Reading List

I love reading. Every summer, I compile a to-read list. I never finish my list, but I enjoy the summer journey.

I recently came across this (now excessively old) book list, and thought I’d see how well I measure up. Plus this is definitely helpful in making my new list.

Bold = read
Italics = unread

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter series, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
23. Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White
24. Dracula, Bram Stoker
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Jame Joyce
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
32. The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler
33. The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. Life of Pi, Yann Martel
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. Passage to India, E. M. Forster
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
56. The Crucible, Arthur Miller
57. The Wings of the Dove, Henry James
58. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
59. Howard’s End, E. M. Forster
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Hamlet, William Shakespeare
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. Walden, Henry David Thoreau
64. Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
65. Inferno, Dante Alighieri
66. The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
67. A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
68. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
69. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
72. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
73. The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
76. Atonement, Ian McEwan
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
81. The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Remains of the Day, E. M. Forster
85. Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
86. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. The Odyssey, Homer
90. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
91. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky 
92. A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean
93. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
96. Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
97. As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
98. Oedipus the King, Sophocles
99. Paradise Lost, John Milton
100. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

61 out of 100 isn’t bad. But I sure have a long way to go. Here is to a happy, book-filled summer.

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Erised

“Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.”

harry potter

I finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone today. Revisiting my literary pals always makes me nostalgic, and today the sensation was particularly keen. I was especially struck by Chapter twelve. As I’ve treaded toward my vague idea of adulthood, I have become increasingly enticed by the idea of the mirror of Erised.

“Harry sank down to sit on the floor in front of the mirror. There was nothing to stop him from staying here all night with his family. Nothing at all.
Except —
“So — back again, Harry?”
“Harry felt as though his insides had turned to ice. He looked behind him. Sitting on one of the desks by the wall was none other than Albus Dumbledore. Harry must have walked straight past him, so desperate to get to the mirror he hadn’t noticed him.
“I — I didn’t see you, sir.”
“Strange how nearsighted being invisible can make you,” said Dumbledore, and Harry was relieved to see that he was smiling.
“So,” said Dumbledore, slipping off the desk to sit on the floor with Harry, “you, like hundreds before you, have discovered the delights of the Mirror of Erised.”
“I didn’t know it was called that, sir.”
“But I expect you’ve realized by now what it does?”
“It — well — it shows me my family —”
“And it showed your friend Ron himself as Head Boy.”
“How did you know — ?”
“I don’t need a cloak to become invisible,” said Dumbledore gently. “Now, can you think what the Mirror of Erised shows us all?”
“Harry shook his head.
“Let me explain. The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is. Does that help?”
Harry thought. Then he said slowly, “It shows us what we want . . . whatever we want . . .”
“Yes and no,” said Dumbledore quietly. “It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have never known your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of all of them. However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.
“The Mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, Harry, and I ask you not to go looking for it again. If you ever do run across it, you will now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that. Now, why don’t you put on that admirable cloak back on and get off to bed?”
Harry stood up.
“Sir–professor Dumbledore? Can I ask you something?”
“Obviously, you’ve just done so,” Dumbledore smiled. “You may ask me one more thing, however.”
“What do you see when you look in the mirror?”

–Excerpt From: J. K. Rowling. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

I don’t have an answer yet for myself, but I enjoy letting the thought preoccupy my mind from time to time. What would you see in the mirror of erised?

“I show not your face but your heart’s desire”