14 Favourites of 2014

Out of the 233 books I read in 2014, I tried to narrow down my selection of favourites to a top 5, or even a top 10, but couldn’t do it. So I guess fourteen favourites is an improvement over the 31 I came up with last year—not as far as quality of course, only in terms of paring down the numbers.

In reading order:




The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (review)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household (review)
Lady Susan by Jane Austen (review)
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan (review)
The Quick by Lauren Owen (ARC) (review)
Dissolution by C. J. Samson (review)
The Unstrung Harp: Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel by Edward Gorey
Restoration by Rose Tremain (review)
The Waiting Game by Bernice Reubens (review)
Breakfast With Lucian: A Portrait of the Artist by Geordie Greig (review)
The Ruby in Her Navel by Barry Unsworth (review)
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
Le joueur d’échecs / Chess Story by Stefan Zweig

I may yet review the few I managed to overlook so far.

Name Suggestions for my Rescue Dog

Well, only 3 or 4 days to go till I bring my rescue Toy Poodle home and I’ve gotten quite a few name suggestions already! The only criteria I gave is that it has to end in “o”, but that’s not an obligation either. I didn’t want to offend anyone so I left out the fact that I’m not crazy about Italian names ending in “o” which is why I’m not keeping Tino, so there won’t be a Dino either, but fyi Marilou, if I find a man by that name, I’ll pass on your coordinates! There are quite a few that I like; my favourites so far are bolded and underlined but I’m not set on any one in particular. I’m open to whimsical “made up” names too, or names that are unusual for pets and people. I also have a penchant for great-grandfather-type names that sound so serious they’re funny.

Here’s the selection so far:

  • Boris
  • Bravo
  • Caillou (or Kayou)
  • Coco
  • Dexter
  • Dino
  • Eeeee-orrrrr
  • Ernest (for Hemingway)
  • Eugene
  • Fredo
  • Ganesh (Remover of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings, patron of arts and sciences)
  • Gelato
  • Gustav (for Gustav Klimt)
  • Hippo
  • Hugo
  • Iago
  • I’ll Think Of Something (just kidding!)
  • Jasper (for Jasper Johns, one of my faves)
  • Kazimodo
  • Keemo
  • Kozo
  • Kuvido
  • Lolo
  • Luther
  • Malik (‘King’ in Arabic)
  • Meemo (like it but too close to Mimi)
  • Miko (as in frozen ice-cream treats in France)
  • Milo (came up a lot. I like it, but brings back bad memories)
  • Misha (love it but too close to Mimi and Ezra)
  • Otto
  • Picco (short for Piccolo or Picasso)
  • Popo
  • Rockwell
  • Shiva
  • Toto
  • Vico (Italian thinker)
  • Warhol (for Andy Warhol)
  • Winston (for Churchill)
  • Wolfgang (or Woolfie for short)
  • Yellow
  • Zolo
  • Zulu (or Zooloo)

Books: A Wish List (1.1)

[26/03/09: I did a bit of an edit today on this post originally published on 13/06/08 to indicate which books I’ve obtained (*) and which I’ve also read (**) since then. All the book icons link to Amazon. When I’ve written a review, the book title links to that review. I have yet to compile another list as promised. All in due course I suppose. Most of the text in the rest of this post remains unchanged.]

There was no method to this particular folly I’ve committed, so don’t go looking for one. I’ve made it a full time activity over the past few weeks to look through countless book lists just for the fun of it; New York Times Best Books 1996-2007, The Guardian’s Top 100 Books of all Time, Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 Novels, Dr. Peter Boxall’s 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, a list of the Definitive Book Lists (yes, a list of lists), a list of literary awards, which includes, the Nobel Laureates in Literature, The Pulitzer Prize, The Man Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, just to name a few, and then read countless reviews and suggestions, all for the sake of compiling my own ideal list of “Books I’d Hypothetically Like to Read In Near Future”. Many books didn’t make it on the list either because a) I haven’t gotten around to including them or b) I’ve already read them, or c) I’d like to read them later on and finally d) they simply don’t appeal to me.

I’m only posting a partial list today—less than half of what I’ve come up with so far in terms of fiction alone.I’ve already spent far too many days agonizing on how best to present the material, and finally my decision is just to present it as it comes. Please don’t be shy to comment, let me know what you’ve read or what you’d love to read whether it’s on the list or not. Today’s list is defined as “Fiction and Literature: part 1”

  1. Product Image The Swallows of Kabul*, by Yasmina Khadra
  2. Product Image Empress*, by Shan Sa
  3. Product Image The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao**, by Junot Diaz
  4. Product Image The Time Traveler’s Wife*, by Audrey Niffenegger
  5. Product Image Post Office, by Charles Bukowski
  6. Product Image Zookeepers Wife, by Diane Ackerman
  7. Product ImageLove in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  8. Product Image Blindness*, by Jose Saramago
  9. Product Image Kafka on the Shore**, by Haruki Murakami
  10. Product Image A Fine Balance*, by Rohinton Mistry
  11. Product Image The Interpretation Of Murder*, by Jed Rubenfeld
  12. Product Image The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, by Michael Chabon
  13. Product Image Midnight’s Children**, by Salman Rushdie
  14. Product Image Beloved**, by Toni Morrison
  15. Product Image In The Company Of The Courtesan**, by Sarah Dunant
  16. Product Image People Of The Book**, by Geraldine Brooks
  17. Product Image Shape Of Water, by Andrea Camilleri
  18. Product ImageCatch-22*, by Joseph Heller
  19. Product Image Children of the Alley: A Novel**, by Naguib Mahfouz
  20. Product Image I’m Not Scared, by Niccolo Ammaniti
  21. Product Image White Oleander, by Janet Fitch
  22. Product Image Fabrizio’s Return, by Mark Frutkin
  23. Product Image The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory
  24. Product Image Border Trilogy**, by Cormac Mccarthy (currently reading)
  25. Product Image The Shipping News*, by Annie Proulx
  26. Product ImageMy Brilliant Career, by Miles Franklin
  27. Product Image The O. Henry Prize Stories 2007, by Laura Furman (Editor)
  28. Product Image The Best American Short Stories 2007, by Stephen King (Compiler), Heidi Pitlor (Series Editor)
  29. Product Image Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer**, by Steven Millhauser
  30. Product Image Thousand Splendid Suns*, by Khaled Hosseini
  31. Product Image Runaway**, by Alice Munro
  32. Product ImageTheir Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
  33. Product ImageFifth Business**, by Robertson Davies
  34. Product Image Amsterdam, by Ian Mcewan
  35. Product Image Haroun And The Sea Of Stories, by Salman Rushdie
  36. Product Image Music Of Chance, by Paul Auster
  37. Product Image Invention Of Solitude, by Paul Auster
  38. Product Image Moon Palace, by Paul Auster
  39. Product Image In The Country Of Last Things, by Paul Auster
  40. Product Image Leviathan, by Paul Auster
  41. Product Image The Book of Illusions: A Novel**, by Paul Auster
  42. Product ImageTimbuktu, by Paul Auster
  43. Product Image Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing
  44. Product Image The Complete Stories, by Franz Kafka
  45. Product Image Exit Music, by Ian Rankin
  46. Product Image Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Book 3)**, by Alexander Mccall Smith
  47. Product Image Infidel , by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  48. Product ImageAngela’s Ashes: A Memoir*, by Frank McCourt
  49. Product Image Migraine, by Oliver Sacks
  50. Product ImageThe Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls
  51. Product ImageDeath at La Fenice: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery**, by Donna Leon
  52. Product Image Bridge of Sighs, by Richard Russo
  53. Product Image The Tin Drum*, by Gunter Grass
  54. Product Image Et si c’était vrai ?…, par Marc Levy
  55. Product ImageJe voudrais que quelqu’un m’attende quelque part*, par Anna Gavalda
  56. Product Image The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street**, by Naguib Mahfouz
  57. Product Image Lullabies for Little Criminals*, by Heather O’Neill
  58. Product Image New York Trilogy*, by Paul Auster
  59. Product ImageThe Forgery of Venus, by Michael Gruber
  60. Product Image Nobody’s Fool*, by Richard Russo
  61. Product Image The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
  62. Product Image The Poisonwood Bible*, by Barbara Kingsolver
  63. Product Image Human Croquet: A Novel, by Kate Atkinson
  64. Product Image Bright Shiny Morning, by James Frey
  65. Product Image The House at Riverton: A Novel, by Kate Morton
  66. Product Image Letters to a Young Contrarian, by Christopher Hitchens
  67. Product Image Carter Beats the Devil, by Glen David Gold
  68. Product Image Snow Falling on Cedars: A Novel*, by David Guterson
  69. Product Image The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
  70. Product Image Green Darkness, by Anya Seton
  71. Product Image Slammerkin, by Emma Donoghue
  72. Product Image In The Country Of Men, by Hisham Matar
  73. Product ImageLove 0f a Good Woman, by Alice Munro
  74. Product Image My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, from Chekhov to Munro, by Jeffrey Eugenides (Editor)
  75. Product Image Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson
  76. Product Image View From Castle Rock, by Alice Munro
  77. Product Image From The Fifteenth District, by Mavis Gallant
  78. Product Image Flying Changes, by Sara Gruen
  79. Product ImageModern Classics At Swim Two Birds, by Flann Obrien
  80. Product Image I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land: The Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad, by Karolyn Smardz-Frost
  81. Product Image Le Parfum*, par Patrick Suskind
  82. Product Image Year Of Wonders*, by Geraldine Brooks
  83. Product Image L’élégance du hérisson, by Muriel Barbery
  84. Product Image Unfeeling: A Novel, by Ian Holding
  85. Product Image Italian Folktales, by Italo Calvino
  86. Product Image Je L’Aimais, par Anna Gavalda
  87. Product Image Sept jours pour une éternité…*, par Marc Levy
  88. Product Image La prochaine fois, par Marc Levy
  89. Product Image Modern Classics Vile Bodies, Evelyn Waugh
  90. Product Image Straight Man: A Novel, by Richard Russo
  91. Product Image Two Lives, by Vikram Seth
  92. Product ImageNative Son, by Richard Wright
  93. Product Image The Bad Girl, by Mario Vargas Llosa
  94. Product Image The Historian*, by Elizabeth Kostova
  95. Product Image Law of Dreams, by Peter Behrens
  96. Product Image The Unconsoled, by Kazuo Ishiguro
  97. Product Image The Outlander, by Gil Adamson
  98. Product Image If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino
  99. Product Image The Book of Salt: A Novel, by Monique Truong
  100. Product Image Natasha and Other Stories, by David Bezmozgis
  101. Product Image The Bone People, by Keri Hulme
  102. Product Image Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family, by Thomas Mann
  103. Product Image Small Island, by Andrea Levy
  104. Product Image The Light of Day, by Graham Swift
  105. Product ImageThe Book of Disquiet, by Fernando Pessoa
  106. Product Image Independent People, by Halldor Laxness
  107. Product ImageHunger, by Knut Hamsun
  108. Product ImageThe Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
  109. Product Image Arthur and George, by Julian Barnes
  110. Product Image Shadow Of The Wind*, by Carlos Zafon
  111. Product Image The Yacoubian Building*, by Alaa Al-Aswany
  112. Product Image Green grass, running water, by Thomas King
  113. Product Image Turtle Valley, by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
  114. Product Image Secret River, by Kate Grenville
  115. Product Image Mister Pip*, by Lloyd Jones
  116. Product Image Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill
  117. Product ImageThe Known World, by Edward Jones
  118. Product ImageBrick Lane: A Novel*, by Monica Ali
  119. Product Image Remembering the Bones, by Frances Itani
  120. Product Image One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, by Ken Kesey
  121. Product ImagePenguin Modern Classics World Of Wonders*, by Robertson Davies
  122. Product ImagePenguin Modern Classics Manticore*, by Robertson Davies
  123. Product Image Sweetness in the Belly, by Camilla Gibb
  124. Product Image A Spot of Bother: A Novel*, by Mark Haddon
  125. Product ImageShantaram: A Novel, by Gregory David Roberts
  126. Product Image Tales from Firozsha Baag, by Rohinton Mistry
  127. Product ImageHistory Of Love, by Nicole Krauss
  128. Product Image Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, by Azar Nafisi
  129. Product Image Bookseller Of Kabul, by Asne Seierstad
  130. Product Image Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress: A Novel**, by Dai Sijie
  131. Product Image Girl With A Pearl Earring A Novel, by Tracy Chevalier
  132. Product Image Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood
  133. Product Image Mistress of the Sun, by Sandra Gulland
  134. Product Image Lady Oracle, by Margaret Atwood
  135. Product Image Three Cups Of Tea, by Greg Mortenson
  136. Product ImageFahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  137. Product Image Becoming Madame Mao, by Anchee Min
  138. Product Image The Dante Club: A Novel, by Matthew Pearl
  139. Product Image The Sea*, by John Banville
  140. Product Image Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
  141. Product Image Empress Orchid: A Novel*, by Anchee Min
  142. Product Image The Fortress of Solitude, by Jonathan Lethem
  143. Product Image The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield
  144. Product Image White Noise, by Don Delillo
  145. Product Image The Book of Air and Shadows, by Michael Gruber
  146. Product Image Such a Long Journey, by Rohinton Mistry
  147. Product Image On Chesil Beach**, by Ian Mcewan
  148. Product Image Suite Francaise*, by Irene Nemirovsky
  149. Product ImageBel Canto*, by Ann Patchett
  150. Product Image The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus*, by Margaret Atwood

Thirteen Things About Lists [#28]

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1. I love making lists. I make lots of lists. I’m just not so good at following them.

2. There are some lists that sometimes end up on my night-table: that kind helps me get out of bed better than alarm clocks do.

3. I always put too many items on my lists. Always. If I have ten items, I’ll get six or seven done. Three items: I’ll only get to #2. If say, there are 579,457 items… I’ll get to 579, 448 maybe, and then I’ll feel like I haven’t accomplished anything.

4. Everybody knows that there are always too many items on any given list. You are therefore not actually expected to tick off every single item! Now that I know it’s one of the great laws of the universe, I accept it the same way I accept the weather—if you can’t change it, why sweat it, right?

5. I have a list I’ve been meaning to write all week: “Things I Want to Sell on eBay”. I’ve been putting it off because then I’ll really have to take the plunge and just do it already. Which leads me to the following list I need to write first:

6. “Reasons Why I’m So Resistant to Becoming a Seller on eBay”. I want to do it, I’m excited about doing it even; it’ll mean less clutter, more cash, more cash=more possibilities for buying more things. All good right? So what’s my problem? I need to write it down on a list because…

7. I use lists as a form of therapy. I also use them during therapy sometimes.

8. Lists help me understand and visualize things much more clearly than letting stuff rattle around in my brain.

9. I find lists are very revealing. When I find old lists from years ago, I can usually recall what the list was for, what I was doing just before I sat down to write the list, and even what I was wearing and eating that day. Ok, maybe not all of that, but it’s amazing how much information a seemingly random list like say… “Things I Ate Today” can actually reveal.

10. I keep different kinds of notebooks for different kinds of lists—shopping lists or the day’s tasks for example—those go in a no frills spiral bound notebook from which I can just tear out pages. For lists of things that I want to refer to frequently, or that I want to keep on record for a while, I use various mediums. I have a list of 600+ books I want to read which is forever growing (obviously that’s one list I’ll probably never get to the bottom of!) there are several versions of it: part of it is on my blog, most of it is on my Amazon wish list (until I figure out a better system), and I also keep track in a Moleskine notebook of the titles and authors I’ve read so far. That’s definitely a work in progress.

11. I have a special kind of list that I call the Job Jar. Here are several posts where I wrote about it. That works well on days when I’m indecisive or have time on my hands but am not particularly motivated, or in need of being reminded of things I don’t do often enough. I can pick out one or more items from the wish jar to fill up an hour, a day, or a week, or a whole month even with all kinds of projects. That’s also a work in progress because I can keep adding (or removing) items as I go. It’s a nice way to mix things up.

12. I love how flexible the list format is. Lists can be completely utilitarian and quickly jotted down on bit of scrap paper or the back of a napkin, or they can hold all our greatest dreams and aspirations and be written in a beautiful journal with a special pen, they can contain the elements of a story or even “tell” the story as a page in a printed book and of course on the web:

13. I have to end this list about lists with a list, what else? Here’s a list or reasons I need to finish writing this post about lists ASAP and get on with the program:
a) call in grocery order
b) have a nap (maybe)
c) pay for and put away groceries
d) eat dinner (maybe)
e) watch t.v.
f) make cookies
g) cuddle with cats
h) cookies and milk
i) visit some blogs
j) pj’s, wash face, floss, brush teeth
k) read in bed
l) lights out
m) try to fall asleep before 2 a.m. (maybe)

Painting: Joan Snyder. Found on ArtMoco.


Thirteen Famous Quotes About Cats [#26]

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Goodness, can it really be? Four months since I’ve participated in Thursday Thirteen? As it happens, I had collected a bunch of cat quotes I wanted to post but thought I should wait before posting them, lest someone just discovering this blog think it is all about cats! But since it’s been a full week since my last post showing my smitten kitten Mimi Making Faces, I figure another dose of cat content really can’t hurt anyone. Besides, if you happen to hate cats or just don’t particularly like felines in general—for which I may stop speaking to you— if you disregard what the quotes are about you’ll find they can provide a healthy dose of culture. Without further ado:

“The man who carries a cat by the tail learns something that can
be learned in no other way.” ~ Mark Twain

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings,
for one reason or another may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”
~
Ernest Hemingway

“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life:
music and cats.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

“No matter how much cats fight, there always seems to be plenty
of kittens.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

“If animals could speak the dog would be a a blundering
outspoken fellow, but the cat would have the rare grace of
never saying a word too much.” ~ Mark Twain

“There are no ordinary cats.” ~ Colette

“I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could
walk on a cloud without coming through.” ~ Jules Verne

“One cat justs leads to another.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

“Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave
of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat
it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”
~
Mark Twain

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” ~ Colette

“The naming of cats is a difficult matter. It isn’t just one of
your holiday games. You may think at first I’m mad as a hatter.
When I tell you a cat must have three different names…”
~
T.S. Eliot

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little,
they become its visible soul.” ~ Jean Cocteau

Who’s counting anyway…

“If I die before my cat, I want a little of my ashes put in his food
so I can live inside him.” ~ Drew Barrymore

“No man ever dared to manifest his boredom so insolently as
does a Siamese tomcat when he yawns in the face of his amorously
importunate wife.” ~ Aldous Huxley

“I want to create a cat like the real cats I see crossing the streets,
not like those you see in houses. They have nothing in common.
The cat of the streets has bristling fur. It runs like a fiend, and if
it looks at you, you think it is going to jump in your face.”
~
Pablo Picasso

“Ignorant people think it is the noise which fighting cats make
that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it is the sickening grammar
that they use.” ~ Mark Twain

“If you want to write, keep cats.” ~ Aldous Huxley

“A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal
is going somewhere.” ~ Groucho Marx

Illustration: caricatures of cats elegantly dressed cats on their way to a ball from an illustrated children’s book circa 1890-1900. Found at www.villageantiques.ch

Searching for the Ultimate Book List


This weekend I did some Googling to see if I could find the “ultimate” book list. The Telegraph recently published 110 best books: The perfect library. As is the case for most other list I’ve looked at, this one met will much criticism in the comments section — starting with the choice of the books and authors, the facts that it has strong anglocentric and Western biases and that modern writers are poorly represented. Among the many mentions of “books and authors that should have been included”, such as Virginia Wolfe, Dostoievsky and Kundera, to name just those three, a great number of readers were predictably offended that the bible hadn’t been listed. Ayn Rand’s books were also sorely missed by her legions of American fans.

Finding a “definitive” book list is an impossible quest. A list of 100 books can hardly cover all the amazing literature that’s been written since the 18th century (if we decide to limit at that) and there’s bound to be a bias according to who has compiled the list. There are a number of lists based on “Dr. Peter Boxall’s 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die” (from the book by the same name) to be found on the internet, but even with this significant increase, no one seems to agree on that list being complete either. Some lists lean heavily towards the classics while some tend to favor modern novels (more rare, though seems to be the case on the “1001 Books” list). Lists can greatly differ depending on whether they’ve been established by experts or by a poll of readers — such as BBC’s The Big Read compiled in 2003.

One of the more interesting lists I found while doing research for this entry is The Guardian’s Top 100 books of all time (compiled in 2002), which is a “list of the 100 best works of fiction… as determined from a vote by 100 noted writers from 54 countries.” Again, with that number of books, the selection is quite limited, but it’s refreshing to find selections from Nigeria, Portugal and Iran in the mix.

After spending quite a bit of time looking at all these lists, it hasn’t escaped me that I could make better use of this time by actually reading. The book which is currently holding my interest is called My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk. Although Pamuk is a winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, I have yet to see him listed on a “best of”, though I would definitely add this book to my personal list of greats. Based on all those lists, I can hardly consider myself “well-read”. But then again, there’s a large portion of classics that I either don’t remember reading, or that I have no interest in taking up to begin with — whether they are “must reads” or not. For some bookworms, bragging about how many or the “right” books they’ve read seems more important than the enjoyment of the books themselves, turning even the act of reading into some sort of race. As for me, I’m sure no one will mind if I take a few cues here and there and then make up my own list as I go along.

Advice from Mark Twain on how to start a library from Spectator.co.uk: “Mark Twain was not an enthusiast of Emma and Pride and Prejudice. ‘The best way to start a library,’ he advised, ‘is to leave out the works of Jane Austen.”

Books to Stock Your Library With if You Don’t Read But Want to Appear Smarter Than You Are

I love me a good book list. As I was telling my friend Jodi Cleghorn, I have a complicated relationship with book lists. On the one hand, book lists are good reminders of the great books I’ve read and all the many books I’ve yet to discover. On the other hand, I’m always disappointed to realize how few of the listed books I’ve actually read or remember reading. The following list comes to me via the aforementioned Jodi Cleghorn. It is apparently a list of 106 books that people have bought but have never gotten around to reading. In other words, books that people buy to make themselves look smart. I myself can’t quite afford to do that so obviously don’t own them all so am hoping that my intelligence is increasing with each book that I do read. I’ve indicated which of these books I own in italics those that I’ve already read are in bold, and those that are underlined are the ones I would like to read sooner than later but do not currently own.

  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke (I happen to be reading it right now. Can’t put it down even though it’s 800+ pages and weighs a tonne)
  2. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy. I read it a couple of times (1st time being at age 12)
  3. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  4. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Read it 20 years ago and will read it again this year)
  6. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
  7. The Silmarillion. J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. Life of Pi : a novel, Yann Martel (own it, read it, have every intention of reading it again)
  9. The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
  10. Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
  11. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  12. Ulysses, James Joyce
  13. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
  14. The Odyssey, Homer
  15. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  16. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
  17. The Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  18. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  19. Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond
  20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  21. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
  22. The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
  23. The Iliad, Homer
  24. Emma, Jane Austen
  25. The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood (recently finished reading it for 2nd time)
  26. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (this one’s been on my wish list for a little while)
  27. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
  28. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  29. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
  30. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers
  31. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
  32. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books, Azar Nafisi
  33. Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden
  34. Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
  35. Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson
  36. Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West, Gregory Maguire
  37. The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer
  38. The Historian : a novel, Elizabeth Kostova
  39. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
  40. Love in the Time of Cholera. Gabriel Garcia Marquez (want to read it again this year)
  41. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (looking forward to a 2nd reading)
  42. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
  43. Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco
  44. Middlemarch, George Eliot
  45. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  46. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
  47. Dracula, Bram Stoker
  48. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess (started reading it and got scared by the end of page 1. Might give it a try again someday)
  49. Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman
  50. The Once and Future King, T.H. White
  51. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  52. The Poisonwood Bible : a novel, Barbara Kingsolver
  53. 1984, George Orwell
  54. Angels & Demons, Dan Brown
  55. The Inferno, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
  56. The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
  57. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
  58. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
  59. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
  60. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey (I’ve seen the movie countless times, does that count?)
  61. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
  62. Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
  63. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
  64. Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
  65. Les Misérables, Victor Hugo
  66. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (started reading and couldn’t get into it)
  67. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon
  68. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
  69. Dune, Frank Herbert
  70. The Prince, Machiaveli
  71. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
  72. Angela’s Ashes : a memoir , Frank McCourt
  73. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy (I’ll be reading this one soon)
  74. A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present, Howard Zinn
  75. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
  76. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
  77. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
  78. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
  79. Dubliners, James Joyce
  80. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
  81. Beloved, Toni Morrison
  82. Slaughterhouse-five, Kurt Vonnegut
  83. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  84. Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss
  85. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley (I also have Lady of Avalon and Priestess of Avalon waiting on my bookshelf)
  86. Oryx and Crake : a novel, Margaret Atwood (I usually enjoy her books, but I couldn’t connect with this one so didn’t finish)
  87. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed, Jared Diamond
  88. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
  89. The Confusion, Neal Stephenson
  90. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  91. Persuasion, Jane Austen
  92. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
  93. The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger
  94. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
  95. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
  96. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything, Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  97. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig
  98. The Aeneid, Virgil
  99. Watership Down, Richard Adams (saw the movie as a kid and it made an indelible impression.)
  100. Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon
  101. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien (read it as a child)
  102. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  103. White Teeth, Zadie Smith (read On Beauty but not this one)
  104. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
  105. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
  106. The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas

Which ones did you read? Which will you steer clear of?

List updated on 20/02/09