Tuesday, December 27, 2011

books to read before you die

one of the reasons i still love paper books over e-readers is this:


bookmarks! i got this pile of beauties for christmas, and i particularly love the one in the middle.
it's engraved with a list of 50 books to read before you die.

here they are, with the ones i've read in bold:

The Lord of the Rings trilogy - J.R.R. Tolkien
1984 - George Orwell
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
A Passage to India - E.M. Forster
The Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Hamlet - William Shakespeare
A Bend in the River - V.S. Naipaul
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Diary of Anne Frank - Anne Frank
Don Quixote - Miquel de Cervantes
The Bible - various authors
The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer
Ulysses - James Joyce
The Quiet American - Graham Greene
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
Money - Martin Amis
Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
His Dark Materials trilogy - Philip Pullman
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
One the Road - Jack Kerouac
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
The Way We Live Now - Anthony Trollope
The Outsider - Albert Camus
The Colour Purple - Alice Walker
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells
Men Without Women - Ernest Hemingway
Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Divine Comedy - Alighieri Dante
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

only 17 out of 50 for me. a pretty sorry showing.
some of the books, like To Kill a Mockingbird, have been on my bookshelf for years and just never make it into the to-be-read pile.
others, like The Lord of the Flies, i gave up on reading after seeing the movie. (shame on me.)
several, like The Bell Jar, i read for class in high school or college and can't remember very well.
i'm ashamed to admit there are a few i've never even heard of, like A Bend in the River.
but more than a handful of these are among my all-time favorites, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

personally, I would add a few titles to this list:
The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

how many have you read? and which titles do you think are missing?

5 comments:

McD said...

Read 20 of those. Loved most of them, didn't care for a couple. I would have listed "Gone With the Wind" because it really is one of the best and "Watership Down" because of how much I personally liked it.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Agree with the above on Gone with the Wind, and you really need to read To Kill a Mockingbird! It's a short but important read! I'm impressed that you read The Divine Comedy! I never could force myself to make it all the way through The Catcher in the Rye, and I still wonder why it's labeled a classic. Just my thoughts!

1979semifinalist said...

Bizarrely...I have also read 17...but they're almost the complete opposite of the ones you have read (with a few crossovers). We should team up to become the ultimate reader! :)

1979semifinalist said...

ALSO! Do you like giraffes? I spy what looks like TWO giraffe bookmarks...I LOVE giraffes. Soulmates? ;)

erinjade said...

McD, Gone and Watership are great choices!

Heather, i should probably say i've read 1/3 of the Divine Comedy, since i skipped the middle one and only skimmed Paradiso. Inferno is just so much to get through that i count it! haha.

Kelly, you should email me your list! and also, yes, soulmates. giraffes are my FAVORITE! you can pet and feed them at both of our zoos here. it's AWESOME!