Friday, November 26, 2010

Reading Lists (A Meme)

I got this one from Thomas. It's been a long time since I did one of these reading list/what-I-have-and-haven't read things. What I love about this one is that it's a list sure to make us book bloggers (note that I am referring to myself as a book blogger. Hope you real book bloggers out there aren't offended) feel great (as opposed to those that make us feel like we will never, in this lifetime, read everything we should have read). You see, apparently, the BBC (and, no, I have not researched this to see if it's a fact. My guess is that it very well may not be, since this started on Facebook. I mean, one need only ask the question, "Who, exactly is 'the BBC?'" to start wondering about the validity of this claim) believes most people have only read 6 of the following titles. Book bloggers, rejoice! I can guarantee that you have all read more than six of these titles. Aren't we a superior lot?

Anyway, here you go. (In true Queen o' Memes fashion) I'm turning this into a meme. Here are the instructions:

Thomas put the titles he'd read in blue, so, please, follow his lead and put the titles you've read in blue.
He put into italics those he'd partially read.
He crossed out those he never intends to read. I prefer (due to ease when using blogger) to put those in bold.
Put in red those that have been on your TBR list (or, if you are like me, "in your TBR tome") since The Fall (you know, the one described in Genesis?).

Comment as you see fit (which you don't have to do, but I can't help doing -- as all my long-time readers know).

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen. And I will probably read it again soon.
2. The Lord of the Rings. This one really ought to be bolded, but I keep hemming and hawing over whether or not I ought to bite the bullet.
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte. And one of my favorite rereads of 2010 (as an audiobook version). A book that ought to be read every decade or so of one's life.
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling. I've read the first four and will definitely read them all eventually, although I am not the huge fan most are and think there is much better stuff out there for kids.
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible. Still think it's a foundation for so much literature that has come since and is a fabulous description of the evolutions of western civilization, law, and psychology.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte. Read it too late in life but can still understand all the hoopla, despite despising most of the characters.
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell. The verdict is still out on whether or not I've actually read it. Maybe I should put it in red, because I've been meaning to read (or reread) it forever.
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman. I've read the first two. Loved them. Am saving the last one (God knows for what, but thus is the life of a "savorer" as opposed to a "gobbler" of books/authors.)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens. Why have I not yet read it? I can't, off the top of my head, think of anyone who hasn't recommended it.
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott. So many times I've lost count.
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy. Really ought to reread, since I go on and on about how it's been one of my greatest influences.
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller. The fact that my local library's copy of this is missing is a lame excuse for not having read it, isn't it? Especially since I was first told I had to read it 24 years ago (long, long before I had any idea I'd be living here, where the local library's copy is missing).
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare. I took two Shakespeare courses in college, but I still don't think I've read everything he's written. Almost everything, but not everything. Yet.
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier. One of those books I wish I hadn't read and could read again for the first time.
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien. It does count that my fourth grade teacher read it out loud to the whole class, even if I spent most of that time writing my own stories and drawing pictures and not paying much attention, right?
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk. Okay, back in 1997, some English friends recommended this one to Bob and me. Bob bought it and read it. He loved it, wanted me to read it. I've been meaning to do so ever since.
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger. I'd like to reread this one, too. Although I did enjoy it, I was not as impressed with it as most the first time I read it (at age 20), but I read Franny and Zooey in the past year and think I might have a new appreciation for Salinger.
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger. Completely, unexpectedly loved it! Recommended it to (a.k.a. thrust it upon) all kinds of people without thinking. I should have known better (those of you who have read it and know her, think: my mother). Now, I recommend it to a select few. Can't quite help wondering, though: why is it on this list?
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot. Oh my God, did I love it. Why I have not read more by George Eliot, I will never know, but I haven't.
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell. Yes, everything it is cracked up to be, but please put it in its time and place if you are going to read it and complain about racism, sexism, etc. Almost all books written in that era can be accused of same.
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald. Another one I have been meaning to reread for years.
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy. I read it on my honeymoon. Forget it's reputation for length. It's extremely romantic, which makes it a great honeymoon read.
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams. Maybe I didn't appreciate Catcher in the Rye, because I read this one the same summer?
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky. On that same list of most influential/greatest reads of mine. I have to admit, though, to anyone who has found it rough-going, it wasn't until I tried it the second time that I got it (a.k.a. fell into it, abandoned all else in life till I'd finished it, rhapsodized about it, told everyone they must read it, immediately dismissed anyone I knew who didn't like it, etc., etc., etc.).
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck. I WILL finish it one day. It just wasn't the right time when I tried to read it.
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll. I plan to reread it soon, too (my reread tome seems to be almost as long as my TBR tome).
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my father reading it aloud to me.
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy. I don't need to tell most of you how Bob and I met, do I?
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis. I'm not sure if I read all of them. All I know is that I read a good deal of them one summer as a child and was not as impressed with them as everyone else I knew seemed to be.
34 Emma -Jane Austen. This is my favorite Austen.
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen. Then again, I haven't reread this one. Maybe it's my favorite...
36. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis. Now, you see, this is what makes me wonder about that whole "BBC" claim. I mean, don't those employed by the BBC know that this happens to be one of the Chronicles of Narnia? (If not, I have lost all respect for the BBC.)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini. But really wish I hadn't wasted the time.
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres. Okay, now I know the BBC can't be involved. Those who work there surely must know that the title of the book is Corelli's Mandolin. The movie was Captain Coreli's Mandolin. Anyway, loved, loved, loved the book. The movie was a waste of time.
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne. Over and over and over again. As any child should.
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell. Well, wouldn't it be in your TBR tome if you hadn't read it?
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown. If I were stranded on a desert island with nothing else to read, maybe...
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Loved, loved, loved it! Abandoned everything else I was supposed to be reading for all my other courses in college until I'd finished it. Time for a reread, don't you think?
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving. So far, my favorite Irving.
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins. I bought a new edition last year, so I can read it again.
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery. But not as a child.
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy. It's not in my TBR tome, but it probably should be, as I am sure I will read it one day.
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood. Have read other Atwood but not this one.
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding. Couldn't get through it. Maybe ought to try again?
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan. You'd probably be better off just seeing the movie (which I haven't seen). This one was very disappointing.
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel. Finally read it and loved it.
52 Dune - Frank Herbert. Dragged myself through the tedium for a course I took in college.
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons. Enjoyable to a degree, but why does everyone rave so about it? Something must be wrong with me, because I just don't get that.
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen. So much Austen on this list...
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth. But it's just so...long...isn't it? Especially for a book that doesn't take place in America or England. (I know, that highlights my biases...)
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Since I've never heard of it, I doubt I'll ever read it.
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens. I just haven't read that much Dickens. I think I'm afraid that once I start, I may be stuck reading him for the rest of my life (I mean, he was so prolific, and I'm such a slow reader...)
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley. I know. I know. Please don't tell me I must read it.
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon. Why is this on this list? I mean, really? Did someone decide, "Well, we must have something written in the 21st century," and this was all he/she could think to include? It's already practically forgotten. I doubt people will be talking about it fifty years from now.
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Even better than One Hundred Years of Solitude. Put a gun to my head and ask me to name one of my all-time favorite books. This one would probably pop to mind before most others.
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck. Devastated me at the age of fourteen.
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov. Love it. If you haven't read it, listen to the Jeremy Irons audiobook. Perfection.
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt. The editor was out to lunch, which ruined this one for me. If you want something similar that is far better, read Tana French's The Likeness.
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold. Read it because it made Bob cry. It made me cry, too.
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas. This one has been in the TBR tome since I saw the movie in 1997. I know. I know. I must read it.
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac. Read it when I was a twenty-something and idealized Kerouac, the Beats, San Francisco, long road trips, etc., etc. I know: what's changed? Perhaps I need to reread.
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy. Until this past year, I'd only partially read it. Now I've read the whole thing. Typical Hardy: extraordinarily depressing, but somehow hopeful in that there was an author at the time who knew how bleak it all was due to society's decrees.
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding. Laughed my head off when I read it, but if I hadn't seen the movie not too long ago, really wouldn't remember a thing about it (a.k.a. Swedish-fish-reading). Again, though, why is this one on the list? Is it to help give those who never read a chance at achieving six read?
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie. Can't say why, but I probably won't ever read any Salman Rushdie. Just not interested.
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville. This book is my nemesis, which means I can't bold it, because I plan to conquer it one day, but I can't put it in red, because it hasn't been in the TBR tome all that long.
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens. But I read it when I had strep throat and a fever that had me seeing stars, so I can't attest to what was actually there and what I invented.
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker. Often contemplate making it a Halloween ritual to read it every year, but then get distracted by other stuff. I do love it, though.
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett. Loved as a kid. Loved when I reread it as an adult.
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson. Am reading his The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid for a book discussion group. Meh. Not sure what else of his I might read after this experience.
75. Ulyesses (hmm...looks like "the BBC" can't spell, either) - James Joyce. Hasn't been in the TBR tome forever. Is sort of making an appearance in the Afterward, though...
76. The Inferno - Dante. Nope. Can't answer your question as to why this one goes unread year after year after year...
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome. Never heard of it, so again, doubt I'll ever read it.
78 Germinal - Emile Zola. Haven't yet, but Mandarine gave me a copy, so I will.
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray. Never got through it, but have been meaning to try ever since I set it down sixteen years ago...
80 Possession - AS Byatt. No desire at this point.
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens. A wonderfully spooky ghost story.
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell. Again, no desire.
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker. I love Alice Walker.
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro. Twice. Perfection.
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert. Everyone knows I read it three times and hate it, right?
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White. Couldn't get through it as a child. Finally read it as an adult. Brilliant.
88. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom. Life is way too short...
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The man who started my fixation with the mystery genre.
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton. Wasn't interested in Enid Blyton as a child. Can't see suddenly becoming interested.
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad. So shoot me. I'm just not that interested (despite love, love, loving The Secret Agent).
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery. What's better: the illustrations or the story?
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks. Again: why is this here?
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams. But I was thirteen. I'm sure I missed so much. I want to read it again.
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole. Yes, if you haven't read it, do.
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute. Maybe, one day...but it hasn't even made it into the TBR tome. Someone convince me.
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas. I saw the movie, which bored me to tears.
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare. And seen it performed probably more than any of his other plays.
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl. I still can't eat my chocolate bars the way Charlie managed to do in the beginning of that book.
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo. I really ought to read it. I mean, how many years am I going to keep responding to lists like these, having to talk about how I've been meaning to read it forever?

So, there you have it BBC (or who/whatever). I've read 58, well above the 6 predicted. I'm trying not to wrench my shoulder patting myself on the back.

What about you? How many have you read? I'm tagging you to do this on your own blog.


Susan said...

Dear Emily, how I have missed you! How is it we have never met, and yet when I read your meme, and your thoughts, I find myself laughing out loud and wishing you were here so you could hear me say, "Yes! I'm not the only one!" While we don't agree on everything, when I saw you hadn't read Catch 22, or Birdsong, or Brave New World, I was thrilled, especially as I want to read them all too, and think I should, but never seem to. You're right though, doing this meme makes all seem so clever and well-read since most book bloggers have read easily well over the 6 required on here! I wonder who they polled over in the UK to get this under the BBC logo?

Now to go try this meme myself on my blog.....

litlove said...

You still rule supreme on the memes, Emily! I have read 25, and there's a handful of books that I started but gave up on. Now why is it that I am more likely to be forced to abandon a 'classic' than a genre novel? Few genre works have been so awful I've had to give them up, but several classics have caused me to nearly lose the will to live. I do not know why.

Rebecca said...

Ok, I've read 70 of the titles on this list and the others I've got no intention of ever reading. So that makes it nice and simple!

Danny said...

You're so much more well read than me so I have no right to comment. There are some odd choices on the list, though. I share your enthusiasm for "The Time Traveler's Wife" but wonder how it got there (Niffenegger lives on my sister's block in Chicago). Great book, simply awful movie. Agree with your comments about GWTW--worth a read for all the incredible details Margaret Mitchell provides. Would urge you to put "Grapes of Wrath" back on your list. I didn't read "The Kite Runner" but would urge you to read Hosseini's more recent book, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" which I found extraordinary. Also loved Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" which I think is very much worth a read! Wait, isn't "Anna Karenina" on this list? Hello? Oops--just found it at #31. Did you hear about the brand-new English translation of "Madame Bovary?" I love "Great Expectations" but I want to hear Olivia de Havilland read it to me out loud as she starts to do in that great scene in "Gone With the Wind."

Rebecca H. said...

I've read something like 56; it's hard to decide sometimes, whether I should count something I read in high school or earlier but don't remember at all. Anyway, fun list, but weird in some ways, as you point out.

Danny said...

Oh wait--just to correct something from my inane comment above, I woke up remembering that in "Gone With the Wind," Olivia de Havilland's Melanie is reading "David Copperfield" aloud, not "Great Expectations."

"I am born. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show..."

Stefanie said...

First, I've read a good many of those books and some of them more than once. Woo-hoo! Second, you've never heard of Shadow of the Wind? OMG Emily, you have to read it. It is a book for people who love books.

Emily Barton said...

Susan, I've missed you, too! You know, after I wrote that about Catch 22, I discovered the library has replaced its copy. Now I have no excuses.

Litlove, oh I know. What IS it about classics that some of them are just so horrible I can't bare to keep going, whereas, genre novels, unless extraordinarily poorly written, I can almost always manage to finish? That's just so counter intuitive.

Becky, but you have to let us know which 70 :-)!

Dorr, I know what you mean, but you DID read them, so I say they count.

Danny, well, you may THINK I'm better read, but I would have no idea what book it was being read aloud in the movie. I do plan to give Hosseini a second chance with A Thousand Splendid Suns, and don't worry, I will finish Grapes of Wrath one of these days. Maybe I should make that a New Year's Resolution for 2011 (a nice easy resolution to keep).

Stef, okay. Shadow of the Wind goes into the TBR tome.