Friday, October 2, 2009

10 Books to Read Before You Die...

This meme, hosted by, has been making the rounds this week. I've adapted it and made my own personal bucket list. These are the books I simply must read:

1. Emma by Jane Austen (my last major Austen novel, and I'm 'saving' it)
2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
3. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
4. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
5. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
6. Possession by A.S. Byatt
7. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
8. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
9. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
10. A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell

As you can see, most of these are big, fat books and it seems they keep getting put off for that reason alone. Perhaps a personal challenge is in order? I'm already thinking about next year...some adjustments in challenge joining, book buying, and reading selections may be ahead. Stay tuned.


  1. Fun meme! Emma is my favorite Austen book. And Gone with the Wind is quite possibly my favorite book of all time!

  2. I hadn't heard of #10 so I went to look it up and was amazed to discover there are 12 volumes! What if a person died halfway through?!!! I think I'll skip that one!! :--)

  3. Even though Gone With the Wind is a large book, you will get so caught up in it, you will wish there were more pages. I loved all of Dicken's books but that one may take you a while. War and Peace~ Hmmm I've started that twice and put it down. Not because it isn't good but because of the need to get other things read but that will be one of my new year's resolutions.

  4. Emma is my favourite Austen! Well worth saving up to enjoy, but don't put it off too long because it is simply wonderful.

    Gone with the Wind is wonderful too - I agree with Kaye - the length becomes irrelevant because you get so swept up in it! Possession is one of my favourite books, I adore it even though it is harder work than most. You need to be in the right mindframe to tackle it!

    You have a great list there! I have read all of them apart from a couple, some with more success than others. Bleak House is something I want to get around to as well, some time soon!

  5. Crime and Punishment is also on my list. I keep putting off all these big fat books too...

  6. What a lot of really important books - I can see why they have made your list.

    I empathise with the fat tomes - for my Virago challenge I have to admit to having read mainly slim ones so far and there are sooooooooo many fat ones piling up now.

  7. Oooh...Rose City Reader got me to add Powell to my 2010 tbr list (a reading which will definitely be done over time). If you start reading it, we will have to compare notes:) These bucket lists would make a great challenge even if done on one's own. I look forward to reading your thoughts on next year's reading.

  8. I'm glad to have some of the fatter ones out of the way. I was obsessed with Gone With the Wind as a girl (the film) and then read the book - there is so much more to it! I still love the film though. Great read. I have also read Bleak House and very glad I did and consider Emma and Midnight's Children to be two of my favourite books.

  9. I just got Possession so I am putting on my must read in 2010 or before list. I really want to read books that are in house - I'm gathering quite pile, it seems. and I gave up on Midnight's Children but I hope to try it again.

  10. Yay I have read 5 of these. Thanks for participating, this is a good list.

  11. I joined the Chunkster Challenge just so I would be motivated to read The Count of Monte Cristo (1,274 pages--I think). It's been on my shelf a couple years now. I would like to read Gone with the Wind, too.

  12. I really need to read... well, all of those. Most of them are on my list. I've actually read "Emma" and "Gone with the Wind" already, but the rest are unread (a few of them are in my room already). I have to admit that "Pride & Prejudice" and "Mansfield Park" are my favorite Austen books. "Gone with the Wind" I read in 5th grade, but I've struggled to read it twice. Don't get me wrong--I loved it. It's just that dedicating so much time to one book seems wasteful. Maybe I'll pick a two week period next summer and command myself to reread it!

  13. Oops. That message came across wrong. No. I am struggling to read "Gone with the Wind". I have yet to read it twice! Sorry for double-posting. I had to clarify!

  14. Good list! Crime and Punishment and Clarissa are on my Filling The Gaps list so we'll see who gets to them first!

  15. I forget to say that Channel 4 did an adaptation of A Dance to the Music of time a few years ago. It was wonderful and really helped me through the books. something to look out for maybe.

  16. Clarissa took me a long time to read, and not just because of its massive size-It is really interesting to see how Richardson uses so many different writing styles in the work-if you have not, maybe you might read Pamela first-I recently bought Possession and hope to read it soon-great list and fun to read your remarks

  17. Reviewsbylola - P&P is my favorite Austen, and I've been saving Emma so I still have one more to discover. I may not be able to hold out much longer!

    Rhapsodyinbooks - Yes, twelve volumes is right... that would be a very long-term project ;-)

    Kaye - Several people have said that GWTW never seemed that long. There was a blogger read-along several months ago and I'm sorry I didn't join in...too many other commitments at the time. I've read the first 50 pages of W&P twice so far, but just keep getting distracted with other books.

    Rachel - I'll have to read Emma fairly soon. The willpower to save one Austen is running low! GWTW might be a good summer read next year. I put off Possession because I want to love it , but am secretly afraid I won't 'get it'. As you say, frame of mind or mood is probably the key here.

    Nymeth - I see C&P as a winter book...maybe even this winter!

    Verity - I'm trying to come up with a better way of approaching these books. Years ago, I loved big books that I could lose myself it seems that there are so many waiting that I hate to spend weeks at a time on a single book. An attitude adjustment may be in order!

    Book Psmith - I would love to have someone to compare notes with on an undertaking like Powell!
    Has Rose City Reader recently read these? I'll have to check her blog for reviews. You've got me thinking about this...

    Paperback Reader - Midnight's Children is another book I really want to love, but am a little afraid of. I've never read Rushdie and keep wondering if this is the best place to start. I'm very anxious to read GWTW and feel like I can't hold out much longer on Emma.

  18. Care - I'm considering spending most of next year reading books I already own, but would have to guard against going on a book-buying spree before I commit to it!

    Pam van Hylckama Vlieg - I'm curious which five you read and if you liked them. This was a great meme. I had fun coming up with my list - it really got me thinking!

    Kim - I *loved* The Count of Monte Cristo! By the time I got near the end, it seemed like a life-consuming project. It took a little over a month, and I read it with a few friends from a Yahoo group I was active in at the time.

    Madeleine - When I was in 5th grade, my best friend read GWTW. I was so impressed...both with the massiveness of the book and the really cool butterfly bookmark she had. I somehow have it in my mind as a 'summer' book...maybe next year.

    Fleurfisher - I'm thinking about C&P this winter...we'll see. I was full of good intentions when I bought Clarissa about 5 years ago, but it's still unread. Thanks for mentioning the Dance to the Music of Time adaptation...will keep that in mind.

    mel u - I keep thinking I'd like to do a 'real time' read of Clarissa over the course of a year by reading the letters on their corresponding dates. That may require too much discipline though. At some point, you must get so involved that you need to keep reading!

  19. I read The Count of Monte Cristo at maybe age 12-it is kind of a boy's book!

  20. mel u - The Count always seemed like a 'boy's book' to me when I was growing up - my brother loved it, watched all the movie versions, etc. It really surprised me when I got so involved with it a few years ago!

  21. I haven't seen a review but this is the post that introduced me to Powell.

  22. Emma is on my Fall reading list! I have been thinking about the whole challenge thing for next year a lot lately. I want more time unexpected books to be able to be read-rather than being tied in all year to a list dictated by the challenges.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  23. that is a GREAT list and you have a lot of wonderful reading ahead of you. Emma is my favorite Austen; Loved C&P; LOVED Gone with the Wind; Possession is my fave novel EVER; W&P is amazing. Wow :-) They're long but they're worth it!

  24. Book Psmith - Thanks for the link!

    KIm - I may have to give in and read Emma very soon. Hope you have a great weekend!

    Marie - Your comment makes me want to abandon all challenges/commitments and just read from my list - NOW!

  25. I've only read Gone With the Wind!!! I do have Emma to read this year. I would love to read Dickens most defintely!!

  26. I haven't read any of those either! Good bucket list.

  27. Staci - Seems like lots of bloggers have Emma on their fall lists. I may need to join in, too!

    Stacybuckeye - Thanks. I've really enjoyed reading these lists, too.

  28. I was just thinking the same about their being huge! A Dance to the Music of Time (I believe) consists of four volumes. The spines make up a mural image. It's been sitting on my shelf patiently. I might have to include it on my chunkster read-along for 2010. After The Satanic Verses, I am putting aside Salman Rushdie for a while. He's too dense and rich, not to mention the layers of meanings that I fail to grasp.

  29. Matt - I'm probably going to purchase all 4 volumes so I can have the whole mural effect. Will you be hosting a chunkster read-along? I'll have to keep my eyes open for that one. And honestly, Rushdie scares me a little. I really want to love Midnight's children, but after hearing about people's struggles with The Satanic Verses, etc., I know I'll have to be in just the right frame of mind to begin.


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