My “Top 29 of 100” Book List

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Amazon recently published a list of “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.” I’m a sucker for these lists. Part of me wants to tally how many I have read and the other part of me is scrolling through for additions to my bulging To-Be-Read pile. The interesting part of Amazon’s list was its inclusion of children’s literature. The creators intended to make a list that reflected varying phases of life – a rather insightful idea considering we hope that reading is a lifelong habit.

Several years ago I put on my Bucket List to read at least 100 books in my lifetime that I could say had left a lasting impression on my literary life. I started this partially because I don’t like the idea of ranking my literary success on what a group of strangers deem is important and partially to keep me focused on reading a wide range of writing. I’m nowhere close to finished. Not every book that I enjoy makes the list. Nor does every book need to be one that I would absolutely recommend to everyone since readers are as varied as books. It does add an extra delightful element to my reading: will this one make the cut?

I had only read about a quarter of the books on Amazon’s list. I added a few to my TBR pile and the rest I dismissed as not of interest. Here’s my own list for you to do the same – take what you like, dismiss the rest – and, after reading Amazon’s approach, I’m including books from my childhood that I hold near and dear to my reading history.

If you’re interested, here’s where my list stands currently.

  • “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (thanks Carrie for the recommendation!)
  • The Wrong Side of Paris by Honore de Balzac
  • The Caliph’s House by Tahir Shah
  • A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Baer
  • Bible
  • The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  • The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
  • The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns
  • The Peacemaker by Ken Sande
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Brodeck by Phillipe Claudel
  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
  • The Miracles of Exodus: A Scientist’s discovery of the extraordinary natural causes of the Biblical Stories by Colin J. Humphreys
  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario
  • Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Pennsylvania Dutch Night Before Christmas by Chet Williamson
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough
  • Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

What books make your list? Because my TBR pile could always be bigger.

5 Responses to “My “Top 29 of 100” Book List”

    • RebeccaV

      It does assume that I live a fairly average number of years, but even 2 per year for 50 years seemed doable for me. I do attempt to balance my BL with travels and experiences so I don’t spend all of my time with my butt in a chair. 🙂

  1. Carrie Rubin

    Glad to see ‘A Fine Balance’ made your list! Certainly makes mine as well (though I haven’t actually drafted one). Thank you for the mention. 🙂

    I should read ‘Midnight’s Children’ by Salman Rushdie. Have thought about it but as with so many books, just haven’t gotten around to it.

    Is your new baby giving you fun smiles yet? (I think she’s over two months old now, isn’t she?)

    • RebeccaV

      I stalled on Rushdie bc I had heard him speak at a conference and didn’t particularly care for him. It was nice to discover I could like a book apart from the author. The book fascinated me for all the parts of it that I knew I was missing (symbols, layers, writing techniques, etc.).

      The new baby is happy and half-laughing and smiling. Having exprienced the opposite with #1, I am thrilled to learn they make babies like her. 🙂

      • Carrie Rubin

        Aw, lovely to hear! My first one was my colicky one and my second one was the happy one, so I, too, was relieved for that order!

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