books, books, books.

While in Fiji I finally had the time to actually sit back and read a book. This sounds like a pretty menial activity to be excited about, but with all the wedding and work commotion of late, I hadn’t had time to partake in one of my favorite pastimes until I was stranded in the South Pacific. I chose the occasion to read On The Road by Jack Kerouac – the 1950s beat classic and it did not disappoint. It was pure and revolutionary and beautiful – I absolutely couldn’t put it down. Devouring a book of such quality left me feeling slightly shamed of some of my previous reads – Russell Brand’s biography, some awful chick-lit and lots of trashy magazines. Sometimes the mind does need some lighthearted escapism, but a well-written novel should nonetheless never be overlooked.

As we’ve mentioned many, many times before – we love lists around here on FLM and so I started researching lists of ‘must-read’ novels. There are a few – the Time Magazine 100 best novels (although this list only includes those written from 1923 onwards because that was when the magazine was first published), the World Library 100 Best Books by the Norwegian Book Club… and some others that were compiled out there on the world wide web. But the one that took my fancy was from the trusty BBC – 100 books to read before you die. A quick count saw that I had already read 42 of these literary gems and so an idea began to form.

What if I gave myself a deadline (2 years) to finish the other 58 books? That’s about one book every two weeks – ambitious I know, but when I’m on holidays I read about 3 books in a week so hopefully it will all balance out. So I’m planning to work my way down the list, borrowing books from the library and friends where I can until I turn the last page on A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute (the final unread book on the list), hopefully with a more extensive vocabulary, expanded mind and appreciation of some of the most well-known and best-loved books of our time.

I’ll keep you updated on how it goes – wish me luck!

BBC 100 books to read before you die (I’ve bolded those I have not yet read)

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 Traveller’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

31. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

32. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

33. Emma – Jane Austen

34. Persuasion – Jane Austen

35. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis

36. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

37. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

38. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

39. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

40. Animal Farm – George Orwell

41. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

42. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

43. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

44. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

45. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

46. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

47. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

48. Lord of the Flies – William Golding

49. Atonement – Ian McEwan

50. Life of Pi – Yann Martel

51. Dune – Frank Herbert

52. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

53. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

54. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

55. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

56. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

57. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

58. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

59. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

60. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

61. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

62. The Secret History – Donna Tartt

63. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

64. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

65. On The Road – Jack Kerouac

66. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

67. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

68. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

69. Moby Dick – Herman Melville

70. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

71. Dracula – Bram Stoker

72. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

73. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

74. Ulysses – James Joyce

75. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

76. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

77. Germinal – Emile Zola

78. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

79. Possession – AS Byatt

80. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

81. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

82. The Color Purple – Alice Walker

83. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

84. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

85. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

86. Charlotte’s Web – EB White

87. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

88. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

89. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

90. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

91. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

92. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

93. Watership Down – Richard Adams

94. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

95. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

96. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

97. Hamlet – William Shakespeare

98. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

99. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

100. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy


2 thoughts on “books, books, books.

  1. What a huge task – good luck. It sounds interesting in theory but I don’t think I could commit to it (especially not in 2 years)! Maybe one day I’ll come close as pretty much my whole high school students novel list are on there.. Maybe thats how they choose the novels for the kids.. Haha!

  2. Pingback: Reading challenges | Persimmon Frost

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