Books! Books! Books!

Today I was talking with a co-worker and got on the subject of the Fear Street series by R.L. Stein and how much we both loved them. When I was around thirteen I used to eat these up. It makes sense. I always liked to read and I always liked creepy stories. Tales of murder and ghosts and evil were completely up my alley. In fact, I used to receive my age in dollars for an allowance. I am not sure if this was a week or a month, but I think it was more likely it was every month. Thirteen whole dollars that I could do with as I saw fit. There was, of course, trips to the drug store and ice cream getting to keep in mind, but my main focus was books. And the Fear Street books were reasonable. At that time they were about six dollars apiece. Which meant if I used every penny from my allowance I could buy two. Two whole books. Which is what I did more often than not. The library had to suffice in between, since they were so short and easy reading I’d finish them in about a day or two. I especially loved the Fear Street Saga, which started out as the tale of the feud between the Goodes and the Fiers directly but eventually became the tales of the eight cousin to the Fiers by marriage. The first three were, by far, the best, but historical fiction about curses? Yes please.

But Fear Street was by no means all I read at that age. I read all sorts of things. I always had a book in my hand or pocket or whatever because to this day I hate being caught without one; just in case. When the third Fear Street Saga book came out I was excited because it coincided with my birthday and I was to receive it and The Iliad by Homer. I’m pretty sure I was too young to appreciate it then, but about that time I was also really into Greek myths having just read the dumbed down version The Trojan War by god knows who. I did the same thing with the King Arthur stuff. I don’t even remember what book it was we read in school that had to do with the once and future king except ironically enough it wasn’t The Once and Future King. But pretty soon I was reading Malory with the best of them.

Tracing back by childhood it’s actually surprising to see how much of it was shaped by books and not by movies or television. My best friend and I used to obsessively read the Anne of Green Gables series and then create stories of our own surrounding the characters, both on paper and through our elaborate games of Barbies. We renamed the unglamorous sounding Lower Lake, the Shaker Lake closest to our houses, Emerald Lake just because Anne had renamed Barry’s Pond The Lake of Shining Waters, and found a little nook we thought was ours alone to further on our games. I liked to pretend I was a princess who knew her own mind because I loved the story The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye. I wanted to grow roses because they had in The Secret Garden, and eventually dreamed of some sort of intense creepy romance because I read Jane Eyre (note: I got over that).

Throughout my life I have read a lot of books. I don’t find myself superior because of this and though I’m acutely aware that it comes across as such I’m not meaning to brag about it. But the BBC apparently released a list of one hundred books with a statement saying that they thought the average person would have only read six of what was on the list. It was circulating around facebook so even though I have only ever written one “note” on the social networking site I decided to add a second. I had read forty. I’m not sure if the BBC were just dead wrong, or if I am better read that I thought. But despite having read forty percent of these books, listed below, I still get two reactions 1) from myself I feel as if I should have read more of them and 2) from other people who are astonished I haven’t read some, such as Catch-22 or 1984. It’s not as if I am deliberately leaving them out, but at my school they weren’t required and even though I do own them and have intended to read them many times in the past, something else always comes along to take my interest.

Anyway, even though I already posted the list on facebook I am going to post it again here, because books I find to be personal and there’s not much more personal in my life than this whole blogging thing right now. So here. And in case you were wondering my favorite books are Wuthering Heights, Franny and Zooey, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and Les Miserables.

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (all)

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

The Bible

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa May Alcott  (i don’t remember if i finished it, want to reread)

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

19 The Time Travellers 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 (all)

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 Berniere

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – William 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 – Gabrial Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47 Far from the Madding Crowd _ Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martell

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

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 Fear and Trembling – Søren Kierkegaard

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

74 Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

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 – Charles Mitchell

83 The Colour Purple – Alice Walker

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

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 & the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

 

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About Lindsay

I have a C'est Moi page, you should probably just read that.
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