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tranquilsea's avatar

100 Books You Need To Read Before You Die?

Asked by tranquilsea (17655points) April 8th, 2010

Ok, it is stormy here: 100km/hr wind gusts with flying snow <blah>

There are many lists of “must reads”. Here is one I found that isn’t bad.

I have seen similar lists and have thought, “I have to get started” Although I’ve read a number on many of the lists.

How many books have you read compared to this list, or some other, and, have you ever contemplated plugging your way through a similar list?

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31 Answers

MorenoMelissa1's avatar

I would suggest the book “A Confederacy Of Dunces”

Vunessuh's avatar

I’ve only started to read 11 of the books on that list and out of the 11, I’ve only completed 5.

Other books I’ve completed and enjoyed (off of that list) are The Painted Bird, A Child Called It, Fast Food Nation and Go Ask Alice.
I’m not an avid reader. I could never get through any set list partially because I find many classics to be boring. With the exception of To Kill a Mockingbird. Love that book.

Draconess25's avatar

I’ll read almost anything. Except Twilight.

Jeruba's avatar

Any such list is going to be controversial. And all will have good recommendations on them. The titles I’d be sure to take a look at would be the handful that make all the lists.

I am a great reader and have been for more than half a century. I majored in English and have put away a lot of world-class literature. I have read at least an hour a day (at bedtime) for years and years. And yet I’ve never seen one of these lists on which I’ve read more than about 75% tops. I also see on all of them not just books I loved but also books that I couldn’t finish or couldn’t stand if I did.

These lists make a good starting point if you need guidance. But once you’ve found things that ring your bell, you’ll probably do best to follow those authors and branch out into other work that’s recommended by the people who like what you like.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I go through about 3 books a week. Mostly histories or Sci Fi.

iphigeneia's avatar

I’ve never decided to try and read through one of those lists, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across one that I agreed with even 50%.

I just read whatever’s interesting to me. Also, Life of Pi appears on almost all of them, and when I first picked that up, I put it back after the first page (I thought it was about the number, and I’m still annoyed that it’s not)

jaytkay's avatar

No Mark Twain? That kills the list for me.

lloydbird's avatar

Yes, there probably are.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Read this: “Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid” by Douglas R. Hofstadter

You will learn things you never thought possible. And learn about learning as well.

cyn's avatar

the Wizard of Oz, Ray Bradbury, Brave New World, Mark Twain….

Arp's avatar

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is a must.

trailsillustrated's avatar

of human bondage

filmfann's avatar

Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy
The Bible
The Harry Potter Series
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There
The Stand
Day of the Triffids

tranquilsea's avatar

I’ve read 18 books from that list. It is an interesting list as it isn’t predominately classic literature, although I love many classics.

Seek's avatar

From that list I’ve done:

The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien – read many times
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee – started it. Hated it.
The Harry Potter series – JK Rowling – (does this count as seven?)
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden – A darling book, if slightly controversial. I enjoyed it.
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien – Of course.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte – Hated it.
Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger – It wasn’t as bad as some of the others shoved down my throat in high school English
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte – snore
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams – Read it several times, and it’s always worth returning.
Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett – I’m about ¼ of the way through it. It’s very well written.
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – another force-feed from English class. I’ll probably read it again someday, just to get an untainted taste of it.
Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I cried. A glorious love story. I’m trying to get my hands on the film.
Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell – I reference this book far too often in daily life.
Chocolat – Joanne Harris – Not sure why this is on the list. It’s okay, but not great by any stretch of the imagination.
Dune – Frank Herbert – The spice must flow!
Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame – classic.
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott – read it in jr. high for a book report. Longest two weeks of my preteen life. I read it over in high school and appreciated it much better.
Lord of the Flies – William Golding – excellent.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis – I read this in the 4th grade, right after finishing “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” for the first time. I found Narnia to be childish and boring in comparison – and I was eight years old at the time. I’ve never bothered to re-read it.
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll – Best acid trip. ever.
The Red Tent – Anita Diamant – A story of the family of biblical Abraham, told from the perspective of his daughter Dinah. Very well written, and gives a lovely insight to the much-ignored women of the time period.
Watership Down – Richard Adams – If this doesn’t make you cry or think, you don’t have a soul.
The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas – A definite must-read, though I’ll warn the language is a little on the difficult side.

…....I really don’t think there were 101 on that list. It kind of cuts off at the bottom.

gailcalled's avatar

I’ve read 70 of the books, but I think it is a very odd list. Frank Herbert and Austen: Dan Browne and Barbara Kingsolver: very odd juxtapositions.

jaytkay's avatar

I’ve read 20 of the books on that list.

The ones I have NOT read, which I would like to read:

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Cry, the Beloved Country – Alan Paton
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
Midnight’’’‘s Children – Salman Rushdie
The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
The No. 1 Ladies’’’’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Crime and Punishment – Feodor Dostoyevsky
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

Cruiser's avatar

I did the Great Book series and numerous book lists as a kid and love those kind of challenges. Go for it!

gailcalled's avatar

@jaytkay: The No. 1 Ladies is charming and a quick and easy read. Precious Ramotswe is a favorite heroine of mine.

Now, Crime and Punishment will take weeks (years in my case).

Pride and Prejudice is also fun and can be read in bed without requiring elastic wrist supports.

Mamradpivo's avatar

I’ve read 28 of these, but I think the list is far too modern to be a comprehensive list of what you should read. Here’s my favorite list: it’s in spreadsheet form so you can track what you’ve read by century, etc. http://johnandsheena.co.uk/books/?page_id=1806

faye's avatar

I have read and enjoyed about 75% of those books. I don’t see why a person who hates fantasy or sci-fi should be exposed to some of them! I love it. Plus many of those books have been movies, I often don’t want to read the book after seeing the movie.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

My favorite “The Mill On The Floss” by George Eliot. Another good one “The Great Gatsby” by F.Scott Fitzgerald.

SamIAm's avatar

that’s a very interesting list! i was going to recommend (although, i have not finished it) Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – same goes for The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera…..

thriftymaid's avatar

around 20 down

jazmina88's avatar

Hundred Years of Solitude is awesome

add celestine prohecy and the bible

anartist's avatar

That is a very peculiar list. A significant proportion of it children’s literature that is popular with adults [Lord of the Rings and Hobbit, Narnia series, Harry Potter series, Alice in Wonderland Little Prince etc], a good dollop of speculative fiction [Dune, Clan of the Cave Bear, Hitchiker etc] another is a selection of popular novels of mid 20th century that I guess have become classics [Catcher in the Rye, To Kill A Mockingbird, Catch 22, Garp, 100 years of solitude]—only a few of what were considered classics when I was in school —who makes these lists and why?

tranquilsea's avatar

People who love to read and want to share, just as we are doing here. I love being able to share a good book with someone and have them like/love it too.

I like looking at different lists as every one is biased towards the list maker (of course).

Seek's avatar

You know, @tranquilsea

I should totally make one of those lists. In fact, we all should, and compare. ^_^

tranquilsea's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr lol we should.

My brain seems to be wired so that once something is mentioned 3 times, like a book recommendation, I have to read it. That is why I like reading people’s top lists.

Jeruba's avatar

Here’s a list of lists for you. The featured list here includes a synopsis of each book.

tranquilsea's avatar

Thanks for the link. I’ve saved it for future dry spots.

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