Wednesday, October 17, 2007

100 Books

I'm doing this all in one so I can put it over on the side. If you've already read the 5 part series where I broke this down in to easier to chew segments, skip on to the next post!

100 Books

I’m going to stick to books I’ve read. I’ll try to give authors as I remember them, but I’m really bad at remembering author names.

Childhood Favorites
1. Robin Hood – Howard Pyle. - This is the first book that had me sobbing like a baby. My mom came into the room and was shocked to see me crying so hard, “What happened??” I could only hold up the book and say, “They killed him!” (Sorry if that’s a spoiler.)

2. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll. - This is one of my all-time favorites. In high school, I did this huge paper on it. That’s when I learned that Alice is a children’s book like The Simpsons is a children’s cartoon. It was written as a satire of the socio-economic and political layout of English society. Oddly, this didn’t ruin it for me, if anything, it made it all the more interesting, adding another layer to its wonder.

3. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkein. - It took me three tries to get through this book. I was in 6th grade and had heard that some people read 2 or more books at the same time. I gave it a shot and didn’t like doing that. When I finally went to reading one at a time, I read all the way through this amazing book.

4. ­Where the Red Fern Grows – My 6th grade teacher (who was a rookie, first year teacher and one of my best teachers ever) read this to the class. If you haven’t read it… well, it doesn’t end well. The whole class was crying (even the boys!) and we were asking him, “Why would you read this to us???” But honestly, it’s a great book.

5. Complete Fairy Tales – The Brothers Grimm – I still read these. All the time.

6. Aesop’s Fables – I still read these all the time, too.

7. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas – I love Dumas. He’s always a good read. His books are full of adventure and are peppered with humor so things don’t get too dark.

8. Little Women – This book always gets me. I love the main character’s strength and attitude.

9. ­Little Men – Another great book!

10. Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder – anything by her is fine by me! I used to wear this Laura Ingalls dress my grandma sewed for me while I read these books. I wore that dress well past the time I grew out of it!

11. Heidi – Johanna Spyri – Such a sweet story. When I read it now, as an adult, it’s almost too sweet! I highly recommend doing that; going back and reading your favorite childhood books as an adult. It gives such great nostalgic memories and an all new perspective.

12. Just So Stories – Rudyard Kipling – what an imagination this man has!

13. Anderson’s Fairy Tales – I’m a sucker for any fairy tales!

14. Treasure Island – Johann David Wyss – Adventure unsurpassed…

15. The Swiss Family Robinson – Robert Louis Stevenson – what a resourceful family!

16. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens – they say that imitation is the best form of flattery. How many ways has this wonderful tale been redone?!

17. Good Night Moon – Margaret Wise Brown – this book is a favorite of me and my kids. Even just the words she used are soft and gentle and like a written lullaby.

18. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl – what an amazing imagination this man has!

19. ? – Here’s my first mystery book – I read a book in 6th grade about Sirius, the dog star being framed for a crime and cast out of the sky (in the book, the stars are actually sentient beings, aliens of sorts). In a burst of irony, the other stars send him to earth to live as a dog. He ends up with these two little kids who live in an abusive family. He protects them and loves them and earns his way back into the sky where he clears his name. I read it a few times and wish I could remember who wrote it or what it was called.

20. ? – Second mystery book – this one, also read around 6th grade, was a fantasy book. These 3 kids go to live with their uncle and in his attic they find a bunch or TV sets. They turn one on and a sinister man seems to be looking at them. They go to turn it off and realize it’s not plugged in. Then all the TV’s turn on (none are plugged in) and the kids get sucked into the TV’s. They land in a world of sorcery and such and have to find each other and make their way back. (I know, it’s reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia). It was a really good book that I read several times and I can’t remember the name!

21. The Chronicles of Narnia – I read all these just this year. I’ve had a really beautiful set of the series for about ten years. What fantastic tales!

Required School Reading
22. To Kill a Mockingbird – One of the finest books in American Literature.

23. Wuthering Heights – Dark but beautiful.

24. Lord of the Flies – Dark but sinister. JK. It’s a fascinating read – how the boys develop their own culture and degenerate into near-animals.

25. The Color Purple – Alice Walker – I just recently mailed a copy of this out for a Banned Book Swap. It was banned when it came out and I was in high school. Near as I can tell, it was banned because of the love affair btw two women. I was in the Advanced English class and our teacher had us read it anyway. It’s still one of my all-time favorite books.

26. Candide – Voltaire – What a trip. A very good book and metaphor for how things are as compared to how they should be.

27. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou – Wow. She is an amazing writer. What beauty, what strength. I’ve read all of her stuff, too.

28. Go Ask Alice – Anonymous – OK, this wasn’t “required” reading. More like somebody read it, and we all sneaked around reading it after they told us what was in it. For me, this book confirmed my decision not to get into drugs (I’ve experimented but it was never my thing). What a fucked up life this girl got into!

29. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury – One of those really scary books when you realize how easily that world could be our world. Like #72

30. Watership Down – Richard Adams – Talk about depth of character! This book is an amazing analogy of human relationships and life.

31. The Taming of the Shrew – Shakespeare – I will read Shakespeare at least once a year. His comedies are funny and racy and he’s incredible. Someday, I’m going to get a nice leather bound set of his works.

32. Shakespeare’s Insults – OK, this wasn’t required school reading, I went and found it on my own. Yea, I’m a geek, so what. This book is comprehensive but not very well organized. My favorite insult is, “You crusty botch of nature.”

33. Suddenly Last Summer – Tennessee Williams – Wow. Homosexuality, cannibalism, unhealthy mother-son relationship. Wow. I love Tennessee Wms; he goes to the edge and jumps off!

34. The Once and Future King – What a fantastic tale. It’s the story of King Arthur and it’s ripe with humor and adventure and poignancy.

35. The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde – another favorite author. Damn he’s funny! A razor wit.

36. Memoirs of a Tall Girl – I read this in Jr. High School and liked it so much, I actually stole it from the library and still have it! (I should send that school a copy to replace it.)

37. The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison – What a sad story. Beautiful, though.

Scary Stuff
38. The Stand – Stephen King. – Anything by this man is fine by me but this is my favorite.

39. The Skeleton Crew – Stephen King. – This book of short stories was given to me in 8th grade by my best friend, Nikie. It’s what got me started with Stephen King. I’ve read it so many times, I can tell you from memory the order the stories come. Nikie and I are still close and 8th grade for us was in the early-80’s.

40. The Great and Secret Show – Clive Barker. – What a fantastic scary fairy tale of a story.

41. Coraline – Neil Gaiman. – A “children’s” book. A fantastic, dark, sinister story that one critic called the next Alice in Wonderland. I wonder if the critic read either book! While I would read Alice to my little boys, I think Coraline would be too scary.

42. Ripper – Michael Slade – When I was stationed at Ft. Huachuca, I got a second job at a Hasting’s Book Store. I spent most of that paycheck at the store. I had just finished reading some really heavy, long book (can’t even remember what it was) and wanted something light and stupid. I went to my favorite section (the scary books) and was drawn by the red spine that said “Ripper”. Holy shit. What an excellent read. Not really light and fluffy at all and certainly not stupid. It was good enough that I’ve read all the other Michael Slade books. It’s a locked door mystery combining serial killer, detective, and all kinds of other stuff. Reminiscent of the next pick…

43. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie – Love this book. I read a ton and watch a shitload of TV and movies (old b/w’s, new, doesn’t matter) so it’s hard to surprise me (nothing new under the sun, right?) but the ending on this one shocked me. Brilliant!

44. The Bone-collector – Jeffrey Deaver – another one that was good enough to lead me to read most everything the author has written.

45. The Devil’s Teardrop – Jeffrey Deaver – I think this is his best one yet.

46. Primal Fear – excellent twists and turns. Amazing.

47. The Da Vinci Code – OK, not scary, more of a thriller but damn what a fast read! I’m glad I read this before his previous book. When I read Angels and Demons by him, it was a real letdown and like reading déjà vu. Let’s see, someone gets murdered, they call the symbologist, the girl in the book is related to the dead guy, the person doing the killings doesn’t know who’s really pulling the strings and they’re all really, really smart. The only difference is that Angels/Demons wasn’t paced at the breakneck speed Da Vinci Code was. The rest of the authors books are pretty damn good, too.

48. Dracula – Bram Stoker – read this one in high school. The first scary book I ever read where I actually had to put it down and take a break. Heart-racing! (Of course, I was in adolescence…)

49. The Hunger – Whitley Streiber – this book is an excellent read. It’s also quite racy at times! It’s a great take on the classic vampire story.

50. The Last Vampire – Whitley Streiber – This sequel to The Hunger was written some 20 years after. Another good read but I wish the author had re-read his original before he made the sequel. I read them back-to-back and there were tons of discrepancies between the two books concerning the main vampire’s life!

51. The Thief of Always – Clive Barker – This, like Coraline (#41), could almost be read to kids as a scary fairy tale.

52. Red Dragon – Thomas Harris – No fairy tale here! Like Grisham, Thomas Harris’ first book is still his best.

53. Haunted – Chuck Palahniuk – This book was so gruesome, I actually got nauseous a couple of times. I have an iron stomach so that’s pretty bad.

54. Funeral March – Frank de Felita – This author is much better known for his book-turned-movie For Love of Audrey Rose. The book I’ve listed is a perfect blend for me. My favorite director is Alfred Hitchcock and in this book the killer uses his movies as inspiration for his methods of killing. (OK, I have problems!)

55. Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton – what a nail-biter!

56. Rose Madder – Stephen King – this is one of my favorites from him. It switches between this world and another. I always thought that if they made it into a movie, the other world should be animated. Not cartoony, but like sharp and gritty animation.

Short Stories
57. The Turn of the Screw (and other stories) – Henry James – this author is a sinister MF!

58. Hot Blood – I’ve read every bit of this series that I could get my greedy little hands on. These short stories combine sex and horror. Some are disgusting, some gruesome, some really scary, some funny, all good!

59. The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman – This woman at the turn of the century (1800 to 1900) is told she is “hysterical”. Basically, everyone keeps telling her she’s insane and eventually it drives her… insane. It’s a disturbing look at how women were discounted and ignored.

60. Different Seasons – Stephen King – I know, I know, “Again with the Stephen King!” This was, as far as I know, his first foray into something not scary. It’s 4 novellas and three of them were eventually made into movies – Shawshank Redemption (awesome!), Stand By Me (fantastic! Different title from the story in the book) and Apt Pupil (story was creepy and perfect, movie sucked)

61. Dark Visions – a collection of spooky stories from some pretty big name writers

62. Under the Fang – This collection has a really great concept. The editor asked a bunch of different authors to write stories based on this premise: What if vampires ruled the world? The different points of views are very interesting. Great stories!

Chick Lit
63. Phantom – Susan Kay – Top 5 All-Time Favorites. I actually am lucky enough to have a friend who saw a first edition of this and snagged it for me because he knew how much I liked it. It changes point of view throughout the book from character to character. And such depth of character is hard to find.

64. The Ha-Ha – Dave King – this is one of my most recent reads. I read on a blog-friend’s site about it. She couldn’t describe the plot (neither can I) only how much the book moved her. It’s the first book I’ve ever read that I knew nothing about beforehand. Get it. Today.

65. Poison – Kathryn Harrison – another hard one to describe, plot-wise. A woman is in the dungeon in Spain, through a series of events brought around by the Spanish Inquisition. Another woman is the new and very young, queen of Spain. I kept waiting for their lives to intersect but they never did. I guess the main point was that through no fault of their own, they were prisoners. It was good enough that I went and bought all Kathryn Harrison’s books!

66. The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan – love Ms. Tan. She nails the dynamic between mother and daughter, past and present like no one else.

67. The Kitchen God’s Wife – Amy Tan – see #66. I think I like this one best out of all I’ve read of Amy Tan.

68. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold – goddamn this was hard to read. This girl gets killed (I’m not spoiling anything here, it happens pretty early) and tells the story from heaven as she watches how her family deals with her death. By page 70, I’d already cried 4 times. This is not one to read too soon after having a baby, just sayin’. But I adore the author’s version of heaven.

69. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden – This book is so beautifully written. It was so real, it read like non-fiction. I couldn’t believe this was written by a man (no offense). Stunning.

70. The Red Tent – Anita Diamant – Also beautifully written. With the first paragraph, you just sigh and give in and are happy to be there. It’s funny and painful and enormously moving.

71. The Ya-Ya Sisterhood – A touching, lovely, light read.

72. A Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – Some scary shit. Another one where you can see how easily this fictitious world could become real. And how unfortunate that it DID become real (read #86 after you read this one)

73. Wicked – Gregory MacGuire – I bought this book because I thought it was going to be a parody of sorts. The cover mentioned something about it being The Wizard of Oz from the witch’s point of view. Not parody. At. All. It’s a whole socio-political landscape of Oz. And yes, primarily from the Witch’s point of view. So. Good!

74. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell – I pulled this one off the shelf so many times, looked at how thick it was… and put it back. When I finally started reading it, by page 36 I was completely hooked. What a fantastic read. Don’t bother with the “sequel”, Scarlett. It was written by someone else using Margaret Mitchell’s notes. It sucked ASS! And the ending – WTF?? It seemed like the author’s deadline sneaked up on her because she finally has all these really great plot-lines going and she just kills everyone off and then Scarlett and Rhett ride off into the sunset. I know that’s a spoiler but, trust me, I’m doing you a favor.

75. Fried Green Tomatoes – One of the few books I read after I saw the movie. Fantastic!

76. Black and Blue – Anna Quindlen – Great story of strength and survival.

77. The Life of Pi – Yann Martel – another one written like it’s a true story. Loved it.

78. Lamb, The Gospel According to Bif, Christ’s Childhood Friend – Christopher Moore – this is easily one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. It “covers” the years of Jesus’ life missing in the Bible. Another book that led me to buy all this author has to offer.

79. Letters From Earth – Mark Twain – ohmigod, this is hysterical! I love Twain’s views on religion.

80. Calvin and Hobbes 10th Anniversary Book – Read it. Every day.

81. A Time to Kill – John Grisham – I’ve read a lot of Grisham and this, his first book, is by far his best. That’s not to say the others aren’t great, they are, but they’ll never reach what he accomplished in this one.

82. The Constant Gardner – John Le Carre – I had the hardest time getting into this book but eventually it took off and was a great read.

83. Cider House Rules – John Irving – What a great book. Real depth of character (I mention that a lot, but it’s surprisingly hard to find.) Leads me to want to read all of his stuff.

84. Mindhunter – John Douglas and Mark Olshaker – (Olshaker likes “hunter” titles, he also helped write Virus Hunter). If you don’t agree with the death penalty, read this book. It’ll change your mind. Not through political nonsense, but just by realizing there are people out there who need to be put down like rabid dogs. (I already agreed with the death penalty before I read it.)

85. Between Heaven and Earth - Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korn – This is a book about Traditional Chinese Medicine and its 5 Element Theory. I love this book. It breaks it down into laymen’s terms and is very comprehensive. You need to read it with a grain of salt, though. When Harriet became an acupuncturist, her surgeon father and surgeon grandfather were… not very understanding. She has a rather embittered view of Western medicine. There’s a test in the book to let you know which element you’re most like.

86. Reading Lolita in Tehran – Like A Handmaid’s Tale come to life. So sad and moving and scary. Moves slow sometimes but worth sticking with it.

87. History of God – Karen Armstrong – This should be required reading before anyone is allowed/forced to choose a religion. It covers the big three – Christianity, Judaism, and Muslim

88. Believing It All – Marc Parent – I read a ton of “parenting” books when I was pregnant the first time. This one blew them all away and isn’t even sold as a parenting book. The author’s description to his little boy of what death is, is perfect and beautiful.

89. Operating Instructions – Anne Lamott – Same as Believing It All but in a different way. A great view of what it’s like to have a baby. True and almost scary! This is the truest description of the first year of life after having a baby that I’ve ever read.

90. For the Defense – Ellis Ruben – This book is about the author’s most famous cases as a lawyer. He was the lawyer for the famous Twinkie Defense (google it). It’s a very interesting story and includes a lot about the author’s young life. One of his best friends from childhood is Rod Serling!

91. The Tao of Pooh – Benjamin Hoff – This book went along way in making my life better. It’s a fun read with a lot of knowledge.

92. The Te of Piglet – Benjamin Hoff – This sequel to the Tao of Pooh is among my top 5 All-Time Favorites. I re-read it at least once a year.

93. The People’s Almanac – Great bathroom reading (don’t judge, most everyone does it!). It’s informative and fascinating.

94. The Children of the Flames – I read this book at a time when I thought my life was shit. I was depressed and unhappy, had no plan for my future and was stuck in a mire of self-pity and wallowing. I happened upon this book and it really made me pull my head out of my ass. It’s about the twins at Auschwitz and the experiments they were put through. We (you, me, and everyone born in America) have it so easy.

95. America – The Daily Show – Hysterical! And a little sad.

96. Jesus and Buddha – On the left page is a quote from Jesus. On the right page is a quote from Buddha, said almost 2000 years before Jesus. They are usually almost identical. Very interesting.

97. Naked – David Sedaris – ohmigod! This guy makes me laugh my ASS off! He’s hysterical and sometimes poignant and this book is another that prompted me to go buy the rest of his stuff. Even better, get it on audiobook. I can’t stop laughing, just thinking about his stuff!

98. The Black Dahlia Avenger – Steve Hodel – the author gives a pretty convincing argument that his own father is the Black Dahlia killer as well as the killer for several other unsolved murders of the time. A bit hard to get through (slow sometimes) but worth it.

99. Seabiscuit: An American Legend – Laura Hillenbrand – An inspiring, lovely story.

100 - Stitch and Bitch – Debbie Stoller – I had a friend teach me to knit. Then I went and bought this book for reinforcement. It covers the basics incredibly well and with a tongue-in-cheek attitude that’s never boring. Also, tons of great, basic patterns. I learned in summer 2003. I still knit, but only obsessively.

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