My Facebook friend Meg sent me this list going around of 100 books. You are supposed to put in bold all the books that you have read completely and put in italics all the books you read part of.
The books listed just in normal type, those are the ones you never bothered even to open!
In many cases I had not even heard of the books.
I am pasting the list below with my, ahem, erudite comments. I counted up how many I had read and I think it was 39. I don't know, I counted it three times and got three different answers.
One thing though that bugs me, and has for a long time: Why do books matter so much in life, we are always obsessing about what we have read and not read, but music does not seem to matter?
How many of the eggheads who made up this list know "Don Giovanni"?
How many of them know who Leonard Pennario was? Had to throw that in.
Everyone knows all about the great books but no one knows anything about the great music. Music is not like books, is I guess one reason it gets short shrift. It is not, OK, been there, done that. Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony, you do not just cross it off your list and say, that's done.
And it is not fair, the way life goes when it comes to music. I got into music as a kid and, I mean, it takes up a lot of your time. And it did not take me long to realize that here I was listening -- and really learning, I mean getting them in my head -- all these symphonies and operas and string quartets and quintets and whatever, and it was doing me absolutely no good in school.
Here I was, I knew every word to Schubert's "Die Schoene Mullerin" by heart -- every song, every word, in German -- and I was flunking music. I am serious, I almost flunked music one year at Sacred Heart.
On my job now, it is not as if I am this Pollyanna but sometimes I blink and think, I cannot believe I have found some line of work that actually makes use of this knowledge. Who would ever have guessed? Not I, I will tell you that right now.
OK, enough wailing and howling and carrying on. My books, my opinionated comments:
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen.
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
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman. What, they're telling me I should read this Satanic book?
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
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk. I have not only never read this, I have never heard of it!
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger. I should read this, being something of a time traveler myself.
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. I have always wanted to read this because of its Catholic themes and when I am through with my book I will.
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll This never knocked me over the head the way it did other people but I read it. I like the Disney song.
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy. I read part of this but I think it should count as reading the whole thing because the part of it I read, I read when I was drunk in a hotel room.
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis. Isn't this part of the Narnia chronicle? Why is it listed separately?
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini. Pennario and I saw the movie but no, I never read the book.
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
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving. Lots of people I admire love this but I could not get into it, just couldn't.
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins. Who?
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood. I find her the most boring writer, I'm sorry. Bleak, boring.
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan. Saw this movie with Pennario too.
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen . I guess I really did the Jane Austen thing. "Emma" was the one I liked best.
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens . Another book I want to read when mine is done.
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. Saw this movie very memorably with Leonard.
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. Loved this swashbuckling stuff when I was a kid.
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac. Overrated.
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding . I admire this woman's success with this. I could not see reading this whole thing but parts of it made me laugh out loud.
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville . My dad was an English teacher and said this was the most boring book ever.
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker LOVED this when I was a kid. Plus Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett. I still think of this book all the time.
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath. Depressing because you can't help thinking how bad it all turned out. She strikes me as a weak and depressing person. She may be a good writer but I would not cross the street to read anything by her.
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray. My dad loved this book and I trust his judgment. I keep the copy he signed to me in my nightstand. I would like to finish this. I have tried but life always got in the way. One day I will.
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens. How can anyone not have read this? Come on.
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazu 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. I picked this up in a bookstore and read enough of it so I remember it. It seemed like a real weeper!
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. My dad read these to us. Every single story.We loved all of them. "A Study in Scarlet" is really creepy.
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (in English and French) I figure I read this whole silly book somewhere between French class and all the girls at Sacred Heart doing readings from it at Mass.
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams. This was my friend Anne's favorite book in high school and I promised her I would read it but I never have. I think it is about rabbits.
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. A great book, in a different way from the movie.
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo. But I can sing "Bring Him Home"! Does that count?