The List

  1. 1984 – George Orwell
  2. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  3. A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
  4. A Handful of Dust – Evelyn Waugh
  5. A Passage To India – E.M. Forster
  6. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  7. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  8. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  9. All the King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren
  10.   American Pastoral – Philip Roth
  11.   An American Tragedy – Theodore Dreiser
  12.   Animal Farm – George Orwell
  13.   As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
  14.   Atonement – Ian McEwan
  15.   Beloved – Toni Morrison
  16.   Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
  17.   Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  18.   Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
  19.   Catcher In the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  20.   Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  21.   David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  22.   Death Comes To the Archbishop – Willa Cather
  23.   Deliverance – James Dickey
  24.   Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
  25.   Dracula – Bram Stoker
  26.   Finnegans Wake – James Joyce
  27.   Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  28.   From Here to Eternity – James Jones
  29.   Go Tell It On the Mountain – James Baldwin
  30.   Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  31.   Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  32.   I, Claudius – Robert Graves
  33.   Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
  34.   Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  35.   Kim – Rudyard Kipling
  36.   Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
  37.   Light In August – William Faulkner
  38.   Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  39.   Lord Jim – Joseph Conrad
  40.   Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  41.   Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
  42.   Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
  43.   Main Street – Sinclair Lewis
  44.   Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  45.   Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
  46.   Naked Lunch – William Burroughs
  47.   Native Son – Richard Wright
  48.   Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  49.   Of Human Bondage – W. Somerset Maugham
  50.   On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  51.   One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
  52.   Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov
  53.   Point Counter Point – Aldous Huxley
  54.   Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
  55.   Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  56.   Rabbit, Run – John Updike
  57.   Ragtime – E.L. Doctorow
  58.   Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
  59.   Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
  60.   Sophie’s Choice – William Styron
  61.   Tender Is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  62.   The Adventures of Augie March – Saul Bellow
  63.   The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
  64.   The Ambassadors – Henry James
  65.   The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  66.   The Bridge of San Luis Rey – Thornton Wilder
  67.   The Call of the Wild – Jack London
  68.   The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles
  69.   The Ginger Man – J.P. Donleavy
  70.   The Good Soldier – Ford Madox Ford
  71.   The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  72.   The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  73.   The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers
  74.   The Heart of the Matter – Graham Greene
  75.   The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Victor Hugo
  76.   The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
  77.   The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
  78.   The Naked and the Dead – Norman Mailer
  79.   The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  80.   The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
  81.   The Postman Always Rings Twice – James M. Cain
  82.   The Power and the Glory – Graham Greene
  83.   The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
  84.   The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  85.   The Scarlett Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  86.   The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
  87.   The Spy Who Came In From the Cold – John le Carre
  88.   The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  89.   The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  90.   Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
  91.   To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  92.   To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
  93.   Tobacco Road – Erskine Caldwell
  94.   Tropic of Cancer – Henry Miller
  95.   Ulysses – James Joyce
  96.   Under the Net – Iris Murdoch
  97.   War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  98.   White Teeth – Zadie Smith
  99.   Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
  100.     Women In Love – D.H. Lawrence
  101.     Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

(Works that I have completed during the course of this project are struck through with a line.)

Of these books, there are approximately 23 that I have previously read.  I’m actually not 100% sure.  Some of the titles are so ubiquitous that it seems like I’ve read them, but I can’t recall anything about them, so maybe I didn’t.  The last was about 5 or so years ago (Zadie Smith’s White Teeth) and the first was when I was in the 5th grade (C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.)

A couple of other statistics for you.

Century first published:

  • 20 in the 19th Century
  • 75 in the 20th Century
  • 4 in the 21st Century

Nationalities of authors (they get multiple acknowledgements if they have multiple books on the list):

  • 47 American
  • 3 British (2 of these British-Indian)
  • 2 Canadian (1 of these Canadian-American)
  • 1 Dominican-English
  • 26 English
  • 5 French
  • 5 Irish
  • 2 Irish-English
  • 2 Japanese-English
  • 2 Polish-English
  • 4 Russian (2 of these Russian-American)
  • 2 Scottish
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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol Newnam
    Sep 04, 2010 @ 18:54:58

    Your writing is excellent and inspiring. Looking forward to reading more.

    Carol

    Reply

  2. gracefullgirll
    Sep 11, 2010 @ 03:17:11

    Sounds like an excellent list! I’m truly very sorry, because I seem incapable of stopping myself from pointing out that The Lord of the Rings is actually 3 books – but they probably have editions where they’re all bound together in one volume, so it works 😛

    I’ve undertaken a similar project myself, so the best of luck to you – your writing really is good, so I’ll definitely be looking forward to your future reviews.

    Reply

    • Katharine Parker
      Sep 11, 2010 @ 09:54:43

      I hadn’t really thought about it until you pointed it out about Lord of the Rings, so I checked a few resources. The trilogy is generally referred to on “best books” list by the single title and I came to find out that it was originally a single novel published in three volumes. It’s a fine distinction, though, and I’m not sure if it’s one worth making. I guess I’ve actually committed to 103 books, haven’t I? It’s OK, though. This trilogy happens to have been among the few on my list that I have read in the past, and I know I’ll enjoy them again.

      Reply

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