Hey! I've Read That! (A Confession Friday Game)

June 28, 2013 Blogging, Classics, Confession Friday, Contemporary Fiction, Dystopian, Pretentious 89

Howdy Bookworms!

So the other day I was skulking around the blogosphere as I am wont to do. I came across a list on Book Riot (HERE is the post by Jeff O’Neal) of 100 books that would make you “well read.” He had a set of criteria including cultural significance, familiarity with the classics of western literature, etc.  There was a big blow up in the comment section about what constitutes being well-read; what was included, what wasn’t, and so on and so forth. Then a bunch of people started FLIPPING OUT because 50 Shades of Gray was on the list. Say what you will about 50 Shades (and I had PLENTY to say… HERE if you’re interested) but it got a lot of people to read a book who wouldn’t ordinarily read a book. Would it be better if those people had picked up something with fewer grammatical errors? Probably. But if people choose a book, ANY BOOK, over another form of entertainment for even a little while? I consider that a win.

Sarah over at Sarah Says Read talked a little bit more about this (and inspired me to rip off her post… I mean… Borrow her idea and credit her properly.) Jen at The Relentless Reader and Rory from Fourth Street Review weighed in as well! (Can I go off topic and mention how much I love having a bookworm blog pal named Rory? My inner Gilmore Girls enthusiast is beyond thrilled by this.) Now, I’m not going to dissect the Book Riot criteria because I’m kind of lazy. Book Riot has a big old comment section, so if you’re interested, I suggest you check out the spirited discussion there. In my happy little corner of the internet, in lieu of  potential over analyzation, we play, “Hey, I’ve Read That!” One of my favorite things to do in a bookstore is to peruse and mentally point out stuff I’ve read (or point it out to whomever I’ve conned into shopping with me…) So. I’m going to gauge my “well read” status according to the Book Riot 100. Ready???

This is my smug face. I was making it because I made my "nephew" Jack fall asleep when he was being a crankypants.

This is my smug face. I was making it because I made my “nephew” Jack fall asleep when he was being a crankypants. He’s wearing a Sonic Youth onesie because he’s badass.

So here’s the list, in alphabetical order: (Stuff that’s marked out like so? That means I’ve read it!)

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton My Thoughts
  4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Maria Remarque
  5. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay  by Michael Chabon
  6. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  11. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  12. Beowulf
  13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak My Thoughts
  14. Brave New World by Alduos Huxley My Thoughts
  15. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz My Thoughts
  16. The Call of the Wild  by Jack London
  17. Candide by Voltaire
  18. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  19. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (Got this for Christmas. Currently residing on Shelf of Shame)
  20. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  21. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  22. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  23. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  24. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
  25. The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
  26. The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor 
  27. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  28. Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  29. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  30. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  31. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  32. Dream of Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
  33. Dune by Frank Herbert
  34. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  35. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  36. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green My Thoughts
  37. Faust by Goethe
  38. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  39. Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
  40. The Golden Bowl by Henry James
  41. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  42. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn My Thoughts
  43. The Gospels (I’m familiar with the Gospels, but I’ve never read them as like, literature, so I’m not counting it!)
  44. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  45. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  46. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  47. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood My Thoughts
  49. Harry Potter & The Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  50. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Hanging out on the Shelf of Shame)
  51. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  52. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  53. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien My Thoughts
  54. House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
  55. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  56. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  57. if on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
  58. The Iliad by Homer
  59. The Inferno by Dante
  60. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  61. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  62. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  63. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  64. The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  65. The Little Prince by Antoine  de Saint-Exepury
  66. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov My Thoughts
  67. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  68. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Started this. Failed. Lives on the Shelf of Shame. In good company.)
  69. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  71. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  72. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  73. The Odyssey by Homer
  74. Oedipus, King by Sophocles
  75. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  76. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  77. The Pentateuch
  78. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  79. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  80. The Road by Cormac McCarthy My Thoughts
  81. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
  82. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  83. Slaughterhouse-5 by Kurt Vonnegut
  84. The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner
  85. The Stand by Stephen King My Thoughts
  86. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  87. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  88. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  89. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  90. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  91. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  92. Ulysses by James Joyce
  93. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  94. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  95. Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
  96. Watchmen by Alan Moore
  97. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  98. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte My Thoughts
  99. 1984 by George Orwell
  100. 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James My Thoughts

My total? 49 books. I’d like to give myself extra credit for completing several of the series where only the first book was mentioned. I’d also like points for having read something by one of these authors, just not the title listed (Steinbeck, Woolf, Rushdie, Joyce, James, Rand- I’m looking at you!) Unfortunately, as I stated earlier, I have no desire to rewrite these rules, I just wanted to play the game. So. How’d you do, Bookworms? I’m feeling a little blue for clocking in at less than half of these titles. Anyone there with me?

89 Responses to “Hey! I've Read That! (A Confession Friday Game)”

  1. Charleen

    Feel better; I only read 15. (I counted a few days ago, and now I’m too lazy to go back and see if I’d get partial/extra credit according to the rules of Katie.)

    I said it before but I’ll say it again here: I prefer to think of this as an EXAMPLE of a well-read list, not an end-all-be-all… particularly considering it wasn’t even compiled by committee or anything, it’s just one guy’s opinion.

    • Words for Worms

      Agreed, it’s one person’s opinion. If I were to make a well read list, I would probably only include stuff I’d actually read, so I’d have a perfect score. I like winning.

  2. Ashley F

    I”m pretty good on this list but I was surprised that there’s a lot of books I’ve NEVER EVEN HEARD OF. The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor ???? Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe?? And I worked in a book store for almost 5 years. Agreed that anything that gets people to read is a good thing on some level, but seriously. I was gonna smack the shit out of her inner goddess.

    Btw….how have you never read The Little Prince? Do it! Do it now!!!

    • Ashley F

      I’ve officially read 71. At first I was all BAD BOOK WORM because I haven’t read Huck Fin but oh well. Of the one’s I haven’t read, I haven’t even heard of half of them. Sigh.

    • Words for Worms

      I’ve definitely heard of Flannery O’Connor, but yeah there were some titles I was kind of like, “wait, what?” Oh and Ana’s inner goddess? I punched her out, too. It’s all good. I don’t know how I’ve never read The Little Prince! I took Spanish in high school, not French. The kids in French read it. In French. I have no good excuses.

      • Ashley F

        Read it, it’s awesome. I’ve read it in English and French. I’m Canadian, we don’t read traditional “American Lit” in school so no Huck Finn for me. We read traditional Canadian Lit, like Margaret Atwood.

  3. Claire

    39 … for some reason it felt like I’ve read way more than that! I wonder if it’s because I spent all of high school listening to teachers yap about Hamlet and Leaves of Grass and The Odyssey that I got burned out on ’em before I even picked the book up! I did find a couple that I should probably attempt to read. And what the heck is your excuse for not reading On the Road yet?!

    • Words for Worms

      Okay. I don’t have a good excuse for not reading On The Road. I have a bad excuse though. I heard once that a dog co-stars in the book, and that it’s a poodle. Yes, I know it’s a STANDARD poodle, but for some reason I couldn’t get past the mental image of a puffy froofy french poodle going on a beatnick-y road trip? It’s on my to-do list. Truly.

  4. Books, Tea & Me

    20. Which seems really sad, but a lot of them are on my to-read list. But just because I’ve read considerably less that others, I still consider myself “well read.” It’s all relative.

  5. Andi (@estellasrevenge)

    I’m right at 40. I thought this was a pretty brilliant list, and I love the definition of “well read” as having contemporary cultural significance, too. I thought the inclusion of more poppy titles pretty fab. Thanks for sharing!

    I also had a reputation in grad school as having read part of every great book, but not the whole thing so often. I’ve probably read part of at least 80 of these. lol

    • Words for Worms

      Ha! Yes! I know I’ve read a lot of excerpts from Homer, excerpts of Cervantes, some of Poe’s stories… I did appreciate the inclusion of popular books too. Sticking to a purely classic cannon leaves out so much!

  6. lostinliterature108

    19 if the Gospels count as one. 22 if they count as 4.
    I’m giving myself credit for 7 that I consider as significant as those listed with the same author. (The Fountainhead, The Brother’s Karamazov, etc.)
    And no Lord of the Rings????? Come on!

  7. Wayne

    Hmmm, a lot of these books I had to read in High School and I probably never would have read some of them on my own. I can’t think of anybody who’s read *Don Quixote* by Miguel de Cervantes unless they were a Spanish lit. major in College. Too bad about *On The Road*. It really captures the Beat Movement splendidly. Poe was also a favorite of mine thanks to all the Vincent Price movies 😉 He was also very psychological and a lot more interesting than reading Freud. I also can’t think of anybody who’s read *Faust* except for some German immigrant probably because it’s got the devil in it and too many politicians and corporate ceos don’t want it on any high school reading list 😉 The old silent movie, available on youtube.com is pretty cool tho.

      • Ashley F

        I’ve read Don Quixote just because it’s EPIC. And because in High School I had to read The Man of La Mancha.

      • Wayne

        Absolutely! Worst assigned reading for high school students: (1.) The Scarlet Letter (2.) The Bear, a dreadfully long ‘short story’ by Faulkner (3.) The Open Boat by E.M. Forester. Best imho: (1.) The Stranger by Camus (2.) The Iliad by Homer (I know, it’s a guy thing 😉 (3.) 1984 by Orwell (eerily prophetic).

  8. Cindy

    I’m only at 22, not even a quarter of the list. Time to fire up the Kindle and get reading! Although, I think that I deserve extra credit also for reading all of the books in the series where only the first book is listed.

  9. Megan M.

    I read more than anyone I know and I’m clocking in at 12 on this list (and no, 50 Shades isn’t one of them.) I read a few of them for school and I’ve worked in both bookstores and libraries, so I’m familiar with almost all of these, but I don’t have any plans to read them. They sound boring as shit. I’m lowbrow lit and I’m proud. Hahaha!

    • Words for Worms

      Hahhahaha! Read what you like. That’s my mantra. I like to dabble in genres and classics, but reading is reading! You’re well read in my book :).

  10. Rick Wiedeman

    >All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Maria Remarque

    That book is truly excellent. Short, too.

    Atlas Shrugged is an awful book filled with awful people. I have no idea why so many evangelical conservatives flock to it — it’s strongly anti-religion.

    I took a semester on Joyce in college. Ulysses is not something to be entered unto lightly. Challenging read.

    • Words for Worms

      Yeah, I’m never going to read Ulysses. I’m sure it’s profound and brilliant, but it’s not going to happen. I feel like I may have read All Quiet on the Western Front, but I couldn’t remember if I read the whole thing or just parts so I didn’t count it. And after The Fountainhead, no more Rand for me. Her ideologies bugged me too much.

  11. Sarah Says Read

    I think 49 is one of the best numbers I’ve seen so far! Go you!

    I also play the “I’ve read that” or “I have that” game when I’m in the bookstore with a person… I’m sure it’s not as much fun for them as it is for meee! 🙂

    • Words for Worms

      Why thank you m’dear. Going to bookstores with other voracious readers is really fun, because you can play the “I’ve read that” game together! Only, in my experience it tends to get a little loud… Ah well. Vociferous book love- it’s a thing!

  12. Jennine G.

    Going strictly by the list, I’ve read 42, which is kinda sad since I have two degrees in English and have taught varying grade levels for 10 years. But some of them that I did read, I definitely would not have if it weren’t for college English classes assigning them. A couple of those I won’t even bother with, like Moby Dick. No way. And I took a class on Whitman and Dickinson in grad school, which helped me like them much, much better…but I don’t think I could read their entire collections without someone to discuss with me. It could drive a person mad.

    • Jennine G.

      On I do the “I’ve read that” in bookstores too. Usually to my husband who I drag along. We go around the tables down the center aisle and I say “I’ve read that,” “I have that,” or “Both.” (Because I own a crapload of books that I haven’t read.)

      • Words for Worms

        You sound like my mom! She has so many books she hasn’t read, she accidentally buys duplicates! It’s better now that she has a kindle because it tells her she’s already got a copy.

    • Words for Worms

      I went through a Dickinson phase in high school- I’m not a big poetry person, but I have a soft spot for Emily. Whitman on the other hand, not so much. I think I’d need instruction to appreciate it properly. And Moby Dick. I’m still mad about Moby Dick. I read it because I have a compulsion to do my homework but I hated every minute of it. I actually needed the cliffs notes because I kept falling asleep and forgetting what had happened…

        • Words for Worms

          Nah, he was kind of a jerk. We read Of Mice and Men shortly after Moby Dick and everyone liked it better. Someone made the mistake of saying it was better in part because it was shorter and the next day we came into class with the Great Illustrated Classics version of Moby Dick on our desks.

  13. Samantha

    24 for me. I think life is short, and you should read what you feel like reading. Although I’m not picking up 50 Shades of Grey. I know I’ve read hundreds of books, just not all the ones on this list. 😛 I enjoyed the Book Riot article though, and I think got there before the flip-outs happened. There ARE a lot that are on that list that I have on my to-be-read, or own but haven’t read yet.

    • Words for Worms

      It’s funny, there was SO MUCH discussion on that article, that one of the other Book Rioters wrote a response to the responses. It was pretty funny. Sometimes the commenting crowd at Book Riot takes themselves a wee bit too seriously, methinks.

  14. kristinshafel

    I’m so glad you did this, too! I’m at 35. I agree—although personally I’m not interested in 50 Shades, I think it does deserve some acknowledgement for getting people to spend some time reading (anything). My well read post is here!

    • Words for Worms

      I really hate being out of the loop, so I’ll read a lot of things that are popular just so I can say I’ve read them. Terrible reason to choose a book, but what can I say? Peer pressure works on me.

  15. Lily from It's A Dome Life

    I read some of these books in high school and can’t even remember them. I am not sure if that is a reflection on my memory or on the books. I have a lot of reading to do to get a perfect score.

    • Words for Worms

      I should make my own list of 100 books that are all books I’ve read so I have a perfect score! Maybe I’ll do that and make another game out of it… Maybe…

  16. tinykitchenstories

    Wow. I got to 50… and that’s just because I’m 50 pages from the end of Game of Thrones. Will not pick up 50 Shades just because I’ve read enough about it to know I’ll cringe (and that what I’ve read about it will be better than the book itself!). I won’t count that I got halfway through Ulysses, which totally trips you up by being quite enjoyable for the first three chapters then does a total 180. I really have to recommend Things Fall Apart, House Made of Dawn, Everything is Illuminated and Life of Pi. I’m also a person who likes to point out how many books I’ve read, so thanks for this Friday fun!

    • Words for Worms

      I’ll have to check out your recommendations. I’ve been avoiding Life of Pi because my Mother in Law and I usually have similar taste and she told me she now knows more than she ever wanted to about a tiger… I should probably give it a shot though. Form my own opinion and all.

  17. Leigh Kendall

    I’m on 28. There are books on here that I’ve genuinely enjoyed, such as Cloud Atlas or Pride and Prejudice, while others, like Ulysses, were a school chore. Some slightly random books on here though – Fifty Shades? Haven’t read it and never likely to – because I’ve heard it’s so badly written, rather from a sense of prudishness!

    • Words for Worms

      Yeah, if you’re going for well done erotica, I’m pretty sure there’s stuff that’s better than 50 Shades. I read it for the cultural phenomenon, and because it felt wrong that my mom had read a sexy book that I hadn’t.

  18. Laura

    I think I’d be lucky to have read a quarter of that list so your 49 is amazing! You probably don’t need book recommendations from a total stranger but I think that The Watchmen is definitely worth your time! It took me a long time to read because I have a hard time looking at pictures and reading words and putting the two together (what is wrong with me!?) but it turned out to be worth the effort.

    • Words for Worms

      Book recommendations from strangers are some of my favorite! I should read Watchmen. I don’t know why I haven’t- I saw the movie and my husband is passingly familiar with comic stuff. I liked the concept of the movie a lot, and if history is any indication, the book is probably a zillion times better.

  19. Lyssapants

    Dude, you’re badass. I’ve read way less. A confession: I have never finished a complete Jane Austen novel, and I hate myself for it. But I HAVE read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith!!!

    • Words for Worms

      Don’t hate yourself for not loving Jane Austen! Seriously, you’re in good company. Mark Twain used to talk smack about her all the time. True story.

      • Lyssapants

        See, I like *her.* And I like her ideas. I like the movies made based on her books. But goodness help me, I can’t get through one of her books to save my life. I’ve tried.

  20. well minded

    Hey there! Just stopping by after seeing your comment on today’s 101 Books post.

    This list made me equally impressed with how many I’ve read and ashamed at how many I haven’t. Love your writing and I’m looking forward to following your posts.


    • Words for Worms

      You just made my day! 🙂 Welcome Kristen! Don’t be ashamed of what you have or haven’t read- read what you like, and be amused by the game!

      • well minded

        Thanks!!! So now that I actually played the game, I got an honest (and somewhat shameful 21). I didn’t count the ones I read Cliffs’ Notes for in school or 50 Shades, which I think we all feel we’ve read, even if we haven’t. MY excuse is that I read a lot of nonfiction. About 1 for 1, I’d say. So there! 🙂

  21. justjase79

    Only read 29, but have another 37 of them on my shelves so I’ll get a high number eventually. I’ll never get to 100 though, like others have said, a certain volume or two I have no intention of reading! It will be a while though, many of the books listed are just one volume of a series – The Lion & Witch, Swann’s Way, Hitchhikers Guide, Inferno, Game of Thrones, etc – and I will end up reading them all if I start one. Interesting that you don’t have to read any of Lord of the Rings, Jane Eyre, or more than one Dickens, Hemingway or Shakespeare to be considered well-read? Many more missing, a contentious list!

  22. Leah

    I’ve read 39, counting The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson even thought I haven’t read *all* of them, but not counting two books that I tried listening to on audiobook but never finished. I think that’s not bad for someone my age! I have to admit that a lot of them were read for school, though.

  23. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

    I do the same thing at bookstores. Ha ha. Is that why no one wants to go there with me? Jerks.

    I think your number is very impressive. I think I hit 35 with this list. But we know that this list is subjective so..whatever dude. We really should make our own!

  24. PinotNinja

    I just clocked in at 41 (and only because of the heavy YA presence on the list), so if we bell curve this bad boy your 49 percent just turned into an A, right? I think you should go with that.

    Thanks for the list — it reminded me of about 10 books that I have been meaning to read for years but can never remember the moment when I’m in the library/book store looking for my next read.

  25. Punky Coletta

    Yes! I looovvveee the Gilmore Girls. If it wasn’t for Rory, I am not sure if I ever would have read an Ayn Rand book. Also, I probably never would have read, ‘Please Kill Me: An Oral History of Punk.’

  26. Rory

    I’m happy you know a fellow bookish person named Rory, too! And you’ve read quite a few, half is still half (and you’re pretty much at half).

    I still don’t see how a list could make someone ‘well-read’ if it doesn’t include Jane Eyre!

  27. Wayne

    I always liked Kafka and reading creepy stories like In The Penal Colony, The Metamorphosis (A novella) and The Trial and when I was in Prague actually visited The Kafka Museum. There you can get a copy of prints illustrating some of his stories if by chance you go. Rabbit, Run is a great book to read if you’re totally pissed off by your work.

  28. Kelly

    I’m at 47, and like you, felt mildly disappointed in myself for being under 50. But I am NOT willing to read 50 Shades to get there…:-P

  29. Bev

    Ulysses, by James Joyce, has been released as a Manga Classic Reader. I doubt that in this lifetime I will read his original version.

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