2021 Reading Challenge

2021 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 3 books toward her goal of 245 books.

My Very Own, Very Special, Must-Read, You’re-A-Loser-if-You-Don’t (teehee) List of My Top 100 Books

So as I recently mentioned, I am mildly obsessed with the idea of top 100 reading lists – the “read this or you are a stupid, ignorant waste of space” kind of lists that mostly make even us die-hard readers feel like schmucks. I’m a little in love with Thomas Quinn’s blog right now because he generated this idea – developing your own list of the 100 books that you feel everyone should read.

So here goes – 100 books that I enjoyed so much that I think everyone should read them… Please note that this is not a list of the 100 best literary works ever written. This is not intended to be a survey of world literature or classics or to become an educator’s required reading list. It is a list of things that I myself love/have loved reading and that taught me something or spoke to me at a particular point in my life or “simply” entertained me (why is entertainment value of a book not considered a legitimate measure of its value?? I get why it’s not the only measure, but it certainly seems to me that it is a valid one nonetheless). I would LOVE to hear comments/criticisms – many of these are probably not going to resonate with many people, so I’m especially curious to hear any thoughts on the more random of my choices. I did not limit myself to fiction or to a geography or timeframe. This is literally any books I have ever read in any context. Enjoy!

Jill Elizabeth’s Top 100 Books of All Time (in alphabetic order so as to avoid any attempt at ranking)
1. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
2. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
3. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
4. A Fractured Mind by Robert B. Oxnam
5. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
6. A Time to Kill by Scott Turow
7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engel
8. Afterlove by Robert J. Rosenblum
9. Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut by P.J. O’Rourke
10. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
11. All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
12. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
13. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
14. Animal Husbandry by Laura Zigman
15. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
16. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
17. Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman
18. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
19. Austenland by Shannon Hale
20. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
21. By a Lady by Amanda Elyot
22. Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
23. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
24. Contact by Carl Sagan
25. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
26. Emma by Jane Austen
27. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
28. Forever by Judy Blume
29. Forever by Pete Hamill
30. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
31. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
32. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
33. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
34. Here There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
35. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
36. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
37. Lightning by Dean Koontz
38. Lisey’s Story by Stephen King
39. Love Story by Erich Segal
40. Metamorphoses by Ovid
41. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
42. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
43. Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
44. One L by Scott Turow
45. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
46. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
47. Personal History by Katharine Graham
48. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
49. Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer
50. Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
51. Set This House in Order by Matt Ruff
52. She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan
53. Sixpence House by Paul Collins
54. Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon
55. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
56. Stiff by Mary Roach
57. Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
58. Taliesin by Stephen R. Lawhead
59. Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley
60. The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale
61. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
62. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
63. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
64. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
65. The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho
66. The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian
67. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
68. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
69. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
70. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
71. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
72. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
73. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
74. The Know-it-All by A.J. Jacobs
75. The Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine
76. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
77. The Little Book by Selden Edwards
78. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
79. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
80. The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus
81. The Odyssey by Homer
82. The Old Man and Mr. Smith by Peter Ustinov
83. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
84. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
85. The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester
86. The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
87. The Second Greatest Story Ever Told by Gorman Bechard
88. The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost
89. The Shining by Stephen King
90. The Stranger by Albert Camus
91. The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
92. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
93. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
94. Through a Glass Darkly by Karleen Coen
95. Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde
96. Time and Again by Jack Finney
97. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
98. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
99. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
100. Wicked by Gregory Maguire

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38 comments to My Very Own, Very Special, Must-Read, You’re-A-Loser-if-You-Don’t (teehee) List of My Top 100 Books

  • Hallo….great list, and brilliant of you to follow up the top 100 idea. I look forward to seeing more of these!!! With your permission, I’m going to incorporate this somehow into my crowdsourcing challenge…

  • Why thank you TQ! Glad you enjoyed the list and thank you again for the inspiration! You absolutely have my permission…

  • Of your entire book list, I have read the following books.
    1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
    3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
    4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
    5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
    10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    11. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
    12. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    13. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

    I enjoyed all of them except for the Twilight series lol. I found it cheesy and enjoyable, but was quite disappointed because I expected them to be so much better. (PS… TEAM JACOB!) =D

    • Thanks for the comment Sadaf – a lot of mine are fairly random books that I stumbled upon by accident, so I doubt many people will have read a lot of them! Twilight books were fairly predictable but fun – I put them on there for their entertainment value as well a the huge trend they sparked. Oh, and I”m Team Jacob too, definitely! 🙂

  • Michelle

    Well, I have read 20 of them: 1, 20, 27, 28, 30, 36, 42, 44, 45, 48, 64, 68, 72, 73, 75, 79, 81, 92, 94, and 95. Not bad!

    • Not bad at all, since as I’ve pointed out, many of them are pretty random, bargin-bin/used-book-sale finds and I don’t even know if they’re all still available!! Thanks for visiting again – it’s like I’m a real writer… 😉

  • I am following your blog now and would love it if you could follow mine thanks tons
    Lori of
    lori’s blog reviews and more

  • Hey Lady!

    Great blog! Excellent idea with the top 100 lists! Love it! Wish I could read them all…ahh, so many books, too little time! Please drop by the prairie to say hello. My books aren’t on anyones list, but I’m proud of them jsut the same…you know how it goes!

    Much love,

    • Why thank you Susie! Honestly – part of the reason I devised my own Top 100 list is because I get so tired of seeing how few books I’ve read on other people’s lists!! Teehee – nothing like devising your own category to win the award, right? I will definitely drop by and am looking forward to finding your books – you may make it onto my next list! 🙂 Thanks again for stopping by and commenting and good luck!!

  • Such a great site! Love the top 100! Wish I had the time to read every book ever written…you know how it goes. Anyway, my books aren’t on anyones list but I invite you to drop by the prairie to pay a visit. newprairiewoman.blogspot.com

    Be well! See you on book blogs!

  • What a fun list! I have read 36 of them. Some of my favorites showed up as well as several that I have never seen on previous lists. I love that the same list could include both the Odyssey and Twilight. I loved both Sex Lives of Cannibals and The Professor and the Madman and have never seen them on a list before! Great fun!

    • Thanks so much Miriam! I am pleased to see that someone else likes the idea of a list that can include “high” and “low” literature at the same time – I like to read just about everything, and I believe that (and have found) there is great writing to be read in all genres, and limiting yourself means you exclude a lot of really great reading! Thanks again for stopping by and for your comment!! and I LOVE the graphic on your site, btw – CyberLibrarian indeed! 🙂

  • Great idea to compile your own list. I’ve read a handful of these and have about the same amount a agin on my TBR.

  • Wow!! I am impressed that you could come up with 100 like that. I may have to try. I’ve read 27 of your 100 which I was a little suprised at – some of those would not make my top 100 list, though. Isn’t it great that there are books out there for everyone!

    • It took a little time to come up with it, but not too bad – primarily because I am a huge dork and keep reading lists on my computer, and pulled up the “very very good” ratings! 🙂 I agree that it’s great that there are books for everyone, and that different people can take different things (from amazing insights to absolutely nothing) from the same book.

  • Miss GOP

    I love reading these kinds of lists. I recently posted about something the author Heather Sellers calls the Book 100; it sounds like this list might be your own Book 100. =) Very impressive.

    Thanks from your newest follower!
    -Miss GOP


  • Linda Kish

    That’s a much better list.

  • Of the ones I’ve read, 5, 27, 31, 48, 76, 81, 92, and 97 resonate strongly with me and would probably end up on my list as well. The only ones I’ve read from that list that I didn’t care for one bit was Thursday Next and Twilight.

    I noticed quite a few film adaptations on the list. Did you read the books first?

  • Thanks for your comment Smallgood – I nearly always read the book before seeing the movie, for two primary reasons: first, because I care more for reading than movie watching and would rather be surprised at the book than the movie, and second, because so many movie adaptations are wretched. 😉 I am actually working on top ten lists for the blog that feature books made into very good movies (a difficult-ish list to compile for me, frankly) and those made into very BAD movies (much easier, sadly) – so stop by again and see if you agree with my take! 🙂

  • Che

    I’ve nominated you and your lovely blog for the Versatile Blogger Award. I hope you will visit me at http://kafkatokindergarten.blogspot.com/ and pick up the award.

  • I enjoyed several of the same books so your list isn’t quite as random as you think. I’ve greatly enjoyed my time here reading through your posts. I see like me you have a mix of genres and titles you enjoy. It’s nice to see someone whose tastes are as eclectic as my own.

    • Thanks so much Tracy! I’m glad you enjoyed reading and hope you’ll keep stopping by – it’s unlikely my tastes will change, so hopefully I will keep posting things you find interesting! 🙂

  • Have I found another Christopher Moore fan?? I LOVED LOVED LOVED A Dirty Job. That was my favourite Moore novel. I have a couple of Moore reviews posted on my blog for Practical Demonkeeping and The Island of the Sequined Love Nun: http://darlenesbooknook.blogspot.com. There are a quite few books on your list that are on my TBR list already, and some that are new recommendations for me. Thanks for the list, Jill Elizabeth! It’s always nice to read someone’s favourites!

    • Why Darlene, you HAVE! I love Christopher Moore too – Lamb almost made it onto my list too… 😉 I agree that it’s fun to see what other people consider their favorites, and am always glad to provide new recommendations. I will check out your reviews – thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • Hi, Jill Elizabeth! I haven’t read Lamb yet, but I hear that it is really good. Moore is pretty wacky and it takes a somewhat disturbed sense of humor to appreciate him!! There is a Canadian author by the name of Douglas Coupland that is somewhat like Moore. Some of his books are hit and miss, but my massage therapist (the one who recommended Moore to me) said that All Families Are Psychotic is a good one.

  • Excellent Darlene – I am not familiar with Coupland but will definitely look for this one now! Thanks for suggesting it – we somewhat disturbed sense of humor types need to stick together to mutually reinforce each other’s disturbia! 😉

  • I would also recommend The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek. It might not be popular in America, but it’s a classic book. It is hilarious and has amazingly funny characters.

  • How do you find Leo Tolstoy and Charles Dicken’s books? I’m going to reveiw them in the future but those bricks are intimidating. I seem to have this bias that it’s going to be dull (I do like big books though just not sure of the classics).

    • I LOVE Dickens – one of my all-time favorite authors. I’ve read and enjoyed almost everything – only one I haven’t liked was Bleak House, just can’t seem to get thru it… 🙂 I enjoy the Russians, but must confess I’ve only finished Anna Karenina (which I also loved). In my experience, you generally have to commit to reading Russian lit – it tends to come with footnotes and endnotes (both of which are usually necessary to catch all the religious, cultural and socio-political references) and keeping all of the names/characters straight is sometimes a bit of an effort because of all the variations on names that get used (everyone seems to have a full name, patronymic, and nickname and to be alternately referred to by each)… AK was definitely worth it, but then again it’s not as long as some of the others! I love long and involved books too tho – and have a post to that effect on here somewhere!

      • I like footnotes and endnotes, I fear of not fully appreciating a work without them XD
        I know how it feels with the names and their variations. I sometimes have a hard time when it goes like MRS. Wilson & MISS Wilson. I’m no stranger to reading many various characters, it just means it needs a repeat read *cringe*. LOL

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