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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

College Board's 101 Great Books

There's a so-called BBC list making the rounds on Facebook, which is kind of interesting. Except no one can find where the BBC ever published it.

Pfff. Details.

Actually, I did find a list from College Board that looks sufficiently challenging:

101 Great Books
Recommended for College Bound Readers

Bold entries are books I have read.

Beowulf (author unknown)
Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe)
A Death in the Family (James Agee)
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
Go Tell It on the Mountain (James Baldwin)
Waiting for Godot (Samuel Beckett)
The Adventures of Augie March (Saul Bellow)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)
Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë)
The Stranger (Albert Camus)
Death Comes for the Archbishop (Willa Cather)
The Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer)
The Cherry Orchard (Anton Chekhov)
The Awakening (Kate Chopin)
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
The Last of the Mohicans (James Fenimore Cooper)
The Red Badge of Courage (Stephen Crane)
Inferno (Dante)
Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes)
Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe)
A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass)
An American Tragedy (Theodore Dreiser)
The Three Musketeers (Alexandre Dumas)
The Mill on the Floss (George Eliot)
Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison)
Selected Essays (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner)
The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner)
Tom Jones (Henry Fielding)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert)
The Good Soldier (Ford Madox Ford)
Faust (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
Tess of the d'Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy)
The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
Catch 22 (Joseph Heller)
A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway)
The Iliad (Homer)
The Odyssey (Homer)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Victor Hugo)
Their Eyes were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
A Doll's House (Henrik Ibsen)
The Portrait of a Lady (Henry James)
The Turn of the Screw (Henry James)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (James Joyce)
The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka)
The Woman Warrior (Maxine Hong Kingston)
To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
Babbitt (Sinclair Lewis)
The Call of the Wild (Jack London)
The Magic Mountain (Thomas Mann)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Marquez)
Bartleby the Scrivener (Herman Melville)
Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
The Crucible (Arthur Miller)
Beloved (Toni Morrison)
A Good Man is Hard to Find (Flannery O'Connor)
Long Day's Journey into Night (Eugene O'Neill)
Animal Farm (George Orwell)
Doctor Zhivago (Boris Pasternak)
The Bell Jar (Sylvia Platt)
Selected Tales (Edgar Allen Poe) *
Swann's Way (Marcel Proust)
The Crying of Lot 49 (Thomas Pynchon)
All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque)
Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand)
Call It Sleep (Henry Roth)
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
Hamlet (William Shakespeare)
Macbeth (William Shakespeare)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (William Shakespeare)
Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)
Pygmalion (George Bernard Shaw)
Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
Ceremony (Leslie Marmon Silko)
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Alexander Solzhenitsyn)
Antigone (Sophocles)
Oedipus Rex (Sophocles)
The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson)
Uncle Tom's Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe)
Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift)
Vanity Fair (William Thackeray)
Walden (Henry David Thoreau)
War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)
Fathers and Sons (Ivan Turgenev)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
Candide (Voltaire)
Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)
The Color Purple (Alice Walker)
The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton)+
Collected Stories (Eudora Welty)
Leaves of Grass (Walt Whitman)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
The Glass Menagerie (Tennessee Williams)
To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf)
Native Son (Richard Wright)

So, even though I've made no special effort to read these particular books, I've read forty-one. I have also read other novels by the authors on the list, so I suppose I'm entitled to call myself "well read".

* I've read all but three of the short stories in the specified Edgar Allan Poe collection, and a lot of his other work, so I'm counting that one.

+ I haven't read The House of Mirth. However, I slogged my way through Edith Wharton's novel Ethan Frome, which is one of the worst "classic" works I've ever read. I definitely deserve credit for that.

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