Reading the Classics

I’ve said that I’d like to read more classics, maybe 2 or 3 a year, just to make sure I’m expanding my thinking.  I don’t necessarily think that “classics” are “better” than other books, but they’ve endured for a reason.

This year, I finally finished 1984 by George Orwell.  As I reviewed it a few days ago, I’ll just say that I liked it.  Though I read some good books last year, and even some cerebral ones, I didn’t read any other books from any “must read” lists.  For this reason, I decided that I’m going to pick a list of books and start reading from it.  There are a lot of lists out there.

One blogger actually compiled a list of books from 10 lists she found, using the overlap in the lists to come up with a definitive list.  While I initially liked that and was going to use her list, I ruled it out because she ruled out series books, and I didn’t like that.  Of course, her goal is to finish them all in 10 years, while my goal is just to read 2-3 a year.

I want to read books that have the potential to make me think and that multiple people agree are “classic” so that I can weigh in.  But I also want to read books I’ll enjoy.  So, I looked at the lists she took her compilation from, and chose the one that interested me the most.  I also wanted mostly books I’ve heard of.  If I’ve never heard of it, I’m not sure why I’d bother.  I decided to use this list.  I’ve printed it, and will be going through it.  Some of them I’ve read already.  Some I’ve just wanted to read.  The ones marked X are the ones that I’ve already read.  I think I read some of these in high school, but I’m only counting them if I remember them.  I’ve also added a few to the end of the list that I think should be on here.  Why not?

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. 1984 by George Orwell  X
  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  X
  4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger  X
  6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  7. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  8. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  9. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  10. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  11. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte  X
  12. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  13. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  14. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  15. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte  X
  16. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  17. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  18. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  19. Lord of the Flies by William Golding  X
  20. Ulysses by James Joyce
  21. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  22. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  23. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  24. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  25. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  26. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  27. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  28. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling  X
  29. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain  X
  30. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien  X
  31. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  32. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  33. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  34. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand  X
  35. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  36. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  37. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  38. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde  X
  39. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams  X
  40. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  41. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  42. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  43. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey  X
  44. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  45. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  46. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  47. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad  X
  48. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  49. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  50. Watership Down by Richard Adams  X
  51. His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
  52. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger  X
  53. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  54. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  55. The Stand by Stephen King
  56. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown  X
  57. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  58. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  59. Dune by Frank Herbert
  60. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott  X
  61. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert  X
  62. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  63. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison  X
  64. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  65. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden  X
  66. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  67. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  68. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  69. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  70. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  71. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  72. Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
  73. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  74. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  75. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk  X
  76. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
  77. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  78. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  79. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
  80. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  81. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  82. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  83. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  84. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  85. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  86. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  87. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  88. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  89. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  90. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery  X
  91. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  92. Emma by Jane Austen  X
  93. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  94. Siddharta by Hermann Hesse
  95. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer  X
  96. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  97. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  98. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  99. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  100. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne  X

101.  The Canturbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

102.  The Bible

103.  Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

I’ve only read 25 of the books on the list… pathetic.  But, what makes me feel better is that I read most of them on my own.  Only a few were assigned to me in school, even though there should definitely be more from school times.  How many have you read?  Are there any you think I should add to this list?

2 comments on “Reading the Classics

  1. […] of the books were rereads, and 6 of them were from the 100 Classic Books I’m working my way […]

  2. […] not sure why it was this particular book that made it to my list. Perhaps because it’s on the classics list that I’m still working […]

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