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30 April 2008 — Well Read

Nicole recently posted her responses to a book meme. I tend to shy away from memes, but in the spirit of self-congratulatory smugness, I’ll actually participate in this one. Because I happen to have read a lot of the books in the list, I can feel all proud that I’m more educated than you are! (Actually, for whatever reason, this list has a lot of overlap with our book group reading list, so I’ve read a lot of these books in the past decade, not just in my lifetime.)

In the list below, I’ve bolded books I’ve finished, italicized books I started but did not complete, made blue the books that I particularly love, and used red to indicate books I particularly dislike. The only problem with this list? No Proust.

The Aeneid
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
American Gods
Anansi Boys
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
Angels & Demons
Anna Karenina
Atlas Shrugged
The Blind Assassin
Brave New World
The Brothers Karamazov
The Canterbury Tales
The Catcher in the Rye
A Clockwork Orange
Cloud Atlas
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
A Confederacy of Dunces
The Confusion
The Corrections
The Count of Monte Cristo
Crime and Punishment
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
David Copperfield
Don Quixote
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Fountainhead
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
The God of Small Things
The Grapes of Wrath
Gravity’s Rainbow
Great Expectations
Gulliver’s Travels
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The Historian : a novel
The Hobbit
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Iliad
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
Jane Eyre
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
The Kite Runner
Les Misérables
Life of Pi : a novel
Love in the Time of Cholera
Madame Bovary
Mansfield Park
Memoirs of a Geisha
Mrs. Dalloway
The Mists of Avalon
Moby Dick
The Name of the Rose
Northanger Abbey
The Odyssey
Oliver Twist
The Once and Future King
One Hundred Years of Solitude
On the Road
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Oryx and Crake : a novel
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Pride and Prejudice
The Prince
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
The Satanic Verses
The Scarlet Letter (reading right now)
Sense and Sensibility
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Silmarillion
The Sound and the Fury
A Tale of Two Cities
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Time Traveler’s Wife
To the Lighthouse
Treasure Island
The Three Musketeers
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Vanity Fair
War and Peace
Watership Down
White Teeth
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
Wuthering Heights
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values

What about you? Has your book group managed to read a lot of these books in the past ten years, too? Or are you just an uneducated little waif?

Tags: Books  

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8 responses so far ↓
On 30 April 2008 (2:04 pm), Nikchick said:

The most embarrassing part about my responses to the meme are how many of the books I’ve started and not finished but was enjoying reading/listening to! I just have terrible discipline when it comes to reading…I allow myself to be distracted by a new shiny thing. I was looking at my book shelves last weekend and there are dozens of books on them with book marks still in them, as if I’ll get back to them someday.

On 30 April 2008 (3:32 pm), dave in bend said:

Good grief! I read “Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books” as “Ray Liotta in Tehran”. Yeesh, I need more coffee. However, Ray Liotta in Tehran may actually make an interesting book!

On 1 May 2008 (7:02 am), Jeff said:

Don’t blink or you’ll miss my list…

Angela’s Ashes - listened on tape (JD was playing it)
The Canterbury Tales - read most of it in high school (Brit Lit)
The Grapes of Wrath - I actually read this one cover to cover in high school (American Lit)
The Iliad - parts of it in high school (Humanities Class)
The Inferno - again, in high school (Humanities class)

I was supposed to read The Scarlet Letter and Tess of the D’Urbervilles (and probably lots of others) back then, too… but I didn’t want to… so I didn’t read them.

I’d like to read more, but reading just puts me to sleep… so I don’t think I’ll be joining any book clubs anytime soon.

On 1 May 2008 (7:39 am), Amanda said:

Wow, I’m feeling pretty smug myself with the number of these books that I’ve read (or at least attempted to read).

But JD! Please, I beg you. Explain to me your disdain for A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I do not understand.

On 2 May 2008 (5:53 am), Joel said:

This meme reminds me of the game Humiliation, as David Lodge described it in his novel Changing Places: Each person playing names the most famous work of literature that they’ve never read. For everyone in the group who has read it, they get a point. The person with the most points “wins”, but, of course, is probably a little humiliated. In the novel, an English professor wins by confessing that he’s never read Hamlet, and is subsequently passed over for tenure.

I’ll go first! I’ve never read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

On 2 May 2008 (8:10 am), Tiffany said:

Every time I see a list like this I wish that I would have had the foresight to starting tracking all the books that I have read in my life. I wish this for a few reasons:
1. I have read a lot of books (nowhere near Jds list) but I think it would be nice to see the tangible list.
2. I seem to forget the titles. This happens most with what I call ‘crap reads’. Those books that I read to not think. One summer I read all the P. Cornwell that I could find, but I cannot tell you which ones I read because the plots are so similar. It goes not help that the covers change overtime. On multiple occasions I have picked up a crap read only to get a couple chapters in and realize I have read it before.
3. People seem to ask my for book suggestions. I HATE recommending books. Just because I like a book does not mean you will.

I guess all I can do is start the list now, I can start with the book group list for the last few years.

On 2 May 2008 (9:27 am), Josh said:

Whoa! Hold on a minute….What kind of list contains both The Hobbit and the freaking Silmarillion, but fails to include Lord of the Rings? Do you automatically disallow any novel made into a series of films by Peter Jackson? I mean, I can understand the impetus to do so, what with riding the wave of backlash against a successful fantasy film franchise and all, but shouldn’t the original novel still make the cut? ;)

On 2 May 2008 (5:58 pm), mrs darling said:

I’ve read only ten of these and one was the Poisonwood Bible which I really liked.

Btw, I lived through The Scarlet Letter in a past lifetime. Thats why Ive read it 4 times.

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