Contemplating "From Zero to Well-Read in 100 Books"

Not to toot my own horn, but I like to think I am a well-read individual, so when I came across Book Riot's "From Zero to Well-Read in 100 Books" post, I was intrigued.

I wanted to see if I fell under the definition of "well-read" that's listed:

“Well-read” for this person then has a number of connotations: a familiarity with the monuments of Western literature, an at least passing interest in the high-points of world literature, a willingness to experience a breadth of genres, a special interest in the work of one’s immediate culture, a desire to share in the same reading experiences of many other readers, and an emphasis on the writing of the current day.

I think that sums up my reading philosophy pretty well. Now, let's see how many of the books I've read out of the comprehensive list of 100 books (all books I've read are in bold, all the books I own but have not read are italicized).

  1.     The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2.     The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  3.     The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  4.     All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Maria Remarque
  5.     The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay  by Michael Chabon
  6.     American Pastoral by Philip Roth
  7.     Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8.     Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  9.     Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  10.     The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  11.     Beloved by Toni Morrison
  12.     Beowulf
  13.     The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  14.     Brave New World by Alduos Huxley
  15.     The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  16.     Call of the Wild  by Jack London
  17.     Candide by Voltaire
  18.     The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  19.     Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
  20.     Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  21.     The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  22.     Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  23.     Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  24.     The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
  25.     The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
  26.     The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor
  27.     The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  28.     Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  29.     The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  30.     Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  31.     Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  32.     Dream of Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
  33.     Dune by Frank Herbert
  34.     Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  35.     Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  36.     The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  37.     Faust by Goethe
  38.     Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  39.     A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
  40.     The Golden Bowl by Henry James
  41.     The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  42.     Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  43.     The Gospels
  44.     The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  45.     Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  46.     The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  47.     Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  48.     The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  49.     Harry Potter & The Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  50.     Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  51.     The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  52.     The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  53.     The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  54.     House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
  55.     Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  56.     The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  57.     if on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
  58.     The Iliad by Homer
  59.     Inferno by Dante
  60.     Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  61.     Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  62.     Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  63.     Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  64.     The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  65.     The Little Prince by Antoine  de Saint-Exepury
  66.     Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  67.     Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  68.     Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  69.     Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  70.     Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  71.     Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  72.     Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  73.     The Odyssey by Homer
  74.     Oedipus the King by Sophocles
  75.     On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  76.     A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  77.     The Pentateuch
  78.     Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  79.     Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  80.     The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  81.     Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  82.     The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  83.     Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  84.     The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  85.     The Stand by Stephen King
  86.     The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  87.     Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  88.     Their Eyes Were Watching by Zora Neale Hurston
  89.     Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  90.     The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  91.     To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  92.     Ulysses by James Joyce
  93.     The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  94.     A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  95.     Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
  96.     Watchmen by Alan Moore
  97.     The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  98.     Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  99.     1984 by George Orwell
  100.     Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I've read 36 of 100, and I own but have not read 25. It looks like I have a lot of reading to do to be considered well-read by Book Riot's standards. Still, I've read well over 500 books in my young life, so that has to count for something, right?

A to Z Bookish Survey

I stumbled across this book meme on Musings of a Bookshop Girl, and it looked like so much fun that I just had to play too. Props to The Perpetual Page-Turner for thinking this survey up.

Author you’ve read the most books from:
Nora Roberts. She was all I read in high school. I've read all of her stand-alones, trilogies, and most of her anthologies up until publish date 2010 (I've read over 60 of her books, and I'm behind on about 5).

Best Sequel Ever:
Maybe it's because I've read it so recently, but I'm gonna go with Maggie Stiefvater's The Dream Thieves, which is a sequel to The Raven Boys. Otherwise, the Harry Potter books take this one.

Currently Reading:
P.D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley

Drink of Choice While Reading:
Tea. Iced or hot, green or black, lemon or milk, honey or sugar. I love me some tea.

E-reader or Physical Book?
Physical book, of course! I pledge to read the printed word.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Quirky, literary, clever Dash, from Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. I was turned off by the title and cover art, actually. To me, it came off a bit boring and targeted to an older reader. The story, however, captivated me, and it's become one of my favorite books of all time.

Hidden Gem Book:
Heartbeat by Sharon Creech. Written entirely in free-verse. One of my greatest reading discoveries.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
In the 5th grade when I read Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. Up until that point, all books I'd read had a happy and predictable ending. It was the first book that took me by surprise and made me look inside myself. I'll honestly never forget how I felt upon finishing that book.

Just Finished:
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. It was not at all what I was expecting. SUCH A GREAT READ!

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
I don't think there's a genre I will ever rule out and simply won't read, but I just tend not to pick them up at the bookstore: crime & mystery, political, religious, and non-biography nonfiction.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
The Stand by Stephen King at a whopping 1,440 pages. A major disappointment and my biggest waste of precious reading time to date.

Major book hangover because of:
George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. I read all 5 books back to back, and it burnt me out so much that I couldn't pick up another book until a month afterward.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I've loved it since I was a little girl. Every time I read it, I get all warm and fuzzy inside.

Preferred Place To Read:
I prefer to read in the comfort of my own home. You can find me reading somewhere comfy within my house like my library armchair, the hanging swing in the screenroom, in bed or on the sofa...

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
“Stuff your eyes with wonder,” he said, “live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,” he said, “Shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.”  -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Reading Regret:
Missing out on a ton of great children's lit growing up. I read really sporadically until I hit high school, so I missed out on some of the greats like Charlotte's Web, the Little House series, Roald Dahl's books... I'm catching up now, though.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):
Ender's Saga by Orson Scott Card. I probably won't finish this series though, because the sequel was so thoroughly boring.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
The Hunger Games series. I read it and loved it years before the hype started, so I don't feel bad fangirling over it.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
I don't keep up with upcoming releases too much. Nora Robert's Dark Witch is coming out later this month.

Worst Bookish Habit:
I peel off any price or recommendation stickers on book covers and spines, which then leaves a gross, lint-attracting, sticky residue behind. But I HATE stickers on my books.

X Marks The Spot- Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

Your latest book purchase:
Alison Goodman's Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Oh, hmm... it's been a really long time since I've read something compulsively. I think it may have been Cynthia Hand's Unearthly.


Quick-and-Dirty September 2013 Wrap-Up

It's been a while since I've put my thoughts about the books I've read to paper screen. I don't have a reason as to why that is other than the fact that I just didn't feel like writing, which is a shame because most of the books I've read this year are greatly deserving of thorough analysis and praise. My month of September was filled with works of Young Adult Fantasy, and they are all very original in their own right.

  • Garth Nix's Sabriel [read 9.14.13] 2/5 Stars
    My fellow GoodReaders gave this book fantastic reviews and ratings, so I had high hopes. A young necromancer goes on a quest to look for her missing father. Too bad this quest bored me to tears. The premise had such promise, but the pacing, the characterization, and the writing itself is just... poor. Such odd word choices and repetitive action scenes. Sadly, I wasn't a fan, and I won't be reading anything else by Nix.
  • Shannon Hale's Princess Academy [read 9.15.13] 4/5 Stars
    Don't let the silly title of this book fool you-- it's such a breath of fresh air.  I can see why it won a Newbery Honor Award. It falls between children's and young adult lit., and the story is so original and sophisticated that I didn't want to put it down. A young mountain girl attends an academy to learn how to be a proper lady to contend for the heart of the prince. Miri shows such cleverness and strength of character; she's a perfect example of a strong heroine without being one-dimensional. Also, the magic and romance factors aren't forced. They're quite subtle actually, which is so important for the feeling of authenticity. There's a sequel to the book, and Hale also wrote Austenland, which I'd like to eventually read, so I'll keep an eye out for them at the used bookstore.

  • Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty [read 9.22.13] 3/5 Stars
    This book was recommended to me by several friends over the years, and it's been so hyped up to me that I suppose it was only doomed to let me down. The pacing is sporadic, the characters aren't at all convincing as Victorian-era teens, and there's very little romance to it if any, so I'm confused as to why it's so often marketed as a paranormal romance. I was so sure I'd love it, too. I really wanted to. Hmph.
  • Janet Taylor Lisle's Afternoon of the Elves [read 9.26.13] 3/5 stars
    A short, quick, and moving children's chapter book about bittersweet friendship. I found this little gem at a community garage sale among a bunch of other Scholastic books of yore (I bought up nearly all of them for just $.25 a piece!). What I loved most about it is that it's neither confirmed nor denied whether magic is really at play. Another Newbery Honor Award winner that captivated me.
  • Maggie Stiefvater's The Dream Thieves [read 9.28.13] 4.5/5 Stars
    Ahh, saving the best for last. I loved The Raven Boys, and now I love The Dream Thieves even more. It's pretty damn near perfect. All the storylines are touched upon, all the details are fleshed out nicely, there's constant action and revelations, and there's just the right touch of horror thrown into the mix. I really can't say enough good things. This series is quickly becoming my favorite PN Romance series. I've read almost all of Stiefvater's work, and I think this is her best book yet. YA PN fans-- get to reading!

As you can see, I'm easing myself back into journaling about books by just giving little, condensed reviews. Maybe I'll have a full-fledged entry for the next book I read. Stay tuned.

Some Housekeeping

RKG had a little face-lift recently-- the blog, not me, in case that had to be said. I made some design changes that I think improve the overall tone of the blog. As pretty as it was, the previous header was looking a bit busy and amateurish. I'm not a graphic designer (though I'd like to add that title as one of my many hats one day), and I try my best to keep things looking professional and approachable at the same time.

Adieu, flowery header.

Hello, streamlined layout.

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