Read - a series I adored, especially the run-down of the top 100; must try and find that video somewhere... ANYWAY, here is the list, with the ones I've read in bold. Do comment on that which I have left unread which I ought to have read...

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
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 (well, I've read over half...)
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’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's Adventures 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 (I'm leaving in Nancy's comment on this, as I wholeheartedly agree: 'being it's part of the Chronicles, it's stupid this is on the list again')
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 - Kazu 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 (as opposed to the complete works... hmm...)
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


  1. Ooh, of those you haven't read I recommend 'Cloud Atlas' by David Mitchell, 'Swallows and Amazons' and 'The Complete Sherlock Holmes'. Sherlock Holmes is great!

  2. Well, I was in my mid-30's before I got around to Tolkien, so I'll give you grace there. And while fantasy is NOT my thing, he does have a way of sweeping you up and into his world. I thought you had read Swallows and Amazons? The one that I would say "make time for," but again I didn't get to it until my 30's, is The Count of Monte Cristo. I have to insist on unabridged version ONLY - I read this with a book group and those that had abridged versions had major plot holes. Yes, it's 1100 pgs. or so, but trust me, the pages fly! I think everyone ought to read Gone With the Wind, but that's only because I was raised as a "southern belle." :)

    I love book lists. What is it about book lists that is so attractive? (This list definitely has its oddities, though.)

  3. You might like Brideshead Revisited, it's very nostalgic and Oxford-ish. Also I wish everyone read both Middlemarch and The Woman in White and what, no Charles Dickens?

  4. Oh you are so right Susan- The unabridged Count of Monte Cristo is definitely worth reading! I should have put that on my list too.

  5. There isn't a single book in the world, except I'd assume for you the Bible, that you ought to read!

    Having said that, let me recommend these on your list that you have not yet read:

    Catch 22 - a true classic of C20 literature and a satire on bureaucratic operation and reasoning. A primary theme is the combination of force with quasi-legal argument.

    Middlemarch - I'm 3/4 of the way through this and recommend it strongly although I do think it is longer than in some sense it needs to be.

    Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy for sure.

    Anna Karenina - a powerful evocation of doomed love, hypocrisy, jealousy etc. All human passion is here. One of the most accomplished and wonderful books ever written.

    One of my favourite discoveries of recent years, and one I recommend very strongly, is Confederacy of Dunces. The sole novel, published posthumously, of Toole this is an amazing book, a true American classic, you might not like the main characters or their world but it will make you think and laugh and recoil in horror perhaps too.

    Although I have read Oliver Twist unlike "Carolyn" my own view is that he is practically unreadable!

  6. I would recommend Gone with the Wind and Great Expectations. I hated Germinal - I wouldn't bother with that one if I were you.

  7. I absolutely loved both Bleak House and Middlemarch but they do consume a lot of time; definitely ones to get round to one day! Notes on a Small Island is one of my favourite Bill Bryson books.

  8. Simon, you absolutely have to read "The Three Musketeers", it is a really great tale. A bit of an adventure with lots of love and laughs.
    Also, please ready "Madame Bovary". It is so well-written that it almost hurts, it is beautiful.
    "Vanity Fair" is another classic that you will probably like if you like Jane Austen. Is it a little bit less pleasant to read but it has some very well-developed characters.

    And I have to side with Cat and Susan and urge you to read "The Count of Monte Cristo"!

  9. I've read about 43 of these, compared to your 45 (allowing for possible miscounting in both cases). I have, for example, read all of the Dickens works that feature here. A Tale of Two Cities is probably my favourite of his, but it is closely followed by Bleak House which I think is more typical of his novels. I didn't like Great Expectations and have never been able to finish Pickwick Papers (not on this list). Meanwhile, I notice some previous commenters find Dickens unreadable. There's really only one way to discover if he is up your street.

    As you have enjoyed the satirical novels of Magnus Mills, I think Dark Puss is right to point you in the direction of Catch 22. Despite liking the idea of highlighting the folly of warfare, I've never been able to get beyond about page 80 myself, but then I didn't really take to Mills either, hence my suggestion.

  10. I already read The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien and it's okay but I would suggest reading the illustrated version if you have the choice, the artwork by Alan Lee* is so good that it manages to improve a story that is already fabulous.

  11. You haven't read Lord of the Flies? That's brilliant. Do it.

    And obviously Watership Down (actually not sure you'd like it, which would destroy my soul. So don't try).

    And I'd like to think I know you, so I really can't understand why you don't love Hitchhiker's Guide; they're the funniest books I've ever read. Maybe you should try again! x

  12. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins is definitely worth your time. This past year I have been going through some British authors of years past and found them to be great reading. Also recommend Watership Down. I'm currently excited about Jane Gardam's latest, God on the Rocks, and can't wait to read it.

  13. Re: 9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman - I looked at that in a bookstore this afternoon and noted that it's a trilogy, including a story I wondered if you'd come across: Lyra's Oxford

    I have it - had to buy it - a small book _and_ a fold-out map! I will have to admit that I don't remember much about it (it's been awhile).

    Very pleased to see Confederacy of Dunces listed by Dark Puss, as well as Catch 22.

  14. I've read 60 off that list; I am in my 60s so no surprise there. You must read Tolkien and all of Dickens and of course Wilkie Collins. I am so surprised that you haven't read Birdsong. I think you would enjoy Anna Karenina. I love anything by LM Montgomery especially her journals (blame Random Jottings for that), but I'm sure you would love those. Oh! and A Town Like Alice just so sad but so well written.

  15. I've read 32. That doesn't include the ones I've read some of, like Shakespeare and Sherlock, and the ones I've started and not finished, like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Brave New World.

    I strongly recommend that you don't attempt the former. But then, you knew that already,

  16. If I had to pick one I would say that you must read...

    A Town Like Alice

    I loved Crime & Punishment (but not sure if you will)

  17. Oh sorry... and you MUST read The Woman in White. I love a bit of Wilkie I do and I think that you would too.


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