Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Filling in the gaps

During my clicky clicks from blog to blog over the weekend, I stumbled upon this fantastic idea.

Choose 100 books. Books to "fill in the gaps" of your personal literary canon. Books that most people have already read (or perhaps just say they have), and you have not. Books that you truly have been meaning to read but have avoided because of their daunting length or exalted literary status or an array of other excuses that just will not do. Books that every person "should" read.

Of course, I was inspired. This is exactly what I need! Sure, GoodReads is fine and well for keeping track of newly released books that I want to read right now, but what about all the others that I just never get around to? So, I decided to make my own list. And I will slowly fill that gap, one book at a time.

According to Vasilly and Moonrat, the challenge is supposed to last 5 years from the start date. Ha! There's not a chance in the world that I can read these hundred books in merely 5 years, considering the amount of kidlit and YA reading I do. Even giving myself 10 years would still mean that I'd have to finish 10 books a year, which is a little less than a book a month, which again, is not realistic given my reading habits. What to do, what to do? I'm honestly not much for long-term planning, so this is very new territory for me.

My goal: I don't yet have 100 books on my list - I'm about halfway there. But since it's such a long challenge, I'm okay with that, as I'll be continuously adding books to it. I do plan to check in every year around this time, the winter holidays, to assess my progress. If I read a handful of these books in one year, I think I'll be satisfied with that.

I'd love to know if anyone else is doing something similar. Or if there is a group out there committed to doing this challenge and encouraging each other along the way. The book blogosphere is ginormous - it's sometimes hard to figure out who's reading what and what challenges are hot. If I so obviously missed the "host" of this one, let me know, please!

Without further ado, my list of books to fill in my personal reading gaps:

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

White Noise by Don DeLillo
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston


The American by Henry James
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Beloved by Toni Morrison

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Nineteen Eight Four by George Orwell

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak


Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
Housekeeping by Marilyn Robinson

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolsoy
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy


Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 



We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

What do you think? Am I crazy? Are there any other "classic"-type books you'd recommend?



Mrs. DeRaps said...

I have not read all of these, but I've read quite a few. Here are my favorites from your list:

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Love in the Time of Cholera by G. Garcia Marquez
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Beloved by Toni Morrison
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

These are some of my all-time favorite books ever. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have! Some, like Slaughterhouse Five, Their Eyes Were Watching God, On the Road, Love in the Time of Cholera, and The Road get better and betterer every time I read them. Others I've only read once, but they have left an indelible impression on me. Thanks for sharing your list, I should take part in this too!

Jan von Harz said...

Great list. Good luck with this one.

Jennifer said...

Wow. That is a major list! Mansfield Park is my favorite Austen, but I admit it's not for everyone and it can be hard to get through. You've never read Diary of Anne Frank or Little Women? I am shocked! Well, not about Little Women - a surprisingly large number of people haven't read that. You'll either love it or hate it. Good luck on your list!

Lenore said...

I've read 20 from your to-read list, and I plan to read Les Miz and We next year!

NatalieSap said...

Mrs. DeRaps - Wow, you've read a ton of these! Thanks for sharing your favorites. :)

Jan - Thanks; I'm going to need more than luck for this one. Sheer will and determination!

Jennifer - I truly can't remember if I've read Mansfield Park. I went through an Austen phase sometime in early college, so they all blend together for me. As for Anne Frank, I'm a softie, and I've always been scared that it would totally devastate me. We'll see, I suppose.

Lenore - I'm just going to pretend that there are 20 books that I've read that you haven't. :P I doubt I'll get to Les Miserables anytime soon, but We has been on my to-read list forever.

Peaceful Reader said...

This is a great list. I've read a few of them but running down your list made me think of all the ones I could add to this challenge. Hmmm.

Debbie Diesen said...

What a neat challenge. (But I have a feeling my own Fill In The Gaps list might exceed 100!)

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