Tuesday, May 18, 2010

top books: how many have you read?


the guardian published a list of the top 100 works of fiction of all time. the list was voted upon by 100 top writers from 54 countries and originally released by the Norwegian Book Club. cervantes' don quixote was voted #1, but the others are just listed in alphabetical order.  i love lists like this, even if they are utterly subjective.

here's the guardian's list (i just lifted it from their website, hence the capital letters)...how many have you read?

Chinua Achebe, Nigeria, (b. 1930), Things Fall Apart
Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark, (1805-1875), Fairy Tales and Stories
Jane Austen, England, (1775-1817), Pride and Prejudice
Honore de Balzac, France, (1799-1850), Old Goriot
Samuel Beckett, Ireland, (1906-1989), Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
Giovanni Boccaccio, Italy, (1313-1375), Decameron
Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina, (1899-1986), Collected Fictions
Emily Bronte, England, (1818-1848), Wuthering Heights
Albert Camus, France, (1913-1960), The Stranger
Paul Celan, Romania/France, (1920-1970), Poems.
Louis-Ferdinand Celine, France, (1894-1961), Journey to the End of the Night
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain, (1547-1616), Don Quixote
Geoffrey Chaucer, England, (1340-1400), Canterbury Tales
Anton P Chekhov, Russia, (1860-1904), Selected Stories
Joseph Conrad, England,(1857-1924), Nostromo
Dante Alighieri, Italy, (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy
Charles Dickens, England, (1812-1870), Great Expectations
Denis Diderot, France, (1713-1784), Jacques the Fatalist and His Master
Alfred Doblin, Germany, (1878-1957), Berlin Alexanderplatz
Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881), Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Possessed; The Brothers Karamazov
George Eliot, England, (1819-1880), Middlemarch
Ralph Ellison, United States, (1914-1994), Invisible Man
Euripides, Greece, (c 480-406 BC), Medea
William Faulkner, United States, (1897-1962), Absalom, Absalom; The Sound and the Fury
Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880), Madame Bovary; A Sentimental Education
Federico Garcia Lorca, Spain, (1898-1936), Gypsy Ballads
Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Colombia, (b. 1928), One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera
Gilgamesh, Mesopotamia (c 1800 BC).
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany, (1749-1832), Faust
Nikolai Gogol, Russia, (1809-1852), Dead Souls
Gunter Grass, Germany, (b.1927), The Tin Drum
Joao Guimaraes Rosa, Brazil, (1880-1967), The Devil to Pay in the Backlands
Knut Hamsun, Norway, (1859-1952), Hunger.
Ernest Hemingway, United States, (1899-1961), The Old Man and the Sea
Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC), The Iliad and The Odyssey
Henrik Ibsen, Norway (1828-1906), A Doll's House
The Book of Job, Israel. (600-400 BC).
James Joyce, Ireland, (1882-1941), Ulysses
Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924), The Complete Stories; The Trial; The Castle Bohemia
Kalidasa, India, (c. 400), The Recognition of Sakuntala
Yasunari Kawabata, Japan, (1899-1972), The Sound of the Mountain
Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece, (1883-1957), Zorba the Greek
DH Lawrence, England, (1885-1930), Sons and Lovers
Halldor K Laxness, Iceland, (1902-1998), Independent People
Giacomo Leopardi, Italy, (1798-1837), Complete Poems
Doris Lessing, England, (b.1919), The Golden Notebook
Astrid Lindgren, Sweden, (1907-2002), Pippi Longstocking
Lu Xun, China, (1881-1936), Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
Mahabharata, India, (c 500 BC).
Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt, (b. 1911), Children of Gebelawi
Thomas Mann, Germany, (1875-1955), Buddenbrook; The Magic Mountain
Herman Melville, United States, (1819-1891), Moby Dick
Michel de Montaigne, France, (1533-1592), Essays.
Elsa Morante, Italy, (1918-1985), History
Toni Morrison, United States, (b. 1931), Beloved
Shikibu Murasaki, Japan, (N/A), The Tale of Genji Genji
Robert Musil, Austria, (1880-1942), The Man Without Qualities
Vladimir Nabokov, Russia/United States, (1899-1977), Lolita
Njaals Saga, Iceland, (c 1300).
George Orwell, England, (1903-1950), 1984
Ovid, Italy, (c 43 BC), Metamorphoses
Fernando Pessoa, Portugal, (1888-1935), The Book of Disquiet
Edgar Allan Poe, United States, (1809-1849), The Complete Tales
Marcel Proust, France, (1871-1922), Remembrance of Things Past
Francois Rabelais, France, (1495-1553), Gargantua and Pantagruel
Juan Rulfo, Mexico, (1918-1986), Pedro Paramo
Jalal ad-din Rumi, Afghanistan, (1207-1273), Mathnawi
Salman Rushdie, India/Britain, (b. 1947), Midnight's Children
Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sadi, Iran, (c 1200-1292), The Orchard
Tayeb Salih, Sudan, (b. 1929), Season of Migration to the North
Jose Saramago, Portugal, (b. 1922), Blindness
William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616), Hamlet; King Lear; Othello
Sophocles, Greece, (496-406 BC), Oedipus the King
Stendhal, France, (1783-1842), The Red and the Black
Laurence Sterne, Ireland, (1713-1768), The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
Italo Svevo, Italy, (1861-1928), Confessions of Zeno
Jonathan Swift, Ireland, (1667-1745), Gulliver's Travels
Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910), War and Peace; Anna Karenina; The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories
Thousand and One Nights, India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt, (700-1500).
Mark Twain, United States, (1835-1910), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Valmiki, India, (c 300 BC), Ramayana
Virgil, Italy, (70-19 BC), The Aeneid
Walt Whitman, United States, (1819-1892), Leaves of Grass
Virginia Woolf, England, (1882-1941), Mrs. Dalloway; To the Lighthouse
Marguerite Yourcenar, France, (1903-1987), Memoirs of Hadrian

at 58, i've got a ways to go, tho' i can say that some of them (berlin, alexanderplatz?) probably aren't on my list. and i find murakami to be distinctly missing, but perhaps he was among those who voted. i'm pleased to see no less than 4 dostoevsky - go russians! but really, where is alice in wonderland, shouldn't that be there somewhere? and really, if celan's poems are there, where is pushkin? and bulgakov is clearly missing. and although i liked zorba the greek, does it really belong on this list? damn these lists, they have a way of making me want to make my own.

12 comments:

Char said...

does attempts to read them count? I've read far less than you but have attempted a few that i could never get through after several tries. so...I would say i've read about 25ish of them.

An Open Heart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
An Open Heart said...

Oops, typo before! Make your own list, I'd love to see it!

Anne said...

I'm at 28, but only if I include large works of which I've read only one book (e.g. I've read Inferno, but not the rest of the Divine Comedy--yet; similarly with the first book of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu). I have a long way to go.

Maybe I'll make it a goal not to let my number for the list drop below my age. I'd better get cracking!

Anne said...

Whoops, left out the italics for the DC. Also left out my seconding of Open Heart's motion to see your list!

Lisa-Marie said...

I've read 55! I was not expecting to have read that many. There are quite a few of the ones left i'm unlikely to read though.

Marilynne said...

I don't always agree with the lists. I think they are created by people who don't read very much or else they would have more of my books on that list.

I read a huge amount of books every year. I enjoy most of them. Most of them are new writers. Some are recommended on lists.

It will be interesting to read how many books people have read on that list.

Erin Wallace said...

I've read 29 of them. I thought I was pretty well read, but I guess in Scandinavian terms I'm not!

xo - Erin

rxBambi said...

I'm at 22... but honestly most of them were during high school and I'm sure Cliff Notes made an appearance somewhere.

My teens and I have been talking about the classics and I've been thinking about going back and re-reading some. Seems like the perfect timing with this post.

ps- I also vote to see your list :)

Miss Malorie said...

I've read about 12 or so. I definitely have lots of reading to do! The most recent out of them that I've read is Things Fall Apart... I was happy to see some of my absolute favorites (Beloved, 1984, Hamlet, Lolita, The Stranger).

Sammi said...

A similar list came out a few years ago I posted it on my private blog. Apparently the average adult has only read 7 of those books, so you're not doing too badly.

globeonmytable said...

I can tick off 28, including watching a stage version of Medea and counting other Shakespeare plays instead of those ones. I'm surprised it isn't more as I seem to have spent my life buying and reading books.