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Source: Information is Beautiful

Category: Books, Digital Media

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16 Responses to “Books Everyone Should Read”

  1. PeterR says:

    What a great print.

    Heartening to see Lonesome Dove and Winnie the Pooh on the shelf with so many other wonderful books. A whimsical grouping indeed.

    The source site has prints of this from $18 to $62 depending on size, and there is a book available.

  2. blackvegetable says:

    So many omissions, so little time……

    The Crying of Lot 49/Gravity’s Rainbow

    Fathers & Sons

    The SotWeed Factor

    The Long Goodbye

    The Man Who Was Thursday

    The OxBow Incident

  3. BennyProfane says:

    A list without Pynchon is not a list.

  4. david_12321 says:

    “Bambi, a Life in the Woods”. The original book, not the Disney story. The book was banned as a “political allegory on the treatment of Jews in Europe.” by the Nazi’s in ’36.

  5. Robert M says:

    Native Son; Richard Wright
    Chaim Potok; The Chosen
    Zorro; Isabelle Allende
    Tin Drum; Gunther Grass

  6. GoBigRed says:

    Skip The Fountainhead.

  7. Joe_in_Indiana says:

    I’ve read most of them on this wonderful list.

    My heart is in Science Fiction and the one person is Isaac Asimov. I’ve read all 18, or is it 19, novels based on the Foundation universe. The one most human character was Daneel Olivaw.

  8. Oral Hazard says:

    Not really “books” per se, but fiction novels/novellas, looks like. Mostly a middle-school/high school required reading “great books” list. No Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, E.L. Doctorow. I’m sure people can name many other wonderful works that have been omitted.

  9. CPT Ethanolic says:

    A Confederacy of Dunces.

  10. Mr.-Vix-It says:

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is not on here? I think most aspiring writers that read that book know that they will never scale the heights of Joyce.

  11. Fred C Dobbs says:

    Whoever picked these books is clearly prejudiced against anything and everything printed before 1900 approximately. I refuse to believe that nothing written before that date was or is worth reading or entertaining.

  12. James Cameron says:

    These are the sources:

    1. UK’s most borrowed library books
    2. Desert Island Discs book choices (BBC)
    3. Pulitzer Prize winners, 1948-2010 (????)
    4.’s Books Everyone Should Read (????)
    5. World Book Day poll (????)
    6. Telgraph 100 Novels Everyone Should Read (British)
    8. (?????)
    9. Guardian 100 Novels Everyone Should Read (British)
    10. The Man Booker Prize winners (British Commonwealth, Ireland)
    11. Oprah Book Club

    This is anything but a consensus list, forget its extreme ethnocentric bent. The problem with infographics . . .

  13. mitchn says:

    Sacrilege, I know, but I just finished re-reading “One Hundred Years of Solitude” (first time was in high school in the 1970s) and I have to say, couldn’t wait for it to end. Garcia-Marquez wrote better novels, and I don’t think it’s a book that will hold up as well, over time, as many of the novels on this list. These days I prefer the late Roberto Bolano to Garcia-Marquez. “2066″ is the “Moby-Dick” of our time.

  14. two-cents says:

    Some of the sources will skew the results to the 20th century (Man Booker, Pulitzer Prizes), but check the list again. At least 28 books were published before 1900 (Don Quixote, Madame Bovary, Huck Finn, Pride & Prejudice, Anna Karenina, Moby Dick, Great Expectations, …)

  15. Richard W. Kline says:

    Well, that is a list of very good, enduringly popular, and in every case meaningful books. I certainly wouldn’t argue _against_ anyone reading any of them. That said, it comes up short in several respects. I agree with blackvegetable’s additions, for a starter. Everyone there is comparable to almost anything included. The list is slanted toward English language texts, as per its sources, and seems rather short on superior works by women, especially those informed by politics. Just for a start, I would add:

    Autumn of the Patriarch. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Superior in every way to Love in a Time of Cholera.
    Hunger. Knut Hamsun. Extremely influential in the development of the 20th century novel.
    The Stalin Organ. Gert Ledig. The best anti-war war novel I’ve ever read, and the man was there.
    Pedro Paramo. Juan Rulfo. The most influential Spanish language novel of the last century.
    Invisible Cities. Italo Calvino. If you only ever read _one_ work of the imagination, this is it.
    The Screwtape Letters. C. S. Lewis. Higher brow but better made than Animal Farm.
    Burger’s Daughter. Nadine Gordimer. A work of deep political vision. A list without Gordimer isn’t a list.
    The Disposessed. Ursula Kroeber LeGuin. A great work of literary and political imagination.
    A Wizard of Earthsea. Ursula Kroeber LeGuin. Splendidly imagined realm which one never forgets.
    The God of Small Things. Arundathi Roy. Superbly wrought, deeply felt, writes wrings around ‘that guy.’
    Canopus in Argos. Doris Lessing. Any of the five novels. Or any of a half dozen others by her.

    That list could be tripled easily, but it’s a start toward better balance.

  16. Richard W. Kline says:

    The Laxdaela Saga. —-. 1000 years old and still a page turner, rich in human nature.
    The Dream of the Red Chamber. Cao Xuequin. A family epic in richest prose, a cultural cornerstone.
    Frankenstein. Mary Shelly. The prose dates—but not the moral imagination.
    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll. By far the most influential fantasy work in any language.
    The War of the Worlds. H. G. Wells. No better text on ‘the day after tomoroww.’
    We. Yevgeny Zamyatin. Totalitarianism, seen at it’s birth.
    The Iron Heel. Jack London. Things could be worse, yes . . ..
    The Magic Mountain. Thomas Mann. Bourgeoisie, anomie, vacuity: they rhyme for a reason.
    Cheri. Colette. Great psychological acuity, and ever-delicious prose.
    Lady Chatterly’s Lover. D. H. Lawrence. I prefer it to Sons and Lovers; the latter is grand, the former is greatly felt and speaks to self-identity, the real cause of teh 20th century in my view.
    Journey to the End of the Night. Louis-Ferdinand Celine. Savage, damaged, brilliant.
    Petersburg. Andrei Bley. We in the West have it fat and easy . . . .
    The Tatar Steppe. Dino Buzzati. The futility of empire.
    Memed, My Hawk. Yasar Kemal. The history of others is just as felt.
    At Swim-Two-Birds. Flann O’Brien. Reality is just an impediment, don’t you think?
    The Phantom Tollboth. Norton Juster. Full of sweet charm, for any age level.
    The Abyss. Marguerite Yourcenar. History as Pandora’s Box.
    Omensetter’s Luck. William Gass. Bitter as eating chalk, and no one reads it, but a monument of prose.
    The Black Book. Orhan Pamuk. Others always have it better—until we become them and find they feel the same.

    I wish there were more novels of the last 30 years to include here. Authors have lost confidence in the novel, it seems to me. Perhaps that is because most nowadays write for the market—the publishers, the prize committees, the tenure committes (*yeesh*)—rather than from an inner drive to see something within their mind or experience. Too much navel-gazing at personal experience I’m inclined to think as well. When folks again write because they have a story bigger than they are which they’re bursting to tell we’ll have a resurgence of the form, in my view. Some do still, but not enough.