Reading List – A Little Direction

I love to read. Since I was old enough to remember, I’ve always had a book (or two, or three) distributed throughout the house for me to read given a moment or two. My idea of a great afternoon on my own (if it’s not reading) is to be in a bookstore – alone, with a cup of coffee perusing book after book after book. There are those days that I still think I could be locked in a library or bookstore and never have to come out. But…how to choose?

My 12th grade English teacher once told me that she too struggled with an ever growing frustration over what to read. At some point, she had started a list. Her list at that time was 5 notebook pages long of all of the books she wanted to read! It’s taken all these years to appreciate that a list is exactly what I need. Needing a list and actually starting this list are two entirely different things. So – no list….UNTIL TODAY!

Over on Hillbilly Housewife ( there is a list! And…this list has been started by 16,000 NPR listeners! The exerpt below is from her blog:

That’s why I turned to the National Public Radio’s poll of almost 16,000 listeners. Listeners cast some 136,000 votes in NPR’s Best Beach Books Ever poll and came up with 100 NPR audience favorites.

I like this poll because I’m not interested in what the “critics” have to say about a book – I’m interested in what readers like. These voters may not be able to critique the literary quality of a book, but maybe they can. All I know is that if I have a list of well-read and well-loved books to choose from, my book browsing will take up much less time, which leaves me much more time to actually sit, read, and enjoy a book!

Take a few minutes today to get all warm and cozy while you curl up with a good book. You deserve some time to re-energize and re-fuel your mind. Happy reading! (I’ve added X’s for the books I’ve read – and noted FAVORITE for my own record keeping purposes )

1. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling (X)
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee(X)
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini(Reading now)
4. Bridget Jones’s Diary, by Helen Fielding (X)
5. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen(X) FAVORITE
6. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells(X)
7. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
9. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg(X)
10. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
11. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
12. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel(X)
13. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
14. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
16. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell(X)
17. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
18. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
19. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
20. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
21. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain(X)
22. The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver
23. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith
24. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
25. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
26. The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy
27. Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel
28. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
29. The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler
30. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer(X)
31. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
32. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck(X)
33. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
34. Beach Music, by Pat Conroy
35. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
36. Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier(X)
37. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
38. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
39. The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough(X)
40. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon
41. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
42. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy(X)
43. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice
44. Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier(X)
45. Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
46. Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes
47. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
48. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins
49. I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb
50. Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
51. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott(X)
52. The Stand, by Stephen King
53. She’s Come Undone, by Wally Lamb
54. Dune, by Frank Herbert
55. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
56. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
57. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
58. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
59. The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
60. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
61. Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver
62. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
63. Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner
64. Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
65. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
66. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
67. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
68. Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut
69. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
70. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
71. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
72. The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy(X)
73. Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns
74. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
74. Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe [tie]
76. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
77. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
78. The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher(X)FAVORITE!!
79. Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver
80. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
81. Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck
81. The Pilot’s Wife, by Anita Shreve [tie]
83. All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
84. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
85. The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
86. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
87. One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich
88. Shogun, by James Clavell
89. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
90. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera
91. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow
92. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
93. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
94. Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris
95. Summer Sisters, by Judy Blume
96. The Shining, by Stephen King
97. How Stella Got Her Groove Back, by Terry McMillan
98. Lamb, by Christopher Moore
99. Sick Puppy, by Carl Hiaasen
100. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson(X)


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