100 Books To Read Before You Die Challenge


So I’ve been tinkering with Pinterest lately – that’s what happens when you’re on sick leave and can’t concentrate long enough to do anything really productive – and I found a few lists of 100 books one should read before they die.
I picked this one list just because it doesn’t separate series into multiple books (as in Harry Potter series has one spot instead of HP 1, HP 2…); I merely switched CS Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (included in The Chronicles of Narnia) for The Hunger Games since the latter was on every other list I found and Shakespeare’s Hamlet (obviously included in Complete works) for The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho for the same reason.
Since this list is apparently dating back to 2003 it’s certainly missing some good books from the past decade but well… I need to stop at one point.

The purpose is to go back to books I’ve read before and give a bit of a review: some I’ve already written about, others not. Hopefully it will prompt me to pick up some books from my bookshelf that have sat here for years but that I never picked up. So once a week, I’ll post something about one of these books – it could be a review or a ‘when-am-I-going-to-finish-that-thing?’ who knows? But that will give me the incentive to read more than I have in the past while.

That said, I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve read (in full) 43 books of this list – some exclusively in French some in both French and English. Others I’ve studied or read excerpts.

Without further ado, the list:

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch – George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23. The 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 Caroll
30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
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 Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
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 – A.A. Milne
41. Animal Farm – George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50. Atonement – Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52. Dune – Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72. Dracula – Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses – James Joyce
76. The Inferno – Dante
77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
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 – E.B. White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (In French)
93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94. Watership Down – Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98. The Alchemist – Paolo Coelho
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

So what about you? How many have you read?
And since Linda commented… well how many of you would accompany me on this journey?
No pressure. I mean it’s the reading journey of a lifetime 😉 .
I’ve been known to read fast, really fast but if I’m going to go back to the books, I will take the time to enjoy it for sure.

Because I don’t have all the books in my possession right now, I won’t follow the list order.

Advertisements

41 Comments Add yours

  1. LindaGHill says:

    Love this: must reblog. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MyLovingWife says:

      I found it cool too. Maybe knowing that other people are trying will help. Didn’t think of that.
      Will edit and update 🙂

      Like

      1. LindaGHill says:

        I just reblogged. Not sure if that will go through on an edit… Let me know when you’re done so I can test it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. MyLovingWife says:

          I just added a couple of lines at the end so it shouldn’t affect your post. I just tested and it worked 😉 . Thank you.

          Like

        2. LindaGHill says:

          Me too. 🙂 You’re very welcome! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  2. LindaGHill says:

    Reblogged this on Linda G. Hill and commented:
    Stephanie has posted a list of 100 books – how many have you read? I only have 31 1/2 under my belt – I didn’t finish the Narnia series. So many here I want to read and reread!
    Note: Comments here are disabled. Please go to the original post to comment and let us know your number!

    Like

  3. Lynn Love says:

    Nice list, Stephanie. I think I’ve read 47, but some of those were so long ago (can’t remember much about them), I’m not sure they really count 🙂 A few of them I have on my TBR pile and some more I have in the TBR pile in my head. Good luck with your challenge. Have you set yourself a time limit, or could this just roll on and on?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MyLovingWife says:

      At this time, I’m thinking 2 weeks per book, with some notes on one book I’ve already read (and actually remember) in between.
      I do know however that some books might take longer whether as a first read or not (Crime and Punishment for example) but others will be shorter.
      If I can hold on to that, it should take 2 years. Wait let me rephrase that; by sticking to that rhythm I should make it in 2 years. That’s the plan at least.
      That’s why I wanted to post about it; that way I have some form of accountability.

      As you were mentioning there are a few of them I read a long time ago and can’t remember. I read David Copperfield more than 20 years ago (and in French). I remember loving it when everyone was telling me that Dickens was boring and long. That’s why I’m thinking a second (or 4th or 10th) read would be worth it.
      On the other hand, I will probably not re-read the Grapes of Wrath because I hated the first time around. Then again I was 14 when I first read it; I’m older now maybe it will speak to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lynn Love says:

        It’s a long term commitment! Is it daunting to have the prospect of your book reading mapped out for you for that long? I found Steinbeck challenging to say the least, tough I appreciate he’s supposed to be and wrote worthwhile novels that made statements about society. Very tough read, though. Good luck with it and I hope you enjoy the challenge 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. MyLovingWife says:

          It is a long term commitment for sure… But I don’t see myself committing to anything faster. It’s the one way to ensure I don’t follow through with it.
          To be honest, there are some of these books I’m not anticipating with any eagerness: I didn’t like Steinbeck’s Grapes of War nor Of Mice and Men. I’ll give them a shot since I have both on my shelves (thank you English studies in high school) and maybe I’m old enough to appreciate them now but I won’t try really hard…
          Others well I’m just afraid of being disappointed. And yet others I know I’ll re-read them with pleasure.
          Besides I don’t intend to forbid myself to read anything else in between: there’s a book from Sharon Shinn coming up in November that I’ll definitely get and I’m waiting for a special occasion to purchase Maria V Snyder’s power trilogy.
          It’s a challenge but I do intend to have some fun with it. And I haven’t read nearly enough (new books that is) as I’d like in the past while so it’s a way to make sure I do.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Lynn Love says:

          It’s a big challenge. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. jowensauthor says:

    Nice list. I’ve read 26 of them, maybe I couple more that I couldn’t remember if I had or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MyLovingWife says:

      Yes I think if I stick to the ones I actually remember well enough to write about right now, I should be around 30ish as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. AprilEsutton says:

    48, but I can think of many that I’d like to see on the list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MyLovingWife says:

      I know… but I had to stop tinkering and looking for other lists or I was never going to get anything done. I can think of a few that should be there too indeed.
      And I’m not convinced Da Vinci Code should be on it… I read it but it’s not what I’d call a work of art.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. AprilEsutton says:

        It was sure popular though.

        Like

  6. Scarlet says:

    Having no life as a teen and in my early twenties I’ve read over half at 52, is there something wrong with me? I swear I don’t have twelve cats.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MyLovingWife says:

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reading a lot; I was a book junkie well into my 20s and only when I started working weird hours did I stop reading as much. And I didn’t have any cats either 😉 . So the only thing I’d say is “Good for you. That’s impressive.”
      If this were a list of 100 French books to read, I probably would be well over the 50 mark, because such a list certainly would have Camus, Kessel, Mme de Beauvoir, Sartre, Stendhal, Voltaire, Diderot, Baudelaire to name a few… and God knows I’ve read a lot of these in school and for my own pleasure.
      I guess it will come as no surprise that I’ve read all the books from the French literature that have made the list I’m using.

      Like

      1. Scarlet says:

        I’m a fan of Camus, honestly I haven’t read very many French writers, I own a copy of Candid but it’s yet to be opened, maybe in the coming spring days after uni lets up I’ll have a peek – you should make a list I’d be keen to have a look, I’m always looking for new books!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. MyLovingWife says:

          I’m not a huge fan of Voltaire to be honest. Some of French literature can be tough. I’ll put together a list of some of my favourites and some that – even though they’re tough – should be given a chance.
          Keep an eye out for the review of French books since I might add some notes about other books by the author that should be read too 😉 .

          Like

        2. Scarlet says:

          A friend of mine swears by him but so far that hasn’t been enough to get him to the from of my to read list. I don’t mind tough, I prefer it to auto-pilot, this very morning a friend tried desperately to get me to read some vampire romance and I almost passed out from the strength of my eyes rolling so hard. I have a thing for 17th-18th century books, I love the language and the proper disaster laced romanticism therein 😉
          Thanks I’ll keep a look out!

          Liked by 1 person

        3. MyLovingWife says:

          Yes… vampire romance isn’t my thing either. There aren’t that many books that I started and didn’t finish but a few of those I read the first chapter (or page) at the bookshop before deciding not to waste my money on something I wasn’t going to enjoy.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Scarlet says:

          I suppose it’s good they are reading anything but I think those books are more reflective of a dull romantic life than good literature 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        5. I don’t know… I tend to believe that they’re more reflective of the “dumbing it down” effect. But that might be my cynical take on the levelling from below in everything these days (education/TV/art or lack thereof) . 😛 .

          Like

        6. Scarlet says:

          I haven’t watched TV now for 3 years best thing I ever did!

          Liked by 1 person

        7. I used to be a TV addict… I must have spent 2-4 hours a day in front of it when I was a teenager, mostly watching movies (while reading more often than not). Now I watched volleyball games and that’s about it.

          Like

  7. Claire says:

    Great list! I’m doing not bad, maybe halfway there and I’m hopefully not quite halfway through my life so hopefully I’m ahead of the game!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MyLovingWife says:

      I’m convinced anyone can read all these books in a lifetime but I don’t know that all of them should be on the list. I guess I’ll see as I (re)read them.

      Like

  8. wendyj59 says:

    Found this post via Linda’s repost. I can only claim 29 from the list. It’s very similar to a list the BBC compiled in 2003 from viewers suggestions. I’ve been gradually working my way down it but having opted in to a couple of book clubs as well I’ve come to a halt on the list. Good luck with your schedule. I have a huge TBR pile which includes some on the list but since I rejoined our local library (and worked out how to borrow E books) the pile is not getting any smaller!

    Like

    1. MyLovingWife says:

      Hi Wendy, it is the BBC list from 2003 although I read on two different websites that it was never endorsed by the BBC itself, which is weird.
      I haven’t found (or researched to be honest) book clubs in my area but to be fair I’ve always been more of a solitary reader…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. nikisthoughts says:

    I’m in my late 20’s and have read 39 of these books, and plan on reading some more of these in the near future. 🙂 I absolutely love the classics.

    Like

    1. MyLovingWife says:

      I don’t know if all of them fit in the “classics” but it’s definitely an interesting list. And a good place to start 🙂 .

      Like

  10. tailsofatatteredheart says:

    17/100 so far. The faraway tree series was a book that I read when I was in primary school. It immediately became my favourite, so much so that 20 years down the line I purchased the series so that I can always have a read.

    Some of my other all time favorites that I keep going back to is “The Italian Matchmaker” by Santa Montefiore and “the French Affair” by Susan Lewis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MyLovingWife says:

      I hear you; some of these books I’ll need to read again because my last reading was such a long time ago I couldn’t write a decent review (Winnie the Pooh, Little Women, Madame Bovary – and I’m not looking forward to this one I hate Flaubert with a passion 😛 )

      Liked by 1 person

  11. tailsofatatteredheart says:

    Hehehe I haven’t read Madame Bovary, the title sounds interesting though

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MyLovingWife says:

      I hated it when I first read it as a teenager. As I hated Flaubert’s Trois Contes. I found the books boring and I struggled through them because it was mandatory for class. Who knows? Maybe now I’m older it’ll be better. Like Steinbeck.

      Like

      1. tailsofatatteredheart says:

        Yes I agree! The idea of having to study and analyse them was enough to put you off the book. I particularly dreaded the mosquito coast and how to kill a mockingbird.
        I prefer books that arrive at the point of the plot quickly

        Like

        1. How to Kill a Mockingbird has arrived by post today and I’ll start it as soon as I’m done writing my review of Jane Eyre. I’m a bit scared 😛

          Liked by 1 person

        2. tailsofatatteredheart says:

          I hope you enjoy it, it’s oki once you get stuck in.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I’m confident; I have to 😛 .

          Liked by 1 person

Please, share your words

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s