Reading List

“Big Read”‘s 100-Book List
kirabug — stolen from peri-renna’s site.

If you choose, look through the following list of books and:
1) Bold those you have read.
2) Italicise those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) * Put a star next to the ones you’ve only partially read.
5) Strikethrough the ones you refuse to read.
6) Reprint this list in your own LJ (or in my case, the blog).

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

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 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 own it, does that count for anything?)

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude

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 (own that too)

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 Alborn

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

Not a bad showing, if I do say so myself.

18 responses to “Reading List”

  1. nighthawk says:

    Al….ex…..an….dre……………Dumbass. Hey look, some dumbass wrote a book!

    I notice that David Coperfield and A Sail of Two Titties by Edmund Wells are missing – what a glaring oversight on the part of the list creator. Also, I don’t see Ethel the Aardvark Goes Quantity Surveying anywhere on the list…. *shakes head*

    And I think that everyone should have to read Battlefield Earth at least once.

  2. nighthawk says:

    Okay, now for the serious post. Notable missing authors/books:

    Anything by Ray Bradbury
    Anything by Edgar Allen Poe
    Anything by Orson Scott Card (His Dark Materials makes it, though?)
    Anything by Piers Anthony (Same comment as Card…)
    The Odyssey and The Iliad by Homer
    The Complete Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm
    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

    There are others, these are just the ones that stuck out the most. Because, for example, does Thomas Hardy really need 3 slots?

  3. jamie says:

    wow. i read alot and i feel pretty insignificant. I don’t think I’ve even read 35 of these. I am going to do this list but not right now. Also one gripe (and i know its not your list), why is the Chronicle of Narnia and the Lion, Witch and Wadrobe listed separately?

    And where’s the fricking Stand? (and dark tower,,, hmm. maybe those would just be on my list…)

  4. jamie says:

    Ok – marked the ones I actually read. It’s only 13. But of those, four consist of a total of 20 books (lord of the rings, potter, narnia and his dark materials) and one’s the narnia duplicate.

    I did like the mention of the Time Traveller’s Wife. I thought that was really good.

    Another book I would add is “The Stolen Child.” Its a very good book that I read when I read time traveller’s wife. I think one led me to the other on amazon.

    For some reason, I don’t have much interest in reading older books. Don’t know why.

  5. peri_renna says:

    Hmm, on nighthawk’s bonus list:

    a. Anything by Ray Bradbury
    b. * Anything by Edgar Allen Poe (read several short stories – “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”…)
    c. * Anything by Orson Scott Card (His Dark Materials makes it, though?) (Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow)
    d. * Anything by Piers Anthony (Same comment as Card…) (Prostho Plus)
    e. The Odyssey and The Iliad by Homer
    f. * The Complete Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm
    g. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (if the summaries I’ve read were anything like accurate)
    h. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (if the movie is anything like the book)

    I suppose for my own part I might add Z by Vassilis Vassilikos, Spin by Robert Charles Wilson, maybe more than one thing by Sheri S. Tepper, and A Woman of the Iron People by Eleanor Arnason.

  6. phoenix13 says:

    If we are bringing up such classics as The Odyssey and The Iliad by Homer than why not add The Divine Comedy by Dante? …….or maybe the slightly less famous America by The Daily Show hahaha

  7. nighthawk says:

    Poe: I think “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Pit and The Pendulum” came to my mind first, and then some others. But, on reflection, since the list is novels and not short stories… I don’t think that “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket” would come close to qualifying for the list, so maybe Poe doesn’t belong here.

    Card: You’ll want to read at least the first four of the Ender’s Game series, especially Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide. I’ve not read much past Ender’s Shadow in that half of the series, so I can’t speak for them. But the Ender’s Game/Shadow series is what I thought of that qualified Card for the list.

    Anthony: kirabug disagrees, but I think that put together as a series, the Incarnations of Immortality series should make the list. kirabug feels that there wasn’t the same type of societal impact as with many other books in this list. That’s when I counter with “Then how did His Dark Materials” make it? What impact has that had?

    2001: The book is much better than the movie, but only if you like pure Sci-Fi. Others will find it just as boring. Ditto for the rest of the series (2010, 2061, 3001)

    Atlas Shrugged: As I’m intimately familar with this book (and The Fountainhead as well), could you summarize the summaries you’ve read?

    Other notes: Shakespeare gets both his “collected works” and “Hamlet”… that should be only one. For those of you who’ve read Jane Austen: does she really deserve to have 4 books on the list? Are they all really that good? Dickens seems to have too many as well.

  8. peri_renna says:

    Taking the questions in reverse order: first, I’ve only read Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities, but both of those are good; never read Austen; and I’d have replaced “collected works” with “Macbeth”, or maybe “Midsummer Night’s Dream” or “Twelfth Night” for variety.

    Second: I’m not intimately familiar with anything – I just got the impression that it was long, possibly turgid, and somewhat morally distasteful. Oh, and someone told me who John Galt was.

    Third: I like Hal Clement (including Still River, possibly the weakest of his books), Sheri S. Tepper, and H. G. Wells (and that’s a guy who’s definitely missing), but found the recent Ben Bova book I read (probably The Rock Rats, but I don’t know) boring, and Greg Bear’s Eon likewise dissatisfying. Oh, and having read a few of Asimov’s Robot stories, I’m inclined to throw him over as well, and I’m barely more than lukewarm for Heinlein (partly because of … well, the kinks). So I really don’t know whether “pure Sci-Fi” is anything I’d read.

    Fourth: I’ll take a look at it – the first book appears to be On a Pale Horse?

    Fifth: I heard it takes a hard left turn after Ender’s Game, but sure, I’ll give it a shot.

    Sixth: Oh, yes, loved “The Pit and the Pendulum” – I wasn’t that thrilled about House of Usher, though. But eh – if we let Shakespeare submit plays, we can submit short stories for Poe.

    Honestly, I’d challenge the base principle of this and far too many other lists – unless you’re studying English Lit, you don’t need to read all these things. Better to say, “These thousand books are good – read any that catch your fancy, and it shall be rewarding.” Oh, and, “You liked this one? You should look at these three – you may like some of them as well!”

  9. jamie says:

    Nighthawk said: That’s when I counter with “Then how did His Dark Materials” make it? What impact has that had?

    His Dark Materials is probably one of my favorite series. I was genuinely suprised and taken back by the ending and its take on organized religion. From that perspective, I think that the series has the potential to spur conversation and a deeper understanding. I also think its funny that the people who are so vehemently against the series are also the ones who would get the most from reading it. (i read this a few months ago and have had no one to talk to about it. thus my (probably) overly strong feelings)

  10. nighthawk says:

    Jamie: I’ve not read any of the series, though I’ve heard of it and know that it’s popular. That being the case, the same could be said for Anthony’s Incarnations series, and its (fictional) look at the afterlife. During the spare time I keep in another dimesion I will have to take a look at the series. In fact, I think somewhere around here we own one or two of them.

    Peri: Atlas Shrugged: Long, check; turgid… well, there are alot of “long” discussions amongst the main characters, but since this book was her magnum opus as far as setting down her philosophy in novel form, that would be expected; morally distasteful, depends on which “side” of the equation you are on. Just like the person who recommended it to me, the book struck a deep, reaffirming cord about many things that I felt were true about life before I read the book, it was nice to know that someone else held the same postions on many things; John Galt, sorry to hear that, it does take the wind out of the “mystery” part of the novel.

    Ditto and agreed on H. G. Wells…. not sure how I missed him being missing from the list.

    Yes, On a Pale Horse is the first of the Incarnations series. I’ll tell you now that the books that were the most interesting of the series to me were Bearing an Hourglass (2nd), Being a Green Mother (5th), and For Love of Evil (6th) which I felt was the best of the series. There appears to be an 8th book (Under a Velvet Cloak) which I’ve not read, and looks to be receiving poor reviews.

    Ender’s Game series: Hard left turn? That’s a pretty good description, although I found the underlying mysteries of both Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide to be good enough to make it hard to put the book down. Children of the Mind is an okay wrap-up to that half of the series, not nearly as good as any of the first three. But yes, after Ender’s Game, the series “grows up” into adult (non-sexual) situations, with only casual mentions of what went on during Ender’s Game.

    /me rests his fingers… probably the most I’ve typed here evar!

  11. nighthawk says:

    Sorry for the double-post…. Jamie: Agreed on Dark Tower as a series, with Wizards and Glass as the crown jewel in the middle. Wolves of the Calla was also very good, as was the finale (but not the “true” ending, by King’s own admission). And… for what it’s worth, I’ve not really read or completed any of King’s other works from which a fair amount of the Dark Tower’s plot is derived; he did an amazing job of weaving those pieces in for those of us who didn’t read the other books.

  12. peri_renna says:

    Atlas Shrugged: I suppose I better give it a look, but I have a feeling it just won’t be up my alley.

    H.G. Wells: shall we make it The Island of Dr. Moreau or The Time Machine? (Oh, and I’m still not clear on whether 2001 is the kind of SF I want … should I just go find a copy and read the first few pages? :P )

    On a Pale Horse: Good – I just picked that one up at the library booksale for four bits. Hate to have the wrong one. :D (I’ll look for the later ones in the series if I like this all right.)

    Ender’s series: Glad to hear it – I’ll just not go in expecting the first (or the whatever-number-Ender’s-Shadow-is-th) book. ;)

    (Hmm, how many smilies can I use in one post? 8) )

  13. jamie says:

    have any of your ever reread an entire series straight through a second time? (or am i the only freak who does that?)

    I ask because I have for most of the series (which are all fantasy…) I have read. Its interesting because the parts/books that you didn’t like so much or didn’t get make so much more sense when read consecutively. Like the dark tower and wizard and glass. When I read that, I liked it but was frustrated because it didn’t advance the main plot directly. And it didn’t help that there was 10 years(?) between that and wolves of the calla.

    I actually have come to appreciate bug’s theory on not reading a series until its done. Then read it all in one shot. which I thoroughly disagreed with when we worked at the book store!

    also – have any of you read the Wheel of Time? Just curious on what you think. I am reading the first book now and went out and looked at the reviews for the rest of the series (10 books…) and the middle/end didn’t get good reviews. And yes, I know Jordan died. But someone is finishing the last book. I checked that before I cracked the book open.

  14. nighthawk says:

    Yes, I have, the Incarnations series by Piers Anthony. And I’m not sure that bug’s theory about waiting until they are all released to read was always her theory….. but it’s pretty much always been mine. Darn undiagnosed ADHD… Just like with video games, if I start playing a different game or reading a different book, I tend to forget what happened, and then have to go back and start from the beginning.

  15. kirabug says:

    I’ve been neglecting this thread, clearly.

    On the list:

    I’ve definitely seen better ones than this – was more curious (as an English BA) how many of them I’d managed to read. I can honestly say that of the 26 I read, I only read 10 of them because I wanted to — the rest were assigned. While a few on the ones that were assigned subsequently became books I’d read again, the majority didn’t.

    Generally, I find much better books on the school summer reading lists, and as I’m not embarrassed to be caught reading Intermediate or Young Adult books (if they’re good), I get some great books this way.

    In fact, I think at some point we’ll start our own ideaphiles book list. I’m still working on the location, though (as in: it exists, but it’s not done yet).

    On the bonus lists (on which I’ve also added some of the books I think were missing):

    *Anything by Ray Bradbury (notably Fahrenheit 451, Martian Chronicles, and Dandelion Wine)
    *Anything by Edgar Allen Poe (notably The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Py of Nantucket, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Murders in the Rue Morgue)
    *Anything by Orson Scott Card (notably the *Ender’s Game series, the Ender’s Shadow series, and the *Seventh Son series)
    *Anything by Piers Anthony (notably the Incarnations of Immortality series)
    The Odyssey and The Iliad by Homer
    *The Complete Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm
    *Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
    Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
    The Stand by Stephen King
    *Dark Tower series by Stephen King
    The Stolen Child (by??)
    Z by Vassilis Vassilikos
    Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
    Anything by Sheri S. Tepper
    A Woman of the Iron People by Eleanor Arnason
    The Divine Comedy by Dante
    America by The Daily Show
    Anything by Hal Clement (notably Still River)
    *Anything by H.G. Wells (notably The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Time Machine, War of the Worlds)
    *Anything by Ursula LeGuin (notably Wizard of Earthsea series)
    *The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

    Nighthawk wrote:

    I don’t think that “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket” would come close to qualifying for the list, so maybe Poe doesn’t belong here.

    Actually, based on the other books on this list and my presumptions about why they were chosen, Pym’s got a better shot that the short stories. It was a big thing when it came out, and I had to read it for a class.

    kirabug disagrees, but I think that put together as a series, the Incarnations of Immortality series should make the list. kirabug feels that there wasn’t the same type of societal impact as with many other books in this list. That’s when I counter with “Then how did His Dark Materials” make it? What impact has that had?

    And I still argue that Anthony, while an excellent author who writes entertaining material, is at best light reading. I’ve only read the first book of His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, which yes, we own), but it weaves some very serious and deep themes into the work in an extremely high-quality way. That hasn’t stopped us from buying over 30 of his books, 17 of which we still own and haven’t passed on to someone else to read.

    For those of you who’ve read Jane Austen: does she really deserve to have 4 books on the list? Are they all really that good?

    Depends on “good” — there’s a lot of value in reading these stories for their view of women in society during that time period. Austen was a groundbreaking writer in her time. However, I found them boring and difficult to relate to, especially because we’ve moved so far from that view of women in society. I’d be locked up in a loony bin if I was ever sent back to that time via a time machine.

    Dickens, on the other hand, while dry, is a lot more interesting. He also makes society’s positions and their needs for change abundantly clear while still writing intriguing stories. He’s earned his spot.

    Jamie wrote:

    have any of your ever reread an entire series straight through a second time? (or am i the only freak who does that?)

    I’ve read Earthsea more times than I can count, and I think I’ve read the first three books of Harry Potter at least three times. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to finish them. On the other hand, they’re a series I’d include because they’re this generation’s excellent example of a coming-of-age story. I’ve also reread a huge amount of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series over and over, though while they’re awesome reading I’m not sure they rate a spot on this list.

    also – have any of you read the Wheel of Time? Just curious on what you think. I am reading the first book now and went out and looked at the reviews for the rest of the series (10 books…) and the middle/end didn’t get good reviews.

    I think mandine728 has read all of them. I still own book 1 and I still haven’t read it. We’ll see when the last book comes out ;)

    Nighthawk wrote:

    And I’m not sure that bug’s theory about waiting until they are all released to read was always her theory

    No, but working for 5 years at a bookstore and getting addicted to three or four running series at the same time, all of which would hit a drought at the same time so I’d have to go start a 5th series, well, that ruined it for me.

    On the other hand, a series like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld where every book stands on its own is the exception to that rule because there’s no two-freakin’-years of suspense to sit through. And webcomics: they (generally) update frequently enough to not piss me off.

    Wow, I think this comment might be longer than the original post.

  16. peri_renna says:

    Anything by Hal Clement (notably Still River)

    Whoa, whoa! I didn’t mean to imply Still River was an exceptional example of his work, quite the opposite! The real reading-list items from Clement are probably Needle, Mission of Gravity, and maybe The Nitrogen Fix.

    An Ideaphiles Book List is a great idea, though! What shall the criteria for entry be?

  17. kirabug says:

    Well, let’s play around with the book list idea on the forum and see where it goes ;)

  18. peri_renna says:

    Sweet! Here, I’ll start it off: Harry “Hal” Clement Stubbs, with the three books I named upthread.

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