Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Big Read!

Today is el Dia de los Muertos, a.k.a. Day of the Dead. I've always thought it was such a nice tradition - colorful remembrances of our ancestors who have passed to the great beyond. It would be so cool to experience this firsthand.

Anyways. On to the topic of the day. I'm so tired of reading political posts on blogs, I figured I'd make the move to something educational. I recently saw the list below on The Quilting Bookworm's blog. She saw it on someone else's blog. I looked up the National Endowment for the Arts and they do have a program called The Big Read, but it only has maybe a dozen or so books involved. I've seen different accounts online of where the list actually originated (the BBC, the Guardian, NEA, ???) and each list seems to be slightly different. But I like the list below, and I am (dorkily) setting out to read everything on it. I've read the books in bold and loved the red books. I am currently reading Les Miserables. And at my current reading rate (about 20 pages/day...I don't have a lot of time to read anymore) I have 50 days of reading to go. Hopefully the library will let me keep it that long!

Another note - apparently The Big Read has the purpose of attempting to get more adults interested in literature. Some survey somewhere said that the level of literacy in adults is taking a header (well duh, tv, cell phones, the internet...). And I don't think they mean fewer adults can read or that adults are forgetting how to read...they just mean we aren't reading books anymore. So the stated statistic is that the average adult has only read 6 of the books on the list. I am happy to see that I've read more. Though every time I see the list I come up with a different count, so below I only highlighted the ones that I most definitely positively was forced to read and/or read of my own free will and I actually remember doing so.

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 Alcot
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 Traveler'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 Meaney - 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 - Enid Blyton
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


  1. 14. I've read 14 of the books on the list. I have to say, there are quite a few on there that I wouldn't be able to bring myself to read. I was supposed to read Moby Dick in college, but I did NOT want to read it. So I didn't. I went to class every day, took notes, and wrote 1 paper and 1 essay exam on the book straight from class discussion imbedded in my brain. Scary, and so bad.

    When you get to them, don't borrow "Lord of the Rings" or "A Christmas Carol" from the library. You can borrow my copies. I'll have to do some digging, but I have "Crime and Punishment" and "Midnight's Children" somewhere as well. C&P is about murder and trying to get away with it. Midnight's Children has to do with a special group of children born in India on the eve of their independance. It's....weird.

  2. That's quite a commitment! I don't have much time to read anymore so I listen to them while I'm working. If you have an account with Summit County Libraries, you can use your card to download books to your computer. It's very handy. I "read" a couple of the C.S. Lewis books that way. Very entertaining.