I can read!

So Scott did this meme of books you’ve read, and one of the instructions is to cross off books you never plan to read or “were forced to read in school and hated.” To which I offer a gigantic “WTF?” because you’ve still read it either way. But that got me thinking about The Bridges of Madison County.

Shortly after the height of its popularity, but before it became a movie, I read it. I did this because I wanted to be able to say with authority that it’s a piece of shit, and have specifics to back up that belief. Unfortunately, the book is SO BAD that I have been too depressed about it for the intervening 15 years to say anything other than, “I can’t believe I read the whole thing.”

The fact that the movie was made by Clint Eastwood only depresses me further, because it means I will never be able to say I’ve watched all of his movies. At least, not without a vat of tequila and some cocaine. And also someone to strap me to a chair and tape my eyelids open.

For obvious reasons, I have not read The Da Vinci Code. I am perfectly happy to believe it stinks without finding out for myself.

The meme is behind the cut.

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.”
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) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read at school and hated.
5) Reprint this list in your own LJ blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them ;-)

I am totally ignoring the directions and just bolding the ones I’ve read, including three that I found totally unreadable and didn’t finish (but I’m not telling which three).

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 The Harry Potter Series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible (well, maybe not all of it)
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 (well, most of them)
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
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 Hitch Hiker’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 in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
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
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
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
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
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
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
77 Swallows and Amazons
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple, Alice Walker
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
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 St. Exupery
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
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

35/100. More than a third, which I’d say is pretty good.

We now return to your regularly scheduled no-memes blogging.

23 thoughts on “I can read!

  1. Amanda

    June 26, 2008 at 11:41am

    I hit 36, but there were two I couldn’t finish (Tolstoy) and one I haven’t finished yet (still making my way through Shakespeare). But I have read Les Miz three times, so that should make up for it.

  2. Annika

    June 26, 2008 at 11:44am

    I confess: I haven’t read any of Shakespeare’s histories. But I am pretty sure I’ve read just about everything else. And I’ve read To Kill A Monckingbird easily three dozen times (it is much shorter than Les Mis).

  3. liz

    June 26, 2008 at 11:46am

    Ooh you should read One Hundred Years of Solitude, everybody should it’s my absolute favorite. The Count of Monte Cristo, too, that was good. Nice an swashbuckly.

    liz’s last blog post..i should have said something at the time

  4. Cindy

    June 26, 2008 at 12:06pm

    I know how you feel about “Bridges”. I cringe every time a crack open a Nora Roberts on the beach. My friend called those books “brain candy”. Easy consumption but will rot your brain.

    Cindy’s last blog post..A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That

  5. Amy

    June 26, 2008 at 1:09pm

    Can you sleep with the television on? I can’t, but I know people (like my sister) who can. If you are one of these, perhaps you might consider turning it on before you pass out one day. I admit this stretches the definition of “watching.”

    Also, the hell? Why are The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe and Hamlet separate entries when the list already includes The Chronicles of Narnia and The Complete Works Of Shakespeare?

    Scratching those, I’ve read 34. Which chagrins me moderately.

  6. Annika

    June 26, 2008 at 1:11pm

    I believe it’s a list of Best Sellers. Which explains the omission of several greats and the otherwise inexplicable repeats.

  7. Laurie Ann

    June 26, 2008 at 1:22pm

    I’ve read 28. I was honest about the Lord of The Rings and Shakespeare–I didn’t read it all. Also, I honestly have never read the Bible. Twelve years of Catholic school and never read it. I’m so going to heck.

    However, I have read The Hunchback of Notre Dame, even though it’s not on the list. Can I count Les Miz?

    Laurie Ann’s last blog post..Stalled

  8. Delle

    June 26, 2008 at 3:06pm

    I find it difficult to believe that there are so many adults out there who haven’t read these books. I mean, I can kind of believe they exist – I’m fairly sure my neighbour would struggle to find 6 of these that she’s read – but that there would be so many of them as to take the average that low.

    I counted 41, not including the complete works of Shakespeare or the bible, both of which I have only read partially. There were a few others that I’ve read partially (like War and Peace), which I still intend to finish at some point (I might finish the Shakespeare one day, but I’m not reading the whole bible).

    Delle’s last blog post..Of houses and spindles

  9. Grandmere

    June 26, 2008 at 3:28pm

    I have read 30, read half of three, and I know I have read many more that should be on the list. As an English major I took a course titled the History of the Novel and read 25 in one term. There is no Hemingway or Faulkner on this list. And many of the novels we had to read as improtant to the history of writing novels are not on there. Not that I liked Hemingway all that much, but he is an American novelist of osme importance.

    Grandmere’s last blog post..Thank you, Harvey Korman

  10. Allison

    June 26, 2008 at 4:24pm

    Surprisingly, I’ve read 50 of them. The hazards of being a comparative literature major.

  11. oslowe

    June 26, 2008 at 5:14pm

    fifty three by thirty-three! if you count that I’ve read enough of Shakespeare (including those fucking sonnets) to count for “all” (I don’t think I’ve read Troillus & Cressida, but I’ve read MacB like ten times).

  12. Kjrstn

    June 26, 2008 at 6:45pm

    I would rather write a long list of the books I have read, because that would be much longer.

  13. Ewokmama

    June 26, 2008 at 6:57pm

    I’ve read 10 that I can remember. :P There are some I started and abandoned not included in that count – Life of Pi, the Bible, Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights – and some that I can’t remember if I actually read. There are only a few that I haven’t read but plan to in the future. I’m too busy reading Fantasy over here and that list is dreadfully low on the genre. :P

    After having DaVinci Code shoved at me by several friends, I conceded and read it. It was actually quite a bit better than I thought it would be, but not good enough to read additional books by that author. :P

    Ewokmama’s last blog post..Don’t blink

  14. Kirk

    June 27, 2008 at 12:16pm

    Annika, thanks for posting this, these lists are always fun. (Also, your total is way better than mine.)

    So does this mean you’ve seen the Clint movies w/ the orangatan? If so, you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

  15. Annika

    June 27, 2008 at 12:19pm

    Not yet, but I have every intention of seeing it one day.

  16. Phoebe

    June 27, 2008 at 12:22pm

    I read 42 (or 41) and didn’t finish 12 (or 13) out of that list. All pretty good books except for Curious Incident etc. I just never finished Hamlet. Next up is Anna Karenina I guess.

  17. SilliGirl

    June 27, 2008 at 3:18pm

    Oh, you have to read The Time Traveller’s Wife and also Corelli’s Mandolin (NOT Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which is the name of the movie that slaughtered an amazing novel). Those are my two favorite books ever. I love magic realism.

    Back to count how many of the other’s I’ve read…

    SilliGirl’s last blog post..My Day Off

  18. Anna

    June 29, 2008 at 8:42am

    I think it is awesome that in a list of the most-printed books of all time, 4 out of the 5 top authors are women. Someone should work on taking down Tolkien.

    Anna’s last blog post..My human credential

  19. Anne

    June 29, 2008 at 9:47am

    Wow, 38! I feel soooo much more accomplished than I did a moment ago :)

  20. CosmicAvatar

    June 29, 2008 at 10:48am

    Dan Brown’s books are quite entertaining in a popcorn kind of way. They certainly helped pass the time on my flight to LA and back in 2006. Munch, swallow, forget. That kind of thing.

    I was pleasantly surprised by how inclusive this list was. I was expecting it to be far more “intellectual”, but I’ve actually read quite a few books on it. Coo!

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