Gauntlet, thrown: UPDATED PART DEUX!

I'm approaching my one-year blogiversary (4.14) and am thinking of setting A Goal of some sort. This seems to be a theme of mine since turning 30: the Yearly Big Book-ish Goal. In 2005 I decided to keep track of all the books I read in a year (150, plus at least 130 magazines and 365 newspapers); in 2006 I started this blog.

In 2007 I'm toying with the idea of reading or re-reading some Important Books: books that everyone seems to know about, books that I have often alluded to without actually having read, books that I read years ago but can't really speak intelligently about anymore. I figure if I can read 40 or 50 of these by next April, that wouldn't be too shabby. Here's my tentative list so far, in no particular order:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  3. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
  4. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  5. Wringer by Jerry Spinelli
  6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  8. Democracy in America by Alexis d'Tocqueville (I'll...uh...probably just skim this)
  9. The Federalist Papers (skim this one, too)
  10. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  11. the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (some of them, at least)
  12. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
  13. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  14. The real Winnie-the-Pooh stories by A. A. Milne
  15. Either The Iliad or The Odyssey, if I can find a good translation (I made it through The Inferno only because of Robert Pinsky) *Lee suggests Stanley Lombardo's translations.
  16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  17. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  18. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (lo, how I hate Dickens)
  19. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  20. The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban
  21. Octavian Nothing by M. T. Anderson (whatever the full title is; too lazy to look up)
  22. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  23. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  24. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  25. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
  26. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  27. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
  28. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  29. A View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg
  30. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  31. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  32. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  33. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  34. Forever by Judy Blume
  35. A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  36. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  37. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
  38. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley
  39. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  40. Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder (thanks, g elliot)
  41. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (thanks, bookbk)
  42. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (thanks, bookbk)
  43. Personal History by Katharine Graham
  44. Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
  45. I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
  46. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  47. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  48. Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
  49. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (might not be able to finish due to uncontrollable sobbing)
  50. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  51. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
  52. Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh.
Okay, looking at that list makes me sweat a little. Suggestions for other titles?

UPDATE: I think that's gotta be it. Now I just have to read everything in my TBR pile before April 14, and I'll be all set. . . . yeah. At some point I'll try to make this a sidebar, so I can track my progress. Unless that makes me want to cry. (The coding or the tracking, either one.)


Lee said...

Try Stanley Lombardo's translations of The Iliad or The Odyssey, which are excellent and very readable. They are also available as audiobooks.

MotherReader said...

Oh honey, are you sure you want to tackle all the big books with New Baby Brain? Honestly, for a year after each of my kids were born, I found People magazine to be a bit of a mental stretch.

Maybe focus on the classics of children's literature this year, and next year hit the grown up classics. Of course, next year The Wiggles songs will slowing be eating a hole in your brain...

EM said...

Ah, but this way if I don't understand the big books, I can blame it on New Baby Brain instead of my inherent intellectual inferiority. Now we see the violence inherent in the system...

GE said...

I would recommend: Sophie's World by Jostein gaarder which is excellent

anything by Tim Bowler (http://www.timbowler.co.uk)

Check out my basic blog if you want:


MotherReader said...

What great reasoning! Why didn't I think of that? Now I've got two school-age kids and NO EXCUSE. You go, girl!

ElsKushner said...

This is a great list!

If you haven't read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I'd recommend throwing that one in too.

Oh, and Slaughterhouse Five.

Jone said...

I love the list. I am thinking aout re-reading The Diary of Anne Frank, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and The White Mountains.

Anonymous said...

I hate to mention it because your list is so terrifying already, but if you haven't read The Golden Compass, it definitely deserves a place on your list.

EM said...

I have read GOLDEN COMPASS, thankfully. But I haven't read ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS...hmmm.