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100 books

Via supergee, the College Boards list of the 100 most important books. The ones I've read all the way through are bold. The ones I've read parts of are italic.

I hate "canonical" lists like this. I think they are cultural imperialism.


Beowulf (Portions of an abridged translation)
Achebe, Chinua: Things Fall Apart (Never heard of it.)
Agee, James: A Death in the Family (Never heard of it.)
Austen, Jane: Pride and Prejudice (I love Jane Austen)
Baldwin, James: Go Tell It on the Mountain (Never heard of it. I thought "Go Tell It on the Mountain" was a folk song.)
Beckett, Samuel: Waiting for Godot (Read it and saw it performed at my high school. I'm glad I have experienced it, but now I'm old enough to admit that I really don't like it at all.)
Bellow, Saul: The Adventures of Augie March
Brontë, Charlotte: Jane Eyre (One of my favorite books of all time.)
Brontë, Emily: Wuthering Heights (Yes, oddly enough, I have never read this)
Camus, Albert: The Stranger (I can't remember if I read this. So I guess I'll count that as "not.")
Cather, Willa: Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales
Camus, Albert: The Stranger What's this doing on here twice?
Chekhov, Anton: The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate: The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness (Eh.)
Cooper, James Fenimore: The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen: The Red Badge of Courage
Dante: Inferno (In translation)
de Cervantes, Miguel: Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe (As a kid)
Dickens, Charles: A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor: Crime and Punishment (In translation. Ptui ptui ptui.)
Douglass, Frederick: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore: An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre: The Three Musketeers (In translation)
Eliot, George: The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph: Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Selected Essays
Faulkner, William: As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William: The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry: Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby (Eh.)
Flaubert, Gustave: Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox: The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von: Faust (In translation)
Golding, William: Lord of the Flies (I really liked this one.)
Hardy, Thomas: Tess of the d'Urbervilles (Nope, only saw the movie.)
Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph: Catch 22 (Didn't do anything for me)
Hemingway, Ernest: A Farewell to Arms
Homer: The Iliad (In a couple of different translations. I love it. I have no idea why.)
Homer: The Odyssey (In a couple of different translations. I don't like it nearly as much as The Iliad. I have no idea why.)
Hugo, Victor: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale: Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World (Marvelous)
Ibsen, Henrik: A Doll's House
James, Henry: The Portrait of a Lady (Eh.)
James, Henry The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Not my favorite of his works, but good.)
Kafka, Franz: "The Metamorphosis" (Wonderful)
Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper: To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair: Babbitt
London, Jack: The Call of the Wild (I love it, but I don't see what it's doing on a "greatest books" list. It's furry fantasy!)
Mann, Thomas: The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel García: One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman: Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman: Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur: The Crucible (Blech)
Morrison, Toni: Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery: A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene: Long Day's Journey into Night (There are few more claustrophobic works. It's excellent, but...euw.)
Orwell, George: Animal Farm (Four legs good! Two legs better!)
Pasternak, Boris: Doctor Zhivago (Only saw the movie)
Plath, Sylvia: The Bell Jar (Really tried to like it, but in the end, not impressed at all.)
Poe, Edgar Allan: Selected Tales
Proust, Marcel: Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria: All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond: Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry: Call It Sleep (Never heard of it)
Salinger, J.D.: The Catcher in the Rye (Blech)
Shakespeare, William: Hamlet
Shakespeare, William: Macbeth
Shakespeare, William: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William: Romeo and Juliet (Hey! Where's King Lear?!?)
Shaw, George Bernard: Pygmalion (Wonderful, and not just because I got an A on my "expressionist" recreation of the 4th act)
Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein (I wanted to like it, but I didn't care for her writing style)
Silko, Leslie Marmon: Ceremony (Never heard of it)
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles: Antigone
Sophocles: Oedipus Rex (In translation)
Steinbeck, John: The Grapes of Wrath (Only saw the movie)
Stevenson, Robert Louis: Treasure Island (My dad read it to me)
Stowe, Harriet Beecher: Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver's Travels (Eh)
Thackeray, William: Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David: Walden
Tolstoy, Leo: War and Peace (Only saw the movie)
Turgenev, Ivan: Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Wonderful)
Voltaire: Candide (In translation. Eh.)
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr.: Slaughterhouse-Five (I loved it when I first read it. I recently re-read it, and hated it because of the horrible sexism and sizism.)
Walker, Alice: The Color Purple (Eh.)
Wharton, Edith: The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora: Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt: Leaves of Grass (Good in small doses)
Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Eh.)
Williams, Tennessee: The Glass Menagerie (Ooooooh.)
Woolf, Virginia: To the Lighthouse (Interesting, but I didn't really get it at the time. I should probably re-read it.)
Wright, Richard: Native Son

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
elynne
Apr. 3rd, 2004 04:55 pm (UTC)
I haven't read anything in the first half of the list, unless you count Niven's rewriting of Inferno, which almost certainly doesn't. The list of books on this list I've read starts with Lord of the Flies. :P
firecat
Apr. 3rd, 2004 06:04 pm (UTC)
Well, I think you'd like Beowulf, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and possibly a few others. The rest, I don't think you're missing much.
elynne
Apr. 5th, 2004 08:12 am (UTC)
Come to think of it... I may have read a translation of Beowulf; either that, or I'm confusing it with Eaters of the Dead / The 13th Warrior - yes, blasphemy. :] I'm definitely interested in P&P - isn't that the one they made a movie out of with Alan Rickman? Nothing can get me to read a book like being able to imagine him in one of the main parts... *mrrrrrrr*
firecat
Apr. 5th, 2004 10:09 am (UTC)
The 13th Warrior is based veryveryvery loosely on Beowulf.

Sense & Sensibility has Alan Rickman playing Colonel Branden (knee high riding boots! woo!). Have you seen it? Do!
ruth_lawrence
Apr. 3rd, 2004 11:59 pm (UTC)
Yep, cultural imperialism, so I won't do the meme.

I've heard of almost all of these books, and read about half. There are a lot of other good books out there.

An Australian ivory-tower canonical list would be different.
angeyja
Apr. 4th, 2004 05:21 am (UTC)
Yes, I think the first thing I noticed was how many of these were required reading in one class or another.

I came across Achebe though because of watching Buffy, or more likely this was Angel now that I think about it. Someday it would be interesting to list things like this from Joss refs (given the number of websites perhaps someone already has.)
carol_kitty
Apr. 4th, 2004 07:10 pm (UTC)
Wow I think I have read over 90% of the list.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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