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Books to read, 2005

with_this_voice  was kind enough to write an enthusiastic entry about my bookreading habits. Actually I discovered a few months ago that one of my favourite authors set himself a reading schedule, and resolved then to try and do so myself.

In addition I've been combining various lists of great books - specifically the selections made by the BBC Big Read, the Norwegian Book Clubs, a firm called Sybervision, Michael McCrum in the Observer, and the ever inspiring Bookslut.

Interestingly, no single book appears on all five lists. There are seven which appear on four of the lists, and I'm happy to report I've read them all. They are:

1984 George Orwell; Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy; The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald; One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez; To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee; Ulysses James Joyce; Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

I think I'd recommend them all, with more reservations for the 19th century ones.

27 books are mentioned on three of the lists. I have managed to finish 17 of them :

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain; Brave New World Aldous Huxley; Catch 22 Joseph Heller; David Copperfield Charles Dickens; The Grapes Of Wrath John Steinbeck; Great Expectations Charles Dickens; Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift; Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte; Lolita Vladimir Nabokov; Lord of the Flies William Golding; The Lord Of The Rings J. R. R. Tolkien; Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert; Middlemarch George Eliot; Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie; Moby Dick Herman Melville; Pride And Prejudice Jane Austen; War And Peace Leo Tolstoy

So my next literary project should really be to finish the four I have started but not finished :

Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky - have been struggling through this for the last few weeks; Don Quixote Miguel De Cervantes - read the first half last summer, so second half should come soon; Little Women Louisa May Alcott - read the first couple of chapters but it's behind Dostoevsky in the queue; The Trial Franz Kafka - had got about halfway through it and then lost it in the Moscow airport carpark in June.

That then leaves six others, and I think it's a reasonable project to try and at least start reading them all in the course of 2005, and hopefully finish most of them too :

The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky; Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger; In Search of Lost Time Marcel Proust (I know this is going to be the longest by far); Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf; Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe; The Tin Drum Gunter Grass

Then I can turn my attention to the 53 books mentioned on only two of the lists. I have finished only 16 of them :

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland Lewis Carroll; Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh; The Count Of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas; Dune Frank Herbert; Frankenstein Mary Shelley; The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy Laurence Sterne; The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe C.S. Lewis; Northern Lights Philip Pullman; The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde; The Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan; Rebecca Daphne du Maurier; Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe; A Tale Of Two Cities Charles Dickens; Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson; The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Graham

11 others are poetry or plays which I have dipped into but never really sat down to read systematically :

The Aeneid Virgil; Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer; the Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri; A Doll's House Henrik Ibsen; Faust Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; Hamlet William Shakespeare; the Iliad Homer; Malone Dies Samuel Beckett; the Odyssey Homer; Oedipus the King Sophocles; Othello William Shakespeare

And the other 26 are novels which I don't remember ever having opened, to go on my longer-term reading list :

The BFG Roald Dahl; The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler; The Call of the Wild Jack London; Collected Fictions Jorge Luis Borges; Emma Jane Austen; Far From The Madding Crowd Thomas Hardy; Invisible Man Ralph Ellison; Journey to the End of the Night Louis-Ferdinand Celine; Lanark Alasdair Gray; Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Lucky Jim Kingsley Amis; The Magic Mountain Thomas Mann; Nostromo Joseph Conrad; Of Mice And Men John Steinbeck; The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway; On the Road Jack Kerouac; A Passage to India E. M. Forster; The Plague Albert Camus; The Portrait of a Lady Henry James; The Red and the Black Stendhal; The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne; Song of Solomon Toni Morrison; The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner; Tess Of The D'Urbervilles Thomas Hardy; Tom Jones Henry Fielding; Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray; The Woman in White Wilkie Collins.

There are 14 other authors with more than one book on the various lists. The only four I have read are Graham Greene, Milan Kundera, Terry Pratchett and Sir Walter Scott. That leaves ten more to dip into when opportunity offers itself: Balzac, Italo Calvino, Anton Chekhov, Theodore Dreiser, Ralph Waldo Emerson, D. H. Lawrence, Naguib Mahfouz, Flannery O'Connor, Sir Walter Scott and even Jacqueline Wilson.

At some point I shall get around to updating my website to reflect this. New Year's resolution about science fiction reading to come next.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
with_this_voice
Dec. 30th, 2004 11:56 pm (UTC)
Your reading list makes my head hurt in that happy way.

slovobooks
Dec. 31st, 2004 11:27 am (UTC)
I have a further list of 'best authors' for your perusal, this time from the December edition of Book and Magazine Collector, which I'll post on LJ as soon as time permits.
nwhyte
Dec. 31st, 2004 11:30 am (UTC)
Information overload!

(But does it include books as well as authors?)
slovobooks
Dec. 31st, 2004 11:44 am (UTC)
Authors only. It starts:

1 Charles Dickens
2 Graham Greene
3 PG Wodehouse
4 Bernard Cornwell
5 George Orwell
6 Terry Pratchett
7 Jane Austen
8 JRR Tolkien
9 Ian Rankin
10 Evelyn Waugh

...and goes on to 100. I'll get around to putting it up eventually. Definitely some time in 2005...
wwhyte
Dec. 31st, 2004 03:01 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised you're finding Crime and Punishment a struggle -- I straightforwardly loved it, though (a) almost all other Dostoyevsky is tougher (I've tried to get into The Possessed several times and never managed) and (b) it was at least ten years ago that I read it. Has the detective Porfiry appeared yet? He's the best detective EVER. (And, allegedly, was the inspiration for Columbo).
nwhyte
Dec. 31st, 2004 07:22 pm (UTC)
Perhaps it's just not a book to read late at night when I'm already tired.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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