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July 31, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Book List – Someone’s Top 100

Crisitunity (Crisis + Opportunity) tagged me with this Book List meme.  I’ve seen this floating around.  According to Ian’s blog it may have originated from the Big Read initiative.  I don’t agree with all the book choices on here (Crisitunity nailed it when she questioned the Da Vinci Code’s presence) but here are the rules…

1) Bold the books you’ve read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline (or mark in a different color) the books you LOVE.
4) Strikethrough those you hated or couldn’t get through (added:) or REFUSE to ever read.
5)  Reprint the list!

1 Pride and Prejudice– Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – Tolkien is very wordy for me, which is why I didn’t love it.  Thankfully Peter Jackson saved me from having to read them over and over.

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling – Okay.  Most of you have already gasped.  I will get e-mail telling me to read this.  I just won’t do it.  Even my husband loves the Harry Potter books.  All I can say is that the Harry Potter series came out during a very critical time of my own personal writing.  As I watched Ms. Rowling get labeled Richer than the Queen, I vowed not to read a word.  And I haven’t.  I also have not seen these movies.  Please don’t pressure me to do so.  I am sure that one day, when my inner word demons have been sated and/or calmed, I will forgive Ms. Rowling for being such a Damn Good and Lucky Author and try these out.  Until then I choose to unleash my spite and jealousy upon her and NOT READ THESE BOOKS.  Don’t feel bad for her.  She just bought your mommy.

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible – I won’t underline it, because there were some parts that really, really dragged. 😉  However the last chapter was pretty damn exciting.
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman – probably not, though I love the title
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M. Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy – nah
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller – I LOVED this book.  Hilarious.
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare – What sadist has read all of them?  I like me some Shakespeare, but I also enjoy having a life and sleeping occasionally.  You know the man had a vocabulary of over 200K, right?  Plus he invented the word ‘weird.’
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier – probably not unless someone convinces me otherwise. 
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks (???)
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
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 – I never understood this book, but they made me read it in high school.  I always meant to go back and do it over to see what the fuss is about.
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy – This one is so on my list.  Tolstoy is almost as bad as Shakespeare in the sheer voluminosity of things
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – I did read this…I don’t see the magic here

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh – ???
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Eventually I will make it through “The Russians.”  It’s going to be a while.
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck (Love it.  But not as good as East of Eden)
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll – I’ve read this and Through the Looking Glass a bazillion times.  Love the weird poetry. 
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy – An awesome book.  Book is too weak of a word.  Epic.
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens (eh)
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis – Repeat…who wrote this list?

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres – nah
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne – I’m pretty sure I read this
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell – Politics + Symbolism + Words = Maleesha Loves
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown – I read this and enjoyed it.  But to classify it anywhere near the likes of some of these books is like wearing a ten million dollar marquis diamond choker while wearing a potato sack. 
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I love this book
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables– LM Montgomery – My grandmother gave me her copy of this book.  It is one of my favorites
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 – Have not read it.  I know this makes me a big fat loser in the sci-fi community.  It is On The List.
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth – Hmmm, not sure
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon -Thanks for your advice, I will use my New Library Card for this one.  I could use some self-reflexitivity…
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
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 – I love Steinbeck.  I wish he did phone books.
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov – What a story. 
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold – A great read if you can get over the whole raped, murdered, buried child thing.  She tells the story from heaven, if that makes it work for you.
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas – I was a waitress and the restaurant I worked at served up a Monte Cristo.  It’s a ham and turkey sandwich you dip in egg, deep fry, then dust in powdered sugar and spread with jelly to eat.  As a person who needs (on a very obsessive level) to keep meats and sugars separate, this combination scares the bejesus out of me.  Therefore I cannot read this based on the title.

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac – I love this book too and I’m not sure why…if Sal Paradise was a relative I would have kicked his ass for being a tool.

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie – I do want to read this

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville – I never did finish this, so it’s on my list of Re-Dos
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens – The only reason I haven’t read this is because Oliver is one of those things my mother pushed on me and pushed on me until I had zero desire to ever, ever read it.  After she forced “Love Story” and “West Side Story” on me, that was enough of advice out of her.  I do like West Side Story now, because I like to think that one day in the past gangs really did use catchy, snappy tunes and a lot of hair gel to claim their territory
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker – I never understood the lure of vampires.  I also love garlic.  A lot. 

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson – I have read everything by Bill Bryson.  But why is it on this list?  Love the guy, and he’s better than Dan Brown, but come on already.
75 Ulysses – James Joyce – Probably not
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath – I love me some depression.  Is that so wrong?
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome – I think I will read it because I like the title
78 Germinal – Emile Zola – ???
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt – ???
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens – This was the beginning of all kinds of Little Timmy On A Crutch Jokes for everyone I know
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell – ???
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert -probably not
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry -not sure
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White – It’s only my favorite book of all time
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom – I hate bastards that make me cry. 
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – I’m just not interested.
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – ???
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad – Oh another AP Lit read.  I hated it.  I think I would like it now.
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery – I refuse this based on the title. 
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks  ???
94 Watership Down– Richard Adams – Love it. love it.  It’s quick.  I read it once at a party that sucked…I went tooling around their house and found the kid’s bookshelf.  By ten PM I had not only read it, but was branded a new kind of loser by everyone in attendance
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole – unsure
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute ???
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas – Have not yet decided…
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare – Yes, but isn’t that in the CWoS?
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo – I don’t know about reading this.  I just haven’t decided yet. 

Now here are three books that I have read recently (there’s only about three because I have so little time lately to read.  I prefer baking cookies and blogging when I have a free moment lately) complete with reviews! 

Flower Children

This book explains a lot about post-Vietnam children born in the 1970’s.  The writing style clashed with me a little bit…every other chapter is told in the first person and it’s hard to know who is telling the story.  But after a while it doesn’t matter because you aren’t reading just a narrative but getting a glimpse into a way of life.  A freaking weird, pot-smoking, go with the flow way of life.  It’s a short book so a small investment of your time. 

I Am America, and So Can You

I am a card-carrying member of the Colbert Nation so of course I loved this book.  I can probably tell you right now that if you do not like Stephen Colbert, you will not like this book.  But it did win a prestigious award…see that silver sticker on the front?  Let me take a closer look…aha!  It won the Stephen T. Colbert Award For The Literary Excellence.  See?  An award winner.  How can you go wrong?

Unaccustomed Earth 

I have enjoyed all of Ms. Lahiri’s writings so far.  This book was not a letdown.  I love the simple but elegant writing style, and the stories of Indian immigrants making a life in America. 

Alright.  Be sure to stop by Crisitunity sometime.  I have to go bake some cookies now.




Leave a Comment
  1. Ankita / Aug 4 2008 3:51 am

    Thats a great collection of the best of books. Talking about the collection of books I want to tell you that I found few books that are too good to be true. I am reading a book ” If God was a banker’ by Ravi Subramanian. This book urged the curiosity in me to read it coz it was nominated among the 5 best books for the GoldenQuill award. You can find more books at The best thing is you can also vote for your favorite authors.

  2. Mbuckingham / Aug 2 2008 1:48 am

    interesting list!

  3. deanjbaker / Aug 1 2008 11:21 am

    very interesting to see, thanks

  4. Susan Coleman / Aug 1 2008 7:20 am

    Great blog. Of course, by now you have probably discovered that this is not the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read but rather one from the U.K. and compiled by the BBC. In its Big Read, the NEA ( provides grants to communities for “one book, one community” programs. The communities then choose among a few dozen (not 100) books and distributes free resources for book group and classroom discussions. Just thought NEA and the Big Read communities should get their just due!

    Thank you! Absolutely.

  5. crisitunity / Aug 1 2008 6:23 am

    Thank you for all the links! I feel special. And of course I have too much to say on this post.

    4. I won’t try to convince you. Sigh.
    52. But you can definitely live without reading Dune.
    65. My BF came back from a “bachelor party” (it was merely a dinner out and lots of drinking, because none of the company was really into strippers) having eaten a Monte Cristo for the first time. He thought this was one of the supreme experiences of his life. I am appalled that such a sandwich exists. I also hate meat + sweet.
    92. It’s not really like that. I’ve always thought of it kind of like The Giving Tree: a metaphorical tale of childhood that will slice your heart into little quivering pieces.

    I will read Rebecca. Really. I have a new library card and the world’s coolest…well, okay Montana’s coolest library to go “shopping” in. I really appreciate all the new recommendations.

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