The 1001–The 1900s

Out of the 715 books listed as being must-reads before you die, I’ve read 112:

1. Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
2. Tipping the Velvet – Sarah Waters
3. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
4. Glamorama – Bret Easton Ellis
5. The Hours – Michael Cunningham
6. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
7. Enduring Love – Ian McEwan
8. Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
9. Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
10. Morvern Callar – Alan Warner
11. The Information – Martin Amis
12. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
13. The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides
14. The Robber Bride – Margaret Atwood
15. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
16. Written on the Body – Jeanette Winterson
17. Smilla’s Sense of Snow – Peter Høeg
18. The Butcher Boy – Patrick McCabe
19. Black Water – Joyce Carol Oates
20. Wild Swans – Jung Chang
21. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
22. Time’s Arrow – Martin Amis
23. Possession – A.S. Byatt
24. Sexing the Cherry – Jeanette Winterson
25. Billy Bathgate – E.L. Doctorow
26. Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel
27. Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
28. Foucault’s Pendulum – Umberto Eco
29. Libra – Don DeLillo
30. The Black Dahlia – James Ellroy
31. The Passion – Jeanette Winterson
32. The Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe
33. Beloved – Toni Morrison
34. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
35. Less Than Zero – Bret Easton Ellis
36. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
37. White Noise – Don DeLillo
38. Neuromancer – William Gibson
39. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
40. Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
41. The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
42. The Cement Garden – Ian McEwan
43. The World According to Garp – John Irving
44. Delta of Venus – Anaïs Nin
45. The Shining – Stephen King
46. Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
47. Interview With the Vampire – Anne Rice
48. Ragtime – E.L. Doctorow
49. Surfacing – Margaret Atwood
50. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
51. Slaughterhouse-five – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
52. Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
53. The Godfather – Mario Puzo
54. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe
55. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
56. The Crying of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon
57. Everything That Rises Must Converge – Flannery O’Connor
58. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
59. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
60. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
61. The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
62. Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein
63. Franny and Zooey – J.D. Salinger
64. A Severed Head – Iris Murdoch
65. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
66. The Violent Bear it Away – Flannery O’Connor
67. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
68. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
69. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
70. The Talented Mr. Ripley – Patricia Highsmith
71. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
72. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
73. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
74. Wise Blood – Flannery O’Connor
75. The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson
76. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
77. The End of the Affair – Graham Greene
78. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
79. All About H. Hatterr – G.V. Desani
80. Cry, the Beloved Country – Alan Paton
81. Doctor Faustus – Thomas Mann
82. Animal Farm – George Orwell
83. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
84. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
85. Native Son – Richard Wright
86. Tropic of Capricorn – Henry Miller
87. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
88. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
89. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
90. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
91. Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner
92. The Postman Always Rings Twice – James M. Cain
93. Tropic of Cancer – Henry Miller
94. Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
95. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
96. A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
97. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
98. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
99. Blindness – Henry Green
100. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
101. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
102. A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
103. Babbitt – Sinclair Lewis
104. The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
105. Main Street – Sinclair Lewis
106. Summer – Edith Wharton
107. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
108. Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
109. Howards End – E.M. Forster
110. A Room With a View – E.M. Forster
111. The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
112. Sister Carrie – Theodore Dreiser

I’m not sure I get this list. Some of these books seem to have been included not because they have great literary merit, but because they’ve been widely read.

Reader quiz! There’s one book in this list that I haven’t actually read–it didn’t get deleted during my initial purge. Can you guess which one was not a Superfast read? I’ll send a free book from my Bookmooch inventory to anyone with the right answer.

Tonight’s work read was an adventure novel about time travel. I’ve read a lot of these that haven’t really worked.

15 thoughts on “The 1001–The 1900s”

  1. Heh, friend of Misti’s here. She insisted I come over and participate.

    My guess: 88. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston.

    IstyTehCrawk on BookMooch.

  2. Hi Lauren!

    I went through a Jeanette Winterston phase in college 🙂

    I had another guess come from Bookmoocher Aramada, who posted that I had not read Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. I’ve actually read it at least 5 times, but the last time I picked it up I found I no longer had the patience for it…

    Keep guessing!

  3. I followed your link from the BookMooch forum.

    What a fun contest!

    I’m guessing… ‘A Severed Head’ by Iris Murdoch for no reason in particular… it just jumped out at me.

  4. Genius! That is the one. I’ve never even heard of it–

    Pick any book from my BookMooch inventory:

    If you’re a BookMooch member, just give me your member ID & I’ll gift you a point. Otherwise, email me your address & I’ll send it off to you.

    And because I’m a lazy proofreader, I’ll let you all know that there’s actually a second book on the list that I’ve never read & have never even heard of. Probably because I’m an American? Guess it & win a book!

  5. Hello everyone,

    Superfast Reader asked me share with you how it was that I guessed “Blindness” from her list as the book that she had incorrectly listed and not yet read.

    Go get a stiff drink, or a strong cup of coffee or tea, or one of your favorite cigarettes, and prepare yourself for my long-winded and modest account…

    To guess “Blindness,” I first looked through the list and since she had provided a hint that she hadn’t read or heard of the book “because I’m American” (and being that I was also American), I searched for an author I was unfamiliar with. The first author I came to was Henry Green. I went to Bookmooch and found that the book wasn’t on anyone’s wishlist. Nearly all of the other authors on her list were known to me, and hence chose “Blindness” without further ado.

    I’m quite grateful to Superfast Reader for giving me the extra point to use on Bookmooch, and happy to have found this delightful blog. Here’s to fun and impromptu contests — let’s all encourage her to offer more! (grin)


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