September 22, 2014

I love to read. I majored in English in college, and those classes were so important to me.

Before I moved to Hawaii, I was in a Masters program, planning a wedding, and working full time. I stopped reading for pleasure, and I hated it. Now that I have slowed down a lot, I am back to reading whatever I want. Mostly at the beach.


Earlier this year, Amazon released a list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. I’ve been looking for a list like this for a while, and what I love about this list is that there are classic works alongside picture books, children’s books, young adult books, modern books, graphic novels, fantasy, and nonfiction books, among others. The list was created by Amazon’s book editors and the idea is to become a well-rounded reader.

I like that this list is not called something like, “the 100 greatest books ever written.” That’s not what Amazon’s list is about. It’s about books you should read to open yourself up to genres you may not have read otherwise, and just learn about different things. Granted, I know that it was really difficult for the editors to come up with just 100 books, so I kind of feel like this is a starting point for to just explore different types of literature. I sometimes find myself reading the same kind of books and I want to branch out, so this list is perfect for me.

This year, I have read 7 books on the list. It should have been more by now, but I have been sidetracked by other books not on this list, which is completely okay with me. I’ve become obsessed with Game of Thrones. Each book is long, detailed, and complex, and the series has taken me a  long time to read. I have about 400 pages left of A Dance with Dragons, the last book in the series for now. As soon as I finish that book, I plan to get back on track with this list.

I read a lot of these books in high school and college, but if I read the book before I moved to Hawaii, I am going to re-read it, so it is not crosses off on my list. I want to be able to read these books through fresh eyes that do not have to rush and do not have to worry about tests or papers. I also hope that the books I read in college will have a deeper meaning for me after studying them and writing about them. My goal is to be finished with this list by the time we leave Hawaii, so I better get reading.

There are a lot of books on this list that I have always wanted to read. But honestly, in looking at this list, there are also some books that I really do not have a desire to read. But, I think, that’s the point of reading a list like this – to explore new genres, new ideas that I may not have been open to otherwise. If I truly hate a book, I know that I can just stop reading it. But at least I checked it out.

Here is the list, in alphabetical order. I have Included links to the reviews of books I have finished.

1984 by George Orwell

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning: The Short-Lived Edition by Lemony Snicket

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Alice Munro: Selected Stories by Alice Munro

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt

Are You There, God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Born To Run – A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1 by Jeff Kinney

Dune by Frank Herbert

 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote 

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Color of Water by James McBride

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The House At Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro

 The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Shining by Stephen King

The Stranger by Albert Camus

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame 

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami

The World According to Garp by John Irving

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak


Which books on this list have you read? What do you think about this list?

7 responses to “Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime”

  1. In Cold Blood (Not the only one i read for sure from this list hehehe) is a bit raw. In the sense that it involves murder and its based on a real story. Not sure if you will absolutely love it. To kill a mockingbird, however, is a true masterpiece!

    • carolann says:

      Hey there, friend! In Cold Blood is at the top of my list of books I am dying to read, so that is interesting to hear. I can’t wait to read it and then talk to you about it!

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