The Idiot Learns to Read #1: The List

A few years ago, I was in Columbia Mall in the Borders bookstore, and like most bookstores, it’s all set up by genre and whatnot.  You know, like all the sci-fi over here and the romances over there, and self help in the corner, and children’s books in the back.  They had one wall where they had all the classics.  By classics, I mean all those books you were supposed to read in high school, the books that were on summer reading lists, stuff you should have before you went to college.  I really liked that wall.  There were a few books that I suffered through, but then there were so many I had yet to read.  I decided that I was going to work my way through that wall. 

I never did.  I didn’t even start with book one.  Back then I was heavily into the romance genre, and I still am, but I couldn’t see myself putting down a light-hearted useless book to pick up some serious intellectual reading.  Reading is supposed to be relaxing, a way to unwind and to escape to some fantasy land.  Who wants to do school type reading?

Maybe it’s because I’m getting on in years (hahaha) but suddenly I have that same desire to go back and read all the books I should have read, and re-read the books I did but didn’t do proper justice.  I did read a lot of Shakespeare, but I also did quite a bit of Cliff’s Notes just trying to cram in time for an exam.  Some books I gave up on because they escaped me:  Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.  Maybe now I’m of the right mindset to understand them. 

I have comprised a list of 62 novels/books/collected works/poetry/whatever considered to be classic.  I know that I might have left something important off the list, but I didn’t want to spend a year trying to compile the perfect list.  If I’ve forgotten something, let me know and when I come back for part two, I’ll be sure to scoop it up.  I figure I’m going to be having a lot of time on my hands very soon, and what better way to while away the hours than between the pages of a good book.

Although I’m probably wasting my breath, but if anybody wants to join me in this journey, let us do this together.  We can read the same book and discuss what we love/hate about it.  Even though I’m into movie watching and all that, I feel like our society is slowly degrading because nobody seems to read anymore.  I do not mean the classics, necessarily, just anything.  It is amazing to me how many people out there that don’t read at all.  Anything, not even a comic book. 

I am greatly disturbed by people who do not read and write well.  How do you get on in life?

Anyway, here’s my list.  Naturally, I will be blogging my life away, commenting on everything.  They say the best way to become a good writer is to become a good reader.  Let’s learn how to read together.

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  3. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  5. Antigone by Sophocles
  6. Arabian Nights by Antony Galland
  7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  8. Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  9. Colour Purple by Alice Walker
  10. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  11. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  12. Crucible by Arthur Miller
  13. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  14. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  15. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  16. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  17. Emma by Jane Austen
  18. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  19. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  20. Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
  21. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  22. Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  23. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  24. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  25. Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  26. Iliad by Homer
  27. Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  28. Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
  29. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  30. King Lear by William Shakespeare
  31. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  32. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  33. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  34. Lord of the Rings (the trilogy) by J.R.R. Tolkien
  35. M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang
  36. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  37. Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  38. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  39. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  40. Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Hall
  41. My Antonia by Willa Cather
  42. Night by Elie Wiesel
  43. Odyssey by Homer
  44. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
  45. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  46. Othello by William Shakespeare
  47. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  48. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  49. Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  50. Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  51. Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  52. Stranger by Albert Camus
  53. Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  54. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  55. Tartuffe by Moliere
  56. Tempest by William Shakespeare
  57. Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  58. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  59. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  60. Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  61. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  62. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
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