Saturday, September 6, 2008

More than 6?

The literature "classics"? Remember those? LOL Most college students I know worked their way through at least Norton anthology during their post-high school years. And, like most, at that time I wondered why I had to read all these "old dead white guys."

Once I was back after my bachelors to be certified to teach then I realized that there is canon of literature that all were expected to read and/or have knowledge of that provides a basic base of info for our citizenry. One would be considered well-educated for having tackled a basic, minimum number of these classics. And, what's even more exciting is now the definition of a "classic" has expanded as multicultural literature gains grown, voice, and prominence.

The NEA website states that their 2004 report found that not only is literary reading in America declining rapidly among all groups, but that the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young. They also found that the average American has only read 6 of a list of 100 canonical pieces of literature. So, they begun The Big Read.

This meme is related to that and has been going around for a while. I stumbled onto it at I'm a Drama Mama. It goes like this:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline (or mark in a different color) the books you LOVE

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (the COMPLETE works? Geez, I was an English major AND an English teacher and have never read ALL of them! LOL)

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

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

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So, how did YOU do?


Anonymous said...

That's great! Thanks for playing along!

Anonymous said...

O.K. I'm going to be anal about this. You might want to check your list. I am a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan and I know that he wrote Lolita.

Anonymous said...

O.K. I stand corrected. I'm completely wrong after looking it up. Not sure why I was so positive about that. ??? I guess I will just have to go and read it again. :-)

Anonymous said...

By the way. Love the list!

Christina said...

You definitely need to read Anne of Green Gables with your little girl. I LOVED that series more than any other when I was younger. I can't wait to share those with Emily.

The PBS movies are also excellent....and I'm not a PBS fan at all.

sara said...

I can't believe I'm getting credit for reading Memoirs of a Geisha. That's a classic now?

Anyway, compared to the six of the average American, my number is pretty high. I admit that most of those I read when they were not required of me. Most of the classics that I've read, I've read when *I* wanted to - mostly when my teachers didn't ask me to. I'm a rebel that way. I also don't remember the details of a lot of them. I remember just enough to guess correctly on Jeopardy. ;-)

I remember being in Spanish class and hiding books under my desks to read. The teacher was wise to me but instead of getting angry, she got me more books. :-D

Thanks for this. There are quite a few I'd like to read.

sara said...

Have you ever seen this list?