Books! A list to be well-read

This list comes from

Some I’ve read, some I disagree with. Vehemently. Like Fifty Shades of Grey, are you serious? So perhaps this list is more about being familiar enough with the story to understand a reference rather than a literal to-be-read list. Because I will never read 50 Shades. (I have however read some delightful snarky reviews). Terry Pratchett (among others) wrote some great parodies, maybe I’ll count those here in the future!

I would add or replace some on the list with these:

  1. I, Claudius by Robert Graves. Excellent historical fiction
  2. The Once and Future King by White. To this day there are so many references to Merlin and Arthur. Wart’s childhood learning about the futility of war should be a must-read in school
  3. Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman. Armageddon can be so funny!


So here’s the list, in alphabetical order:

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Maria Remarque
  5. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay  by Michael Chabon I have never heard of this book
  6. American Pastoral by Philip Roth I have never heard of this book
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  11. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  12. Beowulf Check! Read this one in college Nordic and Celtic mythology
  13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  14. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  15. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz on my to-read list
  16. Call of the Wild  by Jack London
  17. Candide by Voltaire
  18. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer pretty sure we covered some of this in high school. I’m good.
  19. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming the movies aren’t enough? I say nay to this book
  20. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  21. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Does it count if I don’t remember it? No? oh well, then.
  22. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White checked this one off in elementary school
  23. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  24. The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
  25. The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe I’ve read a few
  26. The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor 
  27. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  28. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky I’ve read this and The Idiot. I remember being impressed with how the characters conversed on the train
  29. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown oh yes. very good
  30. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  31. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  32. Dream of Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin Never heard of it
  33. Dune by Frank Herbert
  34. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer I read extremely loud and incredibly close
  35. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  36. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  37. Faust by Goethe
  38. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley check!
  39. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
  40. The Golden Bowl by Henry James
  41. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  42. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn check!
  43. The Gospels as in the bible? i went to church as a kid, that’s enough.
  44. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  45. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens check!
  46. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald check!
  47. Hamlet by William Shakespeare I’ve seen a few movies.
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  49. Harry Potter & The Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling check!
  50. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  51. The Help by Kathryn Stockett check!
  52. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams check! seems to change each time I read it
  53. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien check! 
  54. House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
  55. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  56. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins check! excellent series. like most, the books are better than the movies
  57. if on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
  58. The Iliad by Homer check! greek mythology, you make me feel so knowledgeable
  59. Inferno by Dante check! True story: I read this to prepare for a road rally I organized to Hell, Michigan. Yes it was nerdy.
  60. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  61. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  62. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman check for some of it. my mom was into poetry so if I got really bored I’d read some
  63. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  64. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis check. weird series, really
  65. The Little Prince by Antoine  de Saint-Exepury check. I think.
  66. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  67. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  68. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  69. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  71. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  72. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie check. I enjoy some of her books, but she really did hide important characters frequently
  73. The Odyssey by Homer woo-hoo, greek mythology class strikes again
  74. Oedipus the King by Sophocles woo-hoo, greek mythology class strikes again
  75. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  76. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  77. The Pentateuch
  78. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen check! also pride and prejudice and zombies, because I’m well-rounded like that.
  79. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  80. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  81. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare gah, i think so but so much easier to comprehend with actors, as intended
  82. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne check! damn pastor
  83. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut maybe. i don’t care for Vonnegut. I read Galapagos and finished it out of a sense of duty. life is too short for that anymore
  84. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  85. The Stand by Stephen King check!many times. I love this book
  86. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  87. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  88. Their Eyes Were Watching by Zora Neale Hurston
  89. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  90. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  91. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  92. Ulysses by James Joyce
  93. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  94. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  95. Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
  96. Watchmen by Alan Moore
  97. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  98. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  99. 1984 by George Orwell yes. super scary and all too easy to imagine
  100. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James Just say no

Would you add or subtract any from this list?

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