25 books you must read before you die

Here’s a list I found from a bookaholic magazine in Indonesia… They provided 50 actually, but since half of them are Indonesian titles (which is of little relevance in this blog), I’ve decided to jot down the 25 western books only.

The ones in bold are those I have read.

  1. Totto-chan: The little girl by the window – Tetsuyo Kuroyanagi
  2. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  3. Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran
  4. Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
  5. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  6. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
  7. Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone – J.K.Rowling
  8. Wind Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
  9. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  10. Stardust – Neil Gaiman
  11. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  12. Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
  13. Ulysses – James Joyce
  14. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
  15. The Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger
  16. One Hundred Years Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  17. Confession of A Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella
  18. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  19. Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
  20. Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
  21. Slaughter House-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
  22. Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
  23. Fight Club – Chick Palahniuk
  24. Bridget Jones Diary – Helen Fielding
  25. Moby Dick – Herman Melville

Jerry  – (31 May 2009 at 05:03)  

Pffff. Wow, several classics of world literature. Are you going to read them all?

It is a great selection of which I read only ten myself. But I miss Shakespeare on the list.

If I should want to reread them, I would start with the following three.
Ulysses being the most complicated and 'difficult' one, because it needs rereading several times. The catcher in the rye, because it's the best book ever about teenagers/adolescents. And Slaughter House Five because it is a standard testimony of the horror of war (Dresden '45).

PS: Authors of Chinese, Japanese and Russian descent are included. On the other hand continental European authors, though "western" also like say Louis Ferdinand Celine or Gunther Grass, have been left out.


Nevertheless: an impressive list.

toshi  – (31 May 2009 at 11:45)  

Yes, I have promised myself to devour those books for the next five years (at least).

Not a tough job, considering that on average, I finish one novel every month.

I think the reason that each and every one of those books appear on this list I'd copied was due to the fact that:

1. They have the 25 widest readership for the non-fiction category
2. Though their stories may focus on specific cultural/religious values, the readership transcend all corners of the world

The last one is perhaps the main reason why you don't find Shakespeare there, since Shakespearean texts are highly Anglo-oriented. People don't read Othello unless they study English literature.

You read ten? Woww...you've beaten me by seven points.

Fifteen more to go ;)

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