kgirl's bookshelf

My friend Metro Mama thinks that I'll do this book meme just to show off. Well MM, cut me some slack. It's not like I'm ever going to be able to blog about my toddler sleeping through jackhammers.

Anyway, here's how I break down a list of what the 'general public' considers to be the 100 best novels ever written. You'll notice there is no section for 'I read these over and over' because, well, The Story of O was not on the list.

Top Shelf (once is enough, so it’s ok that I can’t reach them):
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Second Shelf (I might read these again):
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)

Eye Level (just looking at the spines makes me happy):
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)

Fourth Shelf (still pretty happy):
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)

Fifth Shelf (I’m intending to read these):
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
45. The Bible
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)

Bottom Shelf (Bee can play with them. I won’t be):
1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) – much to my husband’s dismay
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling) 58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
73. Shogun (James Clavell
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)

They might be on my book shelf if I had ever heard of ‘em:
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
76. Tigana (Guy Gavriel Kay)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)

So are there any that should move from the bottom shelf to the fifth shelf? I'm open to convincing.


  1. I'm an entertainment reader. Read 'em once and off they go to the used bookstore. Keepers though are the hardback Harry Potter books. They have been a lovely link between me and my new stepdaughter.

    Soon, she'll ask to borrow my boots. For now, it's just the Harry Potter books. I would bump them up. They will last regardless of the hype I think.

  2. you two (you and Met) are freakishly clever.

    Read the Secret Life of Bees. just do it.

  3. Hee hee.

    Give Harry a chance! I love the series. It's a perfect light read for summer. Once you start you can't put them down.

    C&P is a must read. If you made it through War and Peace you're up for C&P!

    I highly recommend Owen Meany and Fine Balance.

  4. So - am I to understand that you've read 72 of those books??? You win the prize (no wonder you didn't bother with bolding!).

    Ender's Game is worth a look. It's sci-fi, but then so is The Handmaid's Tale.

  5. Damn, I only made 66 on the list. Gonna have to work harder to catch up with you!

    Don't listen to Metro Mama about the Potter series. Stick to your guns!! LOL! They too are on my bottom shelf. Or they would be if I ever bought them.

    Read the Secret Life of Bees. I loved it.

    Now I'm off to grab a book.

  6. I am so glad I found a kindered spirit in the Not a Harry Potter fan club. Its hard. I get a lot of dirty looks from people when I voice my distaste...Any hoo, I think you should read Lullabies for Little Criminals, by Heather O'Neill. I know you would like it.

  7. Oh, crap. I have to do this meme. Not to show off, 'cause I haven't read half as many as you (6 years on-and-off feeling guilty about writing a thesis tends to put a damper on reading) but because I am curious to do it for myself.

    BUT, we appear to have similar taste, so I'll say one thing. Don't read Blindness by Saramago (89 on your "haven't heard of them" list) but DO read The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. Don't let the title scare you off. If Christianity had a fatwa, Saramago would have had one declared on it for writing this book. Seriously. Amazing.

  8. Hm. Interesting take on the meme. Nice spatial metaphor. I often reread Hitchhiker's Guide. Have it listed on my blogger page, even.

    I'm with you in wondering about those books on the 'never heard of them shelf'.

  9. The Power of One was very good. I read it a while ago, and, while my sleep deprived brain cannot recall the details, it took place in South Africa and told the story of an English boy.

  10. Oh no! You don't like Harry? I have to admit I'm a big fan. Huge.

    I really liked Tigana, but I seem to be in the minority. It's historical fiction/fantasy written Tarantino-sytle - the plot is not linear, but it all makes sense in the end. It's also written by a Torontonian, and I gotta support the locals where I can.

  11. Yes, it's true. I have never cracked the spine of a Harry Potter book. I'm thinking that perhaps I'll read them to Bee one day.

    As for the number of books I've read? Well, I minored in English, worked at a bookstore for 2 years and they're about the only things ever on my Christmas list. (except for a slow cooker. and I didn't get the slow cooker.)

  12. I'm glad there are a few Secret Life of Bees fans here. (It has evoked some strong responses on other blogs.) I enjoyed it. It is very southern (not just in locale, but in thematic elements and writing).

    I'm glad B&P recommended Ender's Game. I do love a good sci fi/fantasy book but I think Ender's Game crosses over if you give it a chance. As the series continues, the books completely evolve in complexity and length and I am less likely to recommend them. I read it before I had any children, but I think part of it reaches out to the mother in a soul.

  13. read Love in the time of cholera. one of the best books i've ever read. it totally changed me.

    i get yelled at all the time at the office because i'm not a harry potter fan. i've read only the first 2..and have no desire to keep reading.

  14. The "general public" always scares me.
    I don't even want to count how many of these I have read. I know its an excuse but I'm a science major.
    The first two Harry Potter's are really quick reads and sucked me in. I also think I was stuck on an airplane to China with them and nothing else to read.

    What is with that cakes sleeping through jackhammers? So unfair.

  15. lisa - just wait. mm's in for it when cakes turns 13.

  16. dude. am back to say

    go. to. blogher.


  17. Ender's Game, Tigana, maybe the Power of One, and if you like bodice rippers, Outlander. She writes one and sends it up at the same time.
    You are intimidating!

  18. Harry Potter fan here. I sooo hope my boys will enjoy them someday...

    I've never read Outlander, but I have a girlfriend who's a huge fan.


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