100 Books in Five Years

From moonrat’s blog (borrowed from Andromeda Romano-Lax) comes a reading challenge. This could fit in with my toppling TBR pile (over 60 books deep).

The challenge is to choose 100 books that you would like to read in the next five years–a selection of both classics and books you think you should have read or would like to read. The thinking being that we tend to gravitate toward books that are delightful/easy to read. The idea is to fill in gaps in our reading with classics and contemporary novels that we think we should read.

Too make it a little less daunting, she gave herself five years to complete the task with a 5% margin of error. I guess that could mean either fewer than 100 books read or longer than 5 years. Whichever works? 75 books in five years? That is only 10 more than are already on my TBR pile. Easy. Ha!

If I start now, five years is April 2014 (ooh, doesn’t that sound scary–won’t we have the zombie apocalypse by then?)

So I’ll make a list of more books to read rather than packing for my trip to Argentina.

Here is the list of books. Criteria for choosing? Mostly books I hear about and think omg, I should have (can’t believe I’ve never) read that. Bonus–some of these books are already on my current TBR pile. I’ll cross off books as I complete them.

February 2013 Update:

Okay, this isn’t working for me. I love books. I love to read. But every time I go to pick up a “fun” book, there is this inherent stab of guilt that I’m not working through my 100 books. But I’ve read other books not on the list. Like The Brothers Karamazov. I found I liked Crime and Punishment so much, I wanted to read more of Dostoyevsky’s books. But the worst is how few books I’ve read since I made this list. Very shameful. So from here (still same end date), my goal will be to read 100 books of interest that I might not otherwise read. Books like Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett (recommended by the editor here at work). I don’t normally read non-fiction, so this is outside my normal reading zone.

So from here, a list of potential books, followed by a list of books I’ve actually read. Let’s see how I do with that!

100 Potential Books:

1. Alighieri, Dante: The Divine Comedy

2. Angelou, Maya: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

3. Asimov, Isaac: I, Robot

4. Atwood, Margaret: The Handmaid’s Tale

5. Ban, Melissa: The Wonder Spot

6. Bernieres, Louis: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

7. Byatt, A.S.: Possession

8. Camus, Albert: The Stranger

9. Capote, Truman: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

10. Capote, Truman: In Cold Blood

11. Carroll, Lewis: Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There

12. Cervantes, Miguel D: Don Quixote

13. Chabon, Michael: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

14. Chandler,  Raymond: The Big Sleep

15. Clarke, Arthur C.: 2001: A Space Odyssey

16. Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness

17. Diamant, Anita: The Red Tent

18. Dick, Phillip K.: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

19. Dickens, Charles: A Tale of Two Cities

20. Doctorow, Cory: Little Brother

21. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor: Crime & Punishment

22. Dumas, Alexandre: The Three Musketeers

23. Edwards, Kim: The Memory Keepers Daughter

24. Ellroy, James: The Black Dahlia

25. Esquivel, Laura: Like Water for Chocolate

26. Eugenides, Jeffrey: The Virgin Suicides

27. Faulkner, William: The Sound and the Fury

28. Fitzgerald , F. Scott: The Great Gatsby

29. Flaubert, Gustave: Madame Bovary

30. Ford, Jamie: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

31. Forster, E.M.: A Passage to India

32. Fowles, John: The French Lieutenant’s Woman

33. Gruen, Sara: Water for Elephants

34. Hammett, Dashiell: The Thin Man

35. Hardy, Thomas: Far From the Madding Crowd

36. Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The House of the Seven Gables

37. Heller, Joseph: Catch 22

38. Hemmingway, Ernest: A Farewell to Arms

39. Hemmingway, Ernest: For Whom the Bell Tolls

40. Hill, Lawrence: The Book of Negros

41. Høeg, Peter: Smilla’s Sense of Snow

42. Homer: The Odyssey

43. Hugo, Victor: Les Miserables

44. Hugo, Victor: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

45. Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World

46. Irving, John: A Prayer for Owen Meany

47. Irving, John: The World According to Garp

48. Ishiguro, Kazuo: Remains of the Day

49. James, Henry: The Portrait of a Lady

50. Joyce, James:  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

51. Joyce, James: Ulysses

52. Kerouac, Jack: On the Road

53. Keyes, Daniel: Flowers for Algernon

54. Kingsolver, Barbara: The Poisonwood Bible

55. Kundera, Milan: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

56. Lawrence, D.H.: Lady Chatterley’s Lover

57. Lawrence, D.H.: Women in Love

58. Lindqvist, John A: Let the Right One In

59. Lynch, Scott: The Lies of Locke Lamora

60. MacDonald, Ann-Marie: Fall On Your Knees

61. Marquez, Gabriel Garcia: Love in the Time of Cholera

62. Matheson, Richard: I Am Legend

63. McEwan, Ian: Atonement

64. Miller, Laura: Haunting of Hill House

65. Morrison, Toni: Beloved

66. Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye

67. Nemirovsky, Irene: Suite Francaise

68. Ondaatje, Michael: The English Patient

69. Pasternak , Boris: Dr. Zhivago

70. Paton, Alan: Cry, the Beloved Country

71. Puzo, Mario: The Godfather

72. Rand, Ayn: Atlas Shrugged

73. Rothfuss, Patrick: The Name of the Wind

74. Rushdie, Salman: Satanic Verses

75. Salinger, J.D.: The Catcher in the Rye

76. Scott, Sir Walter: Ivanhoe

77. Sebold, Alice: Lovely Bones

78. Seth, Vikram: A Suitable Boy

79. Setterfield, Diane: The Thirteenth Tale

80. Shields, Carol: The Stone Diaries

81. Shields, Carol: Unless

82. Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein (may have read it when young, but can’t remember). Definitely didn’t read this when younger. Did watch too many B grade horror movies, though.

83. Shillinglaw, Susa: The Winter of Our Discontent

84. Smith, Betty: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

85. Spark, Muriel: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

86. Steinbeck, John: Grapes of Wrath (I can’t believe I put this on my list)

87. Thackeray, William Makepeace: Vanity Fair

88. Tolstoy, Leo: Anna Kerenina

89. Tolstoy, Leo: War & Peace

90. Verne, Jules: A Journey to the Centre of the Earth

91. Vonnegut Jr., Kurt: Slaughterhouse Five

92. Walker, Alice: The Temple of My Familiar

93. Wells, H.G.: The Invisible Man

94. Wells, H.G.: The Island of Dr. Moreau

95. Welsh, Irvine: Trainspotting

96. Wharton, Edith: The Age of Innocence

97. Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray

98. Wolfe, Tom: The Bonfire of the Vanities

99. Woolf, Virginia: Night and Day

100. Wroblewski, David: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

100 Actual Books (see the optimism there?):

1. Bank, Melissa: The Wonder Spot

2. Leroux, Gaston: Phantom of the Opera

3. Wells, H.G.: The Time Machine

4. Becekt, Samuel: Waiting for Godot

5. Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray

6. Wells, H.G.: The Island of Dr. Moreau

7. Wells, H.G.: The Invisible Man

8. Vonnegut Jr., Kurt: Slaughterhouse Five

9. Tolstoy, Leo: Anna Kerenina

10. Thackeray, William Makepeace: Vanity Fair

11. Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein

12. Matheson, Richard: I Am Legend

13. Lindqvist, John A: Let the Right One In

14. Lawrence, D.H.: Women in Love

15. Høeg, Peter: Smilla’s Sense of Snow

16. Hemmingway, Ernest: A Farewell to Arms

17. Ford, Jamie: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

18. Eugenides, Jeffrey: The Virgin Suicides

19. Esquivel, Laura: Like Water for Chocolate

20. Ellroy, James: The Black Dahlia

21. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor: Crime & Punishment

22. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor: Brothers Karamazov

23. Doctorow, Cory: Little Brother

24. Dickens, Charles: A Tale of Two Cities

25. Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness

26. Carroll, Lewis: Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There

27. Capote, Truman: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

28. Bank, Melissa: The Wonder Spot

29. Larsson, Stieg: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

30. Taylor, Laini: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

31. Chandler,  Raymond: The Big Sleep

32. F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

Responses

  1. Great list. And the concept is exactly what any reader should do. Read some that are simply for enjoyment or entertainment, but also read some that will take you places and teach you things that you never forget.
    I haven’t ready your whole list, but of the ones I have, my highest recommendation goes to In Cold Blood. I read this fastest than any other book in my life and remember it vividly even 20 years later.

    Good luck with Ulysses and War & Peace, and thanks for the reminder on Grapes of Wrath. I have a box set of Steinbeck that I bought at the Steinbeck museum in Salinas CA, but it’s the thickest one of the set so I’ve been putting it off. 😉

    • I purchased In Cold Blood in Argentina this year (in Spanish), but haven’t started it yet. Right now I’m reading Anna Karenina and enjoying it very much. I’ve read most of the British Classics and a few Russian. Compiling this list made me realize how few American authors I’ve read.

  2. I have decided to do this. Five years means I have until July 23, 2015. Yeesh.

    I’m pretty much stealing your list. I’ll change a couple of the titles, but…yeah.

    Wish me luck! 🙂

    • You can do it. Now me, I’m so far behind… might have to hit the reset button and start over. :}

  3. interesting list…certainly a lot i have considered…maybe this is the push i need

    • It does take a push to read certain books. Hope the list helps.

  4. […] 100 Books in Five Years […]

  5. the Hemingway stuff is good as well as “Capote, Truman: Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” While more a novella that an novel, “The Old Man and the Sea” by Hemingway is also quite good.

    • Ah, maybe I’ll read Breakfast at Tiffany’s next. I just finished one book on the list and needed to pick another.

  6. Nice idea! and a great list!

    Of the 14 titles on your list which i’ve read,
    16. Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness
    19. Dickens, Charles: A Tale of Two Cities
    28. Fitzgerald , F. Scott: The Great Gatsby
    41. Høeg, Peter: Smilla’s Sense of Snow
    45. Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World
    46. Irving, John: A Prayer for Owen Meany
    52. Lindqvist, John A: Let the Right One In
    56. Joyce, James: Ulysses
    62. Matheson, Richard: I Am Legend
    75. Salinger, J.D.: The Catcher in the Rye
    82. Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein
    91. Vonnegut Jr., Kurt: Slaughterhouse Five
    97. Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray
    102. Wells, H.G.: The Time Machine

    I think my favourite is “A Prayer for Owen Meany”.

    And while I’m not sure what titles i would come up with, one of my all time favourite books is “In the Heart of the Sea” by Nathaniel Philbrick.

    • I hadn’t heard of In the Heart of the Sea, so read up on the book. It sounds like a great story. Will have to add that one to my list as well. Thanks.

  7. Slaughter House Five is an easy read. I have read a lot of the books on your list and this ones great as well as entertaining. I need to read catcher in the rye.I would also recommend Cider House Rules and 100 years of solitude. A personal opinion, if a books claim to fame is it’s size skip IT. I mean, Tolstoy does good with French politics and society, but who cares, the book is a literal metaphor for to long unless there is a like or as then it’s a simile. Tolstoy went on to found his own religion with himself towards the top of the hierarchy.

    • One Hundred Years of Solitude is also one of my favourite books. It isn’t on my list as I’ve already read it (twice). And yeah, Tolstoy turned out to not be a favourite. Anna Karenina veers away from the real story too much.


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