Thursday, March 29, 2007

Book Now

I've encouraged all you weird and wonderful people to drop by Elisson's place in the past - and there's a permanent link to his work on the right-hand side of this website 24-7.

But for those of you who ignore my good advice, I recommend you take a little tour over there right now (well, after you've finished what you were doing here of course).

I paid one of my regular visits last night and found a list of 100 books that someone, somewhere on the worldwide interweb reckons we should all read at least once.

Like Elisson, I'm not terribly sure what the criteria for making the list is. Whatever it is that puts The Da Vinci Code above To Kill A Mockingbird must be strangely skewed towards the popular rather than the magnificent. But hey, it's all a matter of opinion.

Bringing it down to the bare brass tacks, I've read 19 of them, which I don't think is terribly impressive. I would consider myself fairly well read, but there are 81 books on this list I've never opened.

But there are some amazing books, and authors, who aren't on this list. My favourite book of all time, Lanark by Alasdair Gray, fails to make the list. It's a book so compelling I could read it repeatedly until the day I die, and I urge everyone to give it a shot at least once.

Others that would make my top 10 but fail to appear are Mario Puzo's The Godfather, almost all of the works of Irvine Welsh, but primarily Trainspotting (which is far superior to the incredible film), Winston Groom's Forrest Gump (again much better than the movie), Jurassic Park, The Beach, Huckleberry Finn, Dracula, anything by Thomas Hardy and Arthur C Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I've also read the highly-regarded Sunset Song, which I hated, and a lot of Shakespeare, who obviously failed to make the list because he didn't write about Jesus's wife, a boy wizard or Hobbits.

But the biggest oversight of all is that Roald Dahl doesn't make the cut. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is one of the most absorbing pieces of art ever created, an alternate world so real that it is entirely believable.

The full list is printed below, with the books I've read highlighted in bold. How many have you read.

1 The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2 Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3 To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4 Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (J. R. R. Tolkien)
6 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (J. R. R. Tolkien)
7 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (J. R. R. Tolkien)

8 Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery)
9 Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10 A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J. K. Rowling)
12 Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J. K. Rowling)
14 A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15 Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (J. K. Rowling)
17 Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18 The Stand (Stephen King)
19 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J. K. Rowling)
20 Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)
21 The Hobbit (J. R. R. Tolkien)
22 The Catcher in the Rye (J. D. Salinger)
23 Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24 The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25 The Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27 Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë)
28 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29 East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30 Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31 Dune (Frank Herbert)
32 The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33 Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34 1984 (George Orwell)
35 The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36 The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37 The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38 I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39 The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40 The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41 The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42 The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43 Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44 The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45 The Bible
46 Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47 The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48 Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49 The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50 She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51 The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52 A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
53 Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54 Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
55 The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
56 The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J. K. Rowling)
58 The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59 The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60 The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61 Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62 The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63 War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)
64 Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65 Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66 One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68 Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69 Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
70 The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71 Bridget Jones’s Diary (Helen Fielding)
72 Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Márquez)
73 Shogun (James Clavell)
74 The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75 The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76 The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78 The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79 The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80 Charlotte’s Web (E. B. White)
81 Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82 Of Mice And Men (John Steinbeck)
83 Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84 Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85 Emma (Jane Austen)
86 Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87 Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88 The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89 Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90 Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91 In The Skin Of A Lion (Michael Ondaatje)
92 Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
93 The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94 The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95 The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96 The Outsiders (S. E. Hinton)
97 White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98 A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99 The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100 Ulysses (James Joyce)

1 comment:

Chickie Carmarthen said...

I've read 18 of them; there are lots of my favourites missing as well. To each their own, I guess.