Saturday, November 20, 2010

100 Books

There's a list floating around the internet, supposedly from the BBC, of 100 books. The claim is that most people have only read 6. I didn't like that list, so I made my own. Here it is:

Here's Jennie's list of the 100 books I think everyone should read. Obviously it's going to be pretty biased by what I have read myself, but I'm still interested to see how many books people have read. (I kind of ran out of steam trying to think of 100, but I'm still pretty happy with the final list.)

100 Books (in no particular order)
1. Republic, Plato
2. The Bible (not really one book, I know)
3. The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis
4. Elements, Euclid
5. Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
6. Go Down, Moses, William Faulkner
7. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
8. Catch 22, Joseph Heller
9. Meno, Plato
10. Principia, Newton (you can count it even if you haven't read the whole thing)
11. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
12. 1984, George Orwell
13. Averroes' Search, Jorge Luis Borges (or substitute Borges story of your choice)
14. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
15. The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien
16. Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle
17. Oedipus Cycle (Oedipus Rex, Antigone, Oedipus at Colonus), Sophocles
18. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
19. Physics, Aristotle
20. Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
21. Two New Sciences, Galileo
22. Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri
23. Histories, Herodotus
24. Abhorsen series (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen), Garth Nix
25. His Dark Materials series (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), Philip Pullman
26. History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
27. The Prince, Machiavelli
28. The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
29. Le Morte D'Arthur, Thomas Mallory
30. Proslogion, Anselm of Canterbury
31. Confessions, Augustine
32. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman
33. The Meditations Concerning First Philosophy, Descartes
34. Beowulf
35. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
36. The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin
37. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
38. Experiments on Plant Hybridization, Gregor Mendel
39. Relativity, Albert Einstein (the "popular" account, if you don't want to do the math yourself)
40. Hamlet, William Shakespeare
41. King Lear, William Shakespeare
42. Prometheus Bound, Aeschylus
43. The Bacchae, Euripides
44. The Iliad, Homer
45. The Odyssey, Homer
46. Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. DuBois
47. Beyond Good and Evil, Frederick Nietzsche
48. The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen
49. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
50. The October Country, Ray Bradbury (or substitute Ray Bradbury of your choice)
51. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Frederick Nietzsche
52. The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
53. Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare
54. Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare
55. Siddhartha, Herman Hesse
56. Life of Pi, Yann Martel
57. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
58. Henry IV, William Shakespeare (or substitute history of your choice)
59. The Stranger, Albert Camus
60. The Aeneid, Virgil
61. Don Quixote, Cervantes
62. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
63. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
64. The Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals, William Harvey
65. Plutarch's Lives (you can count it even if you haven't read the whole thing)
66. On Education, Michel de Montaigne (or substitute essay of your choice)
67. Pensees, Pascal
68. Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville
69. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (or substitute novel of your choice)
70. Fear and Trembling, Soren Kierkegaard
71. Practice in Christianity, Soren Kierkegaard
72. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
73. The Early History of Rome, Livy
74. Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
75. The Misanthrope, Moliere
76. Politics, Aristotle
77. Crito, Plato
78. Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), Antoine de Saint-Exupery
79. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
80. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
81. Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy (sorry, I liked it much better than Tess of the d'Urbervilles or Jude the Obscure)
82. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
83. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
84. Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw (or substitute play of your choice)
85. The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis
86. Hard Times, Charles Dickens
87. Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolpho Anaya
88. The Song of the Lark, Willa Cather
89. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
90. The Milagro Beanfield Wars, John Nichols
91. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
92. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
93. Paradise Lost, John Milton
94. Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler
95. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
96. The Federalist Papers (several authors)
97. The Guide of the Perplexed, Moses Maimonides
98. Discourse on Inequality, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
99. The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis
100. The Gastlycrumb Tinies, Edward Gorey (Steve's suggestion... :P )

Whew, there you go. 100 books. I haven't read all of them myself. My total is 87, counting some books I've only read in part. What's yours?


Angela Wallington Zimmann, Ph.D. said...

There are many of these that I have not read, but I am teaching a Critical Thinking About Great Ideas course this spring, and we are reading pieces and parts of lots of these...

Angela Wallington Zimmann, Ph.D. said...

I have not read many of these books, but I am teaching a Great Ideas course in the spring and we are reading pieces and parts of lots of them...

Anonymous said...

A fantastic list, sister. Several classics, of course, but I particularly like how you've incorporated books of ideas in addition to just novels: Crito, The Federalist, and, of course Kierkegaard.

Allow me to suggest a few more, if I may. If you liked The Stranger, they you'd love The Plague, also by Camus. I should also put in a word for The Great Gatsby, which is just a perfectly crafted novel, plain and simple. For a beautiful meditation on nature, I recommend Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. And if you're interested in novels about ideas, anything by J.M. Coetzee, the South African Nobel-winner, is fantastic. If you're looking for a place to start with him, take a look at Waiting for the Barbarians, then move on to Disgrace and Life and Times of Michael K. Or actually, just listen to his Nobel lecture online --- it will blow your mind. And if you need a laugh after that, take a look at Kurt Vonnegut --- Breakfast of Champions is his funniest but Cat's Cradle is his best.

Finally, two works on religion, coming from opposite angles. First, Graham Greene's novel The Power and the Glory is a beautiful, beautiful novel about a sinner seeking God in a world that's collapsing around him. And David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion are the best meditations on rationalism and religion I've ever found.

Take care,