Saturday, April 11, 2009

My favorite David Letterman Top Ten List

One of the local radio stations used to read the David Letterman Top Ten List from the night before during my morning commute to work. My favorite one was "Top Ten Greatest Books of All Time About Guys Named Steve," and I found it online and sent it around in an e-mail. Unfortunately, I lost the e-mail in the Great Hard Drive Crash of 2002, but I Googled it tonight and found it.

Top Ten Greatest Books of All Time About Guys Named Steve

10. "War and Peace and Steve"
09. "The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Steves"
08. "The Grapes of Steve"
07. "The Steves of Wrath"
06. "Steve Grapes Steve Wrath Steve Steve"
05. "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, Steve Is From Cleveland"
04. "Where's Waldo? Is He With Steve?"
03. "Time Life Mysteries of the Unknown, Volume VIII: 'Mysterious Guys Named Steve'"
02. "The Joy of Sex with Steve"
01. "The Bible" (King Steve Version)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Project Fill-in-the-Gaps

For an English major, I've always felt that I'm not particularly well read. When I got 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, I checked off the ones I'd read, and I scored a miserable 29. (I've since read 5 or 6 more.)

I was pleased to find a new challenge over at Editorial Ass. Moonrat, inspired by her friend Andromeda Romano-Lax, made a list of 100 books she wants to read to fill in some of the gaps in her coverage of "classics and great contemporary fiction." The time limit is five years, and they both gave themselves "25% accident forgiveness," which means that if they finish 75% of the titles on the list, they'll consider themselves to have completed the challenge.

I'll start today with my own list, so I aim to finish by April 2, 2014. This leaves time for me to read plenty of other interesting books along with these. When I made my list, I started with the lists from the first and second editions of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die and a list from the Guardian of 999 notable books of some sort (I forgot to save the title of the list!). At least 97 of the 100 books on my list come from there. In addition, I limited myself to only one book per author. Here's my list.

  1. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

  2. Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

  3. The House of the Spirits – Isabel Allende

  4. Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis

  5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou

  6. I, Robot – Isaac Asimov

  7. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

  8. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

  9. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

  10. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

  11. The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan

  12. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

  13. Tarzan of the Apes – Edgar Rice Burroughs

  14. Naked Lunch – William Burroughs

  15. Possession – A.S. Byatt

  16. The Stranger – Albert Camus

  17. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

  18. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

  19. Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

  20. The Awakening – Kate Chopin

  21. Lord Jim – Joseph Conrad

  22. Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper

  23. The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane

  24. Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe

  25. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick

  26. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

  27. Out of Africa – Isak Dineson (Karen Blixen)

  28. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky

  29. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  30. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

  31. Silas Marner – George Eliot

  32. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

  33. The Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

  34. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner

  35. Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald

  36. Herland - Charlotte Perkins Gilman

  37. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

  38. Lord of the Flies – William Golding

  39. The Thin Man – Dashiell Hammett

  40. Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy

  41. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

  42. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

  43. Les Misérables - Victor Hugo

  44. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

  45. The Turn of the Screw – Henry James

  46. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce

  47. The Last Temptation of Christ – Nikos Kazantzákis

  48. Kim – Rudyard Kipling

  49. Dangerous Liaisons – Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

  50. Lady Chatterley's Lover - D.H. Lawrence

  51. Get Shorty – Elmore Leonard

  52. Main Street – Sinclair Lewis

  53. The Call of the Wild - Jack London

  54. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez

  55. Life of Pi - Yann Martel

  56. Of Human Bondage – William Somerset Maugham

  57. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers

  58. Atonement – Ian McEwan

  59. Moby-Dick - Herman Melville

  60. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

  61. Beloved – Toni Morrison

  62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

  63. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

  64. Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak

  65. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

  66. The Godfather – Mario Puzo

  67. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque

  68. Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys

  69. Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth

  70. The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie

  71. Contact – Carl Sagan

  72. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  73. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

  74. The Reader – Bernhard Schlink

  75. Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott

  76. The Jungle – Upton Sinclair

  77. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

  78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas – Gertrude Stein

  79. East of Eden - John Steinbeck

  80. A Sentimental Journey – Laurence Sterne

  81. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

  82. Dracula – Bram Stoker

  83. Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lonely – Harriet Beecher Stowe

  84. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift

  85. The Magnificent Ambersons - Booth Tarkington

  86. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

  87. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson

  88. Walden – Henry David Thoreau

  89. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

  90. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

  91. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

  92. Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne

  93. Candide – Voltaire

  94. The Color Purple – Alice Walker

  95. Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace

  96. Ben-Hur – Lew Wallace

  97. The War of the Worlds – H.G. Wells

  98. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

  99. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe

  100. Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf

In the interest of full disclosure, I've read about half of Dracula and maybe 60 pages of The Hobbit, and I may have read part of A Sentimental Journey in college, but I don't remember much, if anything, about it. I'm starting this evening with Wide Sargasso Sea.