Reading

I believe that reading is very important and one of the best habits anyone can have. Below is a list of books I’ve read and how much I liked them. Putting any sort of quantitative label on something as subjective as reading presents problems, especially regarding why I gave a book a given rating. If you want more info about my reading, find me on GoodReads.com, and you’ll get all my mini book reviews. Otherwise, I hope the 5-star system will provide you a notion of my opinions, albeit a vague one. (Key: + = Difficult reading)

Five Stars: Books of top-notch quality in style, meaning, and enjoyment

Pride and Prejudice–Jane Austen

A Tale of Two Cities–Charles Dickens

The Complete Poems–Emily Dickinson

The Brothers Karamazov–Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Four Quartets–T.S. Eliot

The Sound and the Fury–William Faulkner

The Great Gatsby–F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Celestial Railroad–Nathaniel Hawthorne

Catch-22–Joseph Heller

A Farewell to Arms–Ernest Hemingway

Collected Stories–”

A Prayer for Owen Meany–John Irving

The Ambassadors–Henry James

Ulysses–James Joyce+

Immortality–Milan Kundera

To Kill a Mockingbird–Harper Lee

Mere Christianity–C. S. Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader–“

The Weight of Glory–”

The Ragamuffin Gospel–Brennan Manning

Moby-Dick–Herman Melville

Beloved–Toni Morrison

The Normal Christian Life–Watchman Nee

My Name is Asher Lev–Chaim Potok

King Lear–William Shakespeare

Hamlet–”

Macbeth–”

Othello–Shakespeare

The Green Letters–Miles Stanford

Sacred Marriage–Gary Thomas

Walden–Henry David Thoreau

The Lord of the Rings–J.R.R. Tolkien

War and Peace–Leo Tolstoy

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn–Mark Twain

The Aeneid–Virgil

Slaughterhouse-Five–Kurt Vonnegut

Four Stars

Things Fall Apart–Chinua Achebe

Tuesdays with Morrie–Mitch Albom

The Divine Comedy–Dante Alighieri+

The Confessions–St. Augustine

Fahrenheit 451–Ray Bradbury

Wuthering Heights–Emily Bronte

The Da Vinci Code–Dan Brown

The Plague–Albert Camus

Breakfast at Tiffany’s–Truman Capote

Heart of Darkness–Joseph Conrad

Crime and Punishment–Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Sound and the Fury–William Faulkner+

Tom Jones–Henry Fielding

The End of the Affair–Graham Greene

The Scarlet Letter–Nathaniel Hawthorne

A Moveable Feast–Ernest Hemingway
For Whom the Bell Tolls–Hemingway
The Old Man and the Sea–Hemingway
The Sun Also Rises–Hemingway

Siddhartha–Herman Hesse

The Iliad–Homer
The Odyssey–Homer

Les Miserables–Victor Hugo+

Their Eyes Were Watching God–Zora Neale Hurston

Brave New World–Aldous Huxley

A Doll’s House–Henrik Ibsen

The Portrait of a Lady–Henry James
The Turn of the Screw–James

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man–James Joyce
Dubliners–Joyce

A Separate Peace–John Knowles

The Chronicles of Narnia–C.S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters–“
The Weight of Glory
–”

The Giver–Lois Lowry

The Undertaking–Thomas Lynch

The Encyclopedia of the Dead–Danilo Kis

The Prince–Niccolo Machiavelli

One Hundred Years of Solitude–Gabriel García Márquez

Life of Pi–Yann Martel

The Seven Storey Mountain–Thomas Merton

The Crucible–Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman–Miller

Paradise Lost–John Milton+

Utopia–Sir Thomas More

1984–George Orwell
Animal Farm–Orwell

The Republic–Plato

The Chosen–Chaim Potok
The Promise–Potok

Catcher in the Rye–J.D. Salinger

Austerlitz–W.G. Sebald

As You Like It–Shakespeare
Henry V–”
Julius Caesar–”
The Merchant of Venice–”
Much Ado About Nothing–”
Romeo and Juliet–”
The Tempest–”
Twelfth Night–”

A Return to Modesty–Wendy Shalit

Frankenstein–Mary Shelley

Of Mice and Men–John Steinbeck

Gulliver’s Travels–Jonathan Swift

The Silmarillion–J.R.R. Tolkien

The House of Mirth–Edith Wharton

The Picture of Dorian Gray–Oscar Wilde

To the Lighthouse–Virginia Woolf

Three Stars

Emma–Jane Austen

Invisible Man–Ralph Ellison

The Cider House Rules–John Irving

Measure for Measure–William Shakespeare


Two Stars

Middlemarch–George Eliot (gave up 200 pages in; I may reread someday)

One Star

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings–Maya Angelou

Jane Eyre–Charlotte Bronte

The Black Envelope–Norman Manea+

The Jew of Malta–Christopher Marlowe

On Deck:

The Red Badge of Courage–Stephen Crane

The Unbearable Lightness of Being–Milan Kundera

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea–Jules Verne

The Hound of the Baskervilles–Arthur Conan Doyle

The Stranger–Albert Camus

Oliver Twist–Charles Dickens

The Last of the Mohicans–James Fenimore Cooper

The Invisible Man–H.G. Wells

Silence–Shusaku Endo

Rabbit, Run–John Updike

Grimm’s Fairy Tales–Brother Grimm

Abba’s Child–Brennan Manning

Angela’s Ashes–Frank McCourt

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Responses

  1. Best books ever: “Thomas and the Coal Mine”, “Percy and the Dragon”, “James goes Buzz Buzz”

  2. Dad’s pick for Nathan’s next reading: “Childhood’s End” by Clifford Simak

  3. Unk’s favorite new quote:

    “Given a choice between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.”

  4. Nathan,
    Hi there!
    Interesting reading list. I can’t believe you read Ulysses! Nobody reads Ulysses – at least not after about hour three.
    Anyway, I have a few books to add if you’re interested?
    (I can’t imagine anyone getting their Masters in English having free reading time…)
    I’ll just list a couple, but may add a few more later.
    If you’re going to read
    My Name is Asher Lev–Chaim Potok, I’m thinking you’ve already read The Promise and The Chosen. If not, they’re equally excellent.
    I think Jl has walked me through most everything by C.S. Lewis – and I love everything I can wrap my mind around. But I expecially like A Grief Observed. I don’t think anyone has described grief in a more honest and observant way. Although I hope you won’t be grieving anytime soon – someone you love will – and you’ll understand so much more the literal pain of grief (if you’ve already read this, sorry for the sermon).
    I’m currently reading The Slumber of Christianity by Ted Dekker – excellent.
    I’ve broken the blogging length rules. Hi to J and my love to you both!

  5. You’re welcome to comment as long as you like!

    Excellent suggestions. Asher Lev’s been on my mind a while. I love The Chosen and The Promise. Potok is great.

    Also, Grief Observed is something I’ve wanted to read for a while. But everything Lewis writes is great; it’s hard to get to all of ’em. Thanks for the tips! Ulysses is amazing, by the way. 🙂

  6. Donde esta Hamlet? Esta tu drama favorito, no?

  7. No me dé cuenta que esta página faltaba Hamlet hasta ahora. Gracias. Quizás debo poner todos los obras de Shakespeare aquí que he leido.

    Nice Spanish, PK, by the way.

  8. 🙂

  9. Great reading list, Moby Dick is my absolute favorite novel of all time..Dawn Treader a close second. I have a friend in CA who is a huge Dante fan as well, I plan to read it this summer

  10. Jane Eyre is not BLEGH!! I can no longer be your friend. And Moby Dick is NOT five stars. If anything, I think that Melville and Henry James need to be locked in a room together. They both make me want to gouge my eyes out with a spork. Just sayin’.

  11. Sorry, Eyre is too schizophrenic for me. That part w/ St. John at the end is unnecessary and boring.

    I’ll agree to disagree on Moby Dick, which is easily one of the best and greatest books I’ve had the privilege to read.

    If it makes you feel better, I am a big Jane Austen fan.


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