Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy New Year!

I had a wonderful time away and was able to get caught up on a lot of my to-do list. The smartest thing I did over the holidays? Close to queries. It allowed me to catch up on what I had in my in-box and refresh after a wonderful year. Now I can go into 2011 with a nearly clean in-box and hungry for something fresh and new. What am I looking for? Well, keep an eye out for a later post on that topic.

For today I want to talk about New Year’s Resolutions. They aren’t something I typically make because it’s just another thing to add stress to my life. Sure, I want to get to the gym more, and of course I want to keep the top of my desk clean. Those aren’t New Year’s Resolutions, though, they’re everyday resolutions. That being said, I was inspired by something on Facebook of all places for a new, let’s call it, Lifetime Resolution.

If you’re on Facebook you’ve undoubtedly seen the Book List Challenge. It’s purported to be from the BBC, a list of 100 books that they believe most people will have read only six of. I think it’s fair to say that most people reading this blog will have read more than six. That being said, there are still a huge number I haven’t read. So my Lifetime Resolution: to read at least one of those books a year (let’s make this realistic) until I’ve read all 100.

Before I go any further let me tell you that I think some of the list is a little lame. I mean, why do you need to read the entire Harry Potter series (as the original list states), and why is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on there as well as The Chronicles of Narnia? It seems silly. So my rules will be that I don’t necessarily need to read the entire Harry Potter series unless I want to. One book should be enough. After all, this isn’t about torturing yourself if you don’t like what you’re reading, it’s about trying some new things. That being said, I will also work my hardest to complete each book, but life is too short and if I really am not enjoying myself, then trying is enough.

Facebook has an app now called Book List Challenge, and I think I’m going to use that app to track my progress (some of the books from the app are different from the list below). If you follow me on Facebook, I think you should be able to track my progress too. I believe it’s called Book List Challenge.

Anyway, for those who haven’t yet seen the list but are interested in participating, here is one variation. There are many. And for the record, I’ve placed an asterisk by those I’ve read.

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2. The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien

*3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

*4. Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling (I’ve read the first book, which is what the FB app list has on it)

*5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6. The Bible

7. Wuthering Heights

*8. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

*10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

*11. Little Women - Louisa May 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 – J. R. R. Tolkien

17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

*18. Catcher in the Rye – J. D. 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

24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25. The Hitchhiker’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. The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis

34. Emma – Jane Austen

35. Persuasion – Jane Austen

*36. The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis

*37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere

39. Memoirs of a Geisha - William Golden

*40. Winnie-the-Pooh – A. A. 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 Meaney – John Irving

45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

*46. Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery

47. Far from the Madding Crowd _ Thomas Hardy

48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

*49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding (Hate this book!!!)

50. Atonement - Ian McEwan

51. Life of Pi - Yann Martell

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

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 - A. S. Byatt

*81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82. Cloud Atlas - Charles Mitchell

83. The Colour 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 - E. B. 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 & the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

And since I’m staring at a copy of The Hobbit, I think that’s as good a place as any to start.

***Quick reminder--Rosalie Lario was the winner of the last contest of 2010. Two mystery galleys. Please email your address to If I don't have it by the end of the day I'll randomly pick another winner from today's comments.



Anonymous said...

Happy New Year BookEnds!

Wow, that's quiet the list already. I'd skip some of the list too. But there are definitely books listed there that I loved. Good luck with the challenge.

For the new year, I've joined in a challenge as well. At a blog: The Story Siren, there's a challenge to read at least one debut author book a month. I thought it sounded fun and also loved the thought of supporting more debut authors.

Have a great year!

Booklady said...

Happy New Year! This is quite a list. I think I've read about 1/3 of the books on here and there are a few others that I tried, but couldn't finish. They are many on the list that I would like to read, so maybe I'll add this to my "get it done" list. Reading a book or two a year until you've finished is not a bad way to do it.

Beverly aka Booklady

MAGolla said...

Happy New Year! When I got my Kindle for Christmas I loaded it up with some freebies. I'm currently reading Treasure Island, with Alice in Wonderland and A Christmas Carol waiting in the wings. I have The Hobbit sitting on my desk waiting for my 25th reading. :-) The book is old, yellowed and worn and I'm debating buying it for my Kindle.

Sheila Connolly said...

The good news is, I think I've read over seventy of the list. The bad news is, many of them I read in high school or college--very few in the last decade. And there are some on the list I haven't even heard of.

If there's a message in there, it's that we need to get kids to read as much as possible, because as you get older there's less and less time for reading.

Schoen said...

That's a great idea! Unfortunately, I've probably read half of them and can't remember what they're about. Usually, I like that forgetful part of my brain, so I can reread the books on my shelf over and over. And over. And..

susanmeier said...

Sadly, I recognized some titles as books I've read but can't remember the stories!

My new years resolution was to enjoy my life more...and to read what I wanted, not what I felt compelled to do.

But I could do one book from this list every year. I currently have a copy of GONE WITH THE WIND on my bedside table ... maybe I'll start there ... after I finish the Nora Roberts Bride Quartet and find a new Linnea Sinclair! LOL

Or since GWTW is so long maybe I'll read it as I read other 3 pages a day or something?

susan meier

Rosemary said...

Jessica, how I envy you reading Emma and Persuasion for the first time. I don't know if you've made your choice for 2011, but I'd go with one of these!

ryan field said...

I've read about 25, and I may read more, but not right now. I'm re-reading all of Toni Morrison's books right now and she wasn't even on the list (How can Americans not read The Bluest Eye?). And what about Henry James and O. Henry? I didn't see Look Homeward Angel on the list either.

I'm going to politely pass on this one. I was an English major and read far too many books I didn't want to read. My lifetime resolution after graduation was that I'd choose my own reading list.

Eleven Eleven said...

I've read over half of this list, and I see five here that are already on my to-read list for 2011. Interesting list, thanks for sharing.

Andrea Coulter said...

My score was 33. There are at least a dozen on my "I keep meaning to read this" list, so maybe I'll give this list to my book club!

Anna said...

My two cents: read Catch-22 first. I laughed until I cried and then I laughed again. It's hands down one of my top three favorite books.

Kate Douglas said...

I've only read 34 of them, but I could never finish the list as I imagine I'm the only woman on earth who can't force myself to read Jane Austen. A lot of the other books I'm familiar enough with to know I'd never put myself through the emotional wringer they promise. this point in my life, I'm not searching for meaning--I'm looking for a good, entertaining read that will leave me feeling upbeat about things. I have to agree with Ryan Field--as an English major, I had to read too many books that made my eyes bleed. Now I read for pleasure.

Eileen said...

A Prayer for Owen Meany (#44) is one of my favorite books of all time. I must have re-read it at least ten times.

So many good books! (although if I'm honest The Hobbit didn't do it for me so I'm wishing you better luck) Happy Reading

Kristin Laughtin said...

May you have enough time and life to at least sample all of them!

Marilynn Byerly said...

Not surprisingly, the list is Anglocentric. I don't see any number of older American authors who should be on the list but aren't including Twain and Faulkner.

I didn't bother counting, but I've read a vast majority of these books, the exceptions being the very modern and questionable inclusions. The joy of having almost three degrees in literature.

The Novel Road said...

I've read about 30% of the list. I'm a bit suprised Vonnegut's work didn't make the list

All the Best in 2011


Elizabeth Lynd said...

I've read about half of them. Based on the fact that I remember the ones I have read, I'd have to say it's likely a pretty good list. Tackling it in my lifetime seems realistic, definitely. Add it to traveling to every continent as a lifetime goal!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I read a good chunk of the ones on this list but a lot of them were for school.

I didn't read nearly as many books as I wanted to but I did find some wonderful new/new to me authors and some great books. I did a blog post about my absolute favorites of 2010 -

Anonymous said...

I've read around 1/4 of the list.

While checking through the list, I noticed you haven't read Gone With the Wind.

I highly recommend that is an amazing read (and my personal favorite so of course I'm a bit biased)

Happy reading,

Christi Corbett

Shaunna said...

The quiz I took on Facebook had a couple of changes from your list, but I was still surprised to see multiple works by the same author (Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, for example) at the exclusion of others I would recommend. That said, I think the only one on the list that I had read but did not enjoy and would never read again was James Joyce's Ulysses. Helped me realize that, even after two degrees in English, I still have some classics to look forward to as well as new authors to discover. Thanks for the heads up.

Liz said...

I was surprised at how many of those I had read (55!), but not as surprised as I was to find out how many people have not read Pride & Prejudice. Really? REALLY? This is probably how people feel when I tell them I fell asleep during Star Wars.

BookEnds, A Literary Agency said...

There are a lot of books I feel are missing from this list and a few that, frankly, while I haven't read them I'm not sure they deserve this list.

I know it's shocking that I haven't read Pride & Prejudice, but keep in mind I was not an English major and it seems to me that many read her for required reading first. That being said, I adore Edith Wharton and have read many of her books. Why aren't they on here?

I did read a good chunk of GWTW but for some reason never finished. Distracted I would imagine.

What I've come to realize is that being "well read" means different things to different people I haven't read Austen, but I've read a lot of other authors many haven't. Unfortunately, there will never be enough time to read all I want to read.


Jill James said...

Nice list. I've read 36 of those titles. More than I thought I had. I need to read some Jane Austen to round out my reading.

Erica B said...

This doesn't have anything to do with the list, but I read The Hunger Games after you raved about it on the blog. I. Love. It. I can't get enough of it! I am now on the third book and don't know what I'm doing to do when I don't have one to read anymore! Excellent recommendation!

rivqa said...

Great resolution but it's not really from the BBC. Here's the source of the meme, which has evolved since this article was written:

MomCO3 said...

What a list! A little heavy on Jane Austen, maybe. And do they want us to read Hamlet twice-- once by itself, and once as part of The Complete Works?
Thanks for posting.

Carolyn Rosewood said...

Love that list. We had that going around Facebook as well, and I think we've proved the BBC wrong. :)

Robena Grant said...

Happy New Year everyone.

I've started about 40% of this list, and completed about 35%. Some just weren't my style. You've reminded me of several books I'd intended to read though, so thanks.

Cathy Keaton said...

Ulysses?? Anyone who can read that whole book deserves a gold medal. And, I intentionally will not read Lolita...

I'm also reading The Hobbit right now. The movies will be out in a couple of years, very likely.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I've read 26 full and 4 half-way and then not wanted more.
So, that's my score. sort of 28.

But, I've only read about 6 because they were assigned or called "important reading" and ALL the ones I've loved have been for pleasure.

Lucy said...

@ Ryan Field

As one English major to another, LOL!!!!

Let me put it this way, I've read all the books that I WANTED to read from that list, and a few that I didn't. So I'm not feeling any major compulsion to join the challenge.

Seriously, though, it's an interesting selection. Something for most tastes, I imagine.

Lucy said...

And no I would NOT read Lolita. (That's two of us, Cathy.)

Sheila Deeth said...

Congratulations. I got totally left behind by my to-do list.

Yevgeny said...

I've read 16 of these books. Sad when compared to other commenters here! I do plan to read all of them in my lifetime; I'm kind of taking a stab at it now.

I linked this post in my blog because the challenge is a lot like what I am attempting to do: read one hundred books in the coming year.

I think my next read off this list will be Emma. Did you know the movie Clueless was based on it?

Martin Willoughby said...

I've read 23 of them (assuming 7 harry potters count as one). I have to say though, that three of them I started and gave up on as they were dull and uninteresting.

I did enjoy Brave New World a lot, as I did 1984. Swallows and Amazon was one I was forced to read at school and am glad I have forgotten.

Mary Ellen Hughes said...

Jessica, I'm shocked - truly shocked - that you haven't read Pride and Prejudice. :-) On the other hand, I've never read Bridget Jones's Diary. Wonder what that says about us?

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, a good number of these are also in the Kindle Top 100 for free downloads.

Anonymous said...

I have such a love/hate relationship with these lists. I feel like I should read all of them, or at least give them a chance. On the other hand, there are so many good books out there that I have a hard time committing to someone else's list. The old conundrum...

GEORGIAM said...

I recently read “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”. It‘s different from your average novel since it’s written in the point of view of an autistic teen. I enjoyed reading it and it’s a short novel. I suggest you start your resolution with that one, that way you might get ahead and read more than 1 book from that list in a year :)

Cindy Procter-King said...

I've read 53 of those books. 53.5 if you count that I got stuck halfway through Shakespeare's histories.

I have read the Bible in its entirety. Took me 9 months and I didn't read anything else in that time. I was fresh out of university and had taken a course on the Bible as Literature, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. Well, I was single, and I didn't have kids. Not sure I could do it now.

I loved The Hobbit (played Bilbo in a play as a child, so our teacher got us started early) and loved The Lord of the Rings, which I read when I was 20 (I remember because I had a waitressing job in a 24-hour place, and I read it on my breaks). But I can not abide the LOTR movies. They put me to sleep!

Anonymous said...

Cindy - 53 books? Fifty-three!! You are my hero.

Carradee said...

Hm. I've read 36 of them, with some on my to-be-read pile, and some on my never-to-be-read pile. (Victor Hugo, for example: I've tried to read him before. I also have no interest in reading Dan Brown.)

Unknown said...

Wow, there's a lot of Jane Austin on there! What's a girl to do if you've read one or two books and simply don't like them or her style?

Mike H. said...

Happy New Year to all. This is my first post on a blog, so please bear with me. Regarding the list that was posted, there's another one that I follow, I'm sure there are many others as well, called 100 best novels listed on Modern Library website. here's the url.

Having reached my goal of reading 100 books in the year 2010, I'm not certain as what I'll read in 2011. Perhaps I'll go for more quality than quality this year.

All the best and thanks!

Ann Elise Monte said...

Well, I have to read "Atonement" for class this year so there's one. Tried to read "1984" and got bored halfway through, which is supposedly just before it gets good. Whatever. I found such little enjoyment in the first half that I refuse to read the second.

I've read "Lord of the Flies" and "Of Mice and Men" for school. I didn't mind either of them, but they're definitely not my thing. Then again, most of the books on that list wouldn't be. I'm not much for Victorian or literary fiction, though I do want to have a crack at reading Dickens just to say I have.

I've read the whole Harry Potter series, and loved it. The first book is probably the worst. They get a lot better after that.