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
- 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.