Friday, December 3, 2010

Have You Read these Books?

There is a meme going around the virtual world (Facebook & the blog world) about what books people have read. I haven't found the BBC meme stating that most people have only read 6 of the books on the list. I have found a BBC link from 2003 with a very similar list, calling it The Big Read - Top 100 Books. (Sorry, it is the history major in me. I must find the primary source on a topic, otherwise it has no true basis. And Wikipedia DOES NOT count as a primary source.)

So, does this "meme" have no meaning? Um, no. I am a reader, and therefore I am predisposed to think everyone should have a well-rounded exposure to literature. Then again, if we want people to read, they should read what they enjoy, and many of these books would fall under "classical literature" and may not appeal to everyone.

However, it was still fun to see what I've read, from the list. I guess it is the competitive side of me.

The fact that I have read many of these books is a testament to my high school. They made us read, a lot. Maybe it was just the college prep kids who had to read. I don't know. What I do know is that if I walked away from high school with anything, it was a solid foundation in literature.

So, here is my submission to the meme, with many side comments. Because, I have an opinion on everything, and it is my blog.


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. I believe that's untrue because my friends are very educated! (One friend commented that many of the books she has read, from this list, she read in French. Then again, she teaches French.)

Bold those books you've read in their entirety.

Bold & Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

Recently read, thanks to my Jane Austen Inspired Summer (which turned into a year.)

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

Watched the movies, enjoyed them. Never could get into the books.

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

I think I read this, not sure. I do remember reading Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys. A prequel, of sorts, to Jane Eyre.

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

I've listened to the books on CD, does that count?

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

11th Grade English.

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

High School English, can't remember which grade. Read it again in college, just for giggles.

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

12th Grade English, for my research/resource literature paper. Can anyone remember the name of those papers?

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

Was never a Charles Dickens reader. I've tried.

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

What girl hasn't read Little Women.

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

I read the Mayor of Casterbridge, 12th Grade English, also by Thomas Hardy, that should count for something.

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

Romeo & Juliet, 8th Grade; Julius Caesar, 10th Grade; Macbeth, 12th Grade, I'm sure there were more. I can't remember.

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

Would like to see the movie.

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

It took several tries, but I did finally completed it.

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

Started, never finished. Teenage boy in angst, just couldn't get into it.

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

Part of my classics kick, after college.

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

Great movie, couldn't get into the book.

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

Felt that my life was not complete until I read this, so I read it. Now my life is complete.

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

It is very likely that I picked this up, flipped through the pages, and set it back down.

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

That is his first name "Fyodor". No wonder everyone just calls the poor guy "Dostoyevsky". When I first saw it, I thought it was a typo.

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

A little unsure about this one, though it does sound like an 11th grade assigned book.

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

Read this to the kids one summer. Oops, forgot about the language.

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

Late nights, nursing a baby.

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

Once again, listened to all of them on CD. Half credit?

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

Saw the movie. Had to agree with the critics.

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

Movie! Though I know the book is always better then the movie, I have no desire to read the book. Especially if I saw the movie first. Which, for The Da Vinci Code, was pretty good.

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

It felt like it took me 100 years to read it. Very similar to The General in His Labyrinth. I felt like I was wondering around, in his labyrinth, for 100 years.

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

Again, what girl hasn't read it.

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

For a literature class, which I audited my senior year in college, when I realized I was about to graduate from a liberal arts college and have not taken a literature class.

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

Read it for giggles. Not exactly a "just for fun" read.

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herber

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

Like I mentioned above, I've tried, just not a Dickens kind of girl.

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

Love this book! Actually, I read it by accident. Was supposed to read a different book for a class, and got the assignments mixed up. Very glad I had.

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

11th Grade English. We read a number of controversial books. I mean, our high school reading list consisted of 9, of the top 10, banned books (as of late 1980's/early 1990's).

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

Saw the movie. Had absolutely no desire to read the book. Remember what I said about teenage boy angst? Well, grown woman angst makes me what to dope slap the main character. My apologies to Renee Zellweger.

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

Sat in a box, for a very long time.

76 The Inferno - Dante

Sat in the same box, as Ulysses, for about as long.

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 - E.B. 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

Saw the Broadway musical. It was on Broadway. That counts for something?

What have you read? Any books you are surprised not to see on the list? You were surprised to find on the list? And, what books did you read in high school, if you can remember? Did you school assign such risque books as Of Mice and Men and Catcher in the Rye?


Menno Jeweler said...

Okay, definitely have read more than 6...more like 60! But then I was an English minor in college. ;-) I must say that you need to read 2 books that were on that list and are right up there in my top 10 favorites of all time:
The Kite Runner and The Color Purple...Go read those, please!

I was surprised that Poisonwood Bible was not on the list, another one on my top 10.

Angela (Cottage Magpie) said...

Several people have explored this! I haven't been able to find anyone who has tracked this to it's source yet, but there are several write-ups about it. This is the best one I could find: