Friday, January 2, 2009

I have books on the brain

I know, memes are overdone, but I love this one! I haven't been regularly talking about/writing about literature for months's killing me. I don't even care if anyone reads this post, I had so much fun writing it!

Here's the blurb that comes with the meme, originally from The Big Read (I can't remember which blog I found it on, sorry, and the list below is slightly different from the original list on "The Big Read."):

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Italicize those you intend to read.

3) Underline the books you love.

4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read at school and hated.

5) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve only read 6 and force books upon them

(Of course I'm going to comment about some of them; that's the whole reason I wanted to do this meme.)

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen I hadn't read this since high school and then thought I'd be teaching it this year after losing Lucy and getting my job back. I went ahead and read it again, even after getting the call about Evie. Still so much better than the movie(s).
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien I do love the movies
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling Harry is a Christ figure, that's your English teacher mumbo jumbo for the day.
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible I'd say I've read more than 3/4 of it, but never in an organized day-by-day way.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell scared the crap out of me, I mean nightmares
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman I finished this trilogy while at the hospital waiting for Lucy to be born
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens this novel enthralled me in 10th grade
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott I loved to read before I read Little Women, but it is one of the books that made me the person I English teacher. I read it when I was 10.
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller all I have to say is Major Major Major Major!
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare I haven't read them all, but I've come darn close, and reading some of them multiple times makes up for the ones I've missed. At one point in college I could read a Shakespearean play in about five hours, by necessity, and still be able to write an "A" paper about it. English majors are not for the faint of heart. If you want brilliant insights into Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream or King Lear, just let me know...of course it's because I taught them to high schoolers. I'm not underlining because I don't love them all.
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien I've tried this one a few times but can't get into it.
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger Don't tell the English teacher police I haven't read this; they'll take away my membership card.
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger I am unnaturally obsessed with this book; please put me out of my misery and just read it already. Then e-mail me so that we can chat about it.
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot this one is on my TBR 2009 list
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell This one ranks up there with Little Women in terms of its influence on me, because of my age when I read it: 11
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 I'll probably read this with Evie some day
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 I can't wait to introduce these to Evie!
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 Hmmmm, I wonder if I just love this book or am I in love with it?
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown we listened to it as a book on tape during a road trip
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez another one I keep trying to read; it's also on my TBR 2009 list
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery this past summer was the 100th anniversary of this book and, before we got the call about Lucy, my mother, grandmother and I were going to take a trip to PEI for the celebration
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood the only dystopian feminist science fiction I know of; I taught this book to seniors
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding I taught this to sophomores
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons love the movie
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen I might have read this in high school, but I can't remember clearly
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon this is what I'm reading right now! It's on my TBR 2009 list
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens gush, gush, Dickens, gush
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon Such a great novel! A fun read...go check it out of the library soon if you haven't yet had the pleasure
60 Love in The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov no, but do I get credit for Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi?
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold quick nerdy brag: I met Alice Sebold at an English Teacher's Conference (NCTE) and have an autographed copy of her memoir Lucky
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac I've only ever read bits of it
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie I had an embarrassing moment with a parent over this book. He mentioned it and I had never heard of ashamed, "bad English teacher, bad..."
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett gush, gush, gush
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson I love Bryson, so I'll have to read this some day
75 Ulysses - James Joyce it's an inside joke in English major circles...the only person who has actually read this book is Joyce himself (joke, people, but's loooong and stream-of-consciousness)
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome love the movie
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 ah, memories...
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom didn't like it, too sappy
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle I've read a few of them
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad I taught this to "Accelerated" sophomores
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams I tried to read this as a kid and hated it, but I have a premonition that I'll be reading it to Evie since she seems to be obsessed with rabbits so far
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole I've never finished it, so it's on my TBR 2009 list
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare I know this gem inside and out
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl can't WAIT to introduce Evie to Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo love it, taught it, bought the t-shirt

50 out of 100 isn't bad since I'm only 31 years old, but I'll have 54 by the end of the year!

So, which of these books have you read? I'm not going to tag anyone, and thankfully this meme doesn't even ask you to do so. This is the type of meme that book lovers will automatically want to do without being tagged, just as I did. :)


  1. 50 is good although I have to recommend #15 Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. You'll love this book! I just finished #19 The Time Traveller’s Wife over Christmas vacation and it probably saved my sanity :).

  2. Great meme, I'm off to copy it on to my blog, we'll see how I do!

  3. I've read 21 of them...but some of them were multiples; Anne of Green Gables, Chronicles of Narnia.
    And I have to absolutely beg you to read Catcher in the Rye. It is one of my all time favorites and is a very quick read.

  4. Karen- I might just do this! I do LOVE to read and write. Thanks for stopping by my parenting blog. Your comment really helped me put the bickering in perspective. Kind of like the parents punish because we love our kids thing. A very belated congrats on your daughter joining your family!!! I love her name, Evie.

  5. + kMo: thanks for the recommendation!
    + Anne: loved reading yours
    + T: I have heard that Catcher is the type of book you can only love if you read it as a teenager; if you read it after that you will never love it. I don't know if it's true but I like the romantic idea and it's the reason I've been resisting reading it; I know so many people who love it (after reading it as teenagers) that I hate to risk reading it and not loving it, and then having to lie to them so they won't hate me :) Complicated answer, I know. Did you read it as a teenager? If not, I'll give in and read it :)

  6. + Cara, I'm so glad my comment was helpful!

  7. I think 50 is GREAT!!! I probably would n't even get 10. And I do like to read!! I'm visiting from SITS

  8. stopping by from sits. i love this! i'll be posting this on my blog with my books. i'm not close to fifty - that's great - but i know i'm over 6! this list gave me some great books to read this year. thanks!

  9. 41 here, and tried but didn't finish five more. However, I've read many more books that did not make that list, PLUS two of them were series (HP and Narnia)...

    Oh, and Time Traveler's Wife is a TOTAL freezer book a la Friends.

  10. 38 here. You have to read Possession by AS Byatt, although it's really tough. I thought anyway. A great list!

  11. I think I am going to do this. I think my new years resolution is going to be getting back into reading. A favorite thing of mine until all those theology classes.... this is a great list of books i have read or want to read!! Thanks!

  12. Hey thanks for the suggestion about "shopping" for a church online. I am going to try that! I I can't believe I didn't think of it. Happy New Year!

  13. ahhhh...ok. Acceptable reason for not reading Catcher. lol (And yes, I did read it as a teenager and again in my very early twenties.)
    I also remember loving The Outsiders at that time too...similar genre.

  14. So, I was wondering why books like "Bridget Jones's Diary and "The Di Vinci Code" were listed, but books by Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Haruki Murakami, Thornton Wilder, Willa Cather, etc., were excluded.

    Then, I read that this list was compiled from readers' submissions of their favorite books, when I thought it was presumed to be the most important fiction books. I see now! Phew!

    Thanks again for letting us stay. I hope to get those pictures to you soon.

  15. That last comment was made by me, Christine. Oops.

  16. + Christine...yep, sorry I didn't make that more clear in the beginning of the's also a British list, which explains the plethora of 19th Century novels and, of course, British authors on the list :)

  17. Ha, we did the same with Da Vinci Code and loved it that way!!! I read it before that trip, but listening to it was even better!!


  18. 50 is great! I got 45, but am consoling myself that I am a science nerd who didn't take any college level English, so I shouldn't have expected much more.

    The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my personal favorites. :)

  19. I may have to copy this and use it on my blog. I did read Catcher as a teen, but it had no impact and I barely remember it. That's because I got through high school English on Cliff Notes - shhh, don't tell anyone I said that! I've redeemed myself later in life.

    Loved Time Traveler's Wife.

    I've got the next haiku writing prompt up, if you have a free hand to write with :-)

  20. Okay, I was trying to get the book, "The God Box" but would have had to order it, and I am leaving on my trip tomorrow. So, I bought "The Time Traveler's Wife" instead, it was that or "Three Cups of Tea". Okay, I read one paragraph and was hooked! I sat in the parking lot of Barnes and Noble reading the first chapter! Now, I can't figure out how to get ready for my Cookie Lee Show while reading!!! GREAT SUGGESTION!

  21. How great that everyone else loves The Time Traveler's Wife, too! I forced J to read it after I finished it and he enjoyed it a great deal. We had some fun conversations about the science aspects and about the ending (I love it, he doesn't). I love this book so much that I put it on a list of books for my Contemporary Literature students (seniors) to choose from for a "book club" type of reading assignment, last year. The students who chose Niffenegger gloated all semester to the students who didn't that they had picked the best book of the bunch.


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