Lists of books and how I rate

Two lists of books I've come across recently:

How many of these ostensibly great books have I read? Well, I better live for a long time yet because I'm nowhere near ready to die based on my reading! Here are the books from that list that I've read (books I at least started—but never [yet] finished—are marked in italics).

1,001 books to read...

  1. Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
  2. Neuromancer (William Gibson)
  3. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
  4. Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert Heinlein)
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
  6. The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  7. Foundation (Isaac Asimov)
  8. Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell)
  9. Animal Farm (George Orwell)
  10. The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  11. All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque)
  12. The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner)
  13. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  14. Billy Budd (Herman Melville)
  15. Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
  16. Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson)
  17. The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)

That makes 1.69% of the list I've read. As for the top fifty science fiction & fantasy books, I'm doing a lot better at 22%:

Top 50...

  1. The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  2. The Foundation Trilogy (Isaac Asimov)
  3. Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert Heinlein)
  4. A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K. Le Guin)
  5. Neuromancer (William Gibson)
  6. Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
  7. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)
  8. The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
  9. The Silmarillion (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  10. Starship Troopers (Robert Heinlein) [one of the books I'm currently reading]
  11. The Sword of Shannara (Terry Brooks)

Yes, in case you're wondering, it is true I haven't even begun to read #26, Harry Potter. As a general rule I avoid series that aren't complete yet (evern since I had to wait—impatiently—for David Eddings to finish up The Mallorean series years ago :-).

What books have you read from these lists?

—Michael A. Cleverly


  1. John Cowan wrote (at Sat, 21 Oct 2006, 21:54):
Well, I haven't looked at the big list yet, but of the fifty, I've read all except five:

6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford

This list is basically all about how old you are. I'm 48 and a voracious reader, and as the commentator says, most of these books have been around a long time.

(What the devil is The Sword of Shannara doing there, even at #48? It's a blatant, I mean really blatant ripoff of #1.)

  1. Matt wrote (at Mon, 23 Oct 2006, 07:15):

I am surpised that David Eddings didn't make the short list. I would have put it in there. The books are great reading.

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