Or, where I give you a list of Books To Read.
This isn't a list of Favorite Books; it's more like what I would call a list of books you need to read to be a Well-Rounded Reader. As in, read these books before you die. Use your ability to read!!!!!
27% of American Adults didn't read a single book last year.
I would prefer you read good books, and not trash. But.....
So, without further ado: the list. In no particular order.
- All of Jane. This is non-negotiable. Do it now. NOOOOOOWWWW!
- The Odyssey and the Iliad, Homer
- The Canterbury Tales (or at least a few of the tales), Chaucer
- Dante's Divine Comedy. The whole thing, not just Inferno.
- Paradise Lost, Milton
- A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, and either David Copperfield or Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens.
- The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
- The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
- The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
- Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth. Then I'd add As You Like It and King Lear. And Midsummer Night's Dream. And....oh, Henry III for the histories representation. Everyone knows the first line. Or should.
- Anna Karenina, Tolstoy. Much more accessible than War and Peace.
- The Brothers Karamazov, Doestoevsky
- The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson (one of my favorite modern novels)
- Either My Antonia or O, Pioneers!, Willa Cather
- Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
- The Crucible, Arthur Miller
- The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde
- Mrs. Dalloway, The Voyage Out or To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
- The Narnia books, CS Lewis
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy, JRR Tolkien
- The Little House series, Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
- Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
- Dracula, Bram Stoker
- The Diary of Anne Frank
- Emily Dickinson's poetry
- Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (even if the ending drives me nuts)
- Number the Stars and The Giver, Lois Lowry
- Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
- The Confessions, St. Augustine
- The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum. (Just the first one, at least.)
- The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton.
- Night, Eli Wiesel
Now, I know some of you are going to have Questions. So here are some answers:
* I tried to be as diverse as possible here, but I realize this list is really Euro-centric. Sorry. My specialty in college was British Literature, so that's what I know best, and Western Lit, in general, really does play into a lot of our cultural references and touch points. I am working on reading more Asian lit--I have read The Pillow Book, and I'd love to read Tale of Genji, but that's an Expensive Book. :) So....eventually.
African Literature wasn't offered when I was in college, I don't think, so I'm falling down here too. I apologize.
*No French authors? I don't really like French authors. I did like The Plague, by Camus, but....I don't think it's a book people MUST read. I've read Les Miserables and Notre-Dame de Paris (better known as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), but, again....Notre-Dame has some great descriptions, but it sort of drags. Les Miz also has excellent parts, but again, DRAGS IN OTHERS. (Waterloo section, I'm looking at you.) However, if you wanted to read French authors, I'd suggest Les Miserables and Madame Bovary. Get an UNABRIDGED copy of Les Miserables, please!
*No Spanish authors? Sorry. They aren't my thing. I tried, and failed, to read Don Quixote.