Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friends, Facebook, and Fiction

Through facebook I have been rekindling some friendships from the past... it has been so much fun to get a glimpse of the lives of so many people that have been an important part of my life. Yesterday I was chatting with Rebecca, a friend from high school that I lost touch with after graduation, and we chatted a little bit about books. I was so impressed with her goodreads list because she has read such a wide variety of literature and so many important books. I feel like I'm at a point in life that I can fit pleasure reading into many of my days, but I usually just read fluff (see the sidebar of books read this year).

Then, I saw this today on Jill's blog and thought it would be interesting to do... It was fun to see that I actually have read some books that are deemed important by some group that sounds credible enough to decide which books are important. I was surprised to find that I have read 25 of them... not bad, but not great.

The Big Read is a National Endowment for the Arts program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six.

Here’s what you are supposed to do:
*Look at the list and bold those we have read.
*Italicize those we intend to read.
*Underline the books we LOVE. Share this list on your blog, too, if you like.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (I listened to it on tape, but intend to read it someday!)
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 (I've read parts, but intend to read the whole thing)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (I have started this a few times, but couldn't get into it... I am determined to read it at some point in my life)
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 (I tried on this one too, just couldn't get into it)
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
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens (I watched it on Masterpiece Theatre, does that count?)
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 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (I've read a few, but not the complete series)

34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
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 Meany - 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

I didn't underline the ones I loved, because to be honest, there aren't many books that I don't love (aside from that, I don't know how to underline in blogger!). My ratings on goodreads are usually on the higher end rather than the lower end... Don't ask me to discuss plot, characters, themes, or motifs very long after I've read a book though, becuase I can't seem to store anything of importance in my long term memory. I have to read my book club books as close to our meeting as possible if I want to contribute anything meaningful to the discussion (which is still arguable).

The most surprising thing to me is that although I consider myself a Jane Austen fan and follower, I've never actually READ one of her books. That's pathetic, I must say. I'm thinking that Masterpiece Theatre does not count :).

**Are you on facebook and goodreads?
**Are there books that I didn't italicize (intend to read) that you would highly recommend?
**Will you do this on your blog too?
**How about books missing from this list of "top books"? What would you add?
**Which Jane Austen book should I read first?
**Do you know how to underline text in blogger? Do you want to share your knowledge?


Amanda D said...

So many questions! First, I just joined facebook. My SIL has urged me too and she is my only friend. i haven't had time to look around much. Also, I LOVE goodreads. I have found so many books on there that I wouldn't have read otherwise.

I probably wont do this book list on my blog because I think that I have read like two of them. And I read a ton! I would add "Goodnight, Mr. Tom" by Michelle Magorian. My all-time favorite book.

I don't know how to underline text in blogger but if you download Windows Live Writer you can use your own fonts, underline text and use the strike out text. And you don't have to be online to write posts and publish. Highly recommend it.

Cheri said...

I'd read "Emma" first! I actually really liked it, and I don't like "old"/"classic" books much (funny that I was an English major). But, parts of it are very funny and there have been so many modern movie adaptations of it, so it's fun to find those connections.

I use Facebook and it's fun to check in on people from high school, but I find it annoying how people try to promote their political platforms BIG TIME on there - that part gets a little old. But it's a great tool/site for re-connecting, definitely.

avalon88 said...

Ha ha - Ditto for me on the Jane Austen front. Big fan, have never actually read her books! We must have the same DNA!

Jill said...

I think that you should read Persuasion first. It is great, not as well-known as most, and short.

Anonymous said...

(I'm not trying to be anonymous... but it wouldn't accept my password, oh well. - :) )

I was reading your blog (which I adore) and when I came across "Rebecca" I was shocked, and thought, "Does she mean me?!" and then I thought how very likely it is that you have another friend named Rebecca who loves to read and how stupid I would look thinking it was me to whom you were referring. (But, let me pretend that it was me and say, wow. thanks.)

1. You MUST read Pride and Prejudice first. I try to read it yearly. I love the movies but you cannot glean the nuanced words without READING them. After you've read P&P, if you really just can't get enough of Jane Austen, then I encourage the others... Emma and Sense and Sensibility are great... (Persuasion in next on my list) but I think you can get the full feel for Austen through P&P alone.

2. My husband would argue that Dune is one of the best books ever written. I have seen the movie and it IS very interesting... I'm going to trust him and put Dune on my "to read" list.

3. I love Goodreads for many reasons, one of which it is such a motivator for me to read. I love to see what my friends are reading and compare how we feel about a book. I love finding books that I wouldn't pick out myself. I love my "to read" list and I look at my list with anticipation for the time I get to each book. There is always a good book waiting for me. I like looking at the "classics" that I've read and feeling smart. I like looking at my list in reverse chronological order and seeing the literary path that has gotten me to this point in my life. It's part of who I am.

Bryan and Amanda Russ said...

I too have only listened to Austen Tapes and movies, Pathetic, but I appreciate the earlier comments. I also share the short term memory loss, so they can all feel new again.
Thanks for the inspiration.