You’d think a book blogger would have read all of the classics, but au contraire. As someone whose wish list grows exponentially each day, it’s impossible to have read the most beloved in the world. When new masterpieces come out each year, it’s easy to forget about the classics and forge ahead with the current bestsellers.
But when a friend sent me Amazon’s “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” list, via PureWow, I was surprised that I’d only read 10 of the top hundo. (I’ve sort of read two others on the list, one of which I promise to pick back up eventually.) Was I really such a literary novice?
Most of these probably won’t surprise you either, considering most have been on school curricula for decades. The lit for each book is in parenthesis:
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll*
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White*
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling ( of 5 flames)
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton ()
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (; don’t get me started)
- Devil in the White City by Erik Larson ()
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ()
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ()
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot ()
- The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien ()
*Read too long ago to give an accurate review.
My confidence grew though when I discovered Goodread’s “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” list, 21 of which I read (including eight on the Amazon list). I’m also currently reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which was chosen.
Goodreads, which is owned by Amazon, aggregated its list from book lovers like myself who get great joy in handing out book recs. So maybe I’m biased (I also love and use Goodreads), but I like their list a little better even if I don’t fully agree with it:
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding ()
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare*
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck ()
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens*
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling ()
- The Handmaid’s Tail by Margaret Atwood
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë ()
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery* (pretty sure I’d give it )
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley ()
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling ( ; easily the best in the series)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling ()
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (; the book that caused my feminist awakening)
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen ()
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger ()
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
I’d love to reread many of the books on these lists. Some of them were forced upon me in high school; because I’ve easily changed in the past 10 or so years, I’m sure my opinion of the books would change as well. I have an inkling, for example, that Of Mice and Men would rise a notch. Furthermore, many of the unread books are ones I definitely want to cross off. Gone with the Wind has been on my list since college. Considering I’m only 25, hopefully I can complete the list.
How many books have you read? Do you agree with the users of Goodreads and Amazon’s literature gurus? Comment below!