Another 100 Books

I love a good reading project.

Whether it’s tackling the Books are Beautiful series, Harper’s Olive Editions, or one of the many Best 100 Books lists, reading through a set of established, canonical books satisfies the regimented, anal completionist weirdo who occasionally vacations in my brain.

I also (apparently) love abandoning reading projects.

Like a dog with a new toy, or a boy with too many books to choose from, I have a difficult time sticking to reading challenges. The regimented completionist’s vacation always ends, usually within about two weeks, as most vacations do. There are simply too many good books. It doesn’t make sense to tether yourself to a set list without any wiggle room.

Which is why I’m going to stop doing that.

Another 100 Books is about me having my cake and eating it too. I’ve chosen a list of 100 classic/influential/well-regarded books to make my way through over the next few years. I will be doing this periodically, and I won’t be adhering to a strict schedule. I’ll still be reading whatever books tickle my fancy most of the time, but I wanted a list of “great reads” to come back to, to inspire me, and to challenge me as a reader.

Rather than go off the Time list or the Modern Library list of 100 books, I created my own list instead. Why? Because those lists tended to skew insanely white, insanely male, and insanely old. I also wanted to ensure that each of the 100 books was a novel, and the list included 100 different writers.

I’d like to give these 100 books a little more attention when I’m reading them, so you might see more in-depth posts than I usually write.

And if anyone would like to participate in a readalong with any of these titles, I’m sure I’d be up for it. Otherwise, I’ll be reading these books at random (by using the always trusty Random.org).

The Books I’m Not Looking Forward to: Ulysses (duh), Gone with the Wind, Mrs. Dalloway, Portnoy’s Complaint, Jane Eyre (this will be my second read, and I wasn’t a fan the first time around)

The Books I’m Looking Forward to: The Brothers Karamazov, The Count of Monte Cristo, Shogun, Perdido Street Station, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

The Books I Nearly Included, but Didn’t: Moby Dick, Rabbit Run, Don Quixote, The Corrections, The Sound and the Fury, Gulliver’s Travel, about 1000 others


Another 100 Books

Books Read: 0

  1. Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe (1719)
  2. Emma, Jane Austen  (1815)
  3. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (1818)
  4. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas (1844)
  5. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (1847)
  6. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (1847)
  7. Agnes Grey, Anne Bronte (1847)
  8. Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell (1848)
  9. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens (1850)
  10. Walden, Henry David Thoreau (1854)
  11. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott (1968)
  12. The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins (1868)
  13. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy (1869)
  14. Middlemarch, George Elliot (1871)
  15. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky (1880)
  16. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain (1884)
  17. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde (1890)
  18. Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson (1893)
  19. Dracula, Bram Stoker (1897)
  20. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad (1899)
  21. The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton (1920)
  22. Ulysses, James Joyce (1922)
  23. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
  24. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf (1925)
  25. The Trial, Franz Kafka (1925)
  26. Lady Chatterly’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence (1928)
  27. All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque (1929)
  28. I, Claudius, Robert Graves (1934)
  29. Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (1936)
  30. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
  31. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier (1938)
  32. Native Son, Richard Wright (1940)
  33. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith (1943)
  34. 1984, George Orwell (1949)
  35. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger (1951)
  36. East of Eden, John Steinbeck (1952)
  37. The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway (1952)
  38. The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison (1952)
  39. The Last Temptation of Christ, Nikos Kazantzakis (1953)
  40. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1953)
  41. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (1954)
  42. The Sound of the Mountain, Yasunari Kawabata (1954)
  43. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
  44. Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin (1956)
  45. The Once and Future King, T.H White (1958)
  46. Things Fall Apart, China Achebe (1958)
  47. A Separate Peace, John Knowles (1959)
  48. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (1960)
  49. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle (1962)
  50. The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing (1962)
  51. Lord of the Flies, William Golding (1963)
  52. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath (1963)
  53. Stoner, John Williams (1965)
  54. Dune, Frank Herbert (1965)
  55. Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth (1969)
  56. Fire From Heaven, Mary Renault (1969)
  57. Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
  58. Play it As it Lays, Joan Didion (1970)
  59. The Crystal Cave, Mary Stewart (1970)
  60. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John le Carre (1974)
  61. The Diviners, Margaret Laurence (1974)
  62. Shogun, James Clavell (1975)
  63. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice (1976)
  64. Song of Solomon, Tony Morrison (1977)
  65. Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko (1977)
  66. The Stand, Stephen King (1978)
  67. Kindred, Octavia Butler (1979)
  68. Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess (1980)
  69. Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe (1980)
  70. The World According to Garp, John Irving (1982)
  71. The Color Purple, Alice Walker (1982)
  72. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
  73. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1985)
  74. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1985)
  75. The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie (1988)
  76. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
  77. The Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
  78. She’s Come Undone, Wally Lamb (1992)
  79. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1994)
  80. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995)
  81. The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell (1996)
  82. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace (1996)
  83. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
  84. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
  85. Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee (1999)
  86. Perdido Street Station, China Mieville (2000)
  87. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
  88. White Teeth, Zadie Smith (2000)
  89. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2001)
  90. Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides (2002)
  91. Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts (2003)
  92. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
  93. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke (2004)
  94. Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel (2009)
  95. The Instructions, Adam Levin (2010)
  96. Mr. Fox, Helen Oyeyemi (2011)
  97. A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki (2013)
  98. The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton (2013)
  99. Back of the Turtle, Thomas King (2014)
  100. The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (2015)