One of those arbitrary must read reading lists…

Sharon over at Bibliobibuli drew attention to this, a list from the Telegraph of 100 novels everyone should read. Hmmm. Apparently in reverse order of importance. Ok, let’s have some fun – have you read ’em all?

The bold are the ones I have read from start to finish in the full version. 47 all told.

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein Of course!

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Of course!
The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Of course!
One Thousand and One Nights Anon Hmm. Only the expurgated version.
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie Never finished it.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki
Under the Net by Iris Murdoch
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin Hmm. Saw the opera – does that count?
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Old Goriot by Honoré de Balzac
The Red and the Black by Stendhal Saw the film in French – can’t remember if I have also read the book.
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Germinal by Emile Zola
The Stranger by Albert Camus Read part of it in French and gave up
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
Waiting for the Mahatma by RK Narayan
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
The Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
Crash by JG Ballard
A Bend in the River by VS Naipaul
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz The first two books anyway
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
London Fields by Martin Amis
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño
The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
The Tin Drum by Günter Grass Never finished it
Austerlitz by WG Sebald
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Underworld by Don DeLillo
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark Can’t remember if I read the book. Remember the film…
The Voyeur by Alain Robbe-Grillet
Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre
The Rabbit books by John Updike
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
The Warden by Anthony Trollope
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Life: a User’s Manual by Georges Perec
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Ulysses by James Joyce First page only
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
A Passage to India by EM Forster
1984 by George Orwell
Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
The War of the Worlds by HG Wells
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene Possibly
The Code of the Woosters by PG Wodehouse
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Disgrace by JM Coetzee
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust I did try…
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville I did try…I swear
Middlemarch by George Eliot Oh lord. The most important? I did try this one too. Truly. Read a few chapters in fact… “One of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” said Virginia Woolf. Ok, always knew I was a kid at heart!


One of those arbitrary must read reading lists… — 5 Comments

  1. I have read 56 from this list but from two similar lists that came out over the last few years I had read 97 and somewhere in the 40s respectively. Because the lists are never identical it comes down to who made the selection and their taste, I guess, but there is always a paucity of genre fiction which shouldn’t surprise me but does. Why would you deprive yourself of good stories just because they are given a genre label?
    Actually I find this list interesting mostly because of the books they haven’t included.

  2. Oh ain’t that the truth Satima. Funny how you both picked this to talk about today. Must admit, some of those on the list I wouldn’t even attempt to read. There are other books by the same authors I thought were great, War and Peace being one. Personally I still think one of the greatest books of the 20th Century was Shogun by James Clavell. If you haven’t read it, shame on the pair of you.

  3. Are looking at the post again, I see there were 2 that missed being ‘bolded’, Heart of Darkness and Portrait of a Lady. Which brings me up to 49. And yes, Jo, I have read War and Peace, twice actually, and Shogun too.

    To be frank, I think lists like this are rather useless. Why should one read this one and not that one? It is such a personal choice. And books which were tremendously important at the time – like Clarissa, or Tom Jones – because they were the first, are not necessarily anything now except historically interesting.

    Some people revel in beautiful language and stories as interesting as cold treacle. If language is not what grabs you, then why read them?

    What intrigues me is how I have changed. Books I absolutely loved at the time, I couldn’t bear to read now. Heart of Darkness, for example. I can’t imagine ever wanted to wade though Crime and Punishment again! And yet I read every word – for pleasure too. It wasn’t on some university reading list.

    I find that I am not so interested in reading books from the past any more. Now I want books written now, even if they deal with the past. I am less interested in the beauty of the prose, and more interested in what happens and the characters. Why? I have no idea.

  4. I so agree with that last part Glenda, deathless prose doesn’t hold the fascination or interest any more, but a good story with good characters with whom you can be in sympathy with, attracts me every time. Your books are a perfect example, and maybe the way you write is the way you want to read nowadays. Or vice versa.

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