Lets start this out with the 1001 books you must read before you die list, which I found via google on listology.com. This sounds like a fun idea, although I don't want to spend every moment of reading time agonizing over whether I am accomplishing the list... we'll address this in the future, I'm sure!
Here are the ones I HAVE read and whether I was forced to (school) or whether it was by choice.
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer- my choice (my only post-year-2000 read, which is amazing since there are 10 years of post-2000 literature already!!!)
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden-choice
The Cider House Rules by John Irving-choice
White Noise by Don DeLillo- school
The Color Purple by Alice Walker- choice
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams- choice
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next by Ken Kesey- choice
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien- choice
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov- choice
Lord of the Flies by William Golding- school
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway- school
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger- school
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton- school
Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake- choice
Animal Farm by George Orwell- school
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck- school then again by choice
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien- choice
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell- choice
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley- school
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald- school then again boy choice
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton- choice
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells- choice
Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll- choice
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott- school
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll- choice
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens- school
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens- school
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe- school, I picked it for the project
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne- school
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- choice, then again for school
The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe- choice
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- choice
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift- school
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan- sunday school
Metamorphoses by Ovid- school, translated from latin
So yeah- 35 down. Hundreds upon hundreds to go. I only counted the books that I know for sure I have read all the way through- there are several more that I have started, or even made a very strong start but then didn't finish for one reason or another. I'm already interested in many on the list, so I figure I'll chip away at it when I think to and enjoy it.
One of the things I noticed was that a vast majority of what I have read comes from the 1800s. In fact, most of the list came from the 1800s. Think about how far culture and society have deviated from the way things were 200 years ago, and yet our body of literature is still mostly from then. I think it would be great if we could continue to have breakthroughs in writing and literature to keep the art of writing (and reading) alive. I guess that perhaps this is why we're in the era of blogs??
More later, if I remember.