Finding time to read

I have been reading more lately, but my interests in the past few years have been on topics of social justice and animal welfare, not the “classics” so much nor any bestselling novels. On the occasion that I do read fiction, I generally pick something minority-written and often along social justice lines. Must Be Motherhood (who posted the below meme recently and is apparently on blog vacation now) sent me Three Cups of Tea this week, and now that I’ve finished The Working Poor (hooray for the library) as of last night, I can move on to the next book. But I also have PQ‘s Half of Me on the shelf, as well as Dominion and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, both of which I’ve been working on for awhile. So far this year I finished The China Study and Nickel and Dimed, and I keep up with one food magazine. Some months I don’t read much of anything in book form at all. (And yes, I’m too lazy to underline titles and give you links to them at Amazon.)

I read a TON of email and of course I’m usually home late every night, never finding time to sit with a book. I look forward to the times I can do nothing but read, but sometimes I have to carve that time by neglecting something else (replying to email, making phone calls, bonding bunnies, sleeping). Is it a hallmark of American culture to be swamped with stuff to do all the time? It’s not like I watch more than about two hours of TV a week, and that’s while eating dinner.

On to the meme, something from the National Endowment for the Arts, which approximates that most American adults have only read six out of the 100 titles on this list. Looks like I hit 21 of these. That number is pitiful in many ways, but there are so many other things to read. I thought almost all of the books were school assignments, but after reconsidering the list, I think a third of them were just books I chose to read. I don’t even remember many of them too well. Some of my favorite classes (note I was a chemistry major and didn’t have to take any lit) were elective literature courses, Russian lit, Gothic lit, and two semesters of African American lit.

Here’s what you do:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list on your own blog.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible (parts, of course)
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare Several plays, of course
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy several of his short stories, though
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath after I found out she went to and then taught at my alma mater
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – A. S. Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker my favorite book
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom oh come on
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery one of my favorite quotes: You are responsible forever for that which you have tamed
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare but I saw the play when I visited Stratford-on-Avon!
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo if David sings this one more time… let’s put it this way: He named a foster rabbit Eponine

5 thoughts on “Finding time to read

  1. Your Dad has read 12. He says, “Where’s the Mark Twain?” He, like you, is much more into non fiction. I’ve actually read 29.5. (I’m reading Emma now) Many were read in High school and college and “Kiddie Lit” for elementary-ed majors, but I’ve been working the last several years to catch up on some of the classics I missed. MOM

  2. How did you get out of a Russian Lit class without Anna Karenina?

    Was that the one they offered at the Academy? I loved that one. Can’t remember the teacher’s name. Hi, by the way. I was a year behind you in high school. Just found you on Katie’s blog (Wandering Bella).

  3. Yes, that was the Academy class. Welcome! Funny how we find each other, huh? Wasn’t it taught by Hobar and Dixon? Were you in my class? I remember it was in a trailer, and then we had that scavenger hunt at the end of the semester.

    I don’t think we read A.K. in the class but I’ll be honest, my memory is not that great on these books. I’m probably wrong on a couple, but I figure I claimed something incorrectly and forgot something else I read and it’ll even out.

  4. We were in different classes. I took it in the new Burris building during my senior year. I think mine was taught by Dixon, and we did a tea party at the end of the semester and each pretended to be a Russian writer. I got Gogol. I know we did Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov in my class because that was a LOT of reading on top of the three other lit classes I took that semester.

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