Friday, March 02, 2007


From HelsBells, I got a hold of the Guardian's Top 100 Books You Can't Live Without. I've put in bold the ones I've read below:

1. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
4. Harry Potter series, JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
6. The Bible [I've read a few books of it, but not enough to qualify as having read it)
7. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
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 (I've started this one about eight gazillion times, and just have not managed to click into it)
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare, William Shakespeare (close, but no banana—not enough histories)
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
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've read the first two, but I don't think that counts)
34. Emma, Jane Austen
35. Persuasion, Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, CS Lewis (umm, I don't understand the inclusion of both)
37. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernières
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
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 Alborn
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 (again, what's with the complete volume and excerpts therefrom as two separate items?)
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
100. Les Misérables, Victor Hugo (I could sing the entire musical from memory, but I don't think that counts)

That's 33 for me. Not too shabby, although it does reveal some of the gaps in my literary education that I find embarrassing (for example, the fact that I've read neither Dickens nor Marquez). Also noteworthy is the fact that this list contains only fiction, not always at the top of my reading list in the last coupla years. I question a few inclusions (um, numbers 88 and 68 what?), but I don't really owe this list that much. And I do honor its inclusion particularly of numbers 4, 8, 48 and 63.

As per the meme, I'm also going to add seven books of my own that I would insist on carrying to a desert island (more than seven would, as Hels's folks pointed out, impede one's movement on a desert island):

Continental Drift, Russell Banks
The Paper Canoe, Eugenio Barba
Come to Me, Amy Bloom
Parable of the Sower & Parable of the Talents, Octavia E. Butler
The Skriker, Caryl Churchill
New and Selected Poems, Stephen Dunn
Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott

Pass it around. I like this one.


At 3:17 PM, Blogger tyromaven said...

I'm good for:
1,2,3,4,5,9,11,13,16,22,25,27, 28,29,33,36,41,42,43,46,48,52, 60,63,67,70,89,91,98,99

that's 34 for me. it's interesting that there are a chunk that I've read that you haven't, and that you've read and I haven't. Also interesting the ones I didn't know: Anne of GG? Why haven't we talked about being bosom buddies, and how cruel the world is that we can't do so with the same purity as the women do in LMM's book?

My seven (you chose 8!):

All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren
Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston
Wildseed & Mind of my Mind, Octavia E. Butler
Rumi's poetry, trans. Coleman Barks
Rilke's Complete poems, trans. Stephen Mitchell
The Encyclopedia of Country Living

At 7:38 PM, Blogger Ammegg said...

Dude, the Parables are often published in one volume, and I'd bring that. :>)

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Connor said...

Me: 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 16, 22, 33, 36, 41, 47, 52, 62, 72, 85, 91, 98, and 100.

You are both *way* ahead of me.

Agree in general with your POVs on the list in general. As for the desert island:

- The Bible
- Ryder, by Djuna Barnes
- Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
- The Theatre and its Double, by Antonin Artaud
- Plainwater, by Anne Carson
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

because they are all long, difficult, both, and also entertaining.

They would help the time go by.

At 6:09 PM, Blogger Catlin said...

I've got: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 22, 25, 27, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 36, 48, 49, 52, 53, 54, 58, 68, 72, 73, 83, 85, 87, 91, 92, 98, 99. That's 41, I think.

I've got a good bunch more sitting around on my bookshelves and hard drive, waiting to be read. You know, when I have time.

I also have never heard of a bunch of these. I suspect the list must have been generated by popular vote, which would also explain the semi-duplicate entries.

Connor, I think your approach to desert-island reading is brilliant!

Mmm, books.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger HelsBells said...

Ok, I'm good for about 68 out of 100...I think. 1,3, 5-8,10,11,14,18,21,22,24,25, 27-33,36, 39-41,43,46,48,49,52,54,57,58,60-63, 65-68, 70-73,76,81,83,85,87,89,91,92,94, 97-100.
I do have to agree with you about #68 & 88. I've read 68 but, by no means, should it be on this list. C'mon, it's a one-off read. I can't imagine reading it more than once.
And, as much as I'd love to comment on your "desert island list," I can't. I've read exactly 2 of the items you have listed and have not even heard of the rest or of their writers. Those are the gaps in my reading: lots of very dead, white writers and few 20th and 21st century ones.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger tyromaven said...

damn you, connor. I forgot Invisible Cities on my desert list. That's it: Germany's greatest modern poet has got to go. Rilke's out, Italo's in.

And maybe if I glued Wildseed and Mind of my Mind together, I could sneak in Albert Camus' The Rebel.



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