Books I’ve read are in bold; books I’ll almost certainly never read are crossed out.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. The Bible
3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
4. 1984 by George Orwell
5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
8. All Quite on the Western Front by E M Remarque
9. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
10. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
11. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
12. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding (I feel no need, honestly.)
13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
14. Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
15. Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
16. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
17. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
18. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
19. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
20. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
21. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
22. The Prophet by Khalil Gibran–I saw someone reading this on the subway yesterday and it made me giggle almost as hard as the girl wearing the silver leggings.
23. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
24. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
25. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
26. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
27. Middlemarch by George Eliot
28. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
29. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
30. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn
I think the librarians must’ve been going for “books you will enjoy reading,” but how can you really answer that for someone else? The person who loves The Alchemist is probably not one for a 700-page Dickens classic. People who read the Bible for fun find Philip Pullman’s anti-Christian trilogy a bit of a slog. I appreciate the concept that librarians are people who love books and might have a good recommendation, but these kinds of things can’t be issued in a simple list.
Additionally, a “what should I read list?” isn’t that helpful if it includes books you’re already familiar with, whether you’ve read them or not. I want to know about books I’ve never heard of that I have to read. And look, I love the Bible and everything, but it’s not a book that I’m going to check out of the library (mainly because we have like eight copies already). It’s certainly a book that one should read in one’s life, but I don’t need a librarian to tell me that.