Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Big Read List

I couldn't resist playing with this list. And I couldn't resist commenting.

Here are the rules (I first found this list in the form of this game here; I first saw the list some time ago, before I was blogging).

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Italicize those you intend to read.

3) Reprint this list and leave a comment

And here's what I'm doing too, because I'm interested--I'm listing the books I had as required reading in high school, college, or grad school. I'm a bit startled at how many of these books I would likely not have read, if I hadn't been in school. There are only a few on the list which I read in the last 10 years. Hmm.

And interesting to see how few of these books I plan to read. It would be fun to create alternate lists. Some other day--I've already spent lots of time on this list

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

I read this in high school, when I increased my reading, for fear of being unprepared for college

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

I read about 50 pages--not my thing

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

I first attempted this when I was 12, and couldn't get very far. But I loved it in high school, in college, in grad school, when I taught it. I love the main character. I love her commitment to herself.

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

I feel like I've read this.

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

I read this in high school and undergraduate school. I recently reread it--it holds up well.

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

I loved this in college and grad school; when I taught it in 2001 and 2002, I found myself losing patience with all the characters.

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

read in high school and grad school--if I reread it now, would it seem that these things we've feared have come true? Big Brother is watching--all sorts of big brothers.

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

The first book that made me cry--I read this on a family trip west. I wept through the Rockies as Beth died.

12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

I don't remember all the works. But as I look at my anthology from undergraduate school, I see notes that I made in the margins of all the plays. Did I read them all or just take notes as my professor pontificated?

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

The only Tolkien I've ever been able to read.

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

I read this in grad school, and required my students to read it in a Victorian Lit class. It's a slog, but after the first 100 pages, I couldn't put it down (only about a quarter of the class I taught agreed with me).

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

I read this as a teenager, expecting a dirty book because it had been banned--but I found it tame, compared to the bodice ripper romances I was reading.

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

required in college and high school.

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

I've only completed it once (attempted at least twice before I finally finished it--it showed up on a lot of grad school syllabi). I recognize the brilliance of this novel, but my goodness, it's long and involved.

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

Ah, the Russians--the huge gaping hole in my education. I must read them some day. But first on my list would be Anna Karenina.

25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

I read this in high school. My whole class came to English class unprepared, with the book unread. My English teacher told us to start reading, because we'd have a test the next day. I read the whole book in one day.

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahme

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 - C. S. Lewis

Why repeat this book, when it's included in #33?

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

I read half this book and wasn't impressed.

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

Such a perfect book. I may reread this soon. The Sunday School pageant chapter is perfect for this time of year.

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

I read this book periodically--ever since its publication, it's always seemed pressingly important, as a tale of what can go wrong, if we're not vigilant. Atwood said that she didn't put anything in the book that wasn't happening somewhere in the world, and unfortunately, she can still say that.

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

I read half this book before losing patience.

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

Ah, the books we read during our Sci Fi geeky phase

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

I read this one after seeing the 1995 movie; I think it's her best (although Northanger Abbey is great fun, if you've been reading Gothic novels and you're in the mood for a satire of them).

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz

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

Not as bleak as her memoir, Lucky

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

required reading in high school. We all complained bitterly, except for a punk rock guy, who claimed it was the best book he'd ever read. And he had read a lot of books.

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

required in grad school. My favorite Dickens (except, maybe for Hard Times)

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

I read part of this book, but it's no Frankenstein, which is curiously absent from this list.

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

I've read this several times since my grad school class, but not since I finished my M.A. thesis, which focused on Joyce.

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

required for grad school--blhhh

80 Possession - AS Byatt

I read this during the summer when I was fairly strict with my reading--I was studying for PhD Comprehensive exams, and I had told myself that I could only read the books that would fill in the gaps in my knowledge. But I allowed myself this one for a treat. I'm in awe of what Byatt was able to do. When my own Vic Lit students were reading it on their own, and raving about it, I envied them their experience of reading it for the first time.

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

I will always love Alice Walker's essays best, but this book led me to those essays, so I'll always be grateful.

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

I've read some of these tales--could I have read them all?

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

I read this in grad school and again, as I've taught it--it's short, so Survey of Brit Lit students might read it--and it seems to sum up much of the 20th century, even though it was written early in the century--and the 19th.

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

I read this while desperately homesick at summer camp. My mom had slipped it in my suitcase. I was only away for a week, but it seemed like the longest week of my 8 year old life. This book helped me through.

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

I read this book in high school (but it wasn't required)--it's the first book that sensitized me to animal rights issues.

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

Why does this one get a separate entry? It's included in the complete works! I hate this play--so much dithering about, and so little action. I suspect it's because I have had so many Hamlets in my life.

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


Elizabella said...

It looks like you've been browsing through my bookshelves. The only thing missing is Anna Karenina, a book I used to read yearly.


Elizabella said...

Years ago I scarfed up the complete works of the Bronte sisters for a mere 10 bucks -- a treasure! Even better was my timing: a gloomy, brooding, rainy fall afternoon. The Brontes aren't meant for reading in the sunshine on a hammock.