100 99 Books Meme

21 05 2007

“If everyone else participated in a book-meme, would you do it too?” Well, yes. With a hat-tip to Evolving Thoughts and Living the Scientific Life, here’s a list of 100 books that I may or may not have read (or even desire to read). The rules are as follows;

- Bold the ones you’ve read
– Italicize the ones you want to read
– Leave unaltered the ones that you aren’t interested in or haven’t heard of

And away we go…

1. The DaVinci 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: Return of the King (JRR Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (JRR Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (JRR 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 (JK Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (JK Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (JK Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
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 (Leo 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 (JK Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew 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. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
68. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
69. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
70. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
71. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
72. Shogun (James Clavell)
73. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
74. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
75. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
76. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
77. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
78. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
79. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
80. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
81. Of Mice And Men (John Steinbeck)
82. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
83. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
84. Emma (Jane Austen)
85. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
86. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
87. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
88. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
89. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
90. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
91. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
92. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
93. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
94. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
95. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
96. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
97. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
98. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
99. Ulysses (James Joyce)

I don’t know what I should think of myself after completing this list; I haven’t read most of these books nor do I have much desire to do so. I remember one high school class where my AP English teacher became very concerned over making sure that his students were “cultured,” and was appalled by the fact that many of us had never seen Hamlet performed live. To put things in context a bit, when I was in high school and assigned to read a “great work” to do a book report on over the summer, I chose Peter Benchley’s Jaws because of the influence it had on people’s fear of sharks and the ocean. The paper was graded and I didn’t get an ‘F’, but in bright red marker on the front page was scrawled “This is not a great work.”

Indeed, during my high school years much was said about being “cultured,” as if there was some platonic ideal that could be attained (I assume it would involve some sort of staff position on The New Yorker), but the culture of the students themselves was largely ignored. While my favorite books may not have been the greatest works ever written, some of them had a fair amount of cultural impact and helped shape me into the person I was; just because I wasn’t going to buy season tickets to the local Shakespeare production company’s plays didn’t mean that I was somehow inferior to the intellectual elite.

In any event, perhaps I should read some (if not many) of the books listed above, but I won’t lie and say I intend to; I’m just not interested. The personal writings of paleontologist Charles Sternberg or a book on dinosaur systematics is far more enthralling to me, maybe because they involve a “story” of life on earth that I could very well lend my voice to as well. I cannot pretend to be something I’m not, and if it was not for my high school education I probably never would have read any of the books listed above (I don’t even know if many should count anymore, given I remember little about them). Maybe this is my failing, or maybe it is that of the schools (where simply being made to read a book = “being cultured”), but a list such as the one above says little about who I am; perhaps I should make me own list of 100 books that have influenced me in some way instead.

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13 responses

21 05 2007
TheBrummell

Two things:

1. The next time someone accuses you of being uncultured or uneducated because you cannot quote Shakespeare at length, ask them to tell you the difference between a gene and a chromosome, or an atom and a molecule, or an hypothesis and a theory.

2. I saw this meme, and immediately noticed that I’d be leaving unemphasized the majority of the list, as you have. So I didn’t bother, just as I didn’t bother the last time I saw a (different) 100-books meme. But if you make a 100-books meme, I’d be pretty likely to go through it myself.

22 05 2007
laelaps

Thanks Martin; I love bringing up the theory/hypothesis distinction, given how often it gets confused.

I’ll probably make a 100 books list as well, but it’ll more likely be along the lines of the 100 books that have most influenced me or top 100 books that I have read (or plan to read). In that case the meme will merely be a theme which will be different for everyone, rather than setting some sort of bar like this one.

7 06 2007
Cecy

Hummm which books have I read:

The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
Lord of the Flies (Golding)
The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (JK Rowling)
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (JK Rowling)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (JK Rowling)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (JK Rowling)

5 10 2007
A different sort of book meme is in order, perhaps? « Laelaps

[...] looks like another book meme is making the rounds on the blogs (I participated, albeit feebly, in a different one a few months back), and I suppose I could highlight all the “classic” texts I’ve [...]

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