Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Big Read

Presbyterian Gal and Singing Owl have done it. All the cool kids are doing it. So I will too. Especially since I posted recently about the summer reading list for The Harpist, I guess it's only fair I own up to where I am "literate" and where I am not.

It's called 'The Big Read' from the NEA. They came up with a list of their top 100 books, and they estimate that the average adult has only read 6 of these books. Like Presbyterian Gal, I will bold the ones I've read. 
If you haven't done this, please play along...

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  (started it. hated it.)
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  (the complete works??? I may have missed a few sonnets.)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks1
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 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 Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
(if you haven't read this one... you should!)
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen  (oh dear! I missed one???)
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
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 - AA 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 Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
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 - EB 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
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 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
OK... my total is  66!!  There's some books I probably will never read again. Too many memories of essays and English teachers asking stooopid questions (as in... the main character is crying... how does she feel??? DUH.) 

Some of these books I probably should read... but then, given the stack of books on my list... it's a big laugh to dream of doing that. (Case in point - I picked up three books today at the bookstore. Reedy Girl said - "are any of those "fun reads," Mom?" I had to say nope... and she shook her head and said she felt sorry for me. :)

Play along and let's find out what you've read...



Singing Owl said...

Sixty six, WOW! And you read "War and Peace!" I am totally in awe of you.

Deb said...

Eh. Don't be too amazed. It was required for class. And I hated it.
Just sayin

the reverend mommy said...

I'm about in the same neighborhood. Actually, I probably started some of the others... but...

If I don't like the beginning -- eh -- life just isn't long enough.


Presbyterian Gal said...

I think you win! That's a lotta books dere, ya fer sure.

beckyboop said...

I think you simply MUST make time for "The Time Traveler's Wife" because it is AMAZING!!!!

spcoleman said...

I'm afraid this is a combination of two different programs that has been going around the internet in a viral fashion. The book list is from the U.K. and compiled by the BBC. The real NEA's Big Read is a series of grants provided to communities across the U.S. The communities select from a few dozen (not 100) books for a "one book, one community" program and provide free resources for book and classroom discussions. Go to neabigread.org to see what the Big Read is really about.

Sarah said...

I agree with beckyboop...The Time Traveler's Wife was GREAT! It was recommended to me by a friend and I was really suprised at how much I liked it! A fantastic story. But then again, I actually enjoyed His Dark Materials...not the religious implications, but the overall story... :)

Deb said...

Why thanks, SPCOLEMAN, for letting me know. But don't you think literacy - even in "viral" form, is something to pursue?

And while there are fewer real "readers" in the world, for some reason I tend to hang around people who ARE. Imagine that. ;)

Steve Hayes said...

I think I read about 50 or so, but I didn't count too carefully. And why The da Vinci code? If they had to have a conspiracy novel on the list, why not Foucault's pendulum? It's amuch better example of the genre.

Deb said...

Hey Steve
I haven't read Foucault's... will have to add it to my "list" which never seems to stop growing!

I personally think daVinci Code got added because it was so controversial. I think people forget it was "fiction"!!!

jonskifarms said...

66 is quite impressive! I've read approximately 26. I feel so unread. But I have heard of most of those books! :^o

One curious thing, why does the list include both (#33) The Chronicles of Narnia and (#36) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe? Isn't LW&W one of TCoN? Or am I just hopelessly confused?

Deb said...

I wondered about that too, Jonski. Yes, they are the same author/series. Same as having the complete works of Shakespeare and then listing Hamlet! I suspect (as spcoleman said) that this is two lists mushed together.

Being a book addict means I don't do a lot of other things I might...


seethroughfaith said...

go read .... 96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

it's an amazing book. Pioneering ...

seethroughfaith said...

oh and you might like to check out bookcrossing (DOT com) if you would like to get some of those books moving. I am totally hooked and love giving the books away!