16 February 2007

I don't know why I do these....

...but I am fascinated by lists like this. As I went through this list (found at Imani's), I wondered what the list creator was thinking when s/he was developing this list. What are the inherent biases in this list? Were there some books that the she was thinking that everyone should have read? Some that no self-respecting reader would ever touch with a ten-foot pole? Are there some books on this list because of the list creator's age, books that only some generations would have read or known about?

Or maybe because of the list creator's career? I think that some of these books are suited for a YA audience. Does that mean that someone might assume from my list that I was young, or at least that it hadn't been that long ago that I left school? Or does it mean that I am a librarian or an educator and therefore have read many YA books? To be honest, some of the books on this list were popular among teachers when I took a YA Lit class many years ago, but I have no idea if they are still in vogue.

Did the list creator just hate, hate, hate chick-lit or Dickens, or Mitch Albom and throw those on the list to see what fool might claim to have read or owned them? Or worse, having been warned by others' list, still want to read them? Or, did the list creator love, love, love, these works and might be disappointed to find that not all agree?

Most of all, what do my responses say about me? What is missing from this list? The number of books I read in 2006 would equal about 2/3 of this list; this list is hardly representative of a life time of diverse reading. Still, I think that it probably indicates something about my reading, although it may not be the full story. As a researcher might conclude: there aren't enough data points to draw conclusions.

Below is the list with instructions for marking.

Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, put a cross (+) in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk (*) the ones you’ve never heard of.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) (although some days I have to stave off a morbid curiosity to see if this is really as bad as most have told me. 'I was bored; there was nothing in English to read' was my teenager's excuse for this one.)
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 (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (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 (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) (reading group selection)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. +A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) (One of my favorite books of all time!)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. *Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) I think I read this.
21. The Hobbit (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) (or at least read enough of it 30+ yrs ago to know that the boy who convinced me to read it was a jerk for buying this hook, line, & stinker)
34. 1984 (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. +Bible (have read parts; not all)
46. +Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) (A favorite!)
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)
(Although I've read other Kingsolver books and enjoyed, this is one I've avoided).
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. *Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. +The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. *The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough) (What can I say? I was very young. sigh)
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 (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. *Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. +One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
(I think I'd need 100 yrs to get through this. I've tried several times without success)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
(I think I may have read this; not sure)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
(parts in French)
70. +The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. *The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. +The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. *The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. *Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. *Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. *The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. *Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. *In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck) (
may have read this when I was a child.)
94. +The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. +The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) (
Are you kidding?)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) (A wonderful YA book!)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield) (ugh!)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce) (I gave up on ever finishing this one a long, long ago...)


Imani said...

How amusing it is to see someone else brave enough to admit to reading Celestine Prophecy. My excuse was that I was ten or so at the time and thought it was the best thing ever. How disappointed I was that I could not find the sequel.

It wasn't until later that I discovered that people were reading it as some kind of spiritual guide...?

Cam said...

Imani, how funny! I remember reading it (knowing it was a spiritual guide) based on a recommendation of a friend. I don't remember much about it other than I thought it was ridiculous and didn't quite know what to say to my friend. About a year ago, I noticed this on the desk of a co-worker. I overheard him one day lauding the book; there were several self identified 'religious' people in the office and discussions like this always made me nervous. Later when the book praiser was away from the office, I overheard quite a few jokes about it. While not appropriate to mock a co-worker's religious beliefs, clearly the mockers found this book to be laughable.

Not my cup of tea, but "To each his own", I say.

(un)relaxeddad said...

I must confess to a similar morbid curiousity about the Da Vinci Code.

I really liked the Poisonwood Bible, by the way.

Dorothy W. said...

I'm with you -- I also wonder how the list got put together. I listened to the Da Vinci Code on audio -- I enjoyed it that way, but I'm suspecting I wouldn't have enjoyed it if I'd read it in the usual way. Seeing the words on the page might have irritated me.

sassymonkey said...

I now feel an overwhelming urge to do this myself. :)

Chris said...

The Stone Diaries was one of the best books I've ever read. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995.

It's an "autobiography" of an ordinary woman's life. It was strange & funny & sad.

Helen said...

I read the Da Vinci Code before most of the hype had blown up. I found it a reasonably cracking yarn but I still can't see what all the fuss is about.

I must say, I loved The Poisonwood Bible too, apart from a bit at the end that was dragged out too much. I didn't think it would be my sort of book but I ended up getting so drawn into it and often remember bits of the story.

Annie said...

Hi there:

I linked to this post and thought your commentary on it was really astute--I don't know why I feel compelled to submit to the tyranny of lists in the first place :)

Anyway, I'm a fan of your blog, and would love for you to check mine out and see if you'd like to add it to your list of links--

Reading is my Superpower