Literary List Meme

I got this meme from RandomDuck, who got it from Sprite. Rules are simple – Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you’d like to read. My value add? Snide comments.

  1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) – Wow, do I wish I had these two evenings back. Brown was clearly writing this with a screenplay in mind. Which explains why his dialog is terrible, characters are one dimensional, and most of the book consists of his re-hashing what are the important clues so a half-drunk producer could follow the story while a wanna-be starlet hung on each arm. But other than that, it was OK.
  2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) Only after watching it on PBS can I admit I’m finally intrigued to read it.
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) – This one gets a little bit confusing. I’ve read it, just like everyone who’s made it out of seventh grade since about 1970. But I read it as a 7th grader, and a little bit has changed. Well, except for still thinking farts are funny.
  4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) – Even longer than the movie
  5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
  6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
  7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien) – You lose your geek card if you haven’t read these. Truth be told, I didn’t read these completely until after I was out of college. All the different characters kind of ran together for me. I’m all about books with just a couple of well developed characters – Tolkien was just a bit too in depth for my tastes. Now that I’ve read them, though, they’re completely worth reading.
  8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) – no interest
  9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
  10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) – First one I haven’t even heard of
  11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) – I’m working through these with my oldest son. Cannot wait for evenings warm enough to sit out and read on the porch again.
  12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) – Surprisingly gripping. I read it before I read the DaVinci code. It’s kind of like comparing early Tom Clancy (Red Storm Rising, Hunt for Red October) to the stuff he published after he realized he could print million-dollar-bills just by throwing out a couple hundred pages.
  13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) – There’s some folks who would group Rowling in the same category as Dan Brown and Clancy (sequels for cash’s sake). I can’t. I also can’t read this book to the boy until he’s like 10 or 11.
  14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) – #2 haven’t heard of.
  15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) – Straight up no interest
  16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling) – I’m still disappointed that this wasn’t released as “The Philosopher’s Stone” here in the States. As if we’re too dumb to read legend.
  17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald) – #3 no clue.
  18. The Stand (Stephen King) – I read a lot of Stephen King in high school, as I was fascinated by the Gunslinger trilogy. With the exception of the Gunslinger books, the rest of it (this one included) left me cold.
  19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling) – Probably the last one I’d read to a kid younger than middle school.
  20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) – Sorry, just no interest
  21. The Hobbit (Tolkien) – I did make it through this one in high school, and again after I finished the LotR a couple of years ago. I prefer it to the LotR, likely due to it having a much easier plot to follow.
  22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) – Read it. Loved it. Won’t buy a copy of it.
  23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
  24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) – No clue #4
  25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel) – Picked this up, and put it down rapidly when I realized it had nothing to do with math. No, seriously.
  26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) – Interestingly enough, the passage in here about the BabelFish is what got me to go back to church, and what squared evolution and religion with me as being able to co-exist. This has got to be one of my absolute, all-time, most favorite books.
  27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) – Zero interest
  28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) – I loved, LOVED the Chronicles as a kid. But I’ve got zero interest to go back and read them as an adult, because I’m petrified that I’d be disappointed. These are books I’ll give to the boys, but will probably stay away from myself.
  29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck) – I’ll leave this as a “like to” read, with only about a 25% chance of ever getting done. I think I’m scared from reading The Grapes of Wrath and not liking it.
  30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom) – less than zero interest.
  31. Dune (Frank Herbert) – What was that about Geek Cred? I think Sting in a speedo put me off of wanting to read this.
  32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks) – dunno – I think I’ve got a mental block against both Victorian and modern fiction.
  33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) – The only Ayn Rand I’ve read is the short one. I’ve picked up Atlas many, many times, but it makes my arms tired. This one is about a 50% probability of read in the next 5 years.
  34. 1984 (Orwell) – Interestingly enough, I finished this again last week. I know exactly now why They make us read it in middle school – that way, we think we grok totalitarianism, and never realize that it’s sneaking up on us as adults.
  35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) – No clue #5
  36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) – No clue #6
  37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay) – No clue #7
  38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb) – No interest
  39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant) – The wife did this one with her book club. I’m intrigued.
  40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) – Interesting title. I’ll google it later.
  41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) – After an awkward screening of this in Mrs. Round’s class sophomore year, I ran out and read it. And was promptly disappointed that high school girls apparently don’t understand sign language.
  42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) – Heard this guy on Fresh Air. He sounds pretty interesting.
  43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella) – No interest, but mostly ’cause I’m nowhere near her demographic
  44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom) – no, no, no, no, no!
  45. Bible – I suppose it just means I’m getting old, but I find great comfort in Psalms and in the Gospels.
  46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) – There are bits of Tolstoy I’m interested in reading, but this isn’t one of them.
  47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) – Good sandwich
  48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) – I may run screaming from the room….
  49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) – See above.
  50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb) – nope.
  51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver) – I’m tempted to flag this one, but won’t out of honesty.
  52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens) – I’ll throw in the obligatory “It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times … Stupid monkeys!” Ought to go back and re-read this. All I remember is that it went on long enough to make me root for the Russians.
  53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card) – Freakin’ amazing. I didn’t read this as a kid, but cannot for the life of me figure out why not. I would have been SO into this.
  54. Great Expectations (Dickens) – Actually, maybe it was this one I read. Or both – it just goes on and on and on and on and on…
  55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) – Man, if I could pick one novel that I wish I’d written, this would be close to the top of the list. Navel-gazing supreme, lushes – F. Scott ought to be a prophet for Gen X, ‘cept not.
  56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence) – No clue #8
  57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling) – (Insert more lavish praise here)
  58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough) – I’m forever scarred by seeing this as a miniseries, so will likely never read it.
  59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) – Anyone who rips off Chaucer is good for a possible read.
  60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) – Time travel and women? What engineer wouldn’t want to read it.
  61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) – I’ve read it, but can’t remember it. This is a novel I’d like to know.
  62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) – I can’t figure out why the Young Conservatives didn’t kick me out for not having read this.
  63. War and Peace (Tolstoy) – I’ll include this, but only as a 25%-er.
  64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) – I read this only because I KNEW it couldn’t be nearly so bad as the movie was.
  65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis) – No clue #9
  66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) – Highly recommended. I was surprised I liked it as much as I did.
  67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares) – Zero interest.
  68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) – THis probably had as much influence on making me a cynic as anything.
  69. Les Miserables (Hugo) – Saw the Musical on Broadway. Hated it. Won’t be able to get past that enough to read the original.
  70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) – Ought to read this to the boys.
  71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding) – My wife bought it. I enjoyed it.
  72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) – Ought to read it since I enjoyed 100 years.
  73. Shogun (James Clavell) – Want to read it, as I’m beginning to get obsessed with Asia.
  74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) – This came up via a new acquaintance of mine this weekend. There was a bit from it where a Sihk is working for the British, but only until he’s got his own country. The guy spun it as an interesting take on globalization.
  75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) – This one falls under the “Not quite sure why I’m interested, but I am” file.
  76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay) – No clue #10 (I was hoping to keep that less than 10%, but it looks not to happen.
  77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith) – If only to help sort out hip-hop references. That, and to feed my obsession with NYC.
  78. The World According To Garp (John Irving) – No interest. I’ve seen the movie.
  79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence) – No clue #11.
  80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) – Hated reading this to the boys, ’cause I kept getting all choked up.
  81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley) – No clue #12
  82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck) – Didn’t like it.
  83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier) – No interest
  84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind) – I’ll steer the boys towards it, but won’t pursue it myself.
  85. Emma (Jane Austen) – Let’s see how Pride and Prejudice goes first.
  86. Watership Down (Richard Adams) – Great, great book, and an even better post-psychedelic cartoon adaptation from the 70’s.
  87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) – Read it in college instead of doing calculus one night. Somehow wasn’t as liberating in the early ’90s following AIDs.
  88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields) – No clue #12.
  89. Blindness (Jose Saramago) – No clue #13
  90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer) – No clue #14
  91. The Skin of the Lion (Ondaatje) – Let’s see how the English Patient goes first.
  92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) – I think my childhood was way too guarded, ’cause I couldn’t identify with the kids at all. Not even poor Piggy.
  93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck) – I tried going back to re-read this on the theory that i missed something the first time around, back in High School. Got bored the second time around, too. Put it down, as I didn’t have to write an essay about it.
  94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd) – The secret? They’re insects. No interest.
  95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) – I go back and forth on this. I’m kind of intrigued, only ’cause I haven’t read any Ludlum. But the novel dates from the mid-70’s, with lots of post-Vietnam angst.
  96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) – No interest
  97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch) – Bad movie killed all interest.
  98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)- No clue #15
  99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield) – Absolutely zero interest. New ageness has passed me over.
  100. Ulysses (James Joyce) – Brilliant. I’ve tried to crib off of

So, there’s that. Books that I would add (All books that I’ve read):

  1. Moby Dick (Melville) – Even if you skip the technical bits about whaling, it’s a great read that’s been grossly misrepresented. NPR had a great bit on it today.
  2. Snow Crash (Stephenson) – Before he got long winded, he got inspired. I’m a huge fan of Neal Stephenson’s recent Baroque trilogy, but cannot recommend it based on sheer mass. Snow Crash I’m happy to thrust upon people because it’s visionary and an extremely easy read. Plus, it fits with my personal vision of the coming dystopia.
  3. True Names (Vinge) – I’ll try to limit the amount of sci-fi that I add, but this one is really, really short, and unbelievably prescient for having been written in the late 70’s.
  4. Still Life with Woodpecker (Robbins) – Gonzo fiction, but completely worth reading due to the discussions on “Choice” and neotony.
  5. Shakespeare in general; Henry V and Hamlet in particular – Henry V blew me away a couple of months ago. Great discussion here (and Lydon’s podcasting again.)
  6. Galloway’s Book on Running (Galloway) – Hey, this is a running blog. Even though it’s been around the block a couple of times, Galloway’s book still stands out for being Accessible and practical – written for people who want to run rather than runners.
  7. Trout (Prosek) – There is art afoot
  8. A River Runs Through It (Maclean) – Which, surprisingly, isn’t really about fishing. Worth the read if only for the sentence about “As a Scot and a Presbyterian, my father believed that man by nature was a mess and had fallen from an original state of grace.” and “My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation – come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.”
  9. The Iliad (Homer) – It’s amazing how universal humanity is, that an almost pre-historic work can still speak. I keep meaning to read the Odyssey, but can’t get around to it.
  10. The Prince (Machivelli) – Sometimes I wonder how anyone else can write another book on political science.
  11. The Art of War (Sun Tzu) – See the Iliad.

So that’s it. Heh – maybe this should count as my 100 things about me list. Mostly, though, I’m interested to see what other books folks would include.

6 thoughts on “Literary List Meme

  1. Hello there, Like the book selection, a few of my favourites listed!
    Seems like we share a love of dead blogs! Came across your comment on ‘Chocolate Runners Blog’ You might like to check out my dedicated to ‘dead blogs’ page “BLOGS THAT DIED TOO YOUNG”

  2. out of all i count about 15 that i’ve read. if you like all things asia you might want to give the Geisha book another page. the movie is very chick flickish but the book isn’t bad. #44 was pretty cheesy, i still don’t know why it was on the bestseller list.

  3. Here is another snide comment about The DaVinci Code: I agree, wading through lengthy and repetitive exposition made the reading experience entirely lacking in suspense. But the movie managed to be worse! As well as preserving the major faults of the book (1. telling, rather than showing, 2. dumb, dumb dialogue in the mouths of professional expert-smartpeople 3. being too obvious and eager in pointing to itself and saying, “I am subversive!”), towards the end, it decided not to be subversive after all.

    If I were making a list from scratch, I would inlude books by Oscar Wilde.

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