The Idiot’s Reading List

I’m going to try to make it through this list of books.  There’s no real time frame, but if I could do it in a year or two, I’d be happy with myself.  These are all the books I should have read coming up through school.  Some of these I’ve actually read but I could not pay proper attention to them simply because I was either cramming for a test or I had several other books to read at the same time.  Some of these I just couldn’t understand because I was too young, too silly, or lacking in the right mind set.

I challenge anybody to join me in this read-a-thon.  Feel free to jump in or out at your leisure.  I’ll highlight the book I’m currently reading.  Maybe we can prompt some book discussion, or something.  I don’t know.

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (FAIL:  1/17/2012)
  3. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (3/4/2010)
  4. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  6. Antigone by Sophocles
  7. Arabian Nights by Antony Galland
  8. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  10. Call of the Wild by Jack London
  11. Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  12. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  13. Colour Purple by Alice Walker
  14. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  15. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (02/11/2011)
  16. Crucible by Arthur Miller
  17. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  18. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  19. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  20. Dracula by Bram Stoker (01/06/2011)
  21. Emma by Jane Austen
  22. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  23. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (9/29/2010)
  24. Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
  25. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  26. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (FAIL:  9/22/2010)
  27. Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  28. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  29. Handmaiden’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  30. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  31. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (03/24/2010)
  32. Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (10/14/2010)
  33. Iliad by Homer
  34. Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  35. Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
  36. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
  37. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (04/10/2011)
  38. Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
  39. King Lear by William Shakespeare
  40. Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  41. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  42. Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  43. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  44. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  45. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  46. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  47. M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang
  48. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  49. Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert (03/07/2011)
  50. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  51. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  52. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  53. Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Hall
  54. My Antonia by Willa Cather (1/10/2011)
  55. Night by Elie Wiesel
  56. Odyssey by Homer
  57. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
  58. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  59. Othello by William Shakespeare
  60. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  61. Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
  62. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  63. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  64. Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (5/17/2011)
  65. Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (10/22/2010)
  66. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  67. Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  68. Stories of Anton Chekov by Anton Chekov
  69. Stranger by Albert Camus
  70. Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  71. Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki
  72. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  73. Tartuffe by Moliere
  74. Tempest by William Shakespeare
  75. Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  76. Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  77. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  78. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  79. Turn of the Screw by Henry James (3/31/2010)
  80. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (10/20/2010)
  81. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  82. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (4/2/2010)
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4 responses to “The Idiot’s Reading List

  1. May I recommend Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace? It seems like you’re tackling more traditional classics, which is great. But seeing as how this is a pretty ambitious endeavor on its own, I figured I’d pimp my favorite novel out there, which is also a pretty ambitious endeavor on its own.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. There is definitely going to be a round two to this whole thing. I know I’m missing many great works, not to mention more recent entries as you’ve suggested. Thanks!

  2. Oh Lord! You got through Age of Innocence? Good girl, but that one is quite a commitment.

    Night by Wiesel will change your life… well, not really change change it.. just make you miserable for about a week then anytime you think of the holocaust. It’s a must read though. Little Women is such a delicious book (I say delicious because I devour it), I get cravings for it from time to time. Don’t bother with Little Men, it’s not half as good. Glass Menagerie- now that is an essential book. My Antonia is a little dry (it was for me- you might enjoy it)- that and Anne of Green Gables were pretty rough. May I recommend The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood? It’s not classical, but it will be eventually.

    You have some great books on there- some I’ve been meaning to read myself so maybe after my classes I’ll jump on the list with you.

    • The Age of Innocence was pretty rough, but once I got to the middle it started to improve.

      I have already read Night by Elie Weisel. You’re right, that is an excellent book and it really makes you think about a lot of things. It made me wonder what I would do had I been in his situation. It’s hard to say. We all want the best for our family and friends, but we also have this inborn sense of survival.

      When I finish this list, I’ll start on a Part Two because I know I’ve left off so many great works. I’ll be sure to add everything else you’ve suggested! Thanks.

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