Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Adherent of the Repeated (book) Meme

I don't generally do memes, but I'm a sucker for lists of books, and this list is after all the list of 30 books all adults should have read, so...

[Bold for those I've read; Italics for those I'd like to read; and a strike though for those I either will never read or started by gave up on]

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Bible

Not all of it, but enough in my younger years to qualify, I think.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien

I've read this several times, but not for a while - the last time was on a short holiday in Donegal where it rained all the time and I spent five days in a country pub drinking and reading in front of a peat fire.

1984 by George Orwell

Not since school though and not very likely to ever read it again.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Ditto. I'm not a massive fan of Dickens, although I like adaptations of his books a lot.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Hasn't everyone read this a few times?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The best novel by one of the finest writers in the English language? Of course I've read it. Repeatedly.

All Quite on the Western Front by E M Remarque

Another one from school. Doesn't it have an odd ending where - in spite of the whole thing being told in the first person - the narrator is shot dead?

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman

My daughter has these so I'll probably get round to it some day.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

I bought a copy of this in the tiny Uni bookshop when I was doing postgrad IT and it was a brilliant read at a time when everything else I read featured a programming language of some kind.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I'm sure I've read this, but I may fact only have seen the film.

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I like Golding a lot, but both The Inheritors and Pincher Martin are better books than Lord of the Flies.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

This is lying in a bookcase at home, waiting to be read.

Tess of the D'urbevilles by Thomas Hardy

Read during my Hardy phase at school - unlike Jude the Obscure though, I read it once and have no intention of ever reading it again (not that I intend to read Jude again either, but I read it several times in the space of year when I was thirteen or so).

Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne

I've read this for my own pleasure and to all my children at various points.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I often wonder if this would be as good if I re-read it as I remember being way back when.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

See Winnie the Pooh.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Courtesy of J, I've now seen and enjoyed the movie but the book simply doesn't appeal.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

My least favourite of the three Dickens on offer in this list, but none of them would exactly be amongst my desert island paperbacks.

The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran [Available online here but really not worth reading]

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Just sounds too dull and worthy.

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Haven't even heard of this.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Sitting in a bookcase at home.

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I didn't like Silas Marner so I can't see myself ever reading this.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I hadn't heard of this but a quick Googling makes it sound quite interesting.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

Both excellent books, neither likely to be re-read any time soon however - there are just too many new books to read.

It's a peculiar list actually - no space for anything by Italo Calvino but room for The Time Traveller's Wife, which is surely too new to count as a perennial 'must read. And isn't two fictional memoirs of the First World War one too many? Equally, three kids' books seems a tad weighted, as does three Dickens (not that he's not great, but what marks David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations out over Oliver Twist, say, or Bleak House - or The Old Man and the Sea or I, Claudius for that matter?).

Not to mention the fact that a case could surely be made for suggesting that reading the Quran is more pertinent today than reading the Bible.

But that's what comes of asking a gaggle of librarians, I suppose...
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Blogger TimeWarden said...

I agree with their choice of Hardy novel but none of their Dickens... Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities and Hard Times for me - all character, not plot, driven novels and Sidney Carton is the greatest hero in English Literature.

I never finished 1984 despite setting Newspeak to music as part of my Masters.

Surely a book on evolution would be more useful than ANY religious tome, or at least included as a balance. Though the Bible includes great stories... so does Bram Stoker's Dracula!

I see Terrance Dicks didn't make the list!!!

6:39 am  
Blogger Stewart M. said...

Hahahaha. Poor Uncle Tel. He cannot write to save his life.

8:14 am  
Blogger Stuart Douglas said...

timewarden: "Surely a book on evolution would be more useful than ANY religious tome"

Good point - I hadn't thought of that. Richard Dawkins' Ancestor's Tale perhaps?

Stewart: "Poor Uncle Tel. He cannot write to save his life"

Although co-incindentally the last book I bought was the three bookss in one volume version of Dicks' Star Quest books, (for £3 including postage form Big Finish so it wasn't a huge risk :).

9:11 am  
Blogger Stewart M. said...

Awesome. Thanks for the recommendation, Stuart. What is the premise behind Golem 100?

11:34 pm  
Blogger Stuart Douglas said...

Golem 100 is excellent, but not entirely similar to other Besters you've read (although IIRC the typographical shenanigans Bester does in G100 turn up in one of his other works). It's a sort of sf detective novel filtered through William S Burroughs (that's probably a crap description actually but it's the best I can do :) - some experimental writing and playing about with text, but with an actual story underneath.

It's more experimental than The Stars... or the Demolished Man, but if you like Phillip K Dick and his ilk, it's well worth looking out for.

10:44 am  

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