My List of 100

There’s no end to all the lists out there, of books you must read – the best of the century, the best by women, the best nonfiction, the ones that changed the world. They come from bloggers, authors, bookstores, websites, magazines and newspapers and the BBC. I’ve written my own, naturally. These are the books that I feel you simply must read… in no particular order:

1. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
3. For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
4. The Odyssey, Homer
5. Little House in the Big Woods (and really the whole Little House series), Laura Ingalls Wilder
6. The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
7. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
8. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare
9. My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte Taylor
10. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
11. The Oresteia, Aeschylus
12. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe
13. China Boy, Gus Lee
14. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
15. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
16. Life in the Iron Mills, Rebecca Harding Davis
17. Pretty Good for a Girl, Leslie Heywood
18. Ten Points, Bill Strickland
19. The BFG, Roald Dahl
20. Cannery Row, John Steinbeck
21. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley
22. The Girl with the Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
23. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
24. The Immortal Class: Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human Power, Travis Hugh Culley
25. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich
26. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
27. The Edible Woman, Margaret Atwood
28. The Princess Bride, William Goldman
29. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
30. The Courage of Their Convictions: Sixteen Americans Who Fought Their Way to the Supreme Court, Peter Irons
31. We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver
32. The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
33. Hatchet, Gary Paulsen
34. The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
35. Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey
36. Lysistrata, Aristophanes
37. 1984, George Orwell
38. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
39. Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
40. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
41. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
42. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas
43. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
44. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
45. Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck
46. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
47. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
48. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
49. The Reckoning, Sharon Kay Penman
50. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
51. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
52. Dethroning the King, Julie Macintosh
53. Fire Season, Philip Connors
54. Hemingway’s Boat, Paul Hendrickson
55. A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman, Alice Kessler-Harris
56. The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver
57. Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor, Hali Felt
58. Still Alice, Lisa Genova
59. Endgame, Derrick Jensen
60. Young Men and Fire, Norman Maclean
61. Dirt Work, Christine Byl
62. Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver
63. The Forest Lover, Susan Vreeland
64. The Barbarian Nurseries, Hector Tobar
65. Clara and Mr. Tiffany, Susan Vreeland
66. Once Upon a River, Bonnie Jo Campbell
67. Before the Rain, Luisita Lopez Torregrosa
68. The Longest Race, Ed Ayres
69. Real Man Adventures, T Cooper
70. The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller
71. The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson
72. Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
73. She Got Up Off the Couch, Havel Kimmel
74. A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean
75. Speaking Truth to Power, Anita Hill
76. Pieces of White Shell, Terry Tempest Williams
77. MetaMaus, Art Spiegelman
78. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce
79. Gretel and the Dark, Eliza Granville
80. Grizzly Years, Doug Peacock
81. The Brothers Lionheart, Astrid Lindgren
82. The Story of My Heart, Richard Jefferies
83. The Jaguar’s Children, John Vaillant

…if you’ve noticed this list does not reach 100 just yet, never fear. I’m comfortable with that. I think that if I live, and keep reading, long enough (hope hope!) we’ll get there.

21 Responses

  1. […] just for fun. Skip to content HomeAbout JuliaBooks I Wish to ReadMy FavoritesMy List of 100 ← Life According to Literature several pots on the fire […]

  2. I DEFINITELY recommend The Little House books and Little Women!! I read them for the first time last year. 🙂

    (Have you read Jane Eyre? A must read.)

  3. Hi Jillian! I did read Jane Eyre, but I’m in the minority: it didn’t stand out to me. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but I didn’t find it remarkable. To each her own. In my book, Wuthering Heights was the Bronte masterpiece.

    • I plan to reread Jane Eyre. I have a feeling I’ll continue to adore it. It was my first classic and turned me on to all the others I’m reading.

      Wuthering Heights was awesome but difficult! I preferred Jane Eyre and Villette, though I respect Wuthering Heights. I think I’d need to read it SEVERAL more times to appreciate all that is there. For me, it felt like a whole lot of really loud noise that might have been awesome if I’d become accustomed to all the sound. Too much all at once, but unraveling it could be an adventure. I wish Emily had written another.

      • Oh gosh, me too so much: wish Emily had written more. Isn’t it interesting to hear different viewpoints? I know I’m in the minority when it comes to Jane vs Wuthering Heights. It fascinates me. I can’t believe you found Jane easier! We’re a diverse world, aren’t we?

  4. I’ve read 14! Interestingly, your list includes some of my favourites (Pride and Prejudice, Alice, 1984 etc) and some that I didn’t like at all (Kevin, Gatsby)… curious!

  5. I’ve read 25 of these — and I recommend Jane Eyre, too, though coming it to the first time as an adult, rather an impressionable pre-adolescent to adolescent, may be a very different experience. I loved it in those years and later, in a few lonely, single years living far from home I read it once a year on Christmas and found it immensely comforting. More recently, I just wait for the TV and movie adaptations every couple of years … I read Wuthering Heights once, as an adult, and didn’t like it much — found the characters kind of annoying. Perhaps by that time I was too confirmed in my Jane allegiance …

  6. Hey! I wish I had a more appropriate way to contact you about a review query (never mind that I feel a bit sheepish about trying to elbow in ahead of Anna Karenina), but looking at your 100 list I wondered if my might be interested in taking a look at My Life as Laura. My website is below or you can check out my Amazon page. I’m Googley. I met Bonnie Jo Campbell at Montana and she called me “Laura Ferguson” in her blog. Ha! Your bookshelves look full but if you have the time/inclination I’m happy to send a review copy. You also know there’s a Laurapalooza, right? Thanks, KKF.

    • Hello Kelly! Lol about Anna K. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, and maybe I should take your hint about a review contact… I’m sending you an email about your Laura book. Thanks for thinking of me!

  7. Great list! Thanks for sharing. I’ve read quite a few and I’ve added a few to my list.

  8. I’m reading Travels with Charley now.

  9. Love so many of these books. I wish I could get more people to pick up The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s the perfect revenge story. As a major Hemingway fan I find it odd that none of his books are my “#1 favorite” since I read Out of Africa. Later discovered that it was up for the Pulitzer that Hemingway won for The Old Man and the Sea, and he even acknowledged that Out of Africa deserved the prize more. We both know Hemingway’s competitive nature so how extraordinary is that? He even went in to mention it in passing in A Moveable Feast. If you haven’t read it you should definitely add it to the que (Another fave and Hem contemporary is All Quiet on the Western Front, which I found gripping and transplanting).

    • You know, All Quiet didn’t resonate with me much… but I’m pretty sure I read it in ninth grade (for class). Maybe it was too early for me. And I haven’t read Out of Africa, so thanks for the nudge. I keep wanting to reread The Count! When will we find the time??

  10. I highly recommend you try some Willa Cather, probably starting with My Antonia. But then, maybe you have read her and just was not impressed. Surprisingly, she received a Pulitzer Prize for a book I’ve never read, One of Ours, about World War I.

    • I read My Antonia a long time ago, but I’d be willing to try again. I like different things now. I’m vague on everything pre-blog at this point, I confess.

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