Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In the Spirit of Geeks Everywhere...

This is a reprinting of a post by Heather over at KelticKaos that interested me. My entire life before computers was spent with my nose in a book so as you read you can see why it interested me. The bolds were changed from hers to mine. The first side comment is hers, the second mine. To see hers click the title link :) Oh and sorry Heather for calling you a geek, but... :)

"100 Books
I saw this over at Us and Them, which is a blog I love. I also love books so this was kind of right up my alley. Check it out.

The Big Read is a USA National Endowment for the Arts program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six.

1. Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2. Italicize those you intend to read.
3. Underline (or color) the books you LOVE .

Share this list in your blog, too, if you 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 (except for the final one. I have it but was so disenchanted by the end, I haven't made myself read it. I probably will by the time the last movie comes out though)(the boy read every one, not me I read about 50 pages of the first and put it down...sorry)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (I've read lots of it but can't claim the whole thing, that whole who begat who part is kind of dry)(yeah, me too)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (never even heard of this one)
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 (yep, read them all way back in 7th grade when we first had to read Romeo and Juliet, I was fascinated with the sonnets and memorized quite few)(it was required reading for me the first time in college...jeez we had to memorize quite a bit of it...course when you're stoned you can have quite a lot of fun with 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 - 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 )Not buying into all that hype)
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
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 (favorite quote: "If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: I am here to live out loud."
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 (she wrote so much more)
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 hated Sherlock Holmes stories, all of them)(Not me, I loved him and anything he wrote)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (even read it in French)
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 (still a favorite of the boy's)
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (and lots of his other books, hated this one though)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I'd like to add several to this list. I realize when you deal with a finite number such as "100" you are bound to have to leave out a few of the good ones. Honestly though, if you are choosing 100, then you could easily leave off the repeat authors such as Hardy, Dickens and Bronte. I would add:

101 Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
102 Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
103 The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
104 A Cricket in Times Square - George Seldon
105 The Diary of A Young Girl - Anne Frank
106 The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan (or any other book she's written, she's a fabulous author)
107 Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott
108 Brave New World - Alduous Huxley
109 Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
110 Native Son - Richard Wright
111 The Time Machine - HG Wells
112 Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
113 A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemmingway
114 The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane
115 Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

I read most of these in junior high and high school, or as a result of reading another book by the same author. So far my daughter has read less than 5 of any of these (not counting the Harry Potter series but Puh-leaze, are we really calling that classic literature here), and she's a sophomore. I just don't think that the focus is on the classics anymore. Melissa and Lloyd who homeschool their children haven't made them read a single on of the books on this list. It's unreal. I myself have barely read half of the original list, but I have read a great number of classic books not on this list. If the statement at the top is true, that the average adult has read only 6, well that would explain why the entire world thinks Americans are dumb.
Posted by Heather at 9/29/2008 08:20:00 AM"

Most of these were required reading when I was coming up...at least in my household they were. I did find it interesting that the list seems to be made up of the "popular vote" more than anything. I would have also included:

116. Atlas Shrugged--Ayn Rand
117. The Fountainhead--Ayn Rand (Even if you don't agree with her politics these are two of the finest examples of the written word I have ever read.
118. The Iliad--Homer
119. The Odyssey--Homer
120. The Idiot--Dostoevsky Re-reading this now...I know...geek...)
121. The Grapes of Wrath--Steinbeck
122. The Souls of Black Folk--W.E.B. DuBois
123. No Exit--Jean Paul Sarte

And where the hell is F. Scott Fitzgerald (such a sad man) in the mix? or more of Hemingway's work? or Steinbeck's? or Twain's? I could go on about classics but then I would have to go unpack boxes and I'm not about all that :) Have fun with it, add the ones you would include and pass it on...maybe we'll spark someone to actually read something not on a computer screen :)


  1. They did this Big Read in the UK in 2003 ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/top100.shtml) . A few interesting differences - the books were voted on by the public and Tolkein got the top spot!

  2. ooo, thanks cb! there were quite a few authors on the 100-200 list i had forgotten about. d.h. lawrence, oscar wilde, doyle, to name a few. I will never understand anyone's fascination with "flowers in the attic" that was without a doubt one of the creepiest books i have ever read and the further she went with it the creepier it got, ugh!

  3. Helloooo? "An American Tragedy" by Theodore Dreiser? "Babbit" by Sinclair Lewis? "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt? "Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane? "House of Sand and Fog" by Andre Dubus III?

    "Gone with the Wind." I've read that so many times I can't even count. Does that make up for the fact that I could not, for the life of me, penetrate the Tolkein series?

    As for Flowers in the Attic, I gotta take my licks on this one. I read them all...but I was in junior high and high school at the time!

  4. I knew you'd come up with some i forgot, reas :) i read all or most of the flowers in the attic series too but i was still creeped out :) i read everything anne rice has ever written...even the porn, wonder if that counts?

  5. I prefer the term "nerd" thankyouverymuch!!! LOL

    I love all of Frank McCourt's books, and I've also read most of Anne Rice, incl. the porn too. It wasn't that great (the porn that is).

  6. i thought the first one was pretty good but as with nearly all her writing, she gets on my nerves with repeating herself, especially with that damn beating bloody heart in queen of the damned...at least i think it was that one, it was in that series anyway. my favorite of hers was the witching hour, could not put it down and could not wait for the next one, even bought lasher in hardback only to be so friggin disappointed i quit reading her altogether, until i discovered the porn, bought that in a boxed set and read them all but was disappointed after the first so that was it for me and anne rice. even after her reconciliation i was not even curious to read her transformation :) that reminds me, i was surprised that "the story of o" was not on the list. it's been on every list i've seen up until now. guess they didn't include porn in the mix :)

  7. In my opinion, a lot of things are missing from the list but heck, what can you do when you're limited to only 100 books? lol

    I think the vampire series was Anne Rice's best work. The only other book she's written that I liked as much was the Mummy.