Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Stealing ideas for a post

My friend at Zoo, Askew posted a list of popular books created by the National Endowment for the Arts; they estimate most adults have read 6 of the 100 books. Without having gone through it beforehand, I'm posting the list and bolding the ones I've read. Then, if I really have read six or less, I'll lie be honest about my results and resolve to get to readin'.

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

Okay, so more than 6. Some of these I have copies of, waiting in the wings, like Vanity Fair. I was happy to see, though, that my period of teenage nerdery led to my having read a good number of the ones listed. I was bowled away by the storytelling in Notre Dame of Paris, especially when Hugo weaves the priest's character so finely so as to show you that although he may be the bad guy, he's also human, and people's bad motives usually come from somewhere. And I found Jude the Obscure so emotionally heavy that when I finished the book, I involuntarily heaved a heavy sigh.

Others I read in school, and actually read them rather than buying Cliffs Notes. Among those are Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. Hamlet, I admit, was another one I read because I "had to", but I was lucky to have an English teacher who took care to make Shakespeare seem not-so-inaccessible, and I found myself falling into his rhythm with her help. One Hundred Years of Solitude is another book I read in high school, and I remember my Spanish teacher telling us to not freak out about the cast of thousands, and to not try to keep strict tabs on who was related to whom; the important thing was to just read and enjoy the story. I did that, and after that I wasn't scared to read large books that spanned generations -- which served me well for reading the historical fiction series of books by Edward Rutherfurd, one of my current favorites.

I was almost done reading Lolita while riding on the Long Island Railroad one day, and then accidentally left it behind when I left. I was only a few pages away from the end so I went to Barnes and Noble and finished it there. More than once I went to Barnes and Noble to use their art books for research. I wasn't the only one who treated is as a library, either, and I never saw anyone get hassled for it. Not that the NYU library wasn't great, but B&N was closer, and sometimes laziness wins.

My mom made me read Little Women when I was about 9 or 10. For some reason I wasn't interested, and for some reason she totally forced me to read it. I ended up loving it, and asking my mom if I could plant a flower garden, because the girls in the book each had one. My aunt Wandy gave me The Little Prince; she gave me several books throughout my childhood, all in beautiful hadcover editions, and I remember always loving each one of them (one I remember in particular was Stories for Free Children. It was one of the first times that I read something as a child that actually made me think). I read The Little Prince and Stories several times, even though I'm not a re-reader by nature.

Losing myself in a good story is one of the greatest pleasures in my life, and I have to smile at the thought that for almost every book I read, I have an associated memory. Where I was, or how I felt, or what happened to that book. I've been going through a reading lull lately, but Dave's been wanting me to read Doctor Faustus, so I think I'm going to pick it back up tonight and dive in.


latinogamer said...

I stoled your idea....I think I have seen the movie adaptations rather reading the books from the list....but atleast I read more than six.

Anonymous said...