100 Books Challenge

100 Books Challenge

The arts enrich our lives in immeasurable ways and are a huge part of  la belle vie. And while I regularly attend art exhibits, concerts, and the theater I’m not reading as much as I would like and I know I’m not alone. Wanting to read more is one of the top new year’s resolutions year after year.

As with many goals like this, I think it helps to have a list. Maybe you want to read books by a certain author, on a particular subject matter, or of a particular era, etc. As for me, I have always wanted to read what are considered the most important literary works of all time for no other reason than I feel like there are gaps in my literary knowledge and I want to fill them. So after looking for the most definitive list, I chose this one from The Greatest Books as it seems to have been compiled using the most diverse lists from around the world and more sources than other lists. There are actually 2,560 books on the list(!) but these are the top 100. I would say I’ve read about half of this list in the past but if it’s been more than 10 years, I’m going to treat them as unread.

I have no idea how long this is going to take but my goal is to read one book from this list per month which means this list will take about 8 years to finish! 😮 I’m trying to be realistic about the pace since I will still be reading current books at the same time. So, who would like to join me in this challenge? 😊 If you’re game, I recently resurrected my Goodreads account so come find me there where we can track our progress together. Or, if you just want to check in on how I’m doing, I will strike through the titles here as I finish them.


1 In Search of Lost Time – Marcel Proust
2 Ulysses – James Joyce
3 Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
4 The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
5 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
6 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
7 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
8 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
9 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
10 The Odyssey – Homer
11 The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
12 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
13 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
14 The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
15 The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
16 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
17 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
18 Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
19 To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
20 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
21 The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
22 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
23 The Iliad – Homer
24 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
25 Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
26 1984 – George Orwell
27 Middlemarch – George Eliot
28 Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner
29 Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
30 The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
31 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
32 Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
33 The Trial – Franz Kafka
34 One Thousand and One Nights
35 The Red and the Black – Stendhal
36 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
37 Beloved – Toni Morrison
38 Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
39 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
40 The Stories of Anton Chekhov – Anton Chekhov
41 The Stranger – Albert Camus
42 The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
43 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
44 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
45 Tristram Shandy – Laurence Sterne
46 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
47 Candide – Voltaire
48 The Aeneid – Virgil
49 Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman
50 Collected Fiction – Jorge Luis Borges
51 The Complete Stories of Franz Kafka – Franz Kafka
52 Les Misérables – Victor Hugo
53 The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
54 The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
55 The Magic Mountain – Thomas Mann
56 A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
57 Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov
58 The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
59 As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
60 The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
61 Emma – Jane Austen
62 Oedipus the King –  Sophocles
63 The Good Soldier – Ford Madox Ford
64 Dead Souls – Nikolai Gogol
65 Animal Farm – George Orwell
66 The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
67 The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe – Edgar Allan Poe
68 For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
69 Under the Volcano – Malcolm Lowry
70 Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
71 The Castle – Franz Kafka
72 A Sentimental Education – Gustave Flaubert
73 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
74 Gargantua and Pantagruel – Francois Rabelais
75 Journey to the End of The Night – Louis-Ferdinand Céline
76 A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
77 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
78 The Possessed – Fyodor Dostoevsky
79 The Waste Land – T. S. Eliot
80 Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
81 Paradise Lost – John Milton
82 Antigone – Sophocles
83 On the Road – Jack Kerouac
84 The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
85 The Flowers of Evil – Charles Baudelaire
86 Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
87 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
88 The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
89 Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
90 Faust – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
91 Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
92 The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
93 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
94 Tom Jones – Henry Fielding
95 Oresteia – Aeschylus
96 Father Goriot – Honoré de Balzac
97 The Tin Drum – Günter Grass
98 Sons and Lovers D. H. Lawrence
99 Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
100 The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov


P.S.  You’re also kindly invited to join me in the companion 200 Films Challenge!