The “100 Books the BBC Think Most People Haven’t Read More Than 6 Of” Tag

I haven’t done tags in a while but I came across this one at Hamlette the Dame’s blog The Edge of the Precipice The BBC doesn’t think people have read more than 6 of the books on the list below. I thought it would be fun and interesting to find out just how many of these have been read by those in the book blogosphere. Here are the rules which I’m bending just a little bit:

1. Be honest.
2. Put an asterisk next to the ones you have read all the way through  (I’m highlighting them in red). Put an addition sign next to the ones you have started (I’m highlighting them in green).
3. Tag as many people as there are books on the list that you have read (I’m leaving it open to whoever wants to do this).

Here’s the list:

1. Pride and Prejudice– Jane Austen 
2. Gormenghast Trilogy– Mervyn Peake
3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
4. Temple of the Golden Pavilion – Yukio Mishima
5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6. The Story of the Eye – George Bataille
7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9. Adrift on the Nile – Naguib Mahfouz
10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14. Rhinoceros – Eugene Ionesco
15. Baron in the Trees – Italo Calvino
16. The Master of Go – Yasunari Kawabata
17. Woman in the Dunes – Abe Kobo
18. The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19. The Feast of the Goat – Mario Vargas Llosa
20. Middlemarch – George Eliot

Catcher

21. Gogol’s Wife– Tomasso Landolfi
22. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
23. Magic Mountain – Thomas Mann
24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25. Ferdydurke – Gombrowicz
26. Narcissus and Goldmund – Herman Hesse
27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. The 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. The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
33. Tom Sawyer / Huck Finn – Mark Twain
34. Emma – Jane Austen
35. Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
36. Delta Wedding – Eudora Welty
37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini 
38. Naomi – Junichiro Tanizaki
39. Cosmicomics – Italo Calvino
40. The Joke – Milan Kundera

gatsby

41. Animal Farm– George Orwell
42. Labyrinths – Gorge Luis Borges
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving 
45. Under My Skin – Doris Lessing
46. Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48. Don Quixote – Miguel Cervantes
49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50. Absalom Absalom – William Faulkner
51. Beloved – Toni Morrison
52. The Flounder – Gunther Grass
53. Dead Souls – Nikolai Gogol
54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55. My Name is Red – Orhan Pamuk
56. A Dolls House – Henrik Ibsen
57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59. The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoevesky
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Heller

61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63.Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman
64. Death on the Installment Plan – Louis-Ferdinand Celine
65. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68. Pedro Paramo – Juan Rulfo
69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72. Dracula – Bram Stoker
73. The Metamorphosis – Kafka
74. Epitaph of a Small Winner – Machado De Assis
75. Ulysses – James Joyce
76. The Inferno – Dante
77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal – Emile Zola
79. To the Light House – Virginia Woolf 
80. Disgrace – John Maxwell Coetzee

Camus

81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82. Zorba the Greek – Nikos Kazantzakis
83. The Color Purple– Alice Walker
84. The Box Man – Abe Kobo
85. Madame Bovary– Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87. The Stranger – Albert Camus
88. Acquainted with the Night – Heinrich Boll
89. Don’t Call It Night – Amos Oz
90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pychon
94. Memoirs of Hadrian – Marguerite Yourcenar
95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99. Faust – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
100. Metamorphosis – Ovid

So there you have it! I’ve read 40 (started 3 – I wonder if I will ever go back and finish those?). There are 24 on the list that I’ve never heard of. I would be curious as to how the list was established, also. There is no Hemingway and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are on the list as one book (I counted them as two).

How many have you read? I’m guessing most of the book bloggers I know have read more than 6.

 

Advertisements

Pinckney Benedict: Town Smokes (Deal Me In 2017 – Week 31)

9♣ 9♣ 9♣ 9♣ 9♣ 9♣ 9♣ 9♣

Once again I find a story in which tobacco and cigarettes make more than just an appearance. One might actually consider them to be a literary motif. In Pinckney Benedict’s “Town Smokes”, the fifteen year-old male narrator walks from his recently buried father into town for cigarettes. During the short journey, his mind fills with memories and he encounters a brief conflict with pig hunters. But the goal is the cigarettes.

One memory of his father is particularly interesting:

The Gideon’s is old and slippery in my hand and missen many pages. My daddy has used it for a lot of years. The paper is thin and fine for rollen your own; if you are good you can get two smokes to the page. As I say, he was not a heavy smoker and he is not even gotten up to the New Testament yet, just somewhere in Jeremiah.

The cigarettes are something other than an addiction for Benedict’s narrator. For better or worse, good or bad, they give the narrator purpose. Ending the story with the boy sitting on a bridge smoking, contemplating the tragedy of his world, makes for one of the nicest scenes I’ve read in a while.

Town Smokes

I’ve never smoked and don’t have any plans to start but smoking can provide quite the emotional impact to a story. This is another one vying for favorite of the year. It is included in Pinckney Benedict’s anthology of the same name which I borrowed from my public library. I read it when I selected the Nine of Clubs for Week 31 of my Deal Me In 2017 short story project. My Deal Me In list can be found here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

Mark Twain’s “Luck”

In the case of Mark Twain’s “Luck”, the one-word title actually has something to do with the story. The story leaves a lot of questions, though. A much-decorated military figure is being honored while a clergyman at the event explains to the narrator that the honoree is only where he is by sheer luck because he is actually a “fool”.

mark-twain

Who is the real “sham”? The acclaimed leader or the clergyman? And who does Twain consider the real “sham”? That’s the question I find intriguing but for which I find no real answer.

Mark Twain’s “The Professor’s Yarn”

mark-twain

“The Professor’s Yarn” is another great Mark Twain title. The narrator is a professor but at the time of the story he is telling (that’s the “yarn” part) he is not a professor and the fact that he is a professor has nothing to do with the story.

The yarn itself has the not-yet professor on a ship to California. I’m not sure of his point of departure or whether he has been on a ship the entire trip or only the last part of it. But all of that doesn’t really matter as a new acquaintance with a lot of money gets involved with a group of gamblers. The narrator is concerned that his new friend will get too involved with “that confounded nest of rascality.”

Determining who cheats who makes the plot classic Twain and makes the reader want to keep on reading.

Mark Twain’s “A Dying Man’s Confession”

We were approaching Napoleon, Arkansas. So I began to think about my errand there. Time, noonday; and bright and sunny. This was bad – not best, anyway; for mine was not (preferably) a noonday kind of errand.

mark-twain

This no longer comes as a shock but Mark Twain’s short story “A Dying Man’s Confession” is a story within a story within a story.

We have murder and revenge, creepy morgue-like settings along with con-men and swindlers.  I have to question Twain’s choice of titles from time to time but I love the brilliant understatement of this one.

While Twain doesn’t shy away from using ghosts and death in his stories usually they appear in a more satirical fashion. In parts of this story, it’s actually scary. He can give Poe and Hawthorne a run for their money.

Mark Twain’s “The Burning Brand”

The letter was a pure swindle, and that is the truth. And take it by and large, it was without a compeer among swindles. It was perfect, it was rounded, symmetrical, complete, colossal!

mark-twain

The themes in Mark Twain’s short story “The Burning Brand” are classic Mark Twain themes. I’ve learned that it’s not uncommon for him to poke fun of ethics, morals and religion and in this story, he sets up a great situation to do this. However, it doesn’t come off as funny as some of his other stories.

A prisoner writes a letter telling in great detail of his religious conversion letting the recipients know all the ways in which he has changed. As the letter roams from church to church it causes great emotion and lots of tears at the thought of a wayward son returning to the flock. In the middle of the story, we are told that the letter is a fake. I think finding this out in the middle might be one of the reasons it’s not that funny. This revelation could be a great “shocker” at the end.

I’m also not sure of the significance of the title. Perhaps, I just passed over something while reading it. Twain’s titles are not always that descriptive of the story but I can’t figure this one out. Any thoughts, let me know!

John McNulty: Some Nights When Nothing Happens Are The Best Nights In This Place (Deal Me In 2017 – Week 30)

Q♥ Q♥ Q♥ Q♥ Q♥ Q♥ Q♥ Q♥

Johnny, one of the hackmen outside, put the whole thing in a nutshell one night when they were talking about a certain hangout and Johnny said, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

Wonderful Town

In spite of the long title, John McNulty’s “Some Nights When Nothing Happens Are The Best Nights In This Place” is a short story that is short at about 5 pages. The title gives the basic premise as the narrator discusses the boss of a Third Street saloon and his desire to not have a bar that’s so crowded. While the boss understands the relationship between customers and money, he prefers to get to know people on an individual basis. Something difficult to do with a lot of people.

The story could be considered a study in character as the narrator talks of a few people who the boss likes having at his establishment; however, I would call it more of a study in conversation and dialect. Similar to William Heuman’s story “Brooklyns Lose”, it has that New York City rhythm of speech. It’s what I would call the story’s selling point.

All in all, it’s a nice little story. Probably not a favorite like “Brooklyns Lose” but still nice.

I read this story when I selected the Queen of Hearts for Week 30 of my Deal Me In 2017 short story project. It’s included in my copy of Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker edited by David Remnick. My Deal Me In list can be found here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.