Sunday, July 19, 2009

The 100 Books I Read

Here is a list of the 100 books I read. There are actually going to be 102 books listed here; I meant to count the Pullman trilogy as one book, but I actually wrote them up separately so I included 2 more books to make up for it.

  1. The Last Days of Socrates – Plato
  2. Italian Popular Tales – Thomas Frederick Crane
  3. Cake or Death – the Excruciating Choices of Everyday Life, a collection of essays by Heather Mallick
  4. Introducing Romanticism – Duncan Heath
  5. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
  6. The Art of War – Sunzi
  7. A Pocket Darwin – A brief introduction to his life and word – John and Mary Briggin
  8. Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson
  9. Thus Spoke Zarathustra – Friedrich Nietzsche
  10. The Myth of Sisyphus – Albert Camus
  11. The Crying of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon
  12. Arabian Nights
  13. Dr Faustus – Christopher Marlowe
  14. The Sea Fairies – Frank L. Baum
  15. Emma – Jane Austen
  16. Nine Stories – J. D. Salinger
  17. Raise high the roof beam, carpenters, and Seymour: an introduction – J. D. Salinger
  18. The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman
  19. The Subtle Knife – Pullman
  20. The Amber Spyglass – Pullman
  21. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
  22. Stancliffe’s Hotel – Charlotte Brontë
  23. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  24. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  25. The Inimitable Jeeves – P. G. Wodehouse
  26. Eggs, Beans and Crumpets – P. G. Wodehouse
  27. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  28. The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
  29. The Forsyte Saga: The Man of Property – John Galsworthy
  30. The Forsyte Saga: In Chancery – John Galsworthy
  31. Under the Tuscan Sun – Frances Mayes
  32. The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
  33. The Song of Roland
  34. On a Chinese Screen – Somerset Maugham
  35. The House of Seven Gables – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  36. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  37. Hugh Selwyn Mauberley – Ezra Pound
  38. The Tower – William Butler Yeats
  39. A Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
  40. A Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing – Melissa Banks
  41. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  42. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  43. Aria Da Capo – Edna St. Vincent Millay
  44. Complete Stories – Dorothy Parker
  45. A Mencken Chrestomathy – H. L. Mencken
  46. l’Ignorance – Milan Kundera
  47. Selected Stories of Eudora Welty
  48. The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
  49. Daisy Miller – Henry James
  50. Nana – Zola
  51. The Group – Mary McCarthy
  52. Ariel – Sylvia Plath
  53. Howl & other poems – Allen Ginsberg
  54. Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  55. Bliss and other stories – Katherine Mansfield
  56. A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf
  57. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  58. Agnes Grey – Anne Brontë
  59. Sister Carrie – Theodore Dreiser
  60. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë
  61. Passage to India – E. M. Forster
  62. Winesburg, Ohio – Sherwood Anderson
  63. Haroun & the Sea of Stories – Salman Rushdie
  64. Selected Poems – Theodore Roethke
  65. Complete Poems – Dorothy Parker
  66. The Good Earth – Pearl S. Buck
  67. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  68. Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke
  69. The Finishing School – Muriel Spark
  70. Plays Pleasant – Bernard Shaw
  71. Nemesis – Agatha Christie
  72. Holy Innocents – Gilbert Adair
  73. The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles
  74. Madame Bovary – Flaubert
  75. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers – Xiaolu Guo
  76. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  77. The Collector – John Fowles
  78. Selected Poems – Edna St. Vincent Millay
  79. The Stories of Eva Luna – Isabel Allende
  80. Short cuts – Raymond Carver
  81. The Sorrows of Young Werther – Goethe
  82. Selected Poems – Rainer Maria Rilke
  83. Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
  84. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
  85. A Good Man Is Hard to Find – Flannery O’Connor
  86. The Magnificent Ambersons – Booth Tarkington
  87. The Pearl – Steinbeck
  88. Tales of Hoffmann – E.T.A. Hoffmann
  89. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers
  90. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader – Anne Fadiman
  91. A Mathematician’s Apology – George Hardy
  92. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon
  93. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  94. Selected Poems – Marianne Moore
  95. A Linnet’s Tale – Dale Willard
  96. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
  97. Pygmalion – Bernard Shaw
  98. Selected Poems – Amy Lowell
  99. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
  100. Right You Are (If You Think You Are) – Luigi Pirandello
  101. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  102. Death in Venice – Thomas Mann
While I would highly recommend the books in courier font, the books in bold are the ones I enjoyed the most. My favourite book of all the books I read was #21 Vanity Fair. I was so invested in the adventures of Becky and so charmed by Thackeray's cynical narrative that I read this giant book in about 3 sittings over the course of a few days. In fact, I like this book so much that, not only do I have my own copy at home, I borrowed another copy from the university library so that I can have a copy in my office.


  1. There are definitely a lot of books that I haven't even heard of, but when I have the time I might try reading a couple of those (#14 The Sea Fairies - Frank L. Baum caught my eye for some reason).

    I really enjoyed reading The Golden Compass series, but I'm a big sucker for fantasy. I should re-read it though; it's been at least 7 years since I read it.

    And if you liked Lolita, you should check out the interview that Nabokov gave on CBC back in the '50s. His accent is very strange because he spent very little time in Russia and because he learned both English and Russian from birth (or something like that).


  2. When I was in high school, I liked fantasy too! Do you like science fiction as well? I really liked Frank Herbert's Dune.

    Thanks for the Nabokov link! His accent is kind of weird. What's more weird is the comments section. One person commented that Lolita is the most brilliant book he/she'd ever read (which I don't doubt), but then went on to say that he/she liked how he effectively showed that pedophilia is always wrong or something. Did you think that was the most important aspect of the book? I didn't.

    I think that Humbert's obsession with Lolita is a facet of some deeper world-weariness or Weltschmerz. It's clearly a dominating facet of Humbert's life, but I think it's also a reflection of the underpinnings in the mind of Humbert Humbert. I think the thing people who have only had a brief introduction to the book find most shocking when they finally read it about Lolita is the kind of person that Humbert is. He's not some boorish, wife-beating monster; he's an educated, gentlemanly monster. Furthermore, he is rich and handsome. He could have been really perfect. But I think that his appearance of near-perfection is not just there to juxtapose with his monstrosity - it's very much the cause of his monstrosity. Because he's already so well-off in almost every respect, he has so little potential to be better. Of course, he could fix his mental obsession with young girls, but on the surface, what more can he do but stagnate and deteriorate in some way? Anyway, I think I'll talk more about this when I review Elfriede Jelinek in a bit.