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There is a meme going around saying that the NEA's Big Read project claims that Americans have only read six of the "top 100 books." I take issue with this for several reasons. First of all, if you go to the NEA's Web site for The Big Read, the list they claim there is much smaller and seems only to promote reading, not blame people for not reading. Second of all, I think most of this list has been pilfered from the BBC's own Big Read project, which had Britons nominate and vote on their top 100 favorite books back in April 2003. I really wonder what Americans would say if you looked for their top 100 books. And how different the lists would be based on who asked the question. Third, the original meme says to post this in your blog so the NEA can track you down. Right, because the NEA is going to get government funding so they can hire interns to google and find your blog to see how literate everyone is. If they really wanted to know, they would put some actual surveying power to work.

Anyway, I repost this list, mostly because I like to surprise myself with how many books I haven't read and how many books I simply don't care about (I'm sorry, but Dickens, anyone?).

Here are the rules, which I have altered slightly (I feel there is a big difference between books I've started and books I intend to read someday):

1) Bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you have started but haven't finished.
3) Place an asterisk by those you intend to read/finish someday.
4) Mark in a different color the books you LOVE.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (I think I love this one. I've only read it twice, though, and while I really liked it and consider it a favorite, I think I have to read something more than twice to be able to say I LOVE it.)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (I have tried. And tried. And TRIED. For the sake of my father and my brother, I have tried. And I cannot get past the first one.)
* 3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (While I do believe in a healthy relationship with scriptures, I don't think my faith or my spiritual life will be lacking any if I never get around to reading all the begats of the Old Testament.)
* 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 (I have to admit, I really, really enjoyed this book. Not enough to LOVE it, but I enjoyed it.)
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (Again with the trying for my dad.)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
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 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
* 34 Emma - Jane Austen (Emma kind of started to bother me, unfortunately...)
* 35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (Why ask about this one and the series separately?)
* 37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
* 38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (Another one I own and have never read. And the title is simply Corelli's Mandolin. Captain Corelli's Mandolin is the movie. And yes, I'm a jerk.)
* 39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (I love this book even more as an adult than I did as a kid.)
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 (Who doesn't love this book? Except for Meg Cabot, but clearly that's a different story.)
* 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 (I'm sure the literary purists will tell me I shouldn't love this book. But this book and I have a long history.)
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 (I LOVED this book as a child. I haven't read it in years. I should dig it up again.)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson (Okay, so here I break my own LOVE rule. And honestly, I LOVED A Walk in the Woods more than this one, probably because I have been on hikes through the wilderness and have never been to England. But somehow I feel like I will be rereading enough Bryson to put him in the LOVE category a bit prematurely.)
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 (One day! I swear on Grant's Tomb that one day Elisabeth and I will make it through this book!)
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
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (I can't remember if I actually finished this or just pretended I did.)
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


( 5 in harmony — strike a chord )
Jul. 12th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
Abbi, I love that you love Bill Bryson, too! I'm definitely going to create our own "top 100." This will be a terribly nerdy guilty pleasure.
Jul. 25th, 2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
Roald Hugo Victor Dahl
nuff said:

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Sep. 24th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
thank you
thank you, dude
Sep. 28th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
thanks much
favorited this one, guy
Oct. 7th, 2008 04:29 am (UTC)
Cool page!
i am gonna show this to my friend, man
( 5 in harmony — strike a chord )

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