Cem livros e doze classicos

Here, and in all Brazil (as far as I know and have heard), public libraries are nowhere near as good as what is available in Canada or Europe. They are rare, tiny, and the books are in bad shape. It’s one of those things that I miss from Canada, though in the last years since I have children I haven’t been spending so much time in libraries as I used to.

Our local public library, right beside the one and only playground. (2013)

Thank God for my Kindle! I have been able to read a lot of ebooks since I have it. So to challenge myself even further I have put my name down over there to read at least 12 classics in 2014. Yeah I know it’s already April, but hey, since January I have already read :

Wives and Daughters, by Elizabeth Gaskell (thought it’s not on the list below, I suppose it’s a classic, no? — Highly recommended by yours truly, though it’s her unfinished novel. So sad, she died just before writing the last chapter. 😦 )

(And as you know, I also read the Divergent trilogy, but I don’t think its qualifies as a classic )

Some years ago I came across a list from the BBC that said something along the lines of “The best 100 books of all times”. How many have you read ? The problem is that this list contained a majority of English-speaking authors and had very little room for international literature. Since then, I have asked my friend Googly and found some other “Best 100 books” lists, my favorite so far is that one (source Wiki* fren). I also quite like the chronological presentation of the classics there (Wiki* pt) Here is the list in alphabetical order of the English title :

  1. 1984 by George Orwell, England, (1903-1950)
  2. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, Norway (1828-1906)
  3. A Sentimental Education (Une éducation sentimentale) by Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880)
  4. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner, United States, (1897-1962)
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, United States, (1835-1910)
  6. The Aeneid by Virgil, Italy, (70-19 BC)
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910)
  8. Beloved by Toni Morrison, United States, (b. 1931)
  9. Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin, Germany, (1878-1957)
  10. Blindness (Ensaio sobre a cegueira) by Jose Saramago, Portugal, (1922-2010)
  11. The Book of Disquiet (O Livro do Desassossego) by Fernando Pessoa, Portugal, (1888-1935)
  12. The Book of Job, Israel. (600-400 BC)
  13. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)
  14. Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann, Germany, (1875-1955)
  15. Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, England, (1340-1400)
  16. The Castle by Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924)
  17. Children of Gebelawi by Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt, (b. 1911)
  18. Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina, (1899-1986)
  19. Complete Poems by Giacomo Leopardi, Italy, (1798-1837)
  20. The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924)
  21. The Complete Tales by Edgar Allan Poe, United States, (1809-1849)
  22. Confessions of Zeno (La coscienza di Zeno) by Italo Svevo, Italy, (1861-1928)
  23. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)
  24. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, Russia, (1809-1852)
  25. The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910)
  26. Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, Italy, (1313-1375)
  27. The Devil to Pay in the Backlands (Grande Sertão: Veredas) by Joao Guimaraes Rosa, Brazil, (1880-1967)
  28. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories by Lu Xun, China, (1881-1936)
  29. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Italy, (1265-1321)
  30. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, Spain, (1547-1616)
  31. Essays by Michel de Montaigne, France, (1533-1592)
  32. Fairy Tales and Stories by Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark, (1805-1875)
  33. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany, (1749-1832)
  34. Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais, France, (1495-1553)
  35. Gilgamesh Mesopotamia, (c 1800 BC)
  36. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, England, (b.1919)
  37. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, England, (1812-1870)
  38. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Ireland, (1667-1745)
  39. Gypsy Ballads by Federico Garcia Lorca, Spain, (1898-1936)
  40. Hamlet by William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616)
  41. History by Elsa Morante, Italy, (1918-1985)
  42. Hunger by Knut Hamsun, Norway, (1859-1952)
  43. The Idiot by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)
  44. The Iliad by Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC)
  45. Independent People by Halldor K Laxness, Iceland, (1902-1998)
  46. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, United States, (1914-1994)
  47. Jacques the Fatalist and His Master (Jacques le fataliste et son maître) by Denis Diderot, France, (1713-1784)
  48. Journey to the End of the Night (Voyage au bout de la nuit) by Louis-Ferdinand Celine, France, (1894-1961)
  49. King Lear by William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616)
  50. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, United States, (1819-1892)
  51. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne, Ireland, (1713-1768)
  52. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Russia/United States, (1899-1977)
  53. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia, (b. 1928)
  54. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880)
  55. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, Germany, (1875-1955)
  56. Mahabharata, India, (c 500 BC)
  57. The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil, Austria, (1880-1942)
  58. The Mathnawi by Jalal ad-din Rumi, Afghanistan, (1207-1273)
  59. Medea by Euripides, Greece, (c 480-406 BC)
  60. Memoirs of Hadrian (Mémoires d’Hadrien) by Marguerite Yourcenar, France, (1903-1987)
  61. Metamorphoses by Ovid, Italy, (c 43 BC)
  62. Middlemarch by George Eliot, England, (1819-1880)
  63. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, India/Britain, (b. 1947)
  64. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, United States, (1819-1891)
  65. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, England, (1882-1941)
  66. Njaals Saga, Iceland, (c 1300)
  67. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad, England,(1857-1924)
  68. The Odyssey by Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC)
  69. Oedipus the King Sophocles, Greece, (496-406 BC)
  70. Old Goriot (Le père Goriot) by Honore de Balzac, France, (1799-1850)
  71. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, United States, (1899-1961)
  72. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia, (1928-2014)
  73. The Orchard by Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sadi, Iran, (c 1200-1292)
  74. Othello by William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616)
  75. Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo Juan Rulfo, Mexico, (1918-1986)
  76. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, Sweden, (1907-2002)
  77. Poems by Paul Celan, Romania/France, (1920-1970)
  78. The Possessed by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)
  79. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, England, (1775-1817)
  80. The Ramayana by Valmiki, India, (c 300 BC)
  81. The Recognition of Sakuntala by Kalidasa, India, (c. 400)
  82. The Red and the Black (Le rouge et le noir) by Stendhal, France, (1783-1842)
  83. Remembrance of Things Past (À la recherche du temps perdu) by Marcel Proust, France, (1871-1922)
  84. Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih, Sudan, (b. 1929)
  85. Selected Stories by Anton P Chekhov, Russia, (1860-1904)
  86. Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence, England, (1885-1930)
  87. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, United States, (1897-1962)
  88. The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata, Japan, (1899-1972)
  89. The Stranger by Albert Camus, France, (1913-1960)
  90. The Tale of Genji by Shikibu Murasaki, Japan, (c 1000)
  91. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Nigeria, (b. 1930)
  92. Thousand and One Nights, India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt, (700-1500)
  93. The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass, Germany, (b.1927)
  94. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, England, (1882-1941)
  95. The Trial by Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924)
  96. Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett, Ireland, (1906-1989)
  97. Ulysses by James Joyce, Ireland, (1882-1941)
  98. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910)
  99. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, England, (1818-1848)
  100. Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece, (1883-1957)

I’ve put in bold what I’ve already read… As you can see that’s not much (10/100), the BBC list was more forgiving (26/100) as it mentioned more popular works such as The Chronicles of Narnia, the Harry Potter series, plus many of the Austen novels which I have all read (all except Lady Susan which I’m reading now). However I think that between one list and the other I will find enough suggestions for my 12 classics in 2014 challenge. We’ll see how that goes. I read mainly in English and French, the original language whenever possible, but I hope to take the plunge into the Portuguese and Brazilian literature soon. See how much I understand of the written Portuguese language. I’ve started to read Wuthering Heights many times but find it depressing… Does it get better ? I’m afraid it won’t and I’m not sure I’d like that (I’m still recovering from the Divergent trauma o_O ).


12 comentários sobre “Cem livros e doze classicos

    • Si j’ai un conseil à donner c’est de commencer par du “facile”, la littérature jeunesse c’est super (Narnia, Harry Potter, etc.). Ensuite, dans mon cas, j’ai adoré relire tout A. Christie que j’avais lu en traduction française pendant l’adolescence; Hercule Poirot est beaucoup plus drôle quand on le lit en anglais ! Puis quand t’es bien motivée tu peux attaquer les livres “des grands”. 🙂

  1. Oulala avec tous ces titres en anglais je ne sais plus ce que j’ai lu ou pas et j’avoue je me décourage de me demander quels sont les titres en français 😉
    En tous cas, bon courage!!! 🙂 J’aimerais pouvoir dire que je vais faire pareil!!! Mais bon e crois pas…. J’ai très longtemps été une lectrice compulsive… depuis que je suis une blogueuse compulsive je lis moins!!!

  2. Ouh, ça faisait longtemps que je n’étais plus passée par ici !
    Je n’ai pas compté combien j’en avais lus parmi cette liste, peut-être 4 ou 5… Même s’il y en a plusieurs que je me dis depuis longtemps que je devrais lire. Je devrais peut-être me lancer dans ce challenge, moi qui ne fais pas grand-chose en ce moment…

    • Vas-y lance toi ! Surtout que j’ai pas trop comprit sur le site du challenge comment faire pour suivre les lectures des autres… Au moins si tu t’y met, je saurais où aller voir pour une des co-lectrices ! 🙂
      (Quoi de neuf chez toi? Comment va le bedon?)

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