Guardian’s 100 Books

betsy-mayWhen I was younger, I would only ask my parents to buy me 2 things – one was barbie dolls/paper dolls (so that I can dress them up), and the other was story books. My first book was Enid Blyton’s Tales of Betsy May. Then I moved on to devouring Nancy Drew, and who can forget the Sweet Valley High series?

Even till today, I need to read a few chapters of a book before I go to bed. Now, my taste in books ranges from popular fiction (particularly thrillers, chick-lit and Harry Potter) and business, economics, politics and travel writing and I will probably be as happy as a lark if I have an Amazon Kindle 2. 🙂

I decided to tick off Guardian’s List of Top 100 Books of All Times but it seemed I have only read about 13 of them, though I have heard of most of them

But just like our tastes in fashion, it is better to be individualistic in tastes in books too… so for the 87 books I have not read, I may or may not pick you up. But no hard feelings, it’s not you, it’s me. You are just not my taste. 😀



Guardian’s List of Top 100 Books of All Times

  • Chinua Achebe, Nigeria, (b. 1930), Things Fall Apart
  • Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark, (1805-1875), Fairy Tales and Stories 
  • Jane Austen, England, (1775-1817), Pride and Prejudice  – I was moved to read this after the Colin Firth as the brooding Mark Darcy emerging dripping wet from the pond in BBC’s production. Since then I caught all film remakes of P&P, including the Keira Knightley & the Aishwarya Rai versions
  • Honore de Balzac, France, (1799-1850), Old Goriot
  • Samuel Beckett, Ireland, (1906-1989), Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
  • Giovanni Boccaccio, Italy, (1313-1375), Decameron
  • Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina, (1899-1986), Collected Fictions
  • Emily Bronte, England, (1818-1848), Wuthering Heights – Read the abridged version
  • Albert Camus, France, (1913-1960), The Stranger
  • Paul Celan, Romania/France, (1920-1970), Poems. 
  • Louis-Ferdinand Celine, France, (1894-1961), Journey to the End of the Night
  • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain, (1547-1616), Don Quixote
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, England, (1340-1400), Canterbury Tales – Yeap, but I did not particularly enjoy it. 
  • Anton P Chekhov, Russia, (1860-1904), Selected Stories
  • Joseph Conrad, England,(1857-1924), Nostromo
  • Dante Alighieri, Italy, (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy  – Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita/mi ritrova per una selva oscura/che la diritta via era smarrita
  • Charles Dickens, England, (1812-1870), Great Expectations – It was my “A” levels literature textbook. The hands imagery still haunts me and who can forget the full circle meaning of the name “Pip”. Love the Ethan Hawke & Gwyneth Palthrow film adaptation though. 
  • Denis Diderot, France, (1713-1784), Jacques the Fatalist and His Master
  • Alfred Doblin, Germany, (1878-1957), Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881), Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Possessed; The Brothers Karamazov
  • George Eliot, England, (1819-1880), Middlemarch
  • Ralph Ellison, United States, (1914-1994), Invisible Man
  • Euripides, Greece, (c 480-406 BC), Medea
  • William Faulkner, United States, (1897-1962), Absalom, Absalom; The Sound and the Fury
  • Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880), Madame Bovary; A Sentimental Education
  • Federico Garcia Lorca, Spain, (1898-1936), Gypsy Ballads
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Colombia, (b. 1928), One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera – Love in the Time of Cholera – the book that appeared in Serendipity the movie…
  • Gilgamesh, Mesopotamia (c 1800 BC). 
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany, (1749-1832), Faust
  • Nikolai Gogol, Russia, (1809-1852), Dead Souls
  • Gunter Grass, Germany, (b.1927), The Tin Drum
  • Joao Guimaraes Rosa, Brazil, (1880-1967), The Devil to Pay in the Backlands
  • Knut Hamsun, Norway, (1859-1952), Hunger. 
  • Ernest Hemingway, United States, (1899-1961), The Old Man and the Sea – Read the abridged version when I was a kid
  • Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC), The Iliad and The Odyssey
  • Henrik Ibsen, Norway (1828-1906), A Doll’s House
  • The Book of Job, Israel. (600-400 BC). 
  • James Joyce, Ireland, (1882-1941), Ulysses
  • Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924), The Complete Stories; The Trial; The Castle Bohemia
  • Kalidasa, India, (c. 400), The Recognition of Sakuntala
  • Yasunari Kawabata, Japan, (1899-1972), The Sound of the Mountain
  • Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece, (1883-1957), Zorba the Greek
  • DH Lawrence, England, (1885-1930), Sons and Lovers
  • Halldor K Laxness, Iceland, (1902-1998), Independent People
  • Giacomo Leopardi, Italy, (1798-1837), Complete Poems
  • Doris Lessing, England, (b.1919), The Golden Notebook
  • Astrid Lindgren, Sweden, (1907-2002), Pippi Longstocking – Of course! Pippi was my heroine as a kid
  • Lu Xun, China, (1881-1936), Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
  • Mahabharata, India, (c 500 BC). 
  • Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt, (b. 1911), Children of Gebelawi
  • Thomas Mann, Germany, (1875-1955), Buddenbrook; The Magic Mountain
  • Herman Melville, United States, (1819-1891), Moby Dick
  • Michel de Montaigne, France, (1533-1592), Essays.
  • Elsa Morante, Italy, (1918-1985), History
  • Toni Morrison, United States, (b. 1931), Beloved
  • Shikibu Murasaki, Japan, (N/A), The Tale of Genji Genji
  • Robert Musil, Austria, (1880-1942), The Man Without Qualities
  • Vladimir Nabokov, Russia/United States, (1899-1977), Lolita – Yes, the scandalious book! 
  • Njaals Saga, Iceland, (c 1300). 
  • George Orwell, England, (1903-1950), 1984 – Yeap, pretty morbid
  • Ovid, Italy, (c 43 BC), Metamorphoses – I have never been able to finish reading this
  • Fernando Pessoa, Portugal, (1888-1935), The Book of Disquiet
  • Edgar Allan Poe, United States, (1809-1849), The Complete Tales
  • Marcel Proust, France, (1871-1922), Remembrance of Things Past
  • Francois Rabelais, France, (1495-1553), Gargantua and Pantagruel
  • Juan Rulfo, Mexico, (1918-1986), Pedro Paramo
  • Jalal ad-din Rumi, Afghanistan, (1207-1273), Mathnawi
  • Salman Rushdie, India/Britain, (b. 1947), Midnight’s Children
  • Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sadi, Iran, (c 1200-1292), The Orchard
  • Tayeb Salih, Sudan, (b. 1929), Season of Migration to the North
  • Jose Saramago, Portugal, (b. 1922), Blindness
  • William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616), Hamlet; King Lear; Othello – Hamlet was my “A” level text and thus far, one of my favorite Shakespeare’s plays.
  • Sophocles, Greece, (496-406 BC), Oedipus the King
  • Stendhal, France, (1783-1842), The Red and the Black
  • Laurence Sterne, Ireland, (1713-1768), The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
  • Italo Svevo, Italy, (1861-1928), Confessions of Zeno
  • Jonathan Swift, Ireland, (1667-1745), Gulliver’s Travels – Yeap
  • Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910), War and Peace; Anna Karenina; The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories – I watched Anna Karenina, the movie. Does that count? 
  • Thousand and One Nights, India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt, (700-1500). 
  • Mark Twain, United States, (1835-1910), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Valmiki, India, (c 300 BC), Ramayana
  • Virgil, Italy, (70-19 BC), The Aeneid
  • Walt Whitman, United States, (1819-1892), Leaves of Grass
  • Virginia Woolf, England, (1882-1941), Mrs. Dalloway; To the Lighthouse – I had to critique a passage from “To the Lighthouse” during my studies and I absolutely did not get it. 
  • Marguerite Yourcenar, France, (1903-1987), Memoirs of Hadrian

1 Comment

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One response to “Guardian’s 100 Books

  1. I may have fared even more poorly than you on this list.
    Was inspired to watch the BBC series on Pride & Prejudice after reading your comments. Enjoyed it very much. 🙂
    Next on the to-do list is to start reading “The Red and the Black”, a present 3 Christmas ago, ;p in case I am asked for my opinion about it.

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