“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.” – Gustave Flaubert

One of the professors at Johns Hopkins asked us to compile a list of 100 books we will read while in the 2-3 year writing program.  After I finished the list, I promptly began adding to it, with books friends recommended or I stumbled upon.  Then I figured I might as well add the reading list for my Spring 2012 classes, since I’ll be reading those books anyway.  And then I saw and liked some of shortlist.com’s compilation of the 50 Coolest Books. Finally, I discovered a book blog with even more great suggestions.

The list has grown so long that it is impossible to read every book within a two-year period.  Therefore, I’ve taken the liberty of making this a list of books to read over the next ten years.  I’ll be keeping track of my progress and ratings of each book on GoodReads.

What books are on your list? Add your comments below.

  1. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – Edward Albee (play)
  2. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven – Sherman Alexie
  3. True Stories of a Part-time Indian – Sherman Alexie
  4. The Sum of Our Days – Isabel Allende
  5. Winesburg, Ohio – Sherwood Anderson (short story collection)
  6. Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
  7. Dancing Girls – Margaret Atwood
  8. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  9. Crash – JG Ballard
  10. The Memory Palace – Mira Bartik
  11. The Peculiar Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel – Aimee Bender
  12. Ficciones – Jorge Luis Borges
  13. The Aleph – Jorge Luis Borges
  14. Villette – Charlotte Bronte
  15. Factotum – Charles Bukowski
  16. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
  17. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  18. Naked Lunch – William Burroughs
  19. The Stranger – Albert Camus
  20. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  21. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller – Italo Cavino
  22. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  23. White House Diary – Jimmy Carter
  24. Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather
  25. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
  26. Girl with a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  27. The Awakening – Kate Chopin
  28. Generation X – Douglas Coupland
  29. The Dew Breaker – Edwidge Danticat
  30. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  31. The Complete Poems – Emily Dickinson (poetry)
  32. Room – Emma Donoghue
  33. Notes from Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  34. The Brothers Karamazov –  Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  35. An American Tragedy – Theodore Dreiser
  36. A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
  37. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers
  38. Adam Bede – George Eliot
  39. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
  40. Less than Zero – Bret Easton Ellis
  41. The Forgotten Waltz – Anne Enright
  42. The Bingo Palace – Louise Erdrich
  43. The Marriage Plot: A Novel – Jeffrey Eugenides
  44. As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
  45. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
  46. Deep Down True – Juliette Fay
  47. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  48. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
  49. A Sentimental Education – Gustave Flaubert
  50. Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
  51. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close –  Jonathan Safran Foer
  52. Palo Alto – James Franco (short story collection)
  53. Freedom – Jonathon Franzen
  54. The Corrections – Jonathon Franzen
  55. Hideous Kinky – Esther Freud
  56. A Gathering of Old Men – Ernest J. Gaines
  57. Elizabeth I – Margaret George
  58. The ImmoralistAndré Gide
  59. Howl – Allen Ginsberg (poetry)
  60. Violet Clay – Gail Godwin
  61. The End of the Affair – Graham Greene
  62. Wunderkind – Nikolai Grozni
  63. Tinkers – Paul Harding
  64. The Great Fire: A Novel – Shirley Hazzard
  65. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
  66. In Our Time – Ernest Hemingway
  67. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
  68. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  69. Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse
  70. Steppenwolf – Hermann Hesse
  71. Here on Earth – Alice Hoffman
  72. Mean Spirit – Linda Hogan
  73. The Bone People – Keri Hulme
  74. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  75. Mudbound – Hillary Jordan
  76. Fear of Flying – Erica Jung
  77. The Trail – Franz Kafka
  78. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  79. The Dharma Bums – Jack Kerouac
  80. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
  81. The Sound of Butterflies – Rachel King
  82. The Lacuna – Barbara Kingsolver
  83. Man Walks Into A Room – Nicole Krauss
  84. The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
  85. Normal People Don’t Live Like This – Dylan Landis
  86. Ghost Dancing – Anna Linzer
  87. Sister – Rosamund Lupton
  88. Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure – Sarah Macdonald
  89. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
  90. Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  91. Memories of My Melancholy Whores – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  92. Of Human Bondage – Somerset Maugham
  93. The Razor’s Edge – Somerset Maugham
  94. The Paris Wife: A Novel – Paula McLain
  95. Bartleby and Benito Cereno – Herman Melville (book of two short stories)
  96. In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd – Ana Menendez (short stories)
  97. Loving Che – Ana Menendez
  98. The Misanthrope – Molière (play)
  99. Too Much Happiness – Alice Munro (short story collection)
  100. 1Q84 – Haruki Murakami
  101. The Call – Yannick Murphy
  102. Lolita – Vldimir Nabokov
  103. A Bend in the River – V.S. Naipaul
  104. Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair – Pablo Neruda (Poetry)
  105. Delta of Venus – Anaiis Nin
  106. Long Day’s Journey Into Night – Eugene O’Neill (play)
  107. The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  108. How To Breathe Underwater – Julie Orringer
  109. Diary – Chuck Palahniuk
  110. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
  111. Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
  112. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance– Robert M. Pirsig
  113. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  114. The Grass Dancer – Susan Power
  115. The Dice Man – Luke Rhinehart
  116. Nine Stories – J. D. Salinger (short story collection)
  117. Nausea – Jean-Paul Sartre
  118. No Exit – Jean-Paul Sartre (plays)
  119. Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer – Steve Scafidi (poetry)
  120. Kissing in Manhattan – David Schickler
  121. Last Exit to Brooklyn – Hubert Selby, Jr.
  122. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  123. The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay – Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
  124. Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel – Gary Shteyngart
  125. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand – Helen Simonson
  126. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
  127. Almanac of the Dead – Leslie Marmon Silko
  128. The Turquoise Ledge – Leslie Marmon Silko
  129. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  130. Isabell and Amy – Elizabeth Strout
  131. Lie Down in Darkness – William Styron
  132. Perfume – Patrick Suskind
  133. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  134. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
  135. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  136. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  137. A Fraction of the Whole – Steve Toltz
  138. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  139. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
  140. One Day I Will Write About This – Binyavanga Wainaina
  141. The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
  142. Morvein Callar – Alan Warner
  143. Ethan Frome – Edith Warton
  144. Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh
  145. The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
  146. The Importance of Being Earnest  – Oscar Wilde (play)
  147. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  148. The Echo Chamber – Luke Williams
  149. Finding Beauty in a Broken World – Terry Tempest Williams
  150. Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
  151. Orlando – Virginia Woolf
 

2 Responses to Books to Read Over the Next Two (or So) Years

  1. So glad my blog came in handy! This is a great list–I look forward to your thoughts on these books!

  2. Lisa Anderson says:

    This list is amazing! I’m always looking for my next read and this list will help guide my selections. Thanks for sharing!