Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

I’ve read exactly 33 of them, which means I’m just one-third of a book away from reading one-third of them!

How about you?



I thought I would divide them into 2 parts - higher and lower priority. The Higher priority set would make up about half of the group. No particular order within each group. I’m not trying to pull together a golden circle so much as encourage others to make a similar list. Then I could pull selections from their top half.

Higher Priority
Brief History of Time
Harry Potter
Guns Germs Steel
Catcher in the Rye
Great Gatsby
Golden Compass
Phantom Tollbooth
Things Fall Apart
To Kill A Mockingbird

Lower Priority (2 groupings)
Charlotte’s Web
Slaughterhouse 5

Wrinkle in Time
Charlie and Chocolate Factory
Catch 22
Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid (Methinks this shouldn’t be on Amazon’s list. But no worries).
Where Wild Things Are
Kudos to Amazon for pulling the list together.

As a man in my late thirties, I don’t think reading Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is going to improve my life. But I could be wrong.

If you require actual, complete reading of the text version only, I’ve read roughly a third. If you include the work from other media, like films, I’ve read about half, although some I have both read and seen. Some I never will and don’t consider that to be a personal loss.

But what kind of list of 100 includes 4 Harry Potter books? Harry Potter is fun, but four? Is J.K. Rowling the most influential author of all time?

43, but what the heck is The Help doing on that list? Most of the books on the list have already or will stand the test of time, but The Help?

Profoundly meh. Meh-minus. As **Musicat **says, more than one Harry Fucking Potter?

Far too many books from the last year or two?

However, I suspicious of any list that does not include:

The Divine Comedy - Dante
The Idiot - Dostoyevsky
The Trial Kafka
Anna Karenina - Tolstoy
Absalom,Absalom! - Faulkner

And that DOES include

The Hunger Games

Your analytical essay on Goodnight Moon is overdue and will lose one grade point for every further day of delay.

If they require that I actually finish a book, 46. A few books on the list I started but could not finish because I didn’t enjoy them… I guess those won’t count.

And I agree, there’s a lot of crap on that list. “Gone Girl” was a good book, but top 100 of all time? No frikkin’ way. I read “Like Water for Elephants” and thought it was horrible.

The ones I didn’t read tend to be things I will never read; I despise Dickens and won’t even attempt reading him. I read the first four Harry Potters and have no desire to read the rest.

On the other hand, I was tickled to see a lot of good kid’s books there - Phantom Tollbooth! Wrinkle in Time! Very cool.

Edit: waaaait a second. Which list am I looking at? I clicked the banner in the link, is that the official list or something only from Goodreads? I can’t figure it out.

I’m confused also. I saw only one Harry Potter book on the list. I’ve read 31, but there are tons of kids books there that came out long after I was a kid. The ones for young kids I read to my kids, but not The Giver.
It is way too heavily weighted toward recent books.

Where’s everyone getting that there are four Harry Potter books on the list? I only see one, HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone (which is far from the best book in the series, but I guess they just wanted people to get started at the beginning).

Also, to people complaining that the list is not high quality enough, in fairness they don’t claim that these are the best books ever written, just “books to read in a lifetime,” whatever that may mean. I don’t think anyone involved in making the list sincerely believes that “The Hunger Games” is one of the best novels ever written.

I’ve read 32-35. There are a couple that I’m almost positive I read at some point (Invisible Man, Pride & Prejudice) but that I can’t remember anything about, so I’m not sure if they count. Also, I’m not sure how much credit I can get for reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” or “Goodnight Moon.”

But as with all lists of “things you should watch/see/listen to/read in your life,” it’s a crap list.

A few days ago I was looking for a new book to buy and ran across that list. To me, it seemed like a joke when I saw The Hunger Games and Harry Potter as well as a few kids books.
I had to wonder if at least part of that list was based on Amazon’s best selling books. I mean, how can a book that came out in the last few years (Gone Girl/Hunger Games) be something that has been decided you need to read at some point in your life.

Anyways, I picked up In Cold Blood.

Have you read the Arrakis edition?:

Any list like that that includes The Hunger Games is not a list that I could respect. Some great books there, but it reads more like a bestseller list, rather than a list that would mark you as well read.

[quote=“Rodgers01, post:13, topic:682032”]

Where’s everyone getting that there are four Harry Potter books on the list? I only see one, HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone (which is far from the best book in the series, but I guess they just wanted people to get started at the beginning).


I think people are reading two different lists- there’s a link to the ‘Readers’ Picks’ top 100 as well, and that has multiple Harry Potters on. I’ve read 33 on that list, but only 24 on the main ‘Editor’s Choice’ list, and that’s counting The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Both lists seem somewhat US centric to me though, some of the books on there are vitually unknown this side of the pond.

I’ve read all of the ones that are out of copyright except for “The Age of Innocence”, so maybe I’ll add that one to my future reading list.

I’d suggest they’re closely-related concepts in the modern world. I’m waaaaaay out of the target demographic, but I imagine in the book-reading 11-16 set, saying you haven’t read The Hunger Games possibly elicits the same reactions as one would expect if an adult said they’d never seen Star Wars or Raiders Of The Lost Ark*.

Also, as someone who is (or at least considers themselves) pretty well-read, a lot of “classic” or “critically acclaimed” books are quite hard to read and/or enjoy IMHO.

And before the obligatory SDMB hipsters come in to say they’ve never seen those films: I’m sure you have some special and valid-only-for-you reasons as to why you’ve never seen them, but pretty much everyone else in the English-speaking world has watched them - so from a cultural standpoint you’re an outlier and considered a bit odd as a result.