Behold the 30 books everyone should read before they die, at least according to the Guardian and the librarians they consulted, follwed by tick marks to indicate which ones I have read and, therefore, to what extent you may condescend to/suck up to me. It’s a bit heavy on the recent stuff; surely Paradise Lost should be in there somewhere, to say nothing of Brave New World, although at least with that one they could, given modern life, defend themselves with the indisputable claim that it’s redundant. It also seems to indicate that Charles Dickens was the greatest author the English language has ever known, a claim which is itself one of the great comedic set pieces. Much like the death of Little Nell, it just never ceases to bring a tear to the eye and a hearty laugh to the belly.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee N
The Bible Y
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien Y
1984 by George Orwell Y
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Y
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte N must I?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Y
All Quiet on the Western Front by E M Remarque N
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman N but I will in two weeks when I go house-sitting
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks N but I have some of his other stuff
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Y
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding Y
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon N That became a classic rather quickly, didn’t it?
Tess of the D’urbevilles by Thomas Hardy Y, Unfortunately. Nuff said!
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne Y
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte N Again, must I?
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham Y Although I find it vastly inferior to T. H. White’s The Once and Future King
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell N
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Y
The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger N
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold N But I own it; it’s around here somewhere, probably underneath a pile of Vanity Fairs.
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran N Although I have read many a snippet as part of someone’s email signature
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens N Don’t wanna. Can’t make me.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho Y
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov N
Life of Pi by Yann Martel Y And met the man. Now may I be excused from reading David Copperfield?
Middlemarch by George Eliot N And it may interest you to know that neither Eliot, nor any of the Brontes, have made it into any of the three editions of the Norton Anthology of English Literature which I own.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver N
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess N But I love his other stuff, will get to this one day.
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn N Is it really better than The Gulag Archipelago?