The More Than Toast Book Club

 

Books have always been a really important part of my life. When I was a kid I was a total bookworm and you’d always find me with my nose in a book: at the supermarket with my mum, in the library at school lunchtime, up late at night under the covers with a torch (yep, I was that kid). I love how you can completely lose yourself in a good story, no matter what’s happening in your life at that time.

I’ve found one of the down sides of becoming a parent is the lack of time, space and available light to read. If anyone out there knows the best way to spend half an hour with a book at 10pm without waking your lightly sleeping 5 month old then please come forward now: I’ve taken to reading on my Kindle iPhone app and really easy books at that (Cheryl Cole’s autobiography, ahem). And in all honesty, this is probably one of the reasons why I find my brain is turning to mush. That and the little person hanging off my ankle screeching “mummy, mummy, mummy, FART” ten thousand times a day.

When I made my Life List I thought that my love of literature should be a part of it. This is why I included the goal to read my way through a ‘Top 100’ list of books. And that’s one thing I’ve wanted to start accomplishing (the 5 month old will soon become six months old and will be ceremoniously moved to his own room). However, when it came to selecting the perfect top 100 list I became a bit stumped. The last list officially compiled by a newspaper over 4 years ago, and I want to include in my list more modern works. So I’ve decided to come up with my own.

Using a few ‘Top 100’ lists I found via Google (this one by The Telegraph, this one from the Guardian, The BBC’s Big Read and World Library’s Top 100) I have compiled the below books, but I want your help. I have 35 spaces left to fill and I need you to fill them! So what are your favourite, most thought changing and seminal books?

1. The DaVinci Code Dan Brown
2. Sarah J. T. LeRoy (thanks Charlotte!)
3. The Lord Of The Rings J. R. R. Tolkien
4. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
5. Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier
6. Little Women Louisa M. Alcott
7. The Harry Potter series J.K. Rowling
8. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernieres
9. Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden (my all-time favourite)
10. Trainspotting Irvine Welsh
11. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
12. Emma Jane Austen
13. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl
14. Goodnight Mister Tom Michelle Magorian
15. The Railway Children E. Nesbit
16. The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini 
17. Animal Farm George Orwell
18. The Catcher In The Rye J. D. Salinger
19. Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck
20. The BFG Roald Dahl 
21. Black Beauty Anna Sewell
22. Bridget Jones’s Diary Helen Fielding
23. On The Road Jack Kerouac
24. A Brave New World Aldous Huxley (Obviously have to have this one!)
25. The Princess Diaries Meg Cabot
26. 1984 George Orwell
27. Lolita Vladimir Nobokov
28. Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez
29. Lady Chatterly’s Lover John Worthen
30. Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe
31. Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
32. Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe
33. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
34. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll
35. Anna Karenina L.N. Tolstoy
36. Charlotte’s Web E.B. White
37. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
38. Shantaram Gregory David Roberts (Will’s all-time favourite)
39. The Twilight saga Stephenie Meyer
40. To The Lighthouse Virginia Woolf
41. Les Liasons Dangereuses Choderlos de Laclos and Helen Constantine
42. Dr Zhivago Boris Pasternak
43. Winnie-The-Pooh A. A. Milne
44. Murder on the Orient Express Agatha Christie
45. A Child Called It Dave Pelzer
46. A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess
47. The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkein
48. Moby Dick Herman Melville
49. The Time Traveller’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger
50. The Life of Pi Yann Martel
51. Fight Club Chuck Palahnniuk
52. Middlemarch George Eliot
53. The Bell Jar Silvia Plath
54. A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini
55. Atonement Ian McEwan
56. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon
57. The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
58. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson
59. The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank
60. Birdsong Sebastian Faulks
61. Prozac Nation Elizabeth Wurtzel 
62. The Notebook Nicholas Sparks
63. One Day David Nicholls
64. Junk Melvin Burgess
65. London Fields Martin Amis
66. Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides (via Myra)
67. The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck (via Dorky Mum
68. The Secret History Donna Tartt (via Dorky Mum/Sarah Palmer)
69. The Unbearable Lightness of Being Milan Kundera (via Claire White/Ismay Ozga)
70. The Book Thief Marcus Zusak
71. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Ken Kesey (via Ismay Ozga)
72. The English Patient Michael Ondaatje (via Ismay Ozga)
73. The Corrections Johnathan Frazon (via Anna Morrison)
74. Good Omens Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (via Alexandra Roumbas Goldstein)
75. Wild Swans Jung Chang (via Hannah and Deepa)
76. The Beach Alex Garland (via Deepa)
77. The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams (via Deepa)
78. Goethe’s Faust Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (via Carolin)
79. Sophie’s World Jostein Gaarder (via Claire, Lauren, Katie and Ciara)
80. The End of Mr Y Scarlett Thomas (via Suzy
81. PS. I Love You Cecelia Ahern (via Lyra Bailey-Barnes)
82. The Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis (via Lyra Bailey-Barnes)
83. A Fine Balance Rohan Mistry (via Camilla)
84. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (via Lauren)
85. House of Leaves Mark Z Danielewski (via Jasper)
86. A  Million Little Pieces James Frey (via Katie)
87. Enduring Love Ian McEwan (via Katie, Sarah and Sarah)
88. The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver (via Chloe)
89. The Trumpet Major Thomas Harding (via Sarah)
90. The End of the Affair Graham Greene (via Kate)
91. Hangover Square Patrick Hamilton (via Kate)
92. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Dave Eggers (via Jackie McDonnell)
93. The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman (via Michelle)
94. Cloud Atlas David Mitchell (via Michelle)
95. Her Fearful Symmetry Audrey Niffenegger (via Mrs B)
96. Be The Worst You Can Be Charles Saachi (via Blane Chapman)
97. High Fidelity Nick Hornby (via polagem)
98. Past Mortem Ben Elton (via Katy Wayne)
99. 19 Minutes Jodi Picoult (via Lizzi)
100. When God Was A Rabbit Sarah Winman (via Binslie)

 

66 Comments
  1. Some of my favourite books are

    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (he of the Virgin Suicides)
    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
    The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde
    Most Alice HOffman books

    There are too many wonderful books and not enough time. I find it really hard to focus on reading with a 2 month old and a 2 year old but I have just picked up Rebecca’s tale by Sally Beauman which, if you’ve read Rebecca, is surprisingly good.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions! I’m a big fan of Rebecca so will definitely try that one and will add a couple of these to my list.

  2. I would add The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie, something by Ernest Hemingway, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, and the Regeneration trilogy by Pat Barker. And probably loads more that I can’t think of right now!

    1. Funny you should mention The Grapes Of Wrath… my husband has been reading it! Though I don’t think he’s managed to pick it up since Hux was born. Thanks for the fab suggestions!

  3. My favourites include The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder.
    I’m just re-reading Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks and have just finished the fabulous Any Human Heart by William Boyd.

    C x

  4. ha ha – I was also that child who used to read books under the covers when I was meant to be sleeping! I was also that child who ran away from home….to the local library!

    One of my favourite books of all time has to be The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. Others I would recommend would be We by Zamyatin and also The Girls by Lori Jansens.

    Love seeing people’s book lists – I love having lots of book recommendations :)

  5. Oh god The Grapes of Wrath made me weep. All time favourites- Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut… Oh and lots more!! If you don’t want more mush for brains maybe leave out The Da Vinci Code & 50 Shades?! Ha.

  6. Ah I’m trying to compile a list of books I want to read, there are so many!! Since becoming a parent I found short stories are good as its just enough to keep my brain working without the having the dedication of a novel. (I can usually finish one story before I drift off) my favourite collections of short stories are … What we talk about when we talk about love/ Elepant/Cathredral all by Raymond Carver. Fine just the way it is, Annie Proulx and Collected stories by John Cheever oh also check out Lorrie Moore.. Also for a bit of family disfuction The Corrections by Johnathan Frazon is my all time favourite novel!

  7. Ah I’m trying to compile a list of books I want to read, there are so many!! Since becoming a parent I found short stories are good as its just enough to keep my brain working without the having the dedication of a novel. (I can usually finish one story before I drift off) my favourite collections of short stories are … What we talk about when we talk about love/ Elepant/Cathredral all by Raymond Carver. Fine just the way it is, Annie Proulx and Collected stories by John Cheever oh also check out Lorrie Moore.. Also for a bit of family disfuction The Corrections by Jonathan Frazen is my all time favourite novel!

  8. Forgive me if I’m repeating things – I did read the list but I forget things! Some of my very favourites ever:

    A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
    Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
    I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
    Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
    The Crow Road – Iain Banks
    The Secret History – Donna Tartt
    The Name of the Wind (this is the first in a trilogy – the last is still to be released) – Patrick Rothfuss
    When You Reach Me – Rebecca Stead

    and if you’re including non-fiction:

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
    Health at Every Size – Linda Bacon (yes, really)

    After six months of reading nothing but nonsense interspersed with the joy that is Rothfuss, I decided to try and read Wolf Hall. I usually read really fast, but toddlers and reading do not mix, and then when she’s in bed I’m too tired to do anything but watch MasterChef Australia (if anyone spoils it for me, they will DIE). Ramona’s in her own room now of course, but I’m really tempted to get a Kindle Paperwhite so that I can read in bed without waking Ashley!

  9. Wow, what an inspiring list! I may do this alongside you too!
    I would add Wild Swans by Jung Chang which is my favourite ever book and A Thousand Splendid Suns which is the follow up to The Kite Runner.
    Can’t wait to see your final 100!
    Hannah x

  10. If you like Memoirs of a Geisha then you’ll enjoy Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang. It is terribly sad but also a beautiful book.

    Others that would go on my list:

    The Beach – Alex Garland
    Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy
    A Suitable Boy – currently trying to read this but it not being on Kindle means I am struggling as it is a massive book to heave around!

  11. Goethe’s Faust to throw a really good German classic in there. It comes in two parts, but the first one is my absolute favourite. It’s a brilliant book x

  12. You have some nice ones on there-a few of my favourites are getting a look in. I’d also recommend adding
    The grapes of wrath,
    The Night Circus,
    The Book Thief,
    A Fine Balance,
    A heartbreaking work of staggering genius,
    American Pastoral and
    Sophie’s World.
    And definitely skip the Da Vinci Code-seriously one of the worst books I have ever read!!

  13. Not sure if you could call this a classic, but a book I absolutely adore is The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas. It’s smart, readable, slightly weird fiction. Don’t let the kiddy-style cover put you off.

    Very glad to see you have Brave New World on the list as well. That would be my number one. I’ve re-read it a bunch of times and always force it on people as a present.

  14. Some of my favourites are The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy (my favourite books of all time), A Beginners Guide To Acting English by Shappi Khorsandi, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. Any anything by Terry Pratchett!

    I miss reading as much as I used to. Only 2 or 3 years ago I would read on average a book a week, now we’re almost done with 2012 and I’ve only read 7 books this year! I find Pinterest a good place to keep track of things I’ve read: http://pinterest.com/holsworth/books-i-ve-read-2011/
    http://pinterest.com/holsworth/books-i-ve-read-2012/

  15. Nice to see some of my favourites on here – I must be doing something right with my reading!! Some of my suggestions would be:
    ? I Don’t Know How She Does It – Allison Pearson
    ? PS. I love you – Cecilia Ahern
    ? Where Rainbows End – Cecilia Ahern
    ? Once in a Lifetime – Cathy Kelly
    ? Noughts and Crosses series – Malorie Blackman
    ? The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S Lewis
    ? At least 3 books from the Discworld Series!!!! – Sir Terry Pratchett
    ? His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

    These are all I can think of for now!! Enjoy your reading :-) xx

  16. Don’t waste precious time reading 50 shades….proper dross….rest of the list looks wonderful and inspiring. Have you read a fine balance? Or cloud atlas?

  17. ‘The Perks of being a Wallflower’ – it’s my go to book. I have my original copy, bashed, bruised and underlined. This book altered my life, gave me strength to go on.

    ‘Sophie’s World’ – Just a must.

    ‘Bird Song’ – Perceiver, because it will be worth it.

  18. I am also a big bookworm and I like a varied reading list- some to add to your list might be- (Sorry if I have repeated any but these are some of my favourites)

    A Million Little Pieces- James Frey
    The Alchemist- Paul Coelho
    The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath
    Sophies World- Jostein Gaarder
    Enduring Love- Ian McEwan
    Me Before You- JoJo Moyes
    Room- Emma Donoghue

    xxx

  19. I need to make time for reading again.

    Another vote for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. If you are looking to add in some Dickens, David Copperfield is my favourite, but it’s LONG. And a book that I come back to time and time again is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – definitely recommend this one.

  20. Sounds a bit random, and very few people have heard of it, but The Trumpet Major by Thomas Hardy is amazing. I read it in my late teens/early twenties and it defo rocked my small world back then.

  21. I did this a few years ago my New Year’s resolution was 100 books in a year (I was spending 3 hours travelling to and from work so it was achievable then!)
    I ones that really have stayed with me, and I find myself thinking about a lot are:

    1. Graham Greene – The End of the Affair
    2. Hangover Square – Patrick Hamilton
    3. Room at the Top – John Braine
    4. Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky – Patrick Hamilton
    5. The Wayward Bus – John Steinbeck
    6. Decline and Fall – Evelyn Waugh
    7. For Esme with Love and Squalor – J.D. Salinger
    8. Down and Out in Paris and London – George Orwell
    9. Three Men in New Suits – J.B. Priestley
    10. The Slaves of Solitude – Patrick Hamilton

    Not exactly a list of feel good reads, but they are all incredible! Keep us posted on how you get on x

    1. I’ve added Hangover Square!

      I did consider vowing to complete this challenge in a year but I’m not sure that’s achievable at the moment: did you manage it? x

      1. I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I did. I managed it, thanks to my work being right by an Oxfam Bookshop (49p for a novel!) Quite a few of the plots got jumbled up… perhaps it was just too much information for me to take in! x

  22. You already have the one that I tell everyone to read: – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

    I have to recommend some Neil Gaiman, but it’s tricky to get the right one to start. I’d probably say The Graveyard Book which sort of sits between adult and children’s fiction. And on the same basis recommend the Tiffany Aching series from Terry Pratchett, starting with the Wee Free Men. then if you like that you can explore more Discworld novels.

    Classics:
    The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
    Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
    David Copperfield/Great Expectations – Dickens
    1984 – George Orwell
    And if you have room for another Jane Austen, can I persuade you to Persuasion?

    More modern:
    Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
    Room – Emma Donohoe
    God’s Own Country – Ross Raisin
    The Road – Cormac McCarthy

    Enjoy and thanks for posting. I shall take my own inspiration from this list, though I shan’t waste my time on 50 shades as katyboo’s read it so I don’t have to

  23. Some great books on here. Now I know where to go when I’m seeking some reading inspiration. You have plenty to keep you going but I must suggest a beautiful book that remains one of my favs – The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls. Oh, and then there’s always the Hunger Games series. I flew through the 3 books in a week…

  24. I love Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou after studying them at uni. Try The bluest eye and I know why the caged bird sings.

  25. In my teens I read a book that, to this day, has been the one that most backed up/changed my view about the feminism movement (we are talking about the 70s). At the time it was a seminal work – the first best seller on the subject – so I am very surprised not to see it here (although as a father in my 50s, I am not quite your demographic). Maybe the view of marriage depicted is seen today as too bleak, maybe it was just a book for its time, but I reckon it is still worth a read. The book? The Women’s Room by Marilyn French.

  26. My favourite book, and one that is not on your list is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

    It is a book about a book. A book written by a book lover, for book lovers, about book lovers.

    It is an epic film on paper, gloomy and engaging, smokey, noir with crumbling ruins, young love, disfigurment, lust, torture.

  27. Wow! What a genius idea. i do well with lists in all other areas so am vowing to start a literature list myself – may nick a few books from yours if i may!?

    i second the ideas above for the following, and have added some of my own:

    Wild Swans – Jung Chang
    I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith (my favourite as a teenager)
    One Day – David Nicholls
    Brooklyn – Colm Toibin
    A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
    … i could go on.

    Right, off to start my list.. am getting a kindle for christmas so perfect time for preparation! xx

    1. That’s part of my challenge – I’m trying to read as many of these as possible on my kindle! So far I’ve been surprised by how many are physical books only.

      Thanks for the suggestions! Wild Swans and One Day are on there but I’m going to have to check out A Town Like Alice!x

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