50 Essential Reads

I love to read.  But in the past few years I've tended to read financial magazines or craft articles or marriage books (Mr. Penguin and I read them to each other - it's our couples therapy).  Stuff that relates to real life but isn't really a story.

With all of the challenges I've been adding to the site lately I thought I should add another.  Which got me thinking about books.  I read...but I don't read anything new.  As in, I can't remember the last time I picked up a random novel and just read for the fun of it.

And I think that should change.

I found a new site (I'm an internet addict, can you tell?!).  It tracks lists.  You can select one that they have, you can make your own, you can steal one from someone else - either way it's a list.  I opted to go with a list of books I want to read before I die.  I chose the contemporary list to broaden my horizons in regards to authors, although I may add some of the classic ones too. 

This is separate from my 101 in 1001 Challenge as I'm giving myself my lifetime to complete it.  I'm thinking a couple books a year should do it.  I'm excited.

The list: 
"Orange Prize for Fiction's 50 Essential Reads by Contemporary Authors" (United Kingdom)
  1. A Prayer For Owen Meany – John Irving
  2. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  3. American Pastoral – Philip Roth
  4. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  5. Being Dead – Jim Crace
  6. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
  7. Captain Corelli's Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
  8. Cloudstreet – Tim Winton
  9. Disgrace – J. M. Coetzee - read
  10. Enduring Love – Ian McEwan
  11. Faith Singer – Rosie Scott
  12. Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
  13. Fred and Edie – Jill Dawson
  14. Fugitive Pieces – Anne Michaels
  15. Girl with a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  16. Grace Notes – Bernard MacLaverty
  17. High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
  18. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman (The first book)
  19. Hotel World – Ali Smith
  20. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
  21. Midnight's Children – Salman Rushdie
  22. Misery – Stephen King
  23. Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow – Peter Hoeg
  24. Money – Martin Amis
  25. Music and Silence – Rose Tremain
  26. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  27. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
  28. Riders – Jilly Cooper
  29. Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
  30. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  31. The Corrections – Jonathan Franzen
  32. The Golden Notebook – Doris M. Lessing
  33. The Handmaid's Tale – Margaret Atwood (4X)
  34. The House of Spirits – Isabel Allende
  35. The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
  36. The Passion – Jeanette Winterson
  37. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
  38. The Rabbit Books – John Updike
  39. Regeneration – Pat Barker
  40. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  41. The Shipping News – E. Annie Proulx
  42. The Tin Drum – Günter Grass
  43. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
  44. The Women's Room – Marilyn French - read
  45. Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson
  46. Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh
  47. Unless – Carol Shields
  48. What a Carve-Up – Jonathan Coe
  49. What I Loved – Siri Hustvedt
  50. White Teeth – Zadie Smith

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