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November 20, 2010

Books I Have Read

By Cornelia Read

So here's something I just found on Facebook (thank you, Dudley Forster...) which intrigued me greatly. Maybe because I scored better than I thought? I LOVE scoring well on things. I even love standardized tests (okay, I am a strange, strange woman, but we knew that, right?)

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It's a list of 100 books which the BBC apparently believes the average person won't have read more than six of (at least according to whomever started this on Facebook, but what the hell, I'm willing to think the BBC underestimates my reading habits.)

ANYWAY, you're supposed to copy out this list and indicate which books you've read, or started and gave up on (see instructions below.) I am embarrased to say I have not yet read Madame Bovary, but the class in which I was supposed to have read it in college was one I talked myself into as a freshman that was SO FAR over my head I was utterly lost by Thanksgiving, even though I read Ulysses in high school.

Monroe-Bloomsday

Okay, having read Ulysses in high school is actually how I talked my way into the class to begin with, but I mostly read it because I had a raging crush on my English teacher at the time and he was a big Joyce freak. And also to piss off my other English teacher (with whom I was taking a Shakespeare elective which bored me. Hey, I was a jerk in high school, except to fellow students.)

Shakespeare teacher lady was so pissed at me for not turning in my term paper on Hamlet for so long beyond when it was due that she ordered me to show up at her apartment every morning at six a.m. until I finished it. (this was boarding school so her apartment was, like, a two-minute walk from my dorm room, but still...) That in turn pissed me off so much at HER (hey, I was pretty full of myself, having been the first kid at the school to take AP English composition as a junior and AP English lit as a senior), that I showed up at six a.m. with my copy of Ulysses under my arm, sat down at her kitchen table, and proceeded to read it (along with my handy-dandy key to Ulysses by I can't remember whom... Elliman?) for the next two hours until it was time to go to class. Hey, she hadn't said I had to work on the actual paper, right? I loved me some teenage hair-splitting, at that point.

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I did this religiously every weekday morning from six-eight a.m. Poor Miss Konner, I feel like such an asshole about this now. Finally, she caved, however. She said to me one morning, "you know, there's an awful lot of Hamlet symbolism in Ulysses. You could write the term paper on that."

So I did. Four whole pages. Which was really, really obnoxious of me--it was supposed to be seven or something. In fact, the title of the paper, "Joyce's Use of Hamlet Symbolism to Illustrate the Paternal Themes in the Scylla and Charybdis Episode of Ulysses" was meatier than what I actually wrote, if memory serves. [Rosemary Konner, if you ever happen to Google yourself, I am heartily, heartily ashamed of having been such a pain in the ass, and you were an excellent teacher, and thank you for the patience and the coffee, all those mornings.]

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Oh, and because I was such a butthead, I didn't win the Jesse Orr White English Prize that year. Which I totally thought I deserved. Cindy Carr got it instead, even though I did the AP classes AND wrote a column for the school newspaper ("A View From the Hot Tub," apparently quite popular with parents... I actually got fan mail...) AND was the features editor AND was co-chair of the literary magazine (Panache, and the other chair was Anne Meredith who's a goddamn genius and ended up writing the screenplay of Bastard Out of Carolina and stuff and is also the best athlete I think I've ever seen on a sporting field... kicked my ASS at field hockey, but then she was varsity and I was only ever JV, to my mother's continuing disappointment....)

But I'm not bitter.

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[I would put an arrow indicating the field hockey field on the campus, above, but I'm lame and don't know how.... The river's the Hudson, though.]

And so when I got into college and had to interview with the professor for the 20th-Century Lit class, Danny Kaiser, I talked my way into a seminar that was only supposed to be for Juniors and Seniors. And I remember the very first class when we were supposed to be discussing "Death in Venice," and this chick with a very pronounced literati drawl said, "well, I suppose it illustrates the Apollonian/Dionysian conflict rather superbly," that I realized I was completely full of shit and had made a really, really grave error in judgment. One of many, on that campus, including my choice of boys, but I digress...

Rahm-release
[This guy went to Sarah Lawrence when I did, but we didn't date. I suppose he didn't drink enough to seem attractive to me. Not that he ever asked. He was too busy running the world already.]

Where was I? Oh yes. Madame Bovary. Never read it. I gave up after  Moby Dick (which I still just can't get into even all these years later, although it is my Uncle Hunt's very favorite book ever. But then he actually enjoys sailing, so there you are. Meanwhile, having to listen to Danny Kaiser's exegesis of the size of male whale genitalia in a one-on-one conference in his office one afternoon--which somehow tied in with the whole "whiteness of the whale" thing in his mind--really put me over the edge. And the book bored me to tears. Oh well....)

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[Maybe I should've tried this version...]

In fact, really the only thing I remember about that class is that Derek Guth once said he thought "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" was about "a bordello," to which Danny the K replied, "all appears yellow to the jaundiced eye," which is really, really funny, trust me, if you knew Derek in college.

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HEMINGWAY, as my sister would say, try your hand at the list below... I'm not going to put pictures in it so it's easier to copy into the comments, for those willing to go public with their reading habits... BBC or no BBC...

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THE ALLEGED BBC READING LIST

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES [if you're doing it on Facebook. Here, just copy it into comments]. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses.

[the list is marked up with my own reading successes/failures...]

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

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

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier 

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

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 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 Berniere

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 how'd you guys do? If you don't want to copy the whole list and deal with the whole BOLD/Italic thing, just post a number... and what books SHOULD'VE been on this list??? Which books should I read that I haven't already? (I would SO rather try Enid Blyton than more Thomas Hardy...)

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Comments

Long list. Own and have read to completion pretty much all of them. Shockingly I have not read the Harry Potter books but own all of them. Have not read Rohinton Mistry, Bill Bryson, Arthur Ransome, Enid Blyton, Nevil Shute or Mark Haddon...oh yeah ...or Philip Pullman.....sigh. So little time......so much TV to watch. (kidding)

I'm sort of surprised by the list. Most of it was required reading growing up and the modern classics have been reviewed and listed to the hilt. Would think that most read-addictives would have devoured this list. Kite Runner, Life of Pi, Lovely Bones, Owen Meaney, Geisha, et cetera et cetera.

Do Cliff Notes count? (They still make those - you can get them on line)

When it says "Bible" - does that mean all the parts, even those begat sections?

My daughter observed that most of her required reading pre-college involved the Holocaust or rape. What does that say about how we choose books?

I read solely for pleasure, so other than the fantasies in that list (Rowling, Tolkein, Dahl, Lewis, Adams) I would not do well if this were a test.

Also - Dan Brown?! Are you freaking kidding me? That is like trying to put Godfather III in the same category as I and II. Ridiculous!

I've read 16 of them and I agree with Kathy - Dan Brown??? Hey I have read it but really should it be on this list? Fahrenheit 451 should be on it or The Chrysalids.

I have read Solzhenitsyn - in Grade 10 no less. Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Pretty grand reading for 16 . . . I was trying to impress my English teacher, not because I had a crush on him (the guy had the worst beard) but because he encouraged us to read, not many teachers had done that.

I've read 39 of the books on that list. And add me to the "Dan Brown?" group. No Jules Verne? No H.G. Wells? No Edgar Rice Burroughs? Hell, no William Burroughs! But Dan Brown? Give me a friggin' break.

And where the hell is Mark Twain? H.P. Lovecraft? Isaac Asimov? Stephen King?

That list is seriously messed up.

55 on that list. I agree on the Dan Brown (barf) and would also add Harlan Ellison, Barbara Kingsolver, Toni Morrison, Arthur C. Clarke and tons of others.

Plus all the other books I've read over the years. I average about 3 a week.

I've read 11 of those books. I have read lots over the years, but I read a lot of non-fiction. Dan Brown (barf)--couldn't say it better myself.

I'm reading Stephen Fry's autobiography right now, by the way--you got his picture up there with Hugh Laurie.

I've read 26 of them and have no interest in the others on the list except, I'm embarrassed to say, I haven't read the Harry Potter series yet. I'll put it on the top of my list. Fun post. Thanks.

Hi, I'm William and I a Book-A-Holic.

There are 17 books on the list I have NOT read. For some reason, that's making me wonder about myself this morning....

I've read 50 of the books listed, most during my education years.

I got to 40. It appears the "litterary minds" watch more movies than text on the page. Complete Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and Bible. And while we are on series, how is it that you get two points for two of the four Tolkien books, but one for the seven Potter books? That's a chunk. Count me with the "Dan Brown?" crowd. Clarke and Heinlein have thrown away better than Brown has published. Didn't see Slaughterhouse Five on the list either?

As my pal Ariel pointed out, this "list is so dated it's like the avocado shag carpet of literature," but maybe they put some books on there that they figured people would've read--Dan Brown, Mitch Albom. It's not supposed to be a best of, I don't think. Which sort of made it interesting to me. Not sure how it was compiled, but it seems as though it's something people MIGHT'VE read. And it's weird that you get a point for the Narnia Books and then another for The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Which makes me wonder about whether the BBC actually compiled this, since I think they'd be better at fact checking.

Wow. I feel like such a smut slut. While I read an average of 5 books a week, they are mostly of the mystery or romance variety. So no. I have only read a dozen books on the list.
I love to read. It is my escape. My time.
I don't feel the need to read someone else's list to feel complete. Or intellectual. I've some to accept that I'm not. And that's okay.

If we made a list of the TLC Tart books, I would be right up there at the top. Does that count?

So.........What exactly is this list supposed to prove? One's eclectic taste? I wonder if this is a list somebody at the BBC came up with while trying to figure out if they made all the right movies?

(I must admit my fave on the list might be Cold Comfort Farm.)

Mitch played the piano at my sister's wedding. Which is not exactly literary criticism, but kinda.

This list looks as if it was compiled by somebody who went to high school and college at the same time a lot of us did. I actually read those assigned books, and loved most of them. I'm short on the Russians & Joyce, though. And I may be lying about reading Great Expectations--can't remember for sure.

Kellee has the right idea. :)

I've read 37 of them, and like most everyone else, they were back when I was young and had a lot of time on my hands. Thomas Hardy! Alexandre Dumas!

I figured halfway through this list that it's not about reading the greatest books of all time, but being culturally educated and able to strike up a casual conversation on the cross-town bus. That's the only thing that could explain Dan Brown.

I have no intention, in this lifetime, of reading MOBY DICK.

I've read 32. Parts of several others. Along with wondering why the hell Dan Brown is here, I'll add my wonderment about Mitch Albom.

I've read 21, most of the classics from high school or college - and several of those only because they were required reading. I love to read and usually have 2-3 books going at one time, but you couldn't pay me to read Moby Dick again. As this is a BBC list I was surprised that Testament of Youth by Vera Brittan was not on the list. An autobiography, it covers her time at Oxford prior to WWI and then her time as a nurse during the war on the front lines. It is one of those books that will always stay with you.

Dan Brown??? The only reason that I can think of for inclusion of the BBC list was that someone said "We should have some recent bestsellers on the list or people will accuse us of being elitist". I've read it, and upon finishing my only thought was "this could have been a great book, too bad the author stopped writing after completing the outline."

And to Anonymous & Grace, treat yourself and read the Harry Potter series. I didn't think it would be much of a book when I first picked it up, but my stepson at the time was reading it - and he hated to read - so I decided to see for myself, started reading and was enthralled with the world JK Rowling created. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll decide that you really don't need sleep because you just have to find out what happens next.

I’m with Nancy P – being a man of a certain age who went to a snotty prep school in the 1960s before the era of dissing “Dead White Europeans” had taken root; most of these were required reading. That's a hard list to argue with but for a mystery blog how is it possible that Rex Stout didn't make the cut while Dan Friggin Brown did? I'll take Nero and Archie over pretty much any on the list after the first 25. Also, no Pat Conroy or Tom Wolfe?

Bless my Father, for I have sinned. I have read only a fraction of the best books of all time. I loved Little Women and Catcher in the Rye."
My task now is now is to make up for lost time and start catching up. I spent too much time playing classical and popular music and being silly. Both my husband and my father loved reading. My father loved Alexander Dumas. I love this list Cornelia. I loved The Da Vinci Code. I loved Barbara Samuel books and others that I have devoured recently. Bridget Jones Diary is one that makes me happy.
Cornelia you are a very entertaining writer and I love this blog.

I remember the nuns introducing us the works of
St Thomas Acquinas and Around the World in Eighty Days was required reading in French Authors. Because I spoke French I aced the test.
I enjoy reading so much now and have became a fanatic and I want to convert everone I meet.

There's a lot about this list that bugs me. First of all, I can't tell what KIND of list this is supposed to be. There are a lot of classics, then there are a lot of, well, unclassics. Dan Brown, for one, but he's already been scourged by the other commenters so I'll leave him be. Were they best sellers? Was HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY a best seller or just a cult favorite? (BTW, I read it.) And it really bugs me they separated THE LION, THE WITCH, & THE WARDROBE from the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. When I bought the boxed set, LWW was the first book of the series.

That being said, I've read 34 of those listed.

Pretty much what everyone else said. I've read 36 (except, if I subtract 1 for Lion, Witch, Wardrobe from Lewis, add 2 for the Dark Materials Trilogy and 6 for Harry . . . - plus, I read One Hundred Years of Solitude in the original Spanish - does that count extra?). Anyway, I read Dickens and Fitzgerald for school, but most of the other "classics" I've read were for fun. That said, my "fun classics" list is heavy on Austen and Steinbeck and light on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky! I do want to read Middlemarch - anyone have any thoughts on it?

Cornelia, I can't tell if you've read all the bold books or what, but if you haven't read His Dark Materials by Pullman, you're missing a real treat.

Only 38, if I remember correctly, but I'd like a half point for reading most of the Harry Potters before I couldn't stand it, anymore! Some of the books, interestingly, I have not heard of, and will look into. Thank you, Cornelia! Loved the post!

He is TOO a good writer! You kids leave him alone.

Dan Brown's mother

I've read 41. But Thomas Hardy and Tess? All that sturm and drang for a zillion pages? What a waste of dead trees.

Oh, yeah. The only required book in college that I just could not read was "Moby Dick." I tried--and I love sailing! What was Melville thinking?

I must admit that I came to this site as an ignorant romance slut. But reading about Robert B Parker and other mystery writers got my interest.
Yesterday, as the cosmic forces would have it I used my Border rewards to buy POODLE SPRINGS by Robert B Parker. Raymond Chandler had died after writing a few chapters and Robert B Parker turned into his own story.
Reading brings people together. It does not matter which genre, the pleasure is the goal.

56 Read -- Add Gone with the Wind to the list . . . and it is an odd list, but good as a conversation starter.
The bold/italics don't work on Mr. Typepad, but I did put the list in my FB notes.
I read Moby Dick in college, with a good professor who explained much and made it interesting. . . still have that copy with my notes. My high school juniors read excerpts only, they took parts and read it like a play and when the office called for me to send a student to the office right before the big climax, I said, "NO, he's Ahab, and we need him!" So there. I used to pass around my college copy for the illustrations and maps, and to point out how little of the book they were actually reading. One young man misunderstood and haltingly asked, "When do we need to have that read?" . . . big laugh by the rest of the class, and then I reassured him, "not until college, dear." ;-0

One member of our department, unhappy at having to teach "average" students and not just all honors classes, declared that "those students" couldn't handle Moby Dick, but he didn't storytell and act with the students. Mine got it! . . . well except for the year I had pneumonia and had to stay home for all of November. They sent a business major to teach my classes (odd, as there is never a shortage of English majors), and when I returned, the students were begging, "Don't give any tests until you explain _Moby Dick_." I did and pointed out how kind I was in not having the sub teach the Transcendentalists. For the rest of the year, if they misbehaved, I could settle them with one cough . . . "No, don't leave us!!" Miss Nelson is Missing. I put up a "your teacher is" sign with my photo on one side and Viola Swamp on the other.

Oh, we should make a list of so-called children's books!!

I love all of you guys--every response is great! I'm on massive deadline so may not check in that much today, please forgive me.

I have no idea how this list was compiled. It's a VERY WEIRD list, I agree, but it just got me thinking and it is a good conversation starter...

26, though I will admit that fully half of those were foisted upon me in high school/college and I wouldn't ever have read them by choice.

I really do hope this isn't supposed to be a comprehensive list of things the BBC thinks one should have read. I remember there was that craze in the late eighties/early nineties about "cultural literacy"--the things one should know to be culturally competent.

There's just something fascinating about lists. Something about tickling so many memory cells. And then the delicious discussion about what should be added or deleted from it. Great post! I was surprised that I had read 26 of them. I did note that we have 10 or more of the others on our bookshelves that I haven't been able to force myself to read.

27 books on this list as presented, but reconfiguring the list in a way that makes sense. Either counting all books in a series as one or separating them individually, would change my totals.

My high school years and college years didn't have the required reading that others of you seem to have had. I do remember a college English course which required me to read "The Big Sleep".

Does reading Ahab's Wife count the same as reading Moby Dick?

61. Which is also my age, which should mean something but probably doesn't.

Cornelia, I too, love tests. I have this book called "Could you pass these tests" or something like that, which is all kinds of real tests for various professions. I would give you an example but if I dont go back to my ms. RIGHT NOW I'll be in trouble.

Happy weekend, all..xoox Oh, see you for Katherine Hall Page tomorrow! (She's probably read ALL of them...)

I see you all having a bad time with Moby Dick. Not as bad as the compartment attendant on the train I took a while back. Very nice man but he must have had a hell of a time growing up with the name Ishmael.

(And no, I held my tongue at the thought of asking him "call me Ishmael?")

Kerry, I LOVED Middlemarch.

My count is 68. But... I've read tons of Shakespeare, been to multiple productions of many of them, acted in several college productions, but have I read ALL of the history plays? No.

What haven't you read that you should? I'd go with War and Peace. I tried to read it when younger but didn't get through it. Tried again a summer or two ago and loved it. The Pevear/Volokhonsky translation is wonderful and slog-free. I am in awe of writers who can create characters who are clearly shallow people and do foolish things, yet are also fully human and deserving of pity and love. Just don't plan to be carrying the book around with you!

As to the list, it appears to be adapted from "Good Reads," which was a series on the BBC in 2003 where people voted to choose Britain's favorite book. This is probably why it is a mixture of classics read in school and recent "book club" books. Here's the link to the actual list: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/top100.shtml

You can also put me on the "read Moby Dick once and that was enough" list. And if there's a "My eyes glaze over trying to read Tolstoy" list, put me at the top of that one.

Cornelia, I love that picture of Marilyn Monroe.
I remember when Marilyn married Arthur Miller.
I always thought that Marilyn was a troubled soul who was trapped in a world of beauty and fame.
I truly believe that when studied with Lee Strasberg that she really was reaching out for recognition on an intellectual plane. God rest her soul.

I've read 59 of them, tried, and didn't get through Ulysses, but I read so many other books. No Kurt Vonnegut, no Joseph Heller, I can tell I've been alive a long time. A lot of these books were assigned, and I also admit to a Victorian time when i devoured Thomas Hardy, and George Eliot. (Maybe I was depressed.) I like where I've been, and I'm not attempting to read all of those books now. BTW, has anyone read Room by Emma Donghoe. Chilling, delightful, very compelling. The Time Traveler's Wife? I'm more impressed the books you guys write, than what is considered to important on this list.

I've read 56, most of which were on our own bookshelves at home. My father's favorite thing was to say to us when we were kids was, "You're bored? Here read this."

I have my English teacher sister's Complete Works of William Shakespeare and read the entire thing so I could absorb and understand all the notes she put in the margins.

Can't count so here's the whole deal:

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen Started/Didn't Finish (S/DF)

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien (S/DF)

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (Read)

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (Read each 6-10 times)

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (Read)

6 The Bible (Read)

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (Read)

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell (Read)

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman (Read)

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens (Read)

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott (Read and visited her house)

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (Read)

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller (S/DF)

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (S/DF)

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien (S/DF)

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger (Read)

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 (Read)

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy (S/DF)

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (S/DF)

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Read)

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck (S/DF)

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll (Read, lived overlooking the setting where he played with the girls (Peck Quad 8, 2-B))

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens (Read)

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma – Jane Austen (S/DF)

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 Berniere

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell (Read)

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown (Read)

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 (Reading it Now)

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding (Read)

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 (S/DF)

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens (S/DF)

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (Read)

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 (S/DF)

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold (Read)

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas (S/DF)

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac (S/DF)

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville (S/DF)

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens (Read)

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker (Read)

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett (Read)

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce (S/DF)

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 (Read)

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 (Read)

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad (S/DF)

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (Read)

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 (S/DF)

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare (Read)

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo (S/DF)

Oh,dear. Maybe they should take away my degree in English because I haven't read a single book on the list. I tried reading Jane Austen's Persuasion for a book club this month and quit after the 5 pages. I have read one Dan Brown book - Lost Symbol which I thought was freakin boring.

And while it is a English degree, it's in technical writing. In the literature class I had to take for it, the instructor was a Jack Kerouac fan. So she shove that down our throats along with any other bohemian author she could find. The Shakespeare class was 7 days at the Festival watching them rehearse Julius Cesear and having it count as advanced literature. Good times.

Late today. I've read 72 of those books, so not as many as Cordelia has!

But really, no Mark Twain? No Louisa Mae Alcott? What kind of lame-o list is this, anyway?

That list has changed several times since the first time I saw it... It was more classics before and now seems to be all the books that were made into movies... which means I read them before I allowed myself to think about seeing the movie. I also have to admit that I enjoyed Dan Brown's books (all of them) but was a biblical studies minor in college so it was somewhat of an infatuation...

Anyway, my number was 23 which is about 1 a year so far. If I trusted the list, I'd try to read them all before I die but since The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is part of the Chronicles of Narnia- which is a mistake I doubt the BBC would make- I will have to just make it my mission to read all the Tarts instead!

I saw somewhere that this is actually a list compiled by the readers so it's top books, not books they think you haven't read which makes more sense.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was first published as a stand alone book, before it became part of The Chronicles of Narnia. When I was in "grammar school" I ordered a turn-brown-within-a-week copy from Junior Scholastic Magazine for .15, along with half my class. The other half ordered White Fang or Call of the Wild. Well, so did I actually, representing both halves as I often do.

Mark Twain? Philip Roth?

I read quite a few more than six. But there are also quite a few that I think I read or know I started or can't remember if it was that book or another one by the same author. Honestly, I was not a Dickens fan as a kid, and we were constantly being presented with Dickens. They all run together in my head, one great bore after another.

45 for me. Without the Russians I must confess. #92 - The Little Prince. I've read it twice and I still don't get why it's so popular. As for #80 - Possession by A.S. Byatt, when it first came out, I was telling a friend I'd read a good review of a new book but couldn't remember the author. The book store owner overheard my description and said, "Buy it." To which I replied, "I will as soon as I can remember the author."
Much amusement on both sides till we sorted it out.

Wow, I've read 63. Most of them many, many years ago.

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