72 More Books to Read Before I Die

21 Mar

Many people have been talking about the Amazon list of 100 Books to Read Before You Die and I thought I’d put in my two cents.

Only counting books that I’ve actually read (have held in my hand and looked at each word) or heard on audiobook, I’ve read 27. While it’s more than a lot of people, it’s still underwhelming. A list of these is included at the bottom of this post. On my TBR list, which I have not edited to include any of these books after discovering the list, I have another 4, which would bring me to a total of 31 books. Not even a third of the way there.

Should I feel like I’m not well read? The sub-title of the list is “A bucket-list of books to create a well read life.” So Amazon thinks I’m not well read. Huh. I’ll admit there are a few on this list I should have read, such as Charlotte’s Web and The Handmaid’s Tale. Here I’ll accept blame. But I also haven’t read Moneyball (and to be fair, haven’t seen the movie) because I really don’t care about baseball.

I’m tempted to want to take on this list; add them to my TBR pile and watch them fall one by one. But then I look at the books on my shelf that I’ve been waiting to read for months and years and I realize that I’d much rather read John Irving’s In One Person and enjoy my favorite author that try to fight through The Color of Water, who’s four-word description doesn’t move me at all.

I think I’ll take this list as a slight bump in all books’ potential of being added to my list. I haven’t read The Catcher in the Rye, but if someone else recommends it, I’ll consider adding it to my list.

Truthfully, I’d rather pursue my own list; the 108 books on my Goodreads To-Read list (hint, follow me on Goodreads… hint). Nothing personal to Amazon, but there are a ton of these lists. The blog 101 Books is all about reading the Time’s list and he’s been at it for years. Would I enjoy some of these books? I’m sure I would. Should I read them and find out? Meh.

What are your thoughts, Reader? Do you read books because they’re on a list someone has written of good books? What about award winners; have you been tempted to read something because it won an award? I don’t tend to choose my books based on this and I’m curious how many people do.

Until next time, write on.

Books from the list I have read: 1984, Angela’s Ashes, Born to Run, Catch 22, Fahrenheit 451, Goodnight Moon, Great Expectations, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, In Cold Blood, Little House on the Prairie, Lolita, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Middlesex, Pride & Prejudice, The Book Thief, The Devil in the White City, The Fault in Our Stars, The Great Gatsby, The Hunger Games, The Lord of the Rings, The Poisionwood Bible, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The World According to Garp, To Kill a Mockingbird, Unbroken, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Where the Wild Things Are

Books on the list I plan to read: Gone Girl, Life After Life, The Sun Also Rises, The Things They Carried

10 Responses to “72 More Books to Read Before I Die”

  1. cellenbogen March 21, 2014 at 12:13 PM #

    I do look at lists. And if I’m stuck for an idea, I’ll read something off of a “Best of” list or a genre list or to fill in a gap in my reading repertoire. I also like the banned book lists. But I don’t let them determine whether I’m well-read; nor should you.


    • Sam March 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM #

      I like the ‘Best of’ lists when I’m stuck, that’s true. I don’t tend to have a lot of gaps, though, with my 100+ TBR list!


  2. Jen Lund March 21, 2014 at 12:14 PM #

    Sam – I’ve read 25 and you should definitely read “The Catcher in the Rye”


    • Sam March 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM #

      All right, you’ve convinced me to add it to the list!


  3. Lauren Henderson March 22, 2014 at 6:44 PM #

    I agree. I don’t choose my books based on “Best of ” lists either. Especially ones on the Oprah book club… Ha. I’ve found that I usually can’t stand those. I do look at lists out of curiosity but only consider reading them if they actually sound interesting and if people I trust recommend them.


    • Sam March 23, 2014 at 8:57 AM #

      I like working off recommendations. If someone steers you wrong, you can just stop listening to their recommendations.


  4. readingcook March 24, 2014 at 8:21 AM #

    There are so many great books out there, and so I do find it helpful to check out lists (your Goodreads bookshelf would be one) as a resource in narrowing down books that I think I would like or that I think would stretch me as a reader. I don’t think I would worry too much about whether or not Amazon would consider you well read – you have your own substantial list of books read and to-read that is a much better indicator that you are indeed well read!


    • Sam March 24, 2014 at 8:42 AM #

      I think part of being well-read is that you have a variety of books you’ve read and I strive for that. I like historical fiction, but I’ll read a non-fiction book or a YA book if it’s on a topic I don’t know much about. One of the things I like about book clubs is that they broaden my bookshelf to things I wouldn’t have looked at otherwise. I think that really helps me feel ‘well read.’


  5. Cathy746books March 24, 2014 at 9:47 AM #

    You seem to have read some of the really good ones out of this list. I read the lists for curiousity but most of the time the ones I haven’t read are the ones I’m not that interested in either! For the record, I haven’t read Charlotte’s Web but am waiting until my 3 year old twins are old enough so we can read it together. I would recommend The Catcher in the Rye, although I read it and loved it in my late teens so I’m not sure if I would still love it now in my early 40’s! Do read The Handmaid’s Tale though, it’s a blinder!


    • Sam March 24, 2014 at 10:22 AM #

      My mother already insisted I read ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ so it’s on the list. I’m adding ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ After so many people have said I’ll like it, I should just give in and read it!


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