100 Books to Read

Book Club Flyer

I’ve been in a book slump lately.  In the last month, I have started several books, but have not finished one.  They just aren’t grabbing my attention or making me excited enough to finish them.

In searching for a good book to read, I stumbled across this list of the BBC’s Top 100 Books.  It’s from 2003 and focuses on British novels.  It’s a little dated, but classics are classics for a reason.

I am going to read all the books on this list.  Or at least attempt to.  I put X’s next to the ones I’ve already read.

I’ve read 50 of them, so I have 50 more to go.

x1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

x2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

x3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman

x4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

x5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling

x6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

x7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne

x8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell

x9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis

x10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

x11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller

x12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

  1. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks

x14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

  1. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

x16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

x17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

x18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

  1. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
  2. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

x21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

x22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling

x23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling

x24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling

x25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

x26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

x27. Middlemarch, George Eliot

  1. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving

x29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck

x30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

  1. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
  2. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
  3. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett

x34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

x35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

x36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

  1. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute

x38. Persuasion, Jane Austen

  1. Dune, Frank Herbert

x40. Emma, Jane Austen

x41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery

  1. Watership Down, Richard Adams

x43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald

x44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

  1. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

x46. Animal Farm, George Orwell

x47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

  1. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
  2. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
  3. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

x51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

x52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck

  1. The Stand, Stephen King
  2. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
  3. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth

x56. The BFG, Roald Dahl

  1. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome

x58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell

  1. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
  2. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  3. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
  4. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden

x63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

  1. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
  2. Mort, Terry Pratchett
  3. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
  4. The Magus, John Fowles
  5. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  6. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
  7. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
  8. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
  9. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
  10. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

x74. Matilda, Roald Dahl

x75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding

  1. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
  2. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins

x78. Ulysses, James Joyce

x79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens

  1. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson

x81. The Twits, Roald Dahl

  1. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith

x83. Holes, Louis Sachar

  1. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
  2. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
  3. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
  4. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  5. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
  6. Magician, Raymond E Feist

x90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac

  1. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
  2. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
  3. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
  4. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  5. Katherine, Anya Seton
  6. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
  7. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
  8. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson

x99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot

100.Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie


Heartless Review

This week, I read the book Heartless by Marissa Meyer.  I was so excited to read the book.  I had heard such great things about it.  In fact, I even bought the book instead of borrowing it from the library.  I was so excited to read it, but my excitement quickly turned to disappointment.

Heartless is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland.  It focuses on the girl who would become the Queen of Hearts.

The description on Amazon says, “Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen. At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship. Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.”

Sounds promising, right?

My biggest problem with the book is the main character, Catherine.  ­­­­They say that she is one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, but I didn’t see any reason why she was.  Catherine was whiney.  Everything about her annoyed me.  Seriously.  I know that she becomes a villain, but there was nothing redeemable about her.  I had no idea why the King wanted to marry her.

Well, it seems that the King wanted to marry her because she could cook.  Again, I didn’t understand why he was so obsessed with her.  Was there no one else in Wonderland who could make pastries AND have a decent personality?

I couldn’t believe that her baking was that good that anyone would want to marry that insufferable human being.

Nonetheless, she still wasn’t the villain of Wonderland that I had loved to hate in the original novels.  I kept waiting to see what incident Meyer would create to turn Catherine into the horrible Queen of Hearts.  That had to be the main plot point in this backstory, right?

Wrong.  There really wasn’t anything that happened.  Just all the sudden, she turned evil.  It was like she just decided to be evil.  There was really no explanation.

The best part of the book was Jest, the jester who for some reason falls in love with Catherine.   Since he is a jester, it is quite scandalous for him to start dating a girl who is matched with the King.  Meyer tried to make him Wonderland-like by giving him yellow eyes.   Way to ruin a character.  Even though he was the most interesting part of the book, he was still so boring that I don’t even have anything to say about him.

I loved the idea of this book.  I loved Alice in Wonderland, and the thought of a Wicked-esque backstory for the Queen of Hearts.  There was just something missing for this novel.  It didn’t seem like Wonderland.  It was missing that sort of zany setting.  In fact, if I didn’t know it was a Wonderland story, I probably wouldn’t have figured it out until the middle of the book.  Really, the only Wonderland elements were things taken directly from the original- the Mad Hatter, the Jabberwocky, the playing card people.  Nothing was really added to the setting that made it feel like Wonderland.  I had hoped for more.

The story was slow.  I wanted more from the plot since I wasn’t getting anything from the characters or setting.  There really was no point to the story.  I had to focus myself to keep reading.  Several times, I almost did not finish, but I powered through.  I kept telling myself that it would get better, but it didn’t.  It really didn’t.

Maybe I had too high of expectations.  Maybe I should have just stopped reading when my eyes rolled when the first chapter droned on and on about how good of a baker Catherine was.  Maybe it’s me and not the book.  Regardless, I expected more from this book.