My 100 Book Bucket List

My 100 Book Bucket List

Toward the end of 2015, I read my first Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice. I am hesitant to admit that because I am an avid reader. I love reading. I always have. My first memory of reading is actually my first memory ever. I was about four and I thought I knew how to read. I sat down with, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, with my dad and proceeded to “read” it to him. I had the book memorized and he only realized that I wasn’t actually reading it when I said the words that were on a page that we hadn’t turned to yet.

Fast-forward a few years and I could be found reading in my room, late at night. My mom would come into my room and say that it was time to turn off the light. Well, I just HAD to find out what happened to Nancy Drew, so naturally I would turn off my light and finish my book by the dim light of my electric blanket. (I know that reading Nancy Drew makes me sound like I’m really old now but it makes me feel a little bit younger if you knew that Nancy Drew was around long before I read them all.)

Then I grew up a little, got married and had a bunch of kids. But I still loved to read. Maybe even more so because, gone were the days that I could read hours on end without anyone vying for my attention. What I especially love about books, when they are well-written, is their ability to take you away from your own reality and take you to another land with all it’s sights, smells, thoughts and feelings.

So, after all these years, I find my favorite genre to be fiction that usually deals with elements of the supernatural, suspense thrillers, horror, fantasy and mystery. They are definitely not deep thinking or really even enriching but I love them for the reasons stated previously. I have read plenty of spiritual, motivational, and educational books as well, especially when my children were younger and we were newly homeschooling and child-rearing.

So, as I mentioned at the start of all this, at the ripe old age of forty, I had finally gotten around to reading my first Austen novel. I finally experienced, first-hand, the instant delight that all Austen fans have come to know. I was very familiar with what her style of writing would be…I knew what I was in for…the thoughtfully worded dialogue, the depth of characters, the angst…I’d seen a few of the movies. In fact, Sense and Sensibility, is one of my favorite movies of all time. I guess I was stuck in my favorite genre that I didn’t feel the need to mix it up. I decided that if I didn’t read Pride and Prejudice at this point in my life, I may never do it. I quickly devoured P&P, which immediately lead me to Emma that I also quickly consumed. I was on a Jane Austen rampage. I wanted to read them all. I downloaded Persuasion on my kindle and a thought made me pause before devouring that one too. I went all these years without reading anything of hers. I found out while searching for her books that several of them are on a list of the best fiction novels of all time. I encountered a list entitled, 100 books you must read before you die. I had only read something like thirteen of them. This bothered me. How can I love books and love to read and have never read these ‘best-loved’ books? All of my life I just thought that I would get to them at some point but as I grew older, I realized that in order for me to actually read any of them, I would have to be more intentional about them. So I made my own ‘Book Bucket List.’

That, in and of itself, presented a bit of a challenge. I was surprised to find that there were quite a few lists of books that were the ‘best’ and they varied greatly from each other. The first thirty or so, on my list, were pretty much on every list I found. After that, I added ones that were on at least a few and finished up the list with books that appealed to me personally. I am committed to reading them all and all of them, cover to cover.

After a lot of tweaking, contemplating, and rearranging, here is my, ‘100 Book Bucket List’ (formally known as, ‘100 books to read before you die,’ but that title seemed a bit morbid.)

1. The Fellowship of the Ring
2. Pride and Prejudice
3. To Kill a Mockingbird
4. 1984
5. The Great Gatsby
6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
8. Winnie the Pooh
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
10. Jane Eyre
11. Catch 22
12. Wuthering Heights
13. Rebecca
14. The Catcher and the Rye
15. The Wind and the Willows
16. Great Expectations
17. Little Women
18. War and Peace
19. Gone with the Wind
20. The Hobbit
21. Tess of the D’ubervilles
22. Middlemarch
23. A Prayer for Owen Meany
24. Grapes of Wrath
25. Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland
26. One Hundred Years of Solitude
27. The Pillars of the Earth
28. David Copperfield
29. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
30. Treasure Island
31. A Town Like Alice
32. Persuasion
33. Dune
34. Emma
35. Anne of Green Gables
36. Watership Down
37. The Count of Monte Cristo
38. Bridehead Revisited
39. A Christmas Carol
40. Far From Madding Crowd
41. The Devil in the White City
42. The Maltese Falcon
43. The Secret Garden
44. Of Mice and Men
45. The Stand
46. Anna Karenina
47. A Suitable Boy
48. Deliverance
49. Black Beauty
50. Artemis Fowl
51. Crime and Punishment
52. The Prince of Tides
53. Memoirs of a Geisha
54. A Tale of Two Cities
55. The Magus
56. Lord of the Flies
57. Perfume
58. The Secret History
59. Woman in White
60. Ulysses
61. I Capture the Castle
62. Holes
63. Gormenghast
64. The God of Small Things
65. Brave New World
66. On the Road
67. The Godfather
68. The Alchemist
69. Katherine
70. Kane and Abel
71. Love in the Time of Cholera
72. Murder on the Orient Express
73. Midnight’s Children
74. Charlotte’s Web
75. Les Miserables
76. Lolita
77. Atonement
78. As I Lay Dying
79. Angle of Repose
80. The Time Traveler’s Wife
81. The Kite Runner
82. The Lovely Bones
83. Sense and Sensibility
84. Life of Pi
85. Moby Dick
86. Oliver Twist
87. Dracula
88. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
89. Possession
90. Cloud Atlas
91. The Color Purple
92. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
93. A Series of unfortunate Events #1
94. The Call of the Wild
95. Fahrenheit 451
96. The Book Thief
97. The Diary of Anne Frank
98. The Age of Innocence
99. The Lightening Thief
100. Bridget Jones’s Diary

Whew…that’s a whole lotta’ books! It took forever just to type them all and it is quite daunting to think about reading all of these but I’m excited to tackle this list and to feel more officially that I do, indeed, love to read.

So I started this list over a year ago and at the time of this writing, I am only on number 18. I’m okay with that because I often abandon my list for something else more specific to my favorite genre. If I find myself deeply into a particularly long and arduous book (quietly coughs, “War & Peace,”) then I will sprinkle in something more “up my alley.” It just so happens, I am currently deep into War & Peace and since I have started it, I have ‘sprinkled’ in six other books. Sorry War & Peace fans, but the struggle is real.

An element that I love about books is that you can read them and you have an insider secret that only can be shared with others that have read that same book. We can discuss what we thought and what we liked and we have the knowledge that someone else has also traveled to that world and after they return can tell you what they liked, or didn’t like about their journey. They will have a different perspective that you maybe hadn’t considered. Have you read any of these? Did you love them, hate them, or somewhere in between? What books would you have on your ‘book bucket list’? I would love to hear from you.