Reading list

Via Alison’s book blog, I’ve found The Lists – Books for the Obsessive Reader. If you’re always on the lookout for reading ideas, this is a blog worth checking out.

Alison’s attention was caught by this list of 100 Most Influential Novels by Women Writers. I’ve marked the ones I’ve read at some point in my life with a *.

  1. Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind*
  2. Anne Rice, Interview With the Vampire
  3. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
  4. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (I read The Hours, but I guess that’s not a substitute, is it?)
  5. Virginia Woolf, The Waves
  6. Virginia Woolf, Orlando
  7. Djuna Barnes, Nightwood
  8. Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth (saw the movie, never read the book)
  9. Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence*
  10. Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome
  11. Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness
  12. Nadine Gordimer, Burger’s Daughter
  13. Harriette Simpson Arnow, The Dollmaker
  14. Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale*
  15. Willa Cather, My Ántonia
  16. Erica Jong, Fear of Flying*
  17. Erica Jong, Fanny
  18. Joy Kogawa, Obasan
  19. Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
  20. Doris Lessing, The Fifth Child
  21. Doris Lessing, The Grass Is Singing
  22. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird* (but I’ve never seen the movie)
  23. Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time
  24. Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres*
  25. Lore Segal, Her First American
  26. Alice Walker, The Color Purple*
  27. Alice Walker, The Third Life of Grange Copeland
  28. Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon*
  29. Muriel Spark, Memento Mori
  30. Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  31. Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina*
  32. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
  33. Susan Fromberg Shaeffer, Anya
  34. Cynthia Ozick, Trust
  35. Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club*
  36. Amy Tan, The Kitchen God’s Wife*
  37. Ann Beattie, Chilly Scenes of Winter
  38. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God*
  39. Joan Didion, A Book of Common Prayer
  40. Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays
  41. Mary McCarthy, The Group
  42. Mary McCarthy, The Company She Keeps
  43. Grace Paley, The Little Disturbances of Man
  44. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
  45. Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter*
  46. Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart
  47. Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood
  48. Mona Simpson, Anywhere But Here*
  49. Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon*
  50. Toni Morrison, Beloved*
  51. Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm
  52. Sylvia Townsend Warner, Mr. Fortune’s Maggot
  53. Katherine Anne Porter, Ship of Fools
  54. Laura Riding, Progress of Stories
  55. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
  56. Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower
  57. Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits
  58. A.S. Byatt, Possession (tried to read it; I think I got through about 50 pages)
  59. Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
  60. Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle
  61. Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
  62. Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus
  63. Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca
  64. Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
  65. Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  66. Barbara Pym, Excellent Women
  67. Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
  68. Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant*
  69. Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist*
  70. Nancy Willard, Things Invisible to See
  71. Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry
  72. Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Disturbances in the Field
  73. Rosellen Brown, Civil Wars*
  74. Harriet Doerr, Stones for Ibarra
  75. Harriet Doerr, The Mountain Lion
  76. Stevie Smith. Novel on Yellow Paper
  77. E. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News*
  78. Rebecca Goldstein, The Mind-Body Problem
  79. P.D. James, The Children of Men
  80. Ursula Hegi, Stones From the River*
  81. Fay Weldon, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil*
  82. Katherine Mansfield, Collected Stories
  83. Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills
  84. Louise Erdrich, The Beet Queen
  85. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
  86. Edna O’Brien, The Country Girls Trilogy
  87. Margaret Drabble, Realms of Gold
  88. Margaret Drabble, The Waterfall
  89. Dawn Powell, The Locusts Have No King
  90. Marilyn French, The Women’s Room
  91. Eudora Welty, The Optimist’s Daughter
  92. Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries*
  93. Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John
  94. Tillie Olsen, Tell Me a Riddle
  95. Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
  96. Iris Murdoch, A Severed Head
  97. Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day
  98. Alice Hoffman, The Drowning Season*
  99. Sue Townsend, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
  100. Penelope Mortimer, The Pumpkin Eater

This isn’t officially a book meme, but if you’re intrigued by the list too, mark off the ones you’ve read and take note of the ones you’d like to. I see I’ve got a lot of room to work with here.

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  • I’ve read 23 or so; I started one but didn’t finish; and I may have read another, but I’m not sure. There are a few where I know I’ve read several by that author — but was it this or another? Not sure. But 23 or thereabouts!

  • Um, Jane Austen? Hello?

  • I’ve only read 9 of the books listed. Sad, isn’t it?

  • Since some of you tallied ’em up, I thought I’d count up my asterisks; it looks like I’ve read 19. That puts both MaryP and me at around 20% (she’s over, I’m under), and Literary Feline just shy of 10%. Hey, I’m a reader, but I’m also an accountant – crunching numbers is what I do.

    Bub and Pie – As I understand it, this is just one person’s list, and perhaps she should have called it “100 Most Influential Novels by 20th-Century Women Writers,” although I think Wharton may be cutting it close on that timeframe. Or perhaps this person’s just not an Austen fan? In any case, these things are almost always good debate fodder.