The Big Read

bigreadindexI stole this from Tara.

The Big Read thinks the average adult has only read six of the top 100 books they’ve printed below.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Star the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – was supposed to in high school, but didn’t.
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 (I want to read all the major books of the world’s religions).
7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
*8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials – Philip 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 – another sin of blasphemy, I’m not a big fan.
15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch – George Eliot – okay, I think I read this but I’m honestly not sure! I know I read The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot, as well as a second book of hers, and think the other one was Middlemarch.
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 (the first one)
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
34. Emma – Jane Austen
35. Persuasion – Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
*37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (this book just rocks my fucking world it’s so good)
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 (the first one)
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’ 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 – again, see #1, though this one, the parts I read I actively vehemently disliked. I remember reading every other chapter, then every third, then skimming and eventually just saying, fuck it).
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
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

So, there you have it. I’d also like to make a little addendum, adding some books I think should be on there:

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
Beloved – Toni Morrison
The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
White Oleander – Janet Fitch

I hereby bold these and award them all multitudes of stars.

So, people, pass it on, make your lists!

~Emilia J

Currently Listening:
“Here, In My Head” – Tori Amos – she says it’s one of her favorite B-sides, and it’s also one of mine. I LOVE that the “album” it’s on in my iTunes is Forgotten Earthquakes, because that is soooo appropriate, though sometimes I can’t believe it was from the Little Earthquakes era, it seems somehow wiser, like it’s from an older Tori. I love it so much that it’s hard to pick out specific lines like usual, so I’m giving the whole song here:

Here, In My Head
Tori Amos

In my head
I found you there and
Running around and following me
But you don’t, oh, dare, now
But I find that I have now
More than I ever wanted to

So maybe Thomas Jefferson wasn’t born in your backyard
Like you have said, and
Maybe I’m just the horizon you run to when
She has left
You there

You are
Here in my head
And running around and calling me,
“Come back, I’ll show you the roses
and brush off the snow
And open their petals again and again”
You know that apple green ice cream can melt in your hands
I can’t, so…
I held your hand at the fair and
Even forgot what time it was

And even Thomas Jefferson wasn’t born in your backyard
Like you have said, and
Maybe I’m just the horizon you run to when
She has left
You and me here
Alone on the floor

You’re counting my feathers as the bells toll
You see the bow and the belt
And the girl from the South
All favorites of mine
You know them all well

Spring brings fresh little puddles
That makes it all clear
Makes it all…
Hey, do you know?
Hey, do you know?
Mmmm, what this is doing to me?
Oh, here…
Here in my head

11 thoughts on “The Big Read

  1. I love this and have duly copied and begun preparing it for my blog. And don’t feel bad, Austen and Bronte didn’t do anything for me, either. I may have to have a little talk with you about Shakespeare, though ;)

  2. Hey! I did this yesterday (not on my blog, just printed out the list).I’ve read 64, and want to read: HIS DARK MATERIALS, THE KITE RUNNER (yeah, yeah… I know), FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, THE SECRET HISTORY, THE LOVELY BONES, and THE REMAINS OF THE DAY.I totally wondered why THE POISONWOOD BIBLE was absent as well.You’ve been blogging a lot these days – can barely keep up! Peace, Linda

  3. Heh, yeah Linda, I told you I’m feeling a little manic lately! Will you post yours? Please?Kali, I can’t wait to read yours either.I actually liked Jane Eyre. I had to read it for summer reading one year, and liked it well enough (though didn’t love it). Wuthering Heights though, I couldn’t get into. Maybe I should try again, so many people whose reading tastes usually mirror my own in many ways, love it. It’s also the book that Soraya is reading (in The Kite Runner) when Amir first talks to her. Hmmmm.On a completely unrelated note, my computer, or at least my iTunes is completely possessed.

  4. I posted what I think was the *real* list in the response in my blog, as of 2003. Maybe they’ve updated it since (it’s got the first 3 Harry Potter books separate), but as I suspected, the damn Da Vinci Code didn’t make the cut.:)I second the notion to give Wuthering Heights a chance. The beginning is confusing before they get into the actual story, but it gets better, trust me. And it’s way better than Jane Eyre, in that you don’t get pages and pages of discussion on philosophy of life (which I couldn’t stand).

  5. RE: PennyforeOdd… I recieved a notification in my e-mail that you had commented here and my first thought that someone had responded to my own list. Ahh well. It must be because I commented and deleted the comment before (I’m new to blogger – still learning how it works). Since I’m here however, might as well respond. :) You put the first 3 Harry Potter Books on your list separately? Interesting. I never read the first novel, but I think my favorites were mostly later in the series as the stories became a lot heavier with far more dire consequences for the characters’ actions. Goblet of Fire was my favorite of the lot for a long while and then Order of the Phoenix. I’m still undecided on the last two because I’ve only read them once and… I think I’d like to go through the entire series back to back before announcing my -true- favorite amongst them. The DaVinci code? I liked it. Lee Teabing cracked me up, and it gave me a lot to think about for a couple weeks. I reflected upon Christianity in a whole new light and drew some parallels between what was presented in the DaVinci code, Buddhism, and the Gospel of Thomas. That said, I would not however make the declaration of the novel being one of my all time favorites – it was however entertaining and thought provoking. I think most of the authors I like are not the sort to appear on a list of 100 books of all time so my personal top 100 would likely be radically different.Take care!- PJP.S.> Sorry Chrys for usurping the discussion in your journal.

  6. No apologies necessary, PJ – that’s what the comment sections are for.Pennyfore, I think we have really different tastes in some ways when it comes to books. I LIKE reading about philosophy of life stuff (though honestly I don’t remember that from Jane Eyre, it was eleven years ago after all).Leo keeps telling me that Wuth. Heights is a tragic, passionate love story and that Heathcliff as a character is irresistibly hot in a bad boy sort of way, lol, so I’m possibly willing to give it a chance. I just remember thinking it was really boring back in the day, like I just couldn’t get engaged in the story. And I also really liked the Da Vinci Code. It probably doesn’t belong on the list because the writing style was kind of very formula (especially once you read his other books. By the last one, I knew who the bad guy was by page three). And I HATED the portrayal of albinism in that book, SO inaccurate. But I loved a lot of things about it. It was really intellectually engaging, with all the puzzles and codes and I got so excited seeing the Fibonacci Sequence in there I could hardly sit still. And of course all of that occult stuff was riiiight up my alley. And all the art and symbolism. Oh, I LOVED it, and it led me in some very interesting directions, and I probably loved it most of all for that. I also thought the end of the story was really satisfying. Possibly even too much so.I just love anything that touches on religious history, just for all of the ways it makes me think. And I once had a REALLY vivid dream about making out with Jesus (like eight years ago), which was a totally unforgettable dream, especially for someone who mostly considers herself an atheist. So, I liked the consideration of Jesus as a sexual being. Basically if you mix religious history, secret societies, art, symbolism, codes, occult stuff, sex, love, math and codes, there’s no way I could not like it.A lot of times while reading that book, I stopped to puzzle things out for myself. There’s a part where Sophie says her grandfather told her there were 92 words that could be made from the letters of “planets” so I stopped and tried to come up with them all (I got 94, actually). And I played with different code techniques that he mentioned, always trying to solve stuff ahead of time. And when he talks about the Golden Ratio, and how if you divide a number in the Fib. Seq. into the next one, it approaches said Golden Ratio, I had to stop and work that shit out for myself. So, that’s sort of what I mean by it being really intellectually engaging for me. I was FLOORED by that stuff.Also, there are codes in the back of a few of his other books, and I figured ’em out and broke ’em. That was also a nice mental exercise.In a way I liked Angels and Demons better. I liked the content/topics of DVC better, but A&D to me had mroe fire to it, was more raw somehow, and more gripping. That book actually scared me as I was reading it.But top 100 of all time? Well, I don’t know. But I don’t know about a lot of the books on there. I’m shocked that certain books aren’t on it (like Beloved, for example, I mean, it won the Pulitzer, and it’s so excellent). Then again, ANY list of the top 100 books is going to be totally subjective.

  7. Reading the Bible in its entirety, or The Complete Works of Shakespeare, is rather a tall order. Good luck with War and Peace, Emilia. I made a valiant attempt to read it many years ago, but gave up about a quarter of the way through (around about page one million!). Although it’s essentially a kid’s book, I recommend anyone to read Watership Down – my absolute favourite book when I was a child, and probably the one that inspired me to become an author.
    I love comparing books, both loved and loathed, with fellow readers. Time to copy and paste to my blog…

    • I don’t know if War and Peace is on my list anytime soon. I already have another thousand-page book I really want to read…sometime, and that’s Infinite Jest. It’s sitting on my bookshelf whispering “read me, read me,” and soon I will have to listen. Just hard to fit outside reading into all the reading I *have* to do (both literary and chemical).

      And kids’ books should definitely count! I added A Wrinkle in Time and that’s a kids’ book and so, so good (RIP Madeleine L’Engle). And there are a few books for younger readers on there too–Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, etc. Another one I would add is The Giver, though I don’t remember who wrote it.

      Sometimes I love to go back and reread–or listen to audiobooks of–books I read as a kid. Some of the books that made their biggest impressions were the ones from younger years. Last year I reread Homecoming and Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt, great stuff!



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