Stranger Fruit

Another book list

There’s another one of those book lists circulating – a list of 100 works of which it is claimed that the average American has read only six. Whether that is true or not (and Chad doesn’t believe it), the list contains the usual mixed bag of works.

Below the fold is the list; bolded works were read and finished (31), italicized were either not finished or are compilations (8).

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
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
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
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 Meany – 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 Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
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

Yeah, I know … I haven’t read Dickens, Austen or Harry Potter … truth be told, I don’t find them compelling. I also have a habit of starting “big books” and not finishing them. Such is life. Feel free to comment, post your results, or ignore.

Comments

  1. #1 TheMonkeyMan
    July 24, 2008

    To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men and Catcher in the Rye are all fine books I couldn’t recommend more highly.

    A Tale of Two Cities is the only Dickens I have ever read, and will probably be the last. Very disappointing.

    My pretty average list includes:
    98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
    66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
    61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
    59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon (surprised this got on the list, fantastic read though, very very funny)
    58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
    57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
    56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
    42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
    41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
    27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
    16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
    13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
    8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
    5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

  2. #2 chris
    July 24, 2008

    I’ve finished 18, started about 5 more. Some just don’t interest me.

    Does anyone else find it odd that #14 is The Complete Works of Shakespeare and #98 is just Hamlet?

    Based on the list they could have put The (Almost) Complete Works of Thomas Hardy, all of which are among my 18, btw.

  3. #3 Morning Angel
    July 24, 2008

    35, but what does it mean? Seems a silly score, because I could also put together a list of 100 books I’ve read or another list of 100 books that I haven’t read.

  4. #4 Coturnix
    July 24, 2008

    If I pick only those I read in the unabridged version all the way through, here are mine:

    2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
    4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
    8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
    16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
    18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
    24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
    25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
    29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
    31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
    32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
    40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
    41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
    58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
    70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
    71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
    87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
    89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
    94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
    100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

  5. #5 Jim Lippard
    July 24, 2008

    I’ve read 31 of this list, not counting the duplication (Chronicles of Narnia and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) as more than one, even though the latter is the first book and the former a series that includes seven books.

    That’s a weird list. Some classics, some good recent books, some fluff, and some popular crap (Da Vinci Code).

  6. #6 Cath the Canberra Cook
    July 24, 2008

    I haven’t read 17 of them.

  7. #7 Jeffrey Shallit
    July 24, 2008

    Why is a piece of utter dreck like

    88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

    on the list?

  8. #8 Stephanie DH
    July 25, 2008

    Hm. This is a really odd list. Happily, I realized that it’s just easier to list those I haven’t read. Which surprised me, considering I was a horrible student when it camed to assigned reading…

    14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
    17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
    26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
    38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
    45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
    56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
    74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
    77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
    78 Germinal – Emile Zola
    82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
    88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
    90 The Faraway Tree Collection
    93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
    96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

  9. #9 Ian
    July 25, 2008

    Why offer even the remotest pretense of dignity to these things, which are nothing more than chain-email in disguise?

  10. #10 TheMonkeyMan
    July 25, 2008

    No Kurt Vonnegut either seems a bit out o’ order.

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