Monday, January 18, 2016

Filling in the 'Gaps' in 2016

Do you think classic books (even modern classics) are best left to students? Or do you indulge throughout your life?


I am in the latter camp. I read some great books in school, but there are too many good books to simply stop because no grades are involved.

As a result, I have begun "Filling in the Gaps" of my reading. The original challenge was to make a list of 100 books to read in five years. My list was originally published in 2010, was ambitious — and one that was destined to change. I realized some books were not worth reading after all, and others I discovered I already had read.

Additionally, the list was influenced by an interactive project with my friend Carole: Weighty Reads, in which we chose 20 books to read together in the next decade, with a few related books tucked into our repertoire along the way.

Frankly, one should adjust one's list as time goes on. Is Asimov as important as Bradbury? Should I keep three Dickens at the cost of Jerome K. Jerome and Patricia Highsmith? Do I sacrifice classics for modern classics? The answers differ depending on who one is at the time the decision is made.

Here is the most recent iteration of the list, with a few more books marked off since it was published.


Fill in the Gaps, 2016


  1. 1001 Nights / Arabian Nights
  2. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
  3. Highsmoor, Peter Ackroyd
  4. Foundation, Isaac Asimov
  5. Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood
  6. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  7. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
  8. √ Sundays With Vlad, Paul Bibeau
  9. Ten Days in a Mad-House, Nellie Bly
  10. √ The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown
  11. The Early Fears, Robert Bloch
  12. The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
  13. A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  14. Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Ann Burns
  15. √ The Land that Time Forgot, Edgar Rice  Burroughs
  16. √  Tobacco Road, Erskine Caldwell
  17. √  Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
  18. Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather
  19. O Pioneers!, Willa Cather
  20. Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
  21. Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
  22. The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
  23. The Stories of John Cheever, John Cheever
  24. Girl with the Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
  25. √ The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
  26. Moll Flanders, Daniel DeFoe
  27. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
  28. Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens
  29. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
  30. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
  31. The Man in the Iron Mask, Alexandre Dumas
  32. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers
  33. Middlemarch, George Eliot
  34. So Big, Edna Ferber
  35. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
  36. Where Angels Fear to Tread, E.M. Forster
  37. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
  38. The Women’s Room, Marilyn French
  39. In the Woods, Tana French
  40. The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
  41. √ Unbroken, Lauren Hildenbrand
  42. √ Goodbye, Mr. Chips, James Hilton
  43. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
  44. The Bone People, Keri Hulme
  45. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
  46. The  Lost Weekend, Charles R. Jackson
  47. √ The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
  48. The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
  49. Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
  50. √ Up the Down Staircase, Bel Kaufman
  51. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
  52. √ Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, Jean Kerr
  53. √  The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
  54. The Jungle Books, Rudyard Kipling
  55. The Man Who Would Be King, Rudyard Kipling
  56. A Separate Peace, John Knowles
  57. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, John LeCarre
  58. The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing
  59. Sliver, Ira Levin
  60. Elmer Gantry, Sinclair Lewis
  61. √ The Monk, Matthew Gregory Lewis
  62. The Call of the Wild, Jack London
  63. √ The Best of H.P. Lovecraft, H.P. Lovecraft
  64. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  65. Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
  66. The Road, Cormac McCarthy
  67. The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers
  68. √ Atonement, Ian McEwan
  69. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurty
  70. Peyton Place, Grace Metalious
  71. Beloved, Toni Morrison
  72. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  73. Suite Fran├žaise, Irene Nemirovsky
  74. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy O'Toole
  75. The Portable Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker
  76. Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak
  77. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
  78. Anubis Gates, Tim Powers
  79. Remembrance of Things Past/In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust
  80. All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
  81. Home, Marylynne Robinson
  82. The Human Stain, Philip Roth
  83. The God of Small Things, Arundathi Roy
  84. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
  85. √ A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
  86. Prayers to Broken Stones, Dan Simmons
  87. Enemies, A Love Story, Isaac Bashevis Singer
  88. Angle of Repose, Wallace Steigner
  89. √ Dracula, Bram Stoker
  90. The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkington
  91. The Man Who Fell to Earth, Walter Tevis
  92. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
  93. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
  94. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  95. Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt
  96. All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren
  97. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
  98. Night, Elie Weisel
  99. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
  100. The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
  101. The Inimitable Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse

I tried to make my list as inclusive as possible. If you have suggestions, please share your ideas with me.


Do you have a Fill in the Gaps list? What's on it? If you haven't compiled such list yet, what would you put on it? Let me know!