One Hundred Books of Solitary Reading

The Library Association for the Preservation of the Literary Canon of Western Civilization recently released their list of the 100 great books that everyone should have read. I scored a perfect 100 out of 100! How well did you do? Copy their list into your notes on Facebook, and mark with an X all those titles you have read. Share your score with me so I can gloat and mock you unmercifully because I scored better than you did.*

Homer – The Odyssey

Ovid – The Metamorphosis

Martial – Collected Epigrams

Seamus Heaney (Trans.) – Beowulf

Henry of Huntingdon – The History of the English People 1000-1134

Boccaccio – the Decameron

Geoffrey Chaucer – Canterbury Tales

Dante – The Divine Comedy

Machiavelli – The Prince

Thomas Moore – Utopia

William Shakespeare – Hamlet

William Shakespeare – Macbeth

William Shakespeare – Othello

William Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare – Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare – Collected Sonnets

Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe

Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels

Voltaire – Candide

Charles Dickens – Great Expectations

Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment

George Elliot – The Mill on the Floss

George Elliot – Silas Marner

Herman Melville – Moby Dick

Jerome K Jerome – Three Men in a Boat

Bram Stoker – Dracula

Robert Louis Stevenson – Treasure Island

Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland/Alice Through the Looking Glass

Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness

Marcel Proust – Swann’s Way

Thomas Hardy – Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy – The Mayor of Casterbridge

Upton Sinclair – The Jungle

Winesburg Ohio – Sherwood Anderson

Franz Kafka – The Metamorphosis

Thornton Wilder – Our Town

HG Wells – War of the Worlds

James Joyce – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

James Joyce – Dubliners

James Joyce – Ulysses

Ernst Junger – Storm of Steel

DH Lawrence – Women In Love

Kenneth Grahame – Wind in the Willows

Siegfried Sassoon – Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man

Thomas Mann – Death in Venice

Ernest Hemingway – A Farewell to Arms

Nathaniel West – Day of the Locust

Erich Maria Remarque – All Quiet on the Western Front

F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby

Dalton Trumbo – Johnny Got His Gun

Robert Graves – Goodbye To All That

Virginia Woolf – To The Lighthouse

Anais Nin – Little Birds

Anais Nin – Delta of Venus

Henry Miller – Tropic of Cancer

Antoine de Saint Exupery – The Little Prince

Mervyn Peake – Titus Groan/Gormenghast/Titus Alone

George Orwell -1984

George Orwell – Animal Farm

Patrick Kavanagh – The Green Fool

JRR Tolkien – Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

Albert Camus – The Stranger

William Golding – Lord of the Flies

JD Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye

Bohumil Hrabal – Closely Watched Trains

Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

Samuel Becket – Waiting for Godot

Dylan Thomas – Under Milkwood

Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged

Agatha Christie – Crooked House

John Steinbeck – Of Mice and Men

Laurie Lee – Cider With Rosie

John Wyndham – Day of the Triffids

Robert Heinlein – Stranger in a Strange Land

Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar

Alan Sillitoe – The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Keith Waterhouse – Billy Liar

Isaac Asimov – Foundation (Trilogy)

Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse Five

Slawomir Mrozek – The Elephant

Tommaso Landolfi – Words in Commotion

Alberto Moravia – Erotic Tales

Gabriel Garcia Marquez – One Hundred Years of Solitude

Charles Bukowski – Tales of Ordinary Madness

Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale

Murilo Rubiao – The Ex-Magician and Other Stories

Ian McEwan – The Comfort of Strangers

Rudolfo Anaya – Bless me Ultima

Iain Banks – The Wasp Factory

Richard Brautigan – Trout Fishing in America

Douglas Adams – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Five volumes)

William Gibson – Neuromancer

Milan Kundera – The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Beryl Bainbridge – Sweet William

Caroline Graham – The Killings at Badgers Drift

Nicholson Barker – Vox

Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (Trilogy)

Yann Martel – Life of Pi

JK Rowling – Harry Potter (All seven volumes)

Arundhati Roy – The God of Small Things

* Alternatively, you can make up your own version of this list by:

a) Inventing a glorious sounding but entirely fictional body.

b) Writing down a hundred books you have read (avoid the phone book, TV Guide, Vegetable Gardening for Dummies, and anything with more pictures than sentences–unless it is by William Faulkner) Oh, and don’t try cheating by listing books where you saw the movie–someone will ask you about that one scene that was deleted to bring it down to 97 minutes on-screen.

c) Write a snotty cover note that will make all your Facebook friends envy your reading ability and cultural superiority, or quietly think you are a dork who wants to rub their noses in it for spending their lives watching reality TV and American Idol instead of looking at sheets of paper covered in words.



About Ian Whatley

Ian Whatley -- British born, bred, educated, and then deported. His fiction has been published in The Legendary, Lost and Found Times, 3S and so on and so on and...

Posted on December 13, 2010, in Ian W and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have read some I don’t think belong on the list. Bless Me Ultima, for example. A Young Adult book, interesting, Mexican-American rural fable, but not one of the 100 essentials. Maybe I would suggest Woman Hollering Creek or even The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros as a better pick. All in all, this represents “the Canon,” but the non-English picks (100 Years of Solitude was the no-brainer) barely scratch the surface. I guess it depends on your definition of Western Civ. And another thing — Ayn Rand should be nuuked from orbit. I guess Keats and Blake didn’t make the cut, but Bukowski did? I could go on, but i’m late for a very important date. ta ta

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