Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A List of Classic Literature

I saw this list of books floating around on Facebook and thought it was interesting. The directions were to put an x next to the ones you have read, a plus sign next to the ones that you read and really liked and an asterisk next to the ones that you want to read. The BBC estimates that most people will only have read six of these books. This is the list with my answers:

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen x +
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien x +
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte x
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee *
6 The Bible x +
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte x
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens x
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 x
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien x +
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
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 x + (my all-time fave)
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald x
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 x
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (started this one but didn't finish)
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis x
34 Emma - Jane Austen x
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis x
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden x +
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell x
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown x
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez x
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X +
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 x
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens x +
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 X +
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold x
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Aleandre 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 x
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 x
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens x
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 x (reading this right now with Emily)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom x
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-Eupery
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 - Aleandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo * ( I really should read this. Seen the Broadway musical twice)

My total : 27

This has inspired me to start reading some of these great classics.

22 comments:

Lisa Snyder said...

I have read 24 of these and you have inspired me too. I read A LOT, but have not read too many of what most people consider "classics". I'll get on that. Thank you for the list.

Anonymous said...

This list is seriously deficient. How does a list claim itself a list of classics without including Dante, Cervatnes, Laurence Sterne, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and Henry Fielding (among so many others)?
The life and opinions of tristram shandy, gentleman by laurence sterne MIGHT be the funniest book ever written in our idiom.

Anonymous said...

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Kate said...

I believe I've read 10 of these but I'm only 18 so plenty of time to catch up on my reading ^^
It's a pretty good list but definitely not complete, guess it's hard to make a all-time classics list of books that suits everybody. Thank you for publishing this!

Aulelia said...

Wow at 19 I've glad to say I have read 30 of these. And so close to checking off the complete works of Shakespeare. But I feel like there are some great pieces of literture not on there. Like Dante's Inferno and Milton's Paradise Lost.

Anonymous said...

I've actually read about half of these. And I'm 18, so I guess that means I'm doing pretty good! There are very few on this list I wouldn't recommend, and I love that it includes more modern classics, too, because I feel those are often unjustly disregarded.

JB said...

The list of books is good, however, Harry Potter is not "classic" literature.

JB said...

The list of books is good, but I would hardly consider Harry Potter as classic literature.

iDissimulate said...

I'm 15 and I should think that I've read at least ten of the ones on this list.
But I must concur with JB; the Harry Potter series is more sensationalism than classic literature.
Thanks for the list, now I've got something to work through :)

Anonymous said...

I have read all but 11 of these,but agree there are many more deserving to be listed. However, as you did not make the list up, but found it on facebook I won't hold it against you.
Harry Potter series may one day be considered a classic, but not yet. Loved Tolkien, Shakespeare, Dickens, the Bronte Sisters to name but a few. How wonderful to hear others under 30 say they actually read.

Vanessa Phillips said...

Vanessa Phillips says...
I have read only seven on the list. I've got a lot of reading (classics) to catch up on (some are missing, that would bring my count up to 15). Not that I haven't been reading, but about ten years ago I was introduced to Laurell K. Hamilton, L. A. Banks, Frank Peretti, and a few others and simply fell in love with the imagination of inventing/revising fantasy.

Anonymous said...

I read 26 of your list, mostly before the age of 30. I'm 62 now and I am going back to some of the classics. I am particular about guarding my heart and mind. I even eliminate some of "the classics" from my list.

Anonymous said...

how could you say these writers as classical????

Anonymous said...

The list is good, but it lacks certain authors such as Homer and Anne Frank.

Anonymous said...

I'm at 34. This list has many books I would not consider classics (Kite Runner, Harry Potter, Charlie Chocolate, etc, etc), and is missing a TON of great literature- from Gulliver's Travels and Tom Jones to Homer and Virgil. Also, if Catch22 is classical literature, so are the works of Kurt Vonnegut, who is my favorite American author.

Anonymous said...

I'm 22 but I Started reading classics at the age of 12. I have collected them, too. I agree with the few who said the list is so defective. Yes, indeed it is. There are many there which are not actually classics and many classics are not included. I have read almost 100 classics I guess;combination of novels and Shakespearean plays.

helen thompson said...

I have ready about 60 of these books and agree that there are some excellent novels included here. I have worked my way through lists of so called "literary greats" but some have been too heavy going to be an enjoyable read. I would say there are some obvious choices missing from the list; would have liked to have seen more from some of the Russian heavyweights and there are some outstanding writers around at the moment. Pullman s His Dark Material's were good yes and he can certainly spin a good yarn but I believe there are far better writers. Overall though a very good list.

pauljt said...

my list:

The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien x +
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee *
The Bible x + (God is such an angry bugger)
Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell x ++
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman x (rubbish)
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller x +
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien x +
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks *
Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger x +
Middlemarch - George Eliot *
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald x
Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams x +
Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck x +
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll x +
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame x
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy x +
Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne x
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez x ++
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood x +
Lord of the Flies - William Golding x +
Atonement - Ian McEwan x +
Life of Pi - Yann Martel x
Dune - Frank Herbert x ++ (whole trilogy plus loved the sequel 'God Emperor')
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley x
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon x +
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck *
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov x +++
Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie *
Moby Dick - Herman Melville x ++
Dracula - Bram Stoker x
Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson x
Ulysses - James Joyce x ++++
Germinal - Emile Zola *
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell *
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro *
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert x +++
Charlotte’s Web - EB White x (cant remember)
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks x
Hamlet - William Shakespeare x +++

woh, 31. no Dickens. i'd put McCarthy's 'The Road' in. and Durrell's 'Alexandria Quartet': superb.

pauljt said...

hey Lisa, just thought I'd throw in a dozen more i believe should be on the 100. let us know what you think...

Siddhartha - Hesse
Don Quixote - Cervantes
Orlando - Woolf
Slaughterhouse Five - Vonnegut
Gospel according to Jesus Christ - Saramago
The Trial - Kafka
One flew over the cuckoo's nest - Kesey
Gravity's Rainbow - Pynchon
Good morning midnight - Jean Rhys
Unbearable Lightness of Being - Kundera
Book of Laughter and Forgetting - Kundera

and my absolute fave which will never make any list because most people have never heard of it....

The Illuminatus Trilogy - R A Wilson & R Shea

niknik said...

Happy to say that I've read almost half of the books listed. A total of 47. I love to read!

steve h. said...

Lisa, I commend you. I agree with some that the Potter series is curiously misplaced here but then most short lists of "literature" are just that - missing works for what one might presume to be some convenience. I've read only 21 and I read nothing (almost) but classic literature. I suppose that's due to front ending the early works. It's a mad race to read as much as possible. The answer lies within this beautifully scattered wisdom. Keep up the work, and never be afraid to spend a questionable amount of time on great work. I spent 8 months on War and Peace and now it
s full of colored tabs and notes. When I finished I calculated that I had, in fact, read it 4 times.

Steve Huff

sports1700guy@yahoo.com said...

Another awesome compilation of classics is Encyclopedia Britannica's "Great Books of the Western World". If your looking for all the truly classic books, there are not enough good things to say about that series!.... As for this list, I would recommend it to anyone daring enough to enlarge their hearts and minds in the search for truth, goodness, and beauty!