Saturday, August 22, 2009

Headburro's reading list challenge

My friend Headburro Antfarm has tagged me in a challenge involving a list of books that are considered great, or maybe pretty darn good, or at least classic (which means some tinplated poofed-up goober in a baggy sweater with a doctorate in English lit thinks you should read it).

Headburro was challenged to go through the below list and and see which ones he had read, and which of those he loved. Then he picked five friends and called them out to do the same. I was tickled to see he picked me, though it seems one of the big criteria is having a blog, which I believe I have successfully proven is something any knuckle-dragger can do.

Anyhow, then I am supposed to hit up five people to do the same, and it becomes like one of those letters where if you break the chain, Something Awful will happen to your grandmother. Even though both my grannies have long since departed this vale of tears, I'm not one to risk pissing off the chain-letter gods. So here goes--keep in mind that if I read the book I will put it in bold print. If I read it and it made my nipples hard and changed my life, it will be in bold print and italics (and if they are RED then they are extra special to me: I just now decided to make the ones I am really super-duper fond of RED!):

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
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible (New Testament, anyway)
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Phillip Pullman
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 (almost complete anyway -- I can't remember if read Coriolanus or not)
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 (I did read The Brothers Karamozov)
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland
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
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – 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 (I read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man then tried this one. Failed after the first few pages.)
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
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
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 (isn’t this redundant with the Complete Works?)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo (abriged)

In reflection, many of these were things that I read, because I had to, or because you are supposed to have read them in order to be considered generally non-moronic. Some of the things I HAD to read for freshman english were, in fact, pretty damn spectacular. Others--meh, not so much, but at least I can say I read them. In general, I think I realzied that I hadn't read a lot of books that many people think are hot stuff. Sorry about that. I did mention something about actually being something of a knuckle-dragger didn't I?

Now here's the thing that really got me-- the books that were not on this list that I think should be:

The Decameron -- Giovanni Boccaccio
All Quiet on the Western Front -- Erich Maria Remarque
The Horatiao Hornblower series -- C.S. Forester
The Martian Chronicles -- Ray Bradbury
The Illiad and the Odyssey -- Homer
The Once and Future King -- T.H. White
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court -- Mark Twain
The Egyptian -- Mika Waltari
I, Claudius -- Robert Graves
The Foundation Trilogy -- Isaac Asimov
Dead Souls -- Nikolai Gogol
Spring Snow -- Yukio Mishima
The Trial -- Franz Kafka
The Last of the Mohicans -- James Fenimore Cooper
For Whom the Bell Tolls -- Ernest Hemingway
The Epic of Gilgamesh -- some ancient dude

And yes, I really really wanted to include "Bored of the Rings" as one of my books that should have been on the list, but then you would know what an absolute knuckle-dragger I actually, truthfully am.

Now then, for the five smart people I am going saddle with this task -- I call on O'Toole, Lason Hassanov, Klaus Von Wulfenbach, Zoe Connely, and Viv Trafalger to give it a shot.


  1. Don't worry, I never pick memes that include a "do it or else" clause - I just pick the funs ones so I can write silly things (e.g. from my old, dead RL blog: and find out interesting things about my friends.

  2. I see. So what kind of interesting things is this revealing about your friends?

  3. 1) They are all women

    2) They are all better read than me

    3) Ergo I like smart women ;-)