Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Big Read

I ran across this and decided to give it a go:

The Big Read, an initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. How do you do?

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

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 [not a single book!]
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible [I don't think bits and pieces in Sunday school count, do they?]
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens [I couldn't finish it, too wordy]
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 [to my brother's chagrin I have not yet read this]
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 [loved this as a kid but need to re-read to have an opinion now]
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis [again, read when I was really young]
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
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery [again, read so long ago I barely remember it]
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 [recently tried to read one of his other books and couldn't get into it and hated the movie so I doubt I will ever attempt the book]
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 [another childhood book I barely remember reading]
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 [in French, thank you very much!]
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 [partially read this 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
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I have read 44 out of 100, very close to half! I should probably italicize everything I have not read but there is far too much Charles Dickens on the list for that. There are also quite a few books I have never heard of or which are written by authors I do not like (Dickens!). But I think this is a great reading guide.

Most recently, I have finished reading Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth, which I devoured. I loved every last word and was sad to shut the book at the end. It is a collection of short stories that are so beautifully written and very relatable no matter your cultural/religious/ethnic/social background. I think we can all relate, in some way, to being pulled in different directions by the family who raised us and societal norms around us.

Next up on my reading list, or at least what I just purchased on Amazon this week primarily influenced by my upcoming vacation: So tell me, what have you read from the list of 100? What are you currently reading? What would you recommend? Try it on your blog, I especially want to know which books from the list you loved.


Annie said...

whew, i have read more than 6! only nine though. i have a hard time reading. i always felt like i was being forced to read in school, which i was. so i haven't developed a passion for it...yet! my husband on the other hand has read enough for both of us!!!

Meghan said...

I LOVE The Count of Monte Cristo!! I read winnie the pooh with my second graders and it is such a darling book. When my son was 2 1/2, he brought the novel to me so I started reading it to him. He was enthralled for 3 chapters straight in one sitting. We have enjoyed all of the pooh books. Also, I have never met one single person who has ever read Ulysses even though I have even seen it as a #1 book on certain lists.

Beck said...

64 for me.
I was surprised by how many modern books of dubious literary merit were on there. I mean, The Da Vinci Code? Really?

Soul-Fusion said...

Right! And Bridget Jones's Diary? I liked the book but I'm not sure it belongs on the list. And definitely not the Da Vinci Code and although I haven't read it I'm not sure The Five People You Meet in Heaven belongs either. Didn't Mitch Albom write Tuesday's with Morrie?

critts said...

Does it count if I've partially read some of these? :) As for full reads I think only 10 but I've started and not finished many many more. I've been waiting for your review of Unaccustomed Earth because I'd the Namesake and was hoping this would be a good read as well.

TheMorts said...

You will love "Into Thin Air"... a great page turner!

writer John said...

Hi, this is my first post on your blog. I'm Tiff's brother. Anyway, I had to stand up for Dickens. Not that I've read every Dickens on the list, but I have to say that Tale of Two Cities is one of my all-time favorites. I love the way he weaves all of his obscure characters in and out of his stories. I love the craftsmanship of his writing.

I have to agree with the other commenter about DaVinci Code. It had me for about 100 pages. Then it just got absolutely painful. I hoped they could fix a few things when they made it into a movie--wrong again.

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