Saturday, September 27, 2008

Are You Above Average?

My husband put up a post last night with this list he found of the "100 Books All Americans Should Read" or something like that. Supposedly, the average American has only read six of them. That's pretty sad. Matt had read 36. I'm betting I won't beat him. To my knowledge, he never went through a decade-long phase where he read nothing but American Girl and Babysitter's Club books, so he is more widely read than I.

This is kind of a chain-blog deal, so feel free to copy, paste, and fill it out for yourself.
The Rules:
1) Look at the list and put one * by those you have read.
2) Put a % by those you intend to read.
3) Put two ** by the books you LOVE.
4) Put # by the books you HATE.
5) Post.

I'm feeling lazy today, so I don't think I'm going to bother with the love it, hate it deal. I just want my number, so I can see how I rank against my brilliant hubby and the not-so-brilliant "average American." I am, however, going to add a new category- "?", which means "I think I was assigned this in high school and can't remember if I actually read it or just skimmed it well enough to still flunk the quiz."

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen? (I'm starting this off well)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte*
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee*
6 The Bible*
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 1984 - George Orwell*
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens?
11 Little Women - Louisa May Alcott*
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien*
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger* (Matt says he doesn't want to read this one because so many serial killers have been found reading it. I guess he's still waiting to see how I turn out ;0)
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell*
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald*
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck?
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll*
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy*
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia- CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen*
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne*
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell*
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery* (and several of its sequels, though I got bored after Anne and Gilbert got married)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding*
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen*
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens*
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley* (read Amusing Ourselves to Death for a fascinating take on how this is the dystopia our society is actually headed for, not 1984)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas*
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett*
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce * (this one should make up for at least five classics I haven't read)
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker (haven't read this, but I have a distinct memory of when a couple girls and I found this on our 5th grade teacher's desk, opened to some really freaky incident, and were quickly told to put that book down!)
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White*
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad ?
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (no, but I remember when my 11th grade classmates who took French had to read it in the original--"Le Petit Prince")
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas*
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl*
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Hmm... 25 and four "maybes." Not too bad, I suppose, for someone who doesn't really care for fiction. (I'm more of a religion/sociology/memoir sort of girl.) I've got to say, the one obvious gap in this list that I see is Fahrenheit 451. Great book, and appropriate for a list/study about the importance of reading.

So what's your number?


Anonymous said...

I've read 24 of these. Wonder who came up with this list? Have to say, it's interesting that it's mostly a list of the standard "old dead white british men" that has dominated English literature for so long. With stuff like The DA VINCI CODE thrown in there??? How did the Da Vinci Code get on the same list as Herman Melville and Thomas Hardy?? Wow, what a joke. Are we going on literary merit here or on "you must read this because everyone's reading it"?

I must say I am glad (and surprised) to see so many Thomas Hardy novels on this list - of which I have read all of them, because I went through a Thomas Hardy obsessive phrase in high school (Yes, in high school. I should have known at that point I was English-major bound...)

Matt Kelley said...

Why do you think I hid all the sharp objects in the house?


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