I saw this list over at Mama Dawg’s – and I knew it had my name all over it. I took to the internet to find out more about this group and how they came up with this list. It kinda reminds me of that Entertainment Weekly list of 100 top movies that I wrote about back in July. But as I read more, I found that the list was compiled by reader nominations and votes through the BBC. Which sort of explains a lot of the omissions. And the plethora of British authors. And authors I have never heard of.
I have underlined the books I’ve read. And italicized the books I want to read.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - One of the main reasons I decided to participate in the 888 challenge this year was to expand my horizons to include Jane Austen. Because she kinda scares me. My book club read Emma last month. And I struggled with every single word. With the 500 word sentences. That also included 250 adjectives. It just made my eyes glaze. And made me want to avoid Jane in the future.
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien - I tried. I really tried. I thought it was another book that I should read. But a part of me is convinced that you must have a y chromosome to muck through these.
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - Yippee...finally one on the list I have read. And loved.
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - I talked about this book last week. And about how my teacher told us the end. I am so glad that I picked it back up again as an adult. What an amazing, riveting story.
6 The Bible - I don't think I can mark this one as read. I have read bits and pieces of it. But not the entire thing.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - I read this one without it being required. And I just loved it. Truly defines gothic.
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell - this one is on my 888 list - just haven't gotten there yet.
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman - another one from my 888 list. And part of me wants to see what all the fuss is about.
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott - I read this for the first time this year. And I did not like it. It is sickeningly sweet. So saccahrine as to give me a headache. You read how much Jo is one of the best loved characters in American literature. And I was so very irritated by her.
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - has anyone read the complete works? The complete works? Except maybe a Shakespearan professor? I think I've read 4 or 5 - and seen another few performed.
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - I actually own this. And want to read it. Why do I know the opening line? "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - see number 2
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger- I read this in the 7th grade. I think I was too young to get the angst of Holden Caufield. I should read it again.
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - I *loved* this book. Brad and Jennifer bought the rights to it back when they were married. I am not sure how this would come across as a movie.
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell - I read this when I was about twenty. I wasn't expecting much, because, honestly, I didn't like the movie. But, oh, wow. If you haven't read this, you must. I actually stayed up till 2am reading it. It is completely mesmerizing.
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - wow, I read this one forever ago. And my book club is reading one of his short stories, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - such a funny series. Which also answers the question of "what is the meaning of life?"
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky - read this for Freshman English - and did my big term paper on it. And I still have that term paper. Wonder if I could sell it somewhere...
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - Another one on my 888 challenge list
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - I have issues with books that Oprah picks. Should this be one that I make an exception for?
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis - I am embarrased to say that I have never read these. I remember being in the fourth grade and everyone was reading these or Nancy Drew. I abstained from both. Not sure what I read instead. But I do recall trying to read the first one and being bored. Maybe I should try again sometime.
34 Emma - Jane Austen - the book that convinced me that I don't like Jane Austen. I do like the movie. But I don't think that counts.
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen - if I can't get through "Pride and Prejudice" or "Emma," I don't think I'll get through this one.
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis -ummm...so why does this one get two listings?
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - An amazing story. An amazing storyteller. And a very contrived ending. But it was a happy ending. I have his second book "A thousand Splendid Suns" on my shelf.
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres - I didn't even know there was this book. I know that Nicholas Cage was in the movie.
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - The art and artistry of this novel goes hand in hand with that of an actual geisha. I love the attention to detail and that I could really "see" the characters.
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne - Does watching the Disney series with my kids count? How about getting Eeyore's autograph at Disney World? Thought so...
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell - Katie and I both read this last spring when we were learning about totalitarian governments. We both enjoyed it. But the illustrations in our edition were gross.
42 The DaVinci Code - Dan Brown - A fun, fast paced book. BUT...I am not sure that I would rank it in the top 100 books.
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Yuck. This book felt like it took 100 years to read.
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving - Love this book. Really gave me a perspective on both faith and the life we CHOOSE to live.
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery - Again, I am not sure how I have not managed to read this. Katie has read it. But I haven't.
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood - I have this fascination with post-apocalyptic novels. And this is one of the best.
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding - I read this in 6th grade. And again in 9th. I think it was the first book I read that I TRULY got the symbolism.
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan - I hated this book. I just wanted to throw it against the wall. Debbie over at This is the Life asked for my opinion on it. But she read it anyway. And then sent me an email saying she should have listened to me.
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel - Besides being absolutely captivating and mesmerizing, this book has some of the most thought provoking questions provided in the back of the book (a favorite being: “what color is your religion?”). In light of “A Million Little Pieces” this book asks which is better – the plain story or the embellished one? And who is to say which one is the truth?
52 Dune - Frank Herbert - another y chromosome book. This along with LOTR was my father's favorite.
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 - My book club had discussed the possibility of doing a year of reading around the world. And I bought this book by the Spanish author. But, things changed...and the book is still on my shelf.
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens - I read this a long time ago. And Katie read it a few years ago. I remember her struggling with it. And then getting into it. But my favorite question from her was "why does it keep switching back and forth between chapters on London and Paris?" Gee, hun...I just don't know...
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - I find it shocking that this book was written so long ago. It is completely relevant to today. The way we do scientific research. The way that we try to have everyone follow certain "norms." And our reactions to people who behave in a way that does not coincide with what our own culture dictates.
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon - Great insight into the mind of an autistic teen.
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - "100 Years of..." makes me leary. I think I hold a grudge against authors if I don't like them on the first try.
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov - Who doesn't know the story? I'd love to read it. But I am intimidated by the prose.
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt - This is one of my absolute favorite books. On the surface it's a mystery novel (in reverse - meaning you know who dies in the beginning - and then you see how it all came to be). But deeper, it's full of all the elements of a Greek tragedy. And asks a fabulous question : "Does such a thing as 'the fatal flaw,' that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn't. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs."
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold - Another book that absolutely enthralled me. But I don't think I'd put it on a top 100 list.
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac - There is something about this book that just seems so dated. Anyone read it?
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding - I think that this is what propelled Chick Lit to the forefront. Especially books written in first person. It is laugh out loud funny. But the sequel - "The Edge of Reason" - while a horrid movie - is funnier than the first as a book. I laughed so hard in places, I cried.
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie - Another yuck book. But...when my book club read it, we had the absolute best discussion. Maybe because we all agreed that it was horrible.
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens - Can I underline this even though I didn't read the last two chapters due to an inept teacher?
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker - I have this one on my 888 list as well. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into it. (Sorry. Couldn't resist. Fangs for your forgiveness.)
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson - I love Bill Bryson. But this is one of my least favorites. Maybe because I am not English. My favorite is "A Walk in the Woods" about his hike of the Appalachain trail.
75 Ulysses - James Joyce - I have heard so much about this book. And how difficult it is. Doesn't make me want to try.
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 - Another book I just love. And so, so much better than the movie.
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - I have not read the book (though it's on my list for this year) but I have seen the movie (with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson).
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry - Another Oprah book. I should have known it would not be my cup of tea.
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - The end always makes me teary. Even though I know what is coming. We read this to the kids before we took them to see the movie. Madalyn was so not prepared for what happens to Charlotte.
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom - another tear jerker. Sweet, sweet story. But another that I am not sure of why they are here.
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Is this a series or one book? I have read "The Hound of the Baskervilles." And in high school, we watched the movie. As we were watching it, two dogs came charging into our classroom. Sending our teacher SCREAMING to the top of her desk. Hilarious. And somehow, I do believe it was mere coincidence - and not planned at all.
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery - I am not sure that I understand the European fascination with this book. I have a German friend whose son's room is decorated in the art work from this book. Including a comforter brought from home. Can someone explain it to me?
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams - Another of my favorites. I don't understand the marketing of the book to children. I even saw the cartoon as a child and it scared me. It is a bloody story about the quest for freedom vs. tyranny; about logic and reason vs blind emotion (and especially emotional devotion to a person or way of doing things.) There was even a sequel called "Tales from Watership Down" that was also really good - and if you can imagine, a little darker than the original.
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole - Winner of the pulitzer prize and on my 888 list.
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare - I can quote so much from this play. Why? I have no idea! But, why is this here when the complete works of Shakespeare is in the top ten?
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
So, what about you? What is missing from this list? What book are you surprised to see on such a list? A few days ago Jyl emailed me and said that we have a lot in common - reading being a big one. And then she asked me to name my top five books. Ack! I think it changes daily. Can you name your top five books?
Theme song: Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" and since this list is so long, you might need two songs...so how about: Sting's "Moon over Bourbon Street" which is about one of my favorite books - Anne Rice's "Interview with a Vampire."