Goodreads 50 books to read before you die (part one)

I really liked doing this challenge for amazon books and people seemed to like reading it- it was really fun looking at the comments to see how many everybody has read!- so I’ve decided to do it again, it’s always fun to see if I’m influenced to read classics or popular books 😊

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
  2. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen

I have read this book, but as I think I mentioned before this is one of the rare occasions where I enjoyed the film more (blasphemous hahaha but I do love the film). It wasn’t my favourite classic that I’ve read which is strange because I love the sisters, however, I think it felt a bit too long with sections about side characters that I didn’t really care about. Maybe if I reread it one day I’d enjoy it a little bit more.

3. Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte

This is maybe my favourite classic that I’ve read, I really like the story and enjoyed Jane as a character. I’d also like to mention here that I loved ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ which is loosely based on Jane Eyre, I’d recommend it!

4. The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald

I swear there is a ghost in my house because I read half of this book in the bath, came out of the bath and it was never seen again, I have searched my entire house and this book is gone hahaha. I will get it and finish it one day.

5. Lord of the Flies- William Golding

6. Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War- Sebastian Faulks

7. 1984- George Orwell

8. The Diary of a Young Girl- Anne Frank

This book is very impactful and emotional, however, the main thing that stuck out whilst reading this was the depths of kindness, love and positivity in Anne’s writing, she was incredibly hopeful despite her horrific circumstances and this is a loving, relatable book about growing up and family.

9. Brave New World- Aldous Huxley

10. The Grapes of Wrath- John Steinbeck

11. The Picture of Dorian Grey- Oscar Wilde

I really want to read this one day, this is high on my list of books I always say I’ll get to soon!

12. Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte

This was not a favourite of mine hahaha, I struggled through this book. I was very intrigued by the intensity of Cathy and Heathcliff’s relationship and I enjoyed the concept of the story, however, it dragged a bit without any ‘goodness’ or humour to balance. Again, I’m blasphemous and a very bad reader when it comes to classics, but I’d like to see a new big-budget film based on this book, I think I’d enjoy the story far more as a film.

13. The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath

This book was difficult to read due to the themes and heavy depression weighing it down, however, I think this is an important book to read to understand mental illness and I would recommend The Bell Jar if you are okay with heavy themes.

14. The War of the World- H.G. Wells

15. The Quiet American- Graham Greene

16. The Catcher in the Rye- J.D Salinger

I really enjoyed this book, I read it this year and found it really easy to read and interesting (a few books are coming up that I’ve already mentioned in a blog post so I’m trying not to repeat myself too much).

17. A Passage to India- E.M Forster

18. Catch-22- Joseph Helle

19. Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy

I listened to a fair chunk of this audiobook but then I forgot about it (and the narrators voice annoyed me haha, I can be fussy with narrators). I would like to finish the book, but it’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten everything so I’d have to start from the beginning and make sure I read this book at a time when I can really concentrate on the story.

20. Frankenstein- Mary Shelley

This is another book that I read half of before stopping, I was sad because it’s such a well-known book but I just couldn’t keep going. I have such a thing about death and corpses, dead bodies etc so the creation of the monster in this book made me feel a bit ill hahaha, I honestly couldn’t keep reading. I’ve always been like this, I can’t read or watch anything with zombies without feeling sick.

21. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time- Mark Haddon

This is an unusual and interesting book, I’ve never read a book where the narrator has ASD and I found it very insightful. I’ve read a couple of Mark Haddon’s books and enjoy his dark humour and sarcasm.

22. Life of Pi- Yann Martel

I knew very little about this book and if you haven’t yet read it I’d go into it knowing nothing if you can. This stayed with me for such a long time and I felt almost a haunted feeling after reading it, it’s a very philosophical book, particularly around religion, and I’ve never really read anything like it.

23. The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas

24. Heart of Darkness- Joseph Conrad

25. Rebecca- Daphne De Maurier

I really enjoyed this book, the characters are a lil bit crazy and I didn’t necessarily feel for any of them but the gothic themes make it interesting and really envelop you in the plot and time period. I remember reading a wee short story called ‘The Drowned Rose’ for English in school and looking back I’m not sure if it’s based on Rebecca because there are lots of similarities. Please let me know if you’ve read it and know anything!

I’ve read 9 of 25 books and plan to read more, I really liked this list and I think I’d recommend all of the books I’ve read 😊 Please let me know how many you’ve read and if you’d recommend any, I loved reading the comments last time. Also, I’ve been thinking about diversity in reading as I think lots of us have at this time. There are several books on this list that I haven’t heard of so I’m unsure of the diversity of authors and characters on this list- based on gender, race and sexuality- but I look critically at lists like these in thinking about how books are chosen and the opportunities authors have. If you have read most of these books please enlighten me a little bit more about the spread of diversity.

Amazon 100 books to read in a lifetime (part two)

Again, I’m going to highlight the books I’ve read and write a lil bit/ramble about them. 😊

34. Kitchen Confidential- Anthony Bourdain

35. Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

36. Little House of the Prairie- Laura Inglass Wilder

37. Lolita- Vladimir Nabokov

I think I read this when I was 17, it was definitely a while ago. Whilst disturbing and an unsettling subject matter, I did find this book interesting. I think Nabokov’s beautiful descriptive writing style and elements of black humour from the narrator contrast with the horrific themes to make this an incredibly engaging and unusual book. These contrasts create an unsettling atmosphere that matches the story. It’s hard to think of examples because I read it so long ago, but I remember this contrast standing out, and I’d like to read more by Nabokov to see if these elements are included in the writing style of his other novels.

38. Love in the Time of Cholera- Gabriel Garcia Marquez

39. Love Medicine- Louise Erdrich

40. Man’s Search for Meaning- Viktor E. Frankl

41. Me Talk Pretty One Day- David Sedaris

42. Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides

43. Midnight’s Children- Salman Rushdie

44. Moneyball: The Art of Winning and Unfair Game- Michael Lewis

45. Of Human Bondage- W. Somerset Maugham

46. On the Road- Jack Kerouac

47. Out of Africa- Isak Dinesen

48. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood- Marjane Satrapi

49. Portnoy’s Complaint- Philip Roth

50. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen

This wasn’t my favourite classic to read- I preferred Jane Eyre and Little Women- but I loved the story and the majority of characters. I LOVE Lizzies character and the way the romance is built up through small significant elements and almost suspense rather than dialogue and large gestures. I also love the distinct personality of each sister and the relationships between them, as well as the overarching feminist themes in the book. Also, I do moan when people talk about films over books, but I love the 2005 film, if you don’t have time to read the book I’d recommend this. 😊

51. Silent Spring- Rachel Carson

52. Slaughterhouse-five- Kurt Vonnegut

53. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

54. The Age of Innocence- Edith Wharton

55. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay- Michael Chabon

56. The Autobiography of Malcom X: As Told to Alex Haley- Malcom X and Alex Haley

57. The Book Thief- Marcus Zusak

I love this book, I love the unusual narration and the decision to focus on Liesel’s story rather than an adult’s perspective- it brought certain elements of light, hope and positivity that the book needed (I love the positive kind spirit that children have that I sometimes feel can sadly be lost a little bit by adulthood). That said, this book is incredibly touching and sad, but it’s beautiful too. I love Liesel’s relationships with the other characters (all of them, but particularly with Papa).

58. The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao- Junot Diaz

59. The Catcher in the Rye- J. D. Salinger

I read this book most recently in one sitting and I loved it- although enjoyed is not the word for this story. I found that this book flowed very well and it was easy to get into Holden’s mind/see things through his perspective throughout the story. The subject, characters and angst reminded me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I feel like Chbosky must have been influenced by this book because it doesn’t feel coincidental. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is probably one of my favourite books, so I was undoubtedly going to enjoy this. I’d like to read more by Salinger as I enjoyed how easy this reading experience was.

60. The Colour of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother- James McBride

61. The Corrections- Jonathan Franzen

62. The Devil in the White City- Erik Larson

63. The Diary of a Young Girl- Anne Frank

I doubt there are many readers who haven’t read this book, or at least heard of it. It’s incredibly touching, heart-warming in many ways despite its extremely sad subject matter. I feel like young people now reading Anne’s diary will relate to elements of her feelings and thoughts process throughout this story despite the incredibly different circumstances, and this might reflect the popularity of this exceptional story. I hope to visit Anne Franks house one day and experience this part of history.

64. The Fault in Our Stars- John Green

I’m not sure what it is about John Green but I don’t really like his books and I didn’t like the Fault in Our Stars when it came out. I understand why Green’s books are so popular, but I feel that the writing style is quite pretentious which puts me off the story. I also had similar concerns with this book as with A Little Life (which I ranted about quite a lot haha)- I often read stories about harrowing subjects such as loss and grief as I feel they are important, however, The Fault in Our Stars felt a little bit exploitative to me, maybe because of the pretentious writing style.

65. The Giver- Lois Lowry

66. The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials- Philip Pullman

I still haven’t read these books; I feel like I’m missing out on a childhood experience! I do own this book so I’ll read it soon (there is literally no better time).

12 out of 66 so far, still not the best- although a few are classics so I’m giving myself credit for that haha. Have you read any of these, and if so would you recommend them? 😊