the much anticipated list

John & I share a love of reading. We could spend the entire day curled up in bed, in our pjs, with a candle or two lit, our legs criss-crossing, and the blankets tangled so that you don’t know which way is up. We get lost in the world of words.

A while back, the magic of the interwebs made me aware of “The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge” in which all 339 books referenced in Gilmore girls had been chronicled and the challenge was to read them all. I mentioned it to John, shared the link, and asked him if he wanted to do the challenge with me. Immediately getting excited at the thought of the challenge, we jumped on board…and then…took a longer harder look at the list. Thus our search for the perfect list began.

We spent much time searching for the best “Top 100 Books” list. We found many great lists. But each list had its flaws. We really enjoyed TIME’s “All-TIME 100 Novels” — but was a bit disappointed after learning that they created the list based on the time-frame of when the magazine began, therefore eliminating books that were written prior to 1923 (e.g. the entire collection of the works of Mark Twain). Various other lists simply did not include some of our favorites or included others that we thought didn’t belong on the list.

So we came up with a delightful solution — we created our own list! Granted, we do not claim that these books are “the best” by any means. Heck — we haven’t even read most of them. Here’s what we did: we each decided to choose our “top ten” in that these ten are some of our favorites or most read. Then we came up with 40 books that we would like to either read or reread. Each contributing 50 books, thus completing our list of 100 books to read. We have a shared google doc and are adding in the “date finished.” I also plan on doing some book reviews here and there, and I hope to do some star-reviews on goodreads. I am not super familiar with that site, but hope to learn more about it.

J is power-housing through the books already. I, on the other hand, am not. I have moved three times in the past four months and have picked up a side gig, so I’m a bit on the busy side. But those who know me, know that I love life that way. Regardless, I do plan on tackling it soon. And also, I’m not counting books I’ve already read, even if I’ve read them recently. I am starting fresh and plan to re-read them all (with the exception of the top ten, perhaps…). I love having my nose in a book, that is for certain.

So without further ado, the list (in alphabetical order, naturally):

J’s top ten:

Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll
Brave New World Aldous Huxley
Brief History of Time Stephen Hawking
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court Mark Twain
Da Vinci Code Dan Brown
Denial: History on Trial Deborah Lipstadt
Harry Potter and The Deathy Hallows JK Rowling
High Fidelity Nick Hornby
Ragtime EL Doctrow
Sophie’s World Jostein Gaarder

J’s to read/reread:

1984 George Orwell
Adventures of Pinnochio Carlo Collodi
Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Mark Twain
Brothers Karamazov, The Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Catch-22 Joseph Heller
Catcher in the Rye, The J.D Salinger
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Mark Haddon
Elegant Universe, The Brian Greene
Ethics Benedict de Spinoza
Farenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions Edwin Abbott
Free Will Sam Harris
Stranger, The Albert Calmus
Grapes of Wrath, The John Steinbeck
Great Gatsby, The F. Scott Fitzgerald
Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift
Handmaid’s Tale, The Margaret Atwood
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
Hobbit, The J.R.R Tolkien
Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
Inherit the Wind Jerome Lawrence
Innocents Abroad, The Mark Twain
Jungle, The Upton Sinclair
Just Mercy Bryan Stevenson
Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The C.S. Lewis
Lord of the Flies William Golding
Lost World, The Arthur Conan Doyle
Metamorphosis, The Franz Kafka
Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie
Moby-Dick Herman Melville
One Flew Over the Cuckcoo’s Nest Ken Kesey
Origin of Species Charles Darwin
Peter Pan JM Barrie
Satanic Verses Salman Rushdie
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut
Sophies World Jostein Gaarder
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
Wrinkle in Time, A Madeleine L’Engle
Zarastura Nietzche

E’s top ten:

Furiously Happy Jenny Lawson
Gifts of Imperfection, The Brene Brown
Glass Castle, The Jeannette Walls
Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets J.K. Rowling
Love and Respect Emerson Eggerichs
Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl
Million Miles in a Thousand Years, A Donald Miller
Screwtape Letters, The C.S. Lewis
Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, The Mark Manson
Wild Cheryl Strayed

E’s to read/reread:

All About Love: New Visions Bell Hooks
Art of Happiness, The Dalai Lama
At Home in Mitford Jan Karon
Bird by Bird Anne Lamott
Color of Water, The James McBride
Color Purple, The Alice Walker
Cosmos Carl Sagan
Cuckoo’s Calling, The Robert Galbraith
Divine Comedy, The Dante Alighieri
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Gail Honeyman
Explicit Gospel, The Matt Chandler
Go Set a Watchman Harper Lee
Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, A Flannery O’Connor
Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie
How to be a Woman Caitlin Moran
How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou
If On A Winter’s Night a Traveler Italo Calvino
Jesus for President Shane Claiborne
Little Women Louisa May Alcott
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis
Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides
Modern Romance Aziz Ansari
Moveable Feast, A Ernest Hemingway
No Baggage Clara Benson
On the Road Jack Kerouac
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Opposite of Loneliness: Stories and Essays by Marina Keegan, The Marina Keegan
Power of Now, The Eckhart Tolle
Quiet Susan Cain
Rich Dad Poor Dad Robert Kiyosaki
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, The Stephen Covey
Thousand Splendid Suns, A Khaled Hosseini
Tiny Beautiful Things Cheryl Strayed
To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf
Tools of Titans Tim Ferriss
Walk in the Woods, A Bill Bryson
Wonder, The Emma Donoghue
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert Pirsig


So there you have it — I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and questions. I would also love to hear what some of your favorite books are, and what some books are on your “to read list.”


Until next time, love to you, my friends,

emily alma


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