Monday, June 12, 2006

1001 Books

I got a very fun book today: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Damn, who doesn't love lists? I just finished going through it, and I've read 121 of the titles. It's got a heavily British focus in terms of the modern literature (does every single book by Ian McEwan deserve to be read?) and any list that doesn't include Margaret Laurence, probably my favourite Canadian author, isn't complete in my mind. I've listed all the books I have read, more for my own sanity than anything else.

I'm not sure if I'll use it as a guide to what classics I should be reading, but maybe. There aren't enough African writers, nor Canadian, and they're missing the best of Faulkner in my mind, As I Lay Dying, but hey, if you have to start somewhere, it's a pretty cool book to go through in terms of making sure you've read the best literature the world has ever produced.

My 1001 List: 121 Down, 880 To Go:

Oroonoko, Aphra Behn
Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
Moby-Dick, Herman Melville
Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Crime and Punishment, Fodor Dostoevsky
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Around the World in 80 Days, Jules Verne
The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy (probably my all-time favourite book)
The Awakening, Kate Chopin
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
Sons and Lovers, D.H. Lawrence
The Rainbow, D.H. Lawrence (another of my all-time favourites)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce (as above)
Women in Love, D.H. Lawrence (do you see a pattern emerging? I went through a Lawrence phase after I finished my undergraduate degree)
A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
Lady Chatterly's Lover, D.H. Lawrence
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Miss Lonleyhearts, Nathanael West
Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller (I heart Henry Miller and all his yummy, dirty goodness)
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
Tropic of Capricorn, Henry Miller
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Native Son, Richard Wright
The Stranger, Albert Camus
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor
Junkie, William S. Burroughs
Lord of the Flies, William Golding
Lolita, Vladmir Nabokov
On the Road, Jack Kerouac (all-time, all-time favourite)
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe (see above)
The Naked Lunch, William Burroughs
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
A Clockworld Orange, Anthony Burgess
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, John Le Carre
Everything That Rises Must Converge, Flannery O'Connor
The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys (love, love, love that book)
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe
The Godfather, Mario Puzo
The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
Surfacing, Margaret Atwood (the first Canadian I've seen)
Sula, Toni Morrison
Ragtime, E.L. Doctorow
Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison
The World According to Garp, John Irving
Burger's Daughter, Nadine Gordimer
Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
Waiting for the Barbarians, J.M. Coetzee (another favourite)
The Colour Purple, Alice Walker
The Life and Times of Michael K., J.M. Coetzee
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera (given to me by Katie, in Banff, at a time when my life was neither light nor bearable, will always be close to my heart)
Perfume, Patrick Suskind
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
The Cider House Rules, John Irving (probably my favourite Irving)
Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanetter Winterson
Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Foe, J.M. Coetzee (see above; he's my one of my favourite writers)
Beloved, Toni Morrison
The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (I hated every word of this book)
Oscar and Lucinda, Peter Carey
The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
Cat's Eye, Margaret Atwood (her best novel, in my opinion)
A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (my second-favourite Irving)
Possession, A.S. Byatt
The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje (I own four different copies of this book, that says it all, doesn't it?)
Jazz, Toni Morrison
The Robber Bride, Margaret Atwood (never really understood what the fuss was about)
The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides (honestly? The movie is better)
The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields
Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx (love, love, love her)
The Master of Petersburg, J.M. Coetzee
A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
Morvern Caller, Alan Warner
Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood
Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels
Jack Maggs, Peter Carey
Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden (aw, the movie, so bad)
The Hours, Michael Cunningham
The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver
Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters
Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee
The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
White Teeth, Zadie Smith
Life of Pi, Yann Martel
Fury, Salman Rushdie (awful, awful book)
The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
Atonement, Ian McEwan
Youth, J.M. Coetzee
Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
Unless, Carol Shields
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters
Family Matters, Rohinton Mistry
Elizabeth Costello, J.M. Coetzee
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
On Beauty, Zadie Smith
Saturday, Ian McEwan
Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro


Anonymous said...

Ok. I read this book, too. Well... most of it. Some of it I skimmed. Shhh. Anyway, I was really disppointed in the editing. I mean, if you're going to spend the money to print this huge, full-color, all-inclusive (supposedly, gorgeous book, at least make sure all the words are present and spelled correctly.

Otherwise, it's a great book. And you've read more out of the list than I have.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by my site. Your comments added a lot.

Kailana said...

I have never heard of some of the books on just your short list... I might need to buy this book.

Bill Chinaski said...

"What if at the last moment, when the banquet table is set and the cymbals clash, there should appear suddenly, and wholly without warning, a silver platter on which even the blind could see that there is nothing more, and nothing less, than two enormous lumps of shit. That, I believe would be more miraculous than anything which man has looked forward to. It would be miraculous because it would be undreamed of. It would be more miraculous than even the wildest dream because anybody could imagine the possibility but nobody ever has, and probably nobody ever again will."
—Tropic of Cancer

Bach said...

I have also read "As I lay dying". It's a terrific book and is powerful to lead readers to have thoughts revolving aruond life.

I recommend "Sons and Lovers" to you. It's a must-read fiction in which the author exposes part of his life to the outside world. It is very philosophical. Written in DHLawrence's style, the relationship between men and women is very appealing.

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