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Book meme. How can I resist?

Sayeth the meme...

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read and hated.
5) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them ;-)

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible - (not sure what to do here, since I've read some of it but not all of it, was forced to read some of it, like some of it, and hate some of it.)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (I read it by choice...and sort of hated it.)
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy (Am tempted to strike-through this one, due to absurdly depressing content.)
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (I like the ones I'm familiar with, well enough.)
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
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 (I can't remember several of them, so I should catch up again sometime.)
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (Isn't this a repeat of #33?)
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 (Well, I read about two-thirds of it...)
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 (Just saw the film. Am a bit in love with James McAvoy as a result. Also want to read the book.)
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 (Again, about two thirds of it.)
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy (Ditto. But with more hating.)
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
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 (I like the ones I've read.)
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

Look at all those boldfaces! They say six? I have read fifty-seven. Hah. See, I told everyone I didn't need an English degree in order to read the "good" books. Point made.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 26th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC)
"Good books" is so subjective, though. My brother probably hasn't read any book on that list. But he still reads. He reads novels, comics, magazines, newspapers, etc. So is his choice of reading somehow "lesser" because it doesn't include so-called "classics"—a classification which is arbitrary and subjective?

This is why I was a horrible English major. I refused to believe that a Jane Austen book was any better or more important than a modern-day book. :) I'm sure the English Lit department is very glad I'm gone now.
Jun. 26th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
True, this list is more a popularity contest than a quality test. Thus I've edited the entry to put "good" in quotation marks.

It is interesting to see which books have stood the test of time--and would be fun to try to revive some that didn't previously make a splash--but on the whole I didn't figure I was going to get too much out of English classes in college. All they seemed to do was argue about what the author really meant, a question we could never definitively answer. So I switched to Anthropology, where at least I'd learn stuff I wouldn't have otherwise, and kept reading lit for pleasure. :)
Jun. 27th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
I often wonder about the books that have endured. Have they endured because they're actually good, or because society at large says, "Well, it's from the 1800s, so it'll give us an idea of what life was like then", and then we perpetuate it on through countless English Lit (or whatever equivalent) courses, until those books become considered "classics"?

A read you enjoy is a good read, says I. :) Doesn't matter when it was written.

I only majored in English Lit because I like writing, really. And to be honest, in an English Lit essay, you can never be wrong: if you can back up your point to some degree, that's the main thing. I've argued wild opinions (many of which I completely detested), but because I could cite references and make a case for it, I got good grades. Strange world, university is.

Jun. 27th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
I taught a college course through the local university called "Great Works" and we discussed the concept of the "Literary Canon" and how it evolved (& continues to evolve).

The Great Gatsby, for example, was a critical and financial failure when it was published. It was revived when it was republished in 1953 after literary scholars in the 1940s "re-discovered" it.

I hate to think you dismissed getting an English degree with the assumption that you wouldn't get much out of it. I learned so much more than just arguing about "meaning" and decoding symbolism. I learned how to read the books and think about them beyond my gut reaction to the prose; to recognize that the works are the are products of other societies, social mores, or rebellion against them (etc); I am able to read with a sense of the context; and I can see most of what I read in the larger context of the history, culture, and art. My degree forced me to become a researcher and open a window into avenues I would have never experienced otherwise. And, furthermore, it is still fun--perhaps more so than before, because I love the way my mind maps out my analysis & its connections to everything else that happens to be there.

True, I could have done the same thing with a library card (as someone was always so kind to point out to me) but I would not have had the chance to be intellectually stimulated by some of the best literary minds on the east coast. They are the ones who made all the difference in why I value the study of English literature well beyond its "easy grades" (how I do loathe the assumption that you can never be wrong if you justify your points...).

Just had to stick up for the Lit Majors out there, you know. :)

Adversely, as a writer, perhaps you are better off without a Lit. degree. I think my mind is too geared for analysis now--most of its creativity has been siphoned out thinking about someone else's work.

Edited at 2008-06-27 02:47 am (UTC)
Jun. 27th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, the cans of worms I inadvertently knock open with a pointless time-wasting meme! :) (Not just your comment but everyone's.)

I would have gotten plenty out of being an English major, certainly. My longer and less snarky explanation about why I switched to Anthro follows:

1) I was taking, and knew I would continue to take, a lot of Lit and Writing courses anyway. The Honors College had their own Lit classes, which I tended to like better than the ones from U of O's general English Dept.

2) I like science and wanted to be a bit closer to it, without actually diving into the hard, technical type of sciences. Anthro let me sort through dusty boxes of animal bones, memorize ancient hominid species, taste a kava drink, play "Old World or New World?" with names of domesticated plants and animals, and other pleasantly odd diversions.

3) Steve was majoring in Anthro: had to follow the boy! :) (Hey, I was 18 and not nearly as dedicated a student as I might be today.)

4) Your final point touches on probably my best reason, though. As a writer, I wanted to learn more about the world so that I've have something to write *about*. I would pick up craft skills and story structure lessons from reading the good lit, but I planned to read the good lit anyway. I needed subject matter.

Of course, I haven't actually used the Anthro material in any book yet, so fat lot of good it may have done me. I keep meaning to, though. Someday, I swear.

You're quite good at the analysis, and it suits you because you love the history and biography surrounding any work of art, be it literature, painting, or architecture. I'm somewhat interested in those things, but, in typical escapist fiction-writer fashion, I'm more fascinated with the internal story being told, how the writer employed language to tell it, and why it appeals to readers.

Naturally you like that part too, I'm sure, but I bet the history/analysis/connections side tends to outweigh it a bit. Feel free to bat this idea away if I'm wrong. :) I mean it as a compliment in any case.
Jun. 27th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
You have a CHILD now; for the love of God, go read The Little Prince. One is not allowed to raise a child without having read this book. ;-)

As #36 repeats #33, so should #98 be included in #14. These folks are a bit muddled, methinks.

So far, you're the only person besides myself that I've seen who has read The Color Purple. Think they messed with the plotline a bit much in the movie? :-)
Jun. 27th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
Heheh. I have this niggling sense that I did read The Little Prince in college, but wasn't sure. So I should look it up again, I suppose.

I don't remember ever getting around to seeing the film version of The Color Purple. Maybe that's a good thing!
Jun. 28th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
They think they may have recently identified the German pilot who shot down the author of The Little Prince, on an irrelevant but fascinating historical note.
Jun. 29th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)
Ah, I like the painful ironic twist that the pilot liked the books, too.
Jun. 27th, 2008 10:56 am (UTC)
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Well, I read about two-thirds of it...)

So you only read about 66.6 Years of Solitude? ;)

I believe Peter Jackson is making The Lovely Bones into a film; it will be interesting to see what he makes of it. I loved that book, despite the nightmarish premise (mother of a daughter speaking here.)

And why will you never read Moby Dick? I'm curious.
Jun. 27th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, I heard the PJ rumor! That will be cool indeed, though I must agree on the terribly sad/depressing quality of the story.

Moby Dick just doesn't sound like my kind of thing, and when you hear lots of people saying it's "difficult," that waters down my enthusiasm even more. But goodness knows I've loved books that others couldn't finish, so I may turn around on that point and give Melville a chance someday.
Jun. 28th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC)
So you only read about 66.6 Years of Solitude?

That was my first thought, too. ;)
Jun. 29th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
It felt like it sometimes. :)

The writing is amazing and unusual, but I get antsy where there's no clear central plot to follow.
Jun. 28th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC)
If you read Melville, read something other than Moby Dick. Unless, as a writer and linguist, you simply feel you have to for professional credibility.
Jun. 29th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
Hell, if Stephenie Meyer feels she doesn't have to watch Buffy even though she writes novels about teens in love with vampires, I sure don't have to read Moby Dick for any credibility. :)
Jun. 28th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, BTW - 63. Fall down and worship me, for I rule.
Jul. 17th, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, I so totally can't believe that you crossed out Moby Dick... Maybe it's a guy thing, like my sister always says about Love in the Time of Cholera.

But it's nice to see that someone else out there loves Middlemarch.

/Really, really hates The Little Prince.
Jul. 20th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
I may give Moby Dick a try someday. But if it's like Hemingway and Faulkner, then yeah, it might be mostly a guy thing. (Though I know at least one woman who adores Faulkner...)

George Eliot is awesome. Every time I read her work, I want to make an icon with her portrait and the words, "Eliot pwns U".
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )