To those who have e-mailed, I apologize here for not responding as of yet. I'm having a small crisis that is probably nothing, and then the crisis will be that I'm ashamed of simply being a lazy bum and a hypochondriac. I'll be getting back to you in the next few days.
Meanwhile, I seem to be able to devote what little energy I have to procrastination. Memes are, of course, excellent sources of procrastination because they distract you from whatever is bothering you in your daily life. Memes are even better sources of procrationation when they involve books!
Found at Dr. Crazy:
BBC Book List
The BBC beleives that most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. I have no idea why they chose these books except that most of them seem to be BBC miniseries
1) Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read.
2) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) I'm adding a minus (-) next to those that I didn't get through because life is too short to waste on books that aren't interesting or required.
1) Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen: X
2) Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien: X. Thanks to my aunt giving me the newly released boxed set when I was in 6th grade, I was onto this Tolkien thing a good two years before the nerdboys. This also made some of the counselor sorts at my middle school mistakenly assume that I was "gifted," which made my parents assume that I was "genius." I was just average and a hard worker. Then, suddenly, everyone expected me to be brilliant and I consistently failed them, especially in math (although I have yet to understand the connection between hobbits and math). Damn you, J.R.R. Tolkien!
3) Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte: X -- I'm seriously not on the love train for this one or Jane Austen. Does that make me a bad booknerd girl?
4) Harry Potter series - JK Rowling: They came out when I was an adult, and the movies didn't really encourage me to read the book.
5) To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee: XXXX+++++++. Damn, but I loved this book! It was required in 11th grade, but I had read it at least twice before then. That was always happening to me.
6) The Bible: X, but not in a row and not because I wanted to. It was part of my job.
7) Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte: X -- I liked this better than Jane Eyre, but still, I didn't understand why everyone thought this or Eyre were great love stories. Rochester and Healthcliff were so obviously abusive.
8) Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell: X. Twice. Once in 1984, and once about two years ago because we seem to be living 1984. Orwell knew how power operated.
9) His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10) Great Expectations - Charles Dickens: X. Required reading in 9th grade.
11) Little Women - Louisa M Alcott: X. I loved the first part of it, but when Jo has to go and get married. That just ruined the whole last part.
12) Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy: X
13) Catch 22 - Joseph Heller: X
14) Complete Works of Shakespeare: XXXXXXXX++++++++. Oh, yes! Not only have I read them, I've seen many performed, performed in one, and am taking classes to get into the performance of others. You have to inhabit them to appreciate them to their absolute fullest.
15) Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier: X. Required reading in 10th grade, and even the thoroughly vile Mrs. Yarohowitz could not sap my pleasure in the Gothic mystery of the story at the time.
16) The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien: X. Also, the whole Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion. I read them in 6th grade, about two years before all of the nerdboys started finding them cool. Yeah, I was a nerd ahead of my time. I'm over it, now.
17) Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18) Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - X: Not required in high school, would you beleive? I don't think that they wanted us to get any ideas. I read it about 4 years ago, and laughed my ass off because of the oh, too painful depiction of teenage ennui.
19) The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger. X: Bleh. I only finished it because I was "reading" it as an audiobook on a road trip, and I didn't have another audiobook in the car. That's also how I ended up reading parts of the Bible during the church services and weddings I was forced to attend.
20) Middlemarch - George Eliot: X.
21) Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell: X. What self-respecting suthun girl hasn't? (Don't answer that). Sadly, I must confess that I couldn't put it down. Not because I agreed with anything in it, but because it was so right and so wrong at the same time. It was a perfect interpretation of the Civil War and Reconstruction from a thoroughly un-Reconstructed southern white woman. An excellent document of the southern white 1930s mentality...and so much more entertaining than the obnoxious I'll Take My Stand. Knowing all of that, I was much surprised to run across a Cosby Show rerun in which Rudy and Claire celebrate Rudy's "Woman's Day" (she got her first period) by watching the movie.
22) The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald: X. Required in both high school and college, and I did enjoy it both times. So beautifully written, so tragically bleak. I remember writing a college paper arguing how the works of Hemingway that we had read were much more hopeful.
24) War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy: -. I started it, but something so long requires a committment that I just don't have.
25) The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams: X. In 9th grade, about three years before the nerdboys discovered it, but just about the time the nerdgirls did. Nerdgirls are soooo much cooler! I laughed so loud and hard that I think I pulled a muscle in my ribs.
26) Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh: X
27) Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky: *, maybe.
28) Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck: X. I liked East of Eden better.
29) Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll: X, although I remember very little. Maybe that's because I was 10 and quite sick when I read it.
30) The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame: Animals, none of which were girls, so I was never interested. Even as a little girl I had this feminist conciousness: I wanted female protagonists who did stuff other than fall in love or take care of the dudes.
31) Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy: -. Another heavy committment one, plus I couldn't quite get past the male-centric attitudes. Although, I adore the opening, not just the "all happy families" part, but how Tolstoy jumps right into the action after that line.
32) David Copperfield - Charles Dickens: X. I was way into Dickens one summer back in 1989. I have no idea why except that I loved his language at the time.
33) Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis: X. Oh, yeah. All of them. Twice between the ages of 9 and 12. I wasn't bothered by the Christianity, because I didn't beleive and took it as part of the game of symbolism and analogy and whatever else was going on. It was sort of a training ground for me as an English major later in life.
34) Emma - Jane Austen: Again, not a big Austen fan. I get why all of these women in her stories are in pursuit of a proper husband and sympathize that these clever privleged women have no other outlet for their personalities and gifts; but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy the stories.
35) Persuasion - Jane Austen: See above -- does the BBC know that women other than Austen wrote books?
36) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis: X. Does the BBC not realize that this is part of the Chronicles of Narnia series?
37) The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini: I cannot bring myself to read this. It seems to require too much emotional fortitude. Someone once told me that it leaves you feeling as if nothing in that part of the world can ever be solved.
38) Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Berniere
39) Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden: X. A dude wrote this. Totally.
40) Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne: X. Of course! And I was completely convinced that Christopher Robin was a girl, as was Piglet and Eyeore and Rabbit. I did the same thing with Bugs Bunny. Sometimes, in the absence of good female characters in my entertainment, I would turn some of the male characters into girls in my head.
41) Animal Farm - George Orwell: X -- I read this in 7th grade. It was my introduction to Soviet communism (I was a good little anti-communist in those days). It was also another training ground for recognizing allegory and symbolism and so forth.
42) The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown: X. Frankly, I enjoyed the hell out of it, but only as much as I would a Patricia Cornwell mystery or any other pulpy genre fiction. I got it in an airport bookstore, just after a particularly humiliating interview, right after it came out. "Sounds like fun," I thought; and it was a nice escape. Then it took off and people started to take it too seriously, as if it were literature or historical fact, and other people had outsized reactions to that. Dumbasses.
43) One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez: X. In 9th grade, no less, courtesy of my aunt, who was in publishing. I'm not sure I understood everything in it; but the images stick with me to this day. All of those Aurelianos, the baby being carried off and eaten by ants, the beautiful little girlbride: how could anyone forget that?
44) A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving: Not this one, but while I lived up in the vicinity of Irving country, I read several of his novels.
45) The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins: X.
46) Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery: X. All of them. In college, after the PBS miniseries with the magnificent Colleen Dewhurst. I began to lose interest once Anne got married and lost her ambition.
47) Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy: X.
48) The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood: X. Twice, I think. I love Atwood, although many of her heroines are passive, I can see what she is saying beyond that.
49) Lord of the Flies - William Golding: X. Another high school requirement, right after Heart of Darkness. Later they turned it into a reality show called Survivor. Little did I know that it was also an actual reality called "graduate school."
50) Atonement - Ian McEwan: X, but don't remember a damn thing about it, even after seeing the movie.
51) Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52) Dune - Frank Herbert: X. Again, about two or three years before the nerdboys. It pissed me off. Why was a dude the heir to all of these wise women? And the concubine thing annoyed me, too.
53) Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons. Saw the movie.
54) Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen: Christ! MORE Austen?
55) A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56) The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57) Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens: X. I had a fixation with bloody revolutions around 9th grade.
58) Brave New World - Aldous Huxley: X. An alternate requirement in 12th grade, which I read as a means of escape from a particularly nasty family vacation. I beleive Huxley had a crystal ball.
59) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon: X. Way too twee.
60) Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez: X. Again with these dudes. I wanted to smack the hell out of the hero, even when he was played by Javier Bardem in the movie.
61) Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck: X, although I remember very little of it beyond that I didn't like it.
62) Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov: Oh, hell no. I know that I'm probably cheating myself out of a wonderful experience of words, but really, no.
63) The Secret History - Donna Tartt: X. Nasty fun!
64) The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold: X. Also, I read Lucky, her memoir. Lovely Bones was more engaging, but the contrast of the tone of the two indicates that the full cycle of healing that went on in Lovely Bones hadn't entirely taken place, or taken place as neatly, in Lucky. That is the difference between art and life.
65) Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas: X. Sometime in 9th grade, and remember very little.
66) On The Road - Jack Kerouac: X. Amusing, but it just didn't do it for me. Maybe I was too old. I prefer John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley as a roadtrip book. By the way, do women write such road trip stories?
67) Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy: Saw the movie with the beautiful Kate Winslet (man, do I crush on her!), and decided that I had no interest in the book. Still, between this and Tess, I think that Hardy did understand how a sexually repressive society could crush women.
68) Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding: X. Sadly, yes. Out of curiosity when the movie first came out.
69) Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70) Moby Dick - Herman Melville. X. Two or three times. Once, when required in college. I was the only person in the class to do so, and I felt like I could hunt a whale afterward. One and a half times, as part of an all night reading on a whaleship in That Place. The story parts are hilarious. Butch as it is, I actually rather like it. In the homosocial environment, Melville lets his characters have affection for one another on occasion.
71) Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens: Didn't get to this one. Probably won't.
72) Dracula - Bram Stoker: X. Twice, about 20 years apart. On the second time, I was struck by how much I missed of the sexual innuendo the first time around.
73) The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett: XXXX+++++. Dear god I loved this book! I had it in paperback, I had a beautifully illustrated hardback, I read it a million times. I also read The Little Princess about the same. I never owned a copy of that one, so I checked it out of the library over and over and over until my mother forbid me to check it out again. I did; and snuck it home and clandestinely read it under the covers with a flashlight.
74) Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75) Ulysses - James Joyce: -. Parts, like the Molly Bloom soliloquy and the first couple of chapters; but it too requires a hell of a committment and way more concentration.
76) The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath: X. What depressive bookish nerdgirl hasn't? It cut too close to the bone back when I read it at about the age of the protagonist.
77) Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78) Germinal- Emile Zola
79) Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80) Possession - AS Byatt: XXXXXXXXX+++++++++. I LURVE this book!
81) A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens: X
82) Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83) The Color Purple - Alice Walker: X+. What, the BBC recognizes that women of color wrote books? This was such a lovely book, full of compassion and forgiveness.
84) The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85) Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert: X. In 12th grade, as a requirement. I hated it, possibly because I too was consumed with ennui and it was emotionally too close to my life. Of course, that emotional authenticity is exactly what makes it a great novel.
86) A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87) Charlotte’s Web - EB White: Charlotte is a female who dies. Not interested.
88) The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom. Gag! No.
89) Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: X. Way into Sherlock Holmes in 9th grade. Tried to make him a woman in my head while I read. The Laurie King novels were amusing until the love story. Please!
90) The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91) Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad: X. Did you know that Apocalypse Now was based on it? Actually, some of my students don't, and they want to read it when they find that out.
92) The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery: X. Don't remember much. Also read one that he wrote about being a World War II pilot. Don't remember it, either.
93) The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94) Watership Down - Richard Adams: X. "Go silflay hraka u embleer rah." That's rabbit for "go eat shit you stinking prince." My 5th grade teacher, the lovely late Mrs. Alexander, read this and Jonathan Livingston Seagull to our class. My nerdy friends and I had to go get our own copies and read ahead, then we would illustrate it, and learn all of the vocabulary, and analyze the characters. The Seagull book turned us into Neil Diamond fans.
95) A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole: X+. I lived in New Orleans. My parents grew up in New Orleans. My aunt was involved with some of the negotiations about its publication. So, yeah, I read it. Twice. Hell, I think I've either known or am related to one or two of the characters.
96) A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute. My dad was a big Shute fan. In fact, my brother is named for a character in one of his books. I never read any.
97) The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas: X. In the translation that I read, one of the chapters really did start out "It was a dark and stormy night."
98) Hamlet - William Shakespeare: XXXXX+++++. Oh god do I love this play! A depressive academic trying to get enough evidence to act in good conscience. How could I not? I even love the 4 gazillion hour Kenneth Branagh version (Kate Winslet as Ophelia doesn't hurt, either). I saw an amazing version this summer in Rock Creek Park, and it led me to begin acting lessons.
99) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl: X. A book about a candy factory? This is me we're talking about. Of course I read it!
100) Les Miserables - Victor Hugo: X. Another 12th grade requirement. We read a lot of good books in 12th grade. I think that's what kept me in whatever little sanity I had during that year.
Total read: 65 and 4 parts (I think)
Total I plan to read: None.
I wondered why the BBC chose these. It's both odd and predictable. Odd, in that includes both children's and adult books. Predictable, in that it includes "classics," recent bestsellers, and books that became movies or miniseries.
Then I looked up the rationale behind the list. Seems that the BBC solicited nominations from their audiences for "best loved book." Now, I get it.
Except, as I compared the list on their site with this one, they weren't the same. I went back to Dr. Crazy and followed the links from her, to Anastasia, to Harmonia's Necklace, to A Collage of Citations, to Rhetorical Wasteland, where I found a deadend reference to Facebook. So, I don't think that the BBC is quite so cynical about their readers. Also, the list was tweaked along the way. What we seem to have here is the evolution of a meme.
Ah, the joy of parlor games and procrastination!
Now, I must go lie down. Exhaustion -- like 10-12 hours of sleep and needing a nap two hours after I wake up, and not being able to stay upright for very long, even in a seated position -- is the main symptom of the crisis. I blame winter and analysis, but the analyst wants me to make sure that it isn't physical or that I don't need an adjustment to the happy pills.