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? 😊

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

I’m always interested in lists like this and the extent to which they impact what I decide to read. I have a very bad habit of constantly rereading my favourite books meaning there are lots of amazing books that I’ve yet to read. I’m intrigued to look at this list and see what it includes. 😊 I’m going to highlight the books I’ve read and write a lil bit/ramble about them.  

  1. 1984- George Orwell

I definitely started this book a good few years ago, I’m unsure why I forgot to finish it but I’ll try it again at some point! (Maybe soon,because strangely lockdown has put me in a dystopian mood)

2. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius- Dave Eggers

3. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier- Ishmael Beah

4. The Bad Beginning- Lemony Snicket

I love A Series of Unfortunate Events, such childhood favourites. I remember my uncle bought one for me and my sister, but accidentally got us the 3rd and 5th in the series. I read these and loved them before eventually reading the series from the start. The Bad Beginning isn’t my favourite but I’d definitely give these series a try. 😊 These books are also good for children as they include lots of vocab, grammar, latin and general life lessons in an interesting way (although maybe a little pretentious at times haha). I love the quirky writing style of this series.

5. A Wrinkle in Time- Madeline L’Engle

6. Selected Stories, 1968-1994- Alice Munro

7. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass- Lewis Carroll

I’m unsure why I felt this way because I love absurd, dreamy almost psychedelic stories, but I didn’t like Alice in Wonderland very much when I read it. It almost felt a little bit annoying at the time. However, it maybe just wasn’t what I was expecting at the time, so I’d like to reread these books in the future to see if my opinion changes.

8. All the President’s Men- Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

9. Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir- Frank McCourt

10. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret- Judy Blume

11. Bel Canto- Ann Pratchett

12. Beloved- Toni Morrison

13. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen- Christopher McDougall

14. Breath, Eyes, Memory- Edwidge Danticat

15. Catch-22- Joseph Heller

This is another book I started, but this is a book I definitely have to be in the right frame of mind to read.

16. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl

I love Roald Dahl, his stories are interesting, imaginative, full of dark sarcastic humour and feel very original. I also love the sense of justice and meaning these stories create for children in an adult dominated world where children are often seen as passive beings. I’d recommend Roald Dahl if you haven’t read any of his books before. 😊

17. Charlotte’s Web- E.B. White

I definitely read this book when I was wee, although the cartoon film sticks in my mind more (probably because I made my poor Gran watch it with me at least once a week haha). From what I remember, this is a powerful story with themes of friendship and loss (and I might now have to rewatch it for nostalgia’s sake).

18. Cutting for Stone- Abraham Verghese

19. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead- Brene Brown

20. Diary of a Wimpy Kid- Jeff Kinney

21. Dune- Frank Herbert

22. Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury

23. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream- Hunter S. Thompson

24. Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn

This was a book that I was definitely influenced to read by all of the reviews, discussions and advertising surrounding it. Mystery/crime/thrillers aren’t my favourite genre but I loved this book! It’s very easy to read, engaging, has good twists and I’ve reread it a couple of times. This book would also be a thought-provoking one to think about from a feminist perspective, and the dynamics between the characters are very interesting.

25. Goodnight Moon- Margaret Wise Brown

26. Great Expectations- Charles Dickens

27. Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies- Jared Diamon, Ph.D.

28. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone- J.K Rowling

One of my favourite books of all time, this is just so nostalgic, funny, touching and really does feel like coming home (cheesy stereotype but it’s true). I appreciate Harry Potter and its incredible impact so much and I reread this series every single year. There’s not much to say about Harry Potter because I’m yet to find someone who hasn’t read it (or at least seen the films).

29. In Cold Blood- Truman Capote

30. Interpreter of Maladies- Jhumpa Lahiri

31. Invisible Man- Ralph Ellison

32. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth- Chris Ware

33. A Brief History of Time- Stephen Hawking (this is actually number 2, I mixed up the list haha)

So far I’ve read 6 out of 33 haha, oh dear. I can never decide if not reading popular books and classics means I’m missing out and uncultured, or if it’s a good thing in that I’m not really influenced to read books unless I feel like it. Either way, there are some I’ve never heard of on this list, some that don’t appeal to me, and some I would like to try in the future. Have you read any that you would recommend? 😊