Thursday, May 22, 2008

In Which A List of Books Is Covered

Here's a list of books that one's supposed to have read; mark those you have read already in bold, those that are on your bookshelf and are piteously crying out for a solid read in italics, and leave the ones you haven't touched with a bargepole (yet) without any markup. I assume, especially for the classics, that only unabridged works are allowed to be marked as read. (Or the list below shall light up in bold like a Christmas tree.)
The list is from Chandni apparently, via Whiny The Moo's blog. Here's some link love: Chandni and Mukta.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina (I believe this is Abhra Banerjee's copy. Ho ho ho.)
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22 (why half bold? Because I couldn't complete the book. Too darn repetitive.)
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion

Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose (Sigh. What a book. I quizzed Amitav Ghosh with points from this book.)
Don Quixote (One of the first books I read on my mobile phone. Geek.)

Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey (I read a translation by T E Lawrence, of Arabian fame. Yes. That dude on the bike.)

Pride and Prejudice (Ebook.)
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel (I've got an e-copy of Collapse with me, which I shall read some day inshallah.)
War and Peace

Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad (I'm counting audio books as well. :D)

The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner

Mrs. Dalloway (Seriously? I tried reading this once, and then gave up. It's called "opportunity cost"; I have very limited time on my hands.)
Great Expectations (Dickens' best.)

American Gods (Ahh. This book blew my mind away.)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Atlas Shrugged (Read this book just before entering college, like everyone else, and felt vaguely rebellious and anti-authority. Jeez.)
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
Quicksilver (First book of Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. Salute.)
The Canterbury Tales

The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera

Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum (Takes Dan Brown and whips his sorry posterior from Rome to London.)
Frankenstein (Read this one in 6th grade. What can I say - in Munger's words, I was a book with two legs sticking out.)
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula (Courtesy my elder brother. Also, The Omen, which was a hoot.)
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys (Sequel to American Gods, not nearly as nice, but you can still find traces of genius here.)
The Once and Future King (.genre this with possible is what to eyes my opened which book fantasy first The. If you've read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about.)

The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
1984 (My dad's gift to me in 7th grade, when I was leaning towards Communism. He saved my soul.)
Angels and Demons
Inferno (Audio book, narrated by John Cleese! Yay!)

The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Correction
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (My bro printed out and read the entire book in size 10 fonts. Yes, we are cheap people.)
The Prince

The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Slaughterhouse Five
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots and Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas (Again, I'm halfway through.)

The Confusion
Lolita (It's pretty funny actually. You should try reading it. Funny as in that weird guy who keeps staring at me at the bus stand, not funny as in ha-ha.)

Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow (What can I say? I'm still trying to understand this. Before you ask, no annotations, thank you.)

The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Now for the list of books I suggest you should read, off the top of my head:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (If you haven't read this yet, go kill yourself. Seriously. I might be able to help.)
The Agony And The Ecstasy (The closest historical parallel to Howard Roark.)
Pilgrim's Progess
The Decameron (The mother-lode of all framed stories in Western lit.)
The Rubaiyyat (Thank you Mondy.)
The Ramayana (A translation by Rajagopalachari ji.)
The Mahabharata (Again, the Gov-General's translation.)
Theogony (Those savages did have a vivid imagination.)
Fooled By Randomness (It dusts away all the cobwebs in your brain.)
Bill Bryson's Made In America (You learn so much more about your beloved language.)
Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion (Simmons, not Keats. If you need to read one series in the science fiction genre, let this be it. You won't need anything else.)
Endymion and The Rise of Endymion (Simmons, not Keats.)
Contact (Read this from cover to cover, and understand what the word God actually means.)
Small Gods (Pratchett never fails to cheer me up, and this is, in my opinion, his best work [a hotly contested spot].)
Good Omens (Pratchett & Gaiman. What more can I say?)
Midnight's Children (Forget anything else he wrote. This is the best. Ever.)
The Lord of The Rings (Surprisingly missing from the previous list, probably because of the movies. After devouring this from cover to cover, I bought and read each of his books. Yes. That's all the ten or eleven books in the History of Middle Earth series as well. Ask me for personal recommendations from this body of work.)
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Moon and Sixpence
The "Song of Ice and Fire" series
Nightfall: A Collection of Short Stories (Not Asimov's collaboration with Silverberg, which is a piece of crap.)
Any collection of short stories by Philip Dick (Don't go for the novels. The stories are totally worth it though.)
Borges' Ficciones (Especially The Library of Babel.)
The Sandman Series (The best graphic novel series ever. You'll learn more about history and myth than from a million other books.)
Maus (Chilling rendition of WWII. Why is this special? Google's your friend.)
The Hero With A Thousand Faces
HG Wells' A Short History of the World (Covers everything from dinosaurs to WWI. Surprisingly interesting and readable. Try it out.)

Can't think of any more right now. I'll keep adding to this list. Or perhaps make it a permanent feature.
As for you, reader, consider yourself tagged.


Moo said...

Damn right! How did they not feature 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'Lord of the Rings' in the list?

After my admitted illiteracy, I still get to comment on your blog, right? :'(

Over Rated said...

I haven't read a lot of the books on the list ..... I think I can't claim to be elite anymore :( .... and I think I need to come up with my own list then ....

Mugger Much said...


Illiteracy has never been a barrier to commenting on my blog, trust me! :)

@Over rated:
Do come up with your own list. Maybe we can share our combined lists somewhere and have a mega reading list for the mango people (aam junta) ??

sandeep said...

wow! i take it as an invitation to start scratching my memory cells....will start my list soon [:)]

akshaye said...

Great list.. made me dust off my copy of the hitchikers guide and re-read it!

You are missing one of my big favorites on that list - G.E.B.

Glad to find you on twitter!

Mugger Much said...


Dude, I'd love to see your list!


It took me quite a while to decide whether to include GEB or not - on one hand, it's right up there as one of the best books I've ever had the privilege of reading; on the other hand, I wasn't quite sure how many people with a non-CS background would be able to appreciate strange loops. I thought it best to leave it out for the time being - maybe in another topical list someday later? :D

Mugger Much said...


And, yeah, twitter rocks.. :D

subbu said...

Hi, got an e copy of Guns Germs and Steel? Will put up a portrait of you in the ex governors hall :)

Mugger Much said...


Yes. Message me on orkut, or add me on GTalk.
And thanks for the Hall of Phame! :D

A$B said...

santa claus - the spelling is banerji.. and the story behind how i stumbled onto this post and this blog will probably be a combination of googlewhack and harold and kumar escape from guantanamo bay .. anyway, what you upto? and please overnight that book to NYC please :P

oh and i don't blog or nothing - so excuse the sacrilege, desecration, transgression or plain simple excretion :)

Mugger Much said...


LOL :) Dude it's been a while. Add me on gtalk if you're so inclined, roughly 15 degrees to the perpendicular.
(I stand deeply ashamed of my sense of humour.)

Ah yes, mishra (dot) anshuman (at) geee-mail (dawt) com.

chandni said...

woh sab to theek hai but why have u left so many half finished?

didn't like them or some other reason?

Mugger Much said...


At any given point in time, you'll find me simultaneously reading anywhere from 2-10 books. The choice of text depends on a range of factors, including my mood and the time of day.
And some of them remain half-read because of that evil gnome, Opportunity Cost. Given a choice between a book that slakes my thirst for a particular genre and one that, though very interesting, does not appeal to me at that point in time, I'll choose the former.
The good thing is I know exactly what I'd love to read at any point in time, so that helps!! :D

El Katto said...

Finally took the time to read your blog and I end up reading the booklist.:). Well wonder where the Inshallah came from? Oh yes! You might have missed Tigana. I am starting it in 3-4 days. :)

saswati said...

A very good collection of books.I have read 3/4ths of it.I would love to add a few more books like Three men in a boat,Gone with the Wind,War and Peace,Mother

Subash said...

Great man, you have reads 5 times more book than me in this list. I have read 8/107.

Miles to go before I sleep.