Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Books every adult should read

This list came from The Guardian, which is the newspaper we read when we read a newspaper in England. It cares about literature, it publishes Annie Proulx and Germaine Greer, it's fun to read. They're reporting on a survey of librarians and archivists in England (amusingly, they're the MLA, for Museums, Librarians, and Archivists rather than for Modern Language Association, as it is in this country).

Here's their list. I put an asterisk next to the books I haven't read, and bolded the books I've taught, just for fun. These are in rank order, by the way--do you agree that To Kill a Mockingbird is the one book every adult should read before dying? (Can we just see the movie?)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Bible (portions--more read than taught, but I've taught Genesis, Matthew, and Luke)
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
All Quite [sic] on the Western Front by E M Remarque
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman (I've taught book one)
*Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Tess of the D'urbevilles [sic] by Thomas Hardy
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger [edited to remove asterisk 4/1/06]
*The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
*The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
*The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
*Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
*A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn


Claudia said...

Time Traveler's Wife and Life of Pi are both very good. I think you'd enjoy both of them.

Becca said...

What a totally bizarre list. It's like take classics, add recent bestsellers, stir.

Libby said...

It is weird, Becca. And, yes, Claudia, it's not that I don't intend to read the other books, just that...well, there are so many books! And I'm still not at all convinced that this is the list to end all lists . But then again...

claudia said...

That's exactly why I pointed them out. There's no way any one person can read every great (whatever constitutes "great") book. I also don't think there's one List, either. Too subjective. And also for the reason above - who's ever read them all?

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Libby---Time Traveler's Wife is...amazing. I cannot even tell you how much I loved that book. Imaginative, beautifully written, and romantic....

sam said...

Did you like The Alchemist? I keep hearing about that one. And I was surprised to see the Mark Haddon book (The Curious Incident) because it's one that the British Council in Hungary has chosen for its Reading Circle. I liked it, but it didn't strike me as something essential.

Susan said...

I cannot really explain why, but I hated the Time Traveler's Wife with an intense passion.