Are These the Best Books?

It’s that time of year—time for the “Best Of” lists you’ll be reading all over the internet. But we LOVE book lists, so this is always welcome. The Washington Post just released their ‘Best Books of 2016’ list, which holds a whopping 100 titles. They say the top 10 are especially wonderful. What do you think?



Is Anything Missing?

Time Magazine recently listed their Top 12 All-Time Great Summer Reads. It includes books from the last 40 summers. Some are expected, some are debatable. Which ones do you agree with and are there any great summer reads that you think are missing?

“What defines a summer read? To us, it’s the kind of buzzed-about book that seems to flourish in warmer months, equally ubiquitous on beaches and in subway cars.” Editors at Time
harryPhoto courtesy of Scholastic

The Big Read books

Here is a list put forth by The National Endowment for the Arts in the US. It lists the top 100 books, and asks how many you’ve actually read. How they came to the top 100 books isn’t clear, and I’d question the list somewhat but here it is:

(The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.)

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6. The Bible

7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch – George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34. Emma – Jane Austen
35. Persuasion – Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41. Animal Farm – George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50. Atonement – Ian McEwan

51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52. Dune – Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight‘s Children – Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72. Dracula – Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses – James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal – Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession – AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte‘s Web – EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94. Watership Down – Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

I haven’t read that many on the list, I must say, but at least I’ve read more than the 6. So many of these books have been made into movies now that we all probably know the stories, however.

How many have you read?

What are you reading?

Just the other day, one of our patrons came into the library with a huge list of books. This is not unusual, and he was searching for a few titles from this list, most of which we had in our library. We often see people with lists of books they want to read, many getting ideas from the Sunday books section, from radio program suggestions or from magazines. This gentleman, however, had a list of books that his favourite author had listed as books that had influenced his writing.

This is actually something that many authors do, giving their readers and insight into what authors they regularly read or what books made them become the authors they are today. One of my favourite authors is Stephen King, and a few years back when he released his book “On Writing”, he included a very large list of books and authors that inspired him. Knowing the type of books that King writes, you might be surprised at the vast selection he recommended. I know that I worked my way through that list, purely from curiosity, and came up with several “new” authors that are now some of my favourite regular reads.

There is a great website that has actually compiled lists of books found on the bookshelves of famous dead people. The website itself is called LibraryThing and the lists include people from a wide variety of lifestyles, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Marie Antoinette and many more, including lists in progress for Charles Darwin and Benjamin Franklin. If you click on this link, you’ll be taken directly to the lists completed and in process:

Just doing a quick search of the internet, I came across several blogs and personal websites that are geared towards what books are on their bedside tables, as that is usually where we keep our books to read. You might want to read through some of these lists for some new ideas, or just out of curiosity. It is almost like being a fly on the wall in someone’s house! How fun!