Read your brains out

The Zirro-centric Top 100 Books list.

Many of the hundred listed are authors, not books— because if you always hear about Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, but then Hemingway comes along and recommends Buddenkrooks, which do you choose?

  1. The Quran
  2. The Bible
  3. Bhagavad Gita
  4. Homer, The Iliad, The Odyssey
  5. Aeschylus, Agamemnon
  6. Virgil, The Aeneid
  7. Sophocles, The Oedipus Trilogy: Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus
  8. Beowulf
  9. Song of Roland
  10. The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
  11. Edmund Spenser (The Faerie Queene 1590)
  12. William Shakespeare
  13. Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
  14. Goethe, Faust
  15. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605)
  16. Paradise Lost, John Milton (1667)
  17. Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719), Moll Flanders (1722)
  18. Poor Richard’s Almanack, Benjamin Franklin
  19. Voltaire, Candide 1759
  20. Jean-Jacque Rousseau (Emile) 1762
  21. William Wordsworth
  22. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Persuasion
  23. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley 1818
  24. Don Juan, Lord Byron 1819-1824
  25. Aleksandr Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1825)
  26. Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
  27. Henry James, The American, Daisy Miller, The Turn of the Screw
  28. Stendhal, The Red and the Black
  29. Honoré de Balzac
  30. Ralph Waldo Emerson 1830s
  31. Edgar Allan Poe, 1830s-40s
  32. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables (1862), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831)
  33. Alexander Dumas, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)
  34. Margaret Fuller 1845
  35. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte 1847
  36. Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights 1847
  37. Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam 1849
  38. Henry David Thoreau 1840s,1850s
  39. Nathaniel Hawthorne Young Goodman Brown 1835, The Scarlet Letter 1850, The House of Seven Gables 1851
  40. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)
  41. Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Billy Budd 1850s
  42. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass 1855
  43. Robert Browning, Men and Women 1855
  44. Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
  45. Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White, The Moonstone 1860s
  46. Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860)
  47. George Eliot, Middlemarch
  48. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment (1866)
  49. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, War and Peace
  50. Chekhov, the Short Story master
  51. Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886)
  52. Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), Far From the Madding Crowd
  53. Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac
  54. Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler 1891, A Doll’s House, Ghosts, An Enemy of the People
  55. Emile Zola
  56. Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Ernest, The Picture of Dorian Gray
  57. Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1895) The Blue Hotel, The Open Boat
  58. Frank Norris, McTeague (1899)
  59. Henry James, Daisy Miller, Portrait of a Lady, The Turn of the Screw
  60. H. G. Wells, War of the Worlds (1898), The Time Machine (1895)
  61. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim
  62. Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie (1900)
  63. Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900 (pub. 1900)
  64. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Hound of the Baskervilles 1901, Sherlock Holmes 1887
  65. Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903)
  66. William Henry Hudson, Green Mansions (1904), Far Away & Long Ago, Purple Land
  67. Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929)
  68. Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth (1905), Ethan Frome (1911), The Age of Innocence
  69. E. M. Forster, Howard’s End (1910), Passage to India, A Room with a View
  70. Willa Cather, O Pioneers! (1913), My Antonia (1918)
  71. Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (1915)
  72. Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis (1915), The Trial (1925)
  73. James Joyce, Dubliners 1914 – Finnegan’s Wake 1939
  74. Vicente Blasco Ibanez, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1916)
  75. Lytton Strachey, Eminent Victorians (1918)
  76. Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio (1919)
  77. T. S. Eliot, (Prufrock and Other Observations, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men)
  78. Robert Frost, Collected Poems
  79. ee cummings, the enormous room
  80. Sinclair Lewis, Main Street (1920), Babbitt (1922)
  81. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)
  82. William Butler Yeats, The Tower (1928)
  83. Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea 1920s-1950s
  84. William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)
  85. Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain, Buddenkrooks
  86. Of Human Bondage, Somerset Maugham
  87. Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged,
  88. Paul Sartre, Nausea (1938)
  89. John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men (1937), The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
  90. Albert Camus, The Stranger (1942)
  91. Ezra Pound, The Cantos of Ezra Pound (1948)
  92. Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (1949)
  93. J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951), Nine Stories (1953)
  94. Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955)
  95. Nabokov, Lolita (1955), Pale Fire
  96. Allen Ginsberg, Howl (1956)
  97. Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)
  98. William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch (1959)
  99. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
  100. Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)

I think I’m going to be reading for a very long time, and this list didn’t even make it through the post-moderns.

What do you think? Anything or anyone I’ve shockingly overlooked? Any you’d skip?


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from zero to author in 40 years flat

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