Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime Tag

How many have you read?

3d_books_stacked_picture_166357This is a first!

Brittany, a fellow book critic over at Perfectly Tolerable, has picked me, along with several others, to take part in her book tag.

The 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list, which was compiled by the Amazon Book editors after much debate, was apparently influenced by two objectives: a) that the selection should cover “all stages of life” (hence the inclusion of children’s titles) and b) that it “didn’t feel like homework”.

It is certainly different from other lists of this type in that there are very few ‘heavy’ classics or challenging tomes included. Looking through the titles, I can see immediately that I read several of them many years ago, others more recently. A number of them are currently sitting on my overburdened book shelves (or creaking Kindle) waiting to be read (I have marked these TBR) and, rather embarrassingly, one or two are completely unknown to me (Moneyball and Daring Greatly, for instance). Although, the fact that the list is aimed at US readers may be the reason.

Totting up, I see that my score is a rather disgraceful 22, with a further 9 on standby. This must be remedied.

100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

    • 1984 – George Orwell

    • Age of Innocence, The – Edith Wharton
    • Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Michael Chabon
    • Autobiography of Malcolm X, The – Malcolm X
    • Bad Beginning: Or, Orphans!, The – Lemony Snicket
    • Brief History of Time, A – Stephen Hawking
    • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
    • All the President’s Men – Bob Woodward
    • Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir – Frank McCourt
    • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – Judy Blume
    • Bel Canto – Ann Pratchett
    • Beloved – Toni Morrison
    • Book Thief, The – Markus Zusak TBR
    • Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
    • Breath, Eyes, Memory – Edwidge Danticat
    • Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, The – Junot Diaz
    • Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
    • Catcher in the Rye, The – J.D. Salinger
    • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
    • Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
    • Color of Water, The – James McBride
    • Corrections, The – Jonathan Franzen
    • Cutting For Stone – Abraham Verghese
    • Daring Greatly – Brené Brown
    • Devil in the White City, The – Erik Larson
    • Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
    • Diary of a Young Girl, The – Anne Frank
    • Dune – Frank Herbert TBR
    • Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury ✓
    • Fault in Our Stars, The – John Green
    • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson TBR
    • Giver, The – Lois Lowry
    • Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, The – Philip Pullman TBR
    • Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
    • Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown
    • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
    • Great Gatsby, The – F. Scott Fitzgerald TBR
    • Guns, Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond
    • Handmaid’s Tale, The – Margaret Atwood
    • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
    • House at Pooh Corner, The – A.A. Milne
    • Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, A – Dave Eggers
    • Hunger Games, The – Suzanne Collins
    • Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The – Rebecca Skloot
    • In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
    • Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
    • Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth – Chris Ware
    • Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
    • Liar’s Club, The – Mary Karr
    • Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
    • Lightning Thief, The – Rick Riordan
    • Little Prince, The – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    • Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder
    • Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
    • Long Goodbye, The – Raymond Chandler
    • Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, A – Ishmael Beah
    • Looming Tower, The – Lawrence Wright
    • Lord of the Rings, The – J.R.R. Tolkien
    • Love in the Time of Cholera – Garbriel Garcia Marquez
    • Love Medicine – Louise Erdrich
    • Man’s Search For Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
    • Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, The – Oliver Sacks TBR
    • Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
    • Middlesex: A Novel – Jeffrey Eugenides TBR
    • Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
    • Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game – Michael Lewis
    • Of Human Bondage – W. Somerset Maugham
    • Omnivore’s Dilemma, The – Michael Pollan
    • On the Road – Jack Kerouac
    • Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen TBR
    • Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood – Marjane Satrapi
    • Phantom Tollbooth, The – Norton Juster
    • Poisonwood Bible, The – Barbara Kingsolver
    • Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
    • Power Broker, The – Robert A. Caro
    • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    • Right Stuff, The – Tom Wolfe
    • Road, The – Cormac McCarthy
    • Secret History, The – Donna Tartt
    • Selected Stories: 1968-1994 – Alice Munro
    • Shining, The – Stephen King
    • Silent Spring – Rachel Carson
    • Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
    • Stranger, The – Albert Camus
    • Sun Also Rises, The – Ernest Hemmingway
    • Team of Rivals – Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
    • Things They Carried, The – Tim O’Brien
    • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
    • Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann
    • Very Hungry Caterpillar, The – Eric Carle
    • Where the Sidewalk Ends – Shel Silverstein
    • Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
    • Wind in the Willows, The – Kenneth Grahame
    • Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, The – Haruki Murakami
    • World According to Garp, The – John Irving
    • Wrinkle in Time, A – Madeleine L’Engle
    • Year of Magical Thinking, The – Joan Didion

It is now my turn to tag the following five bloggers (but please don’t feel obliged to take part if you would rather not):

1) Books Are My Favourite And Best, 2) Books Coffee And Repeat, 3) Curiouser and Curiouser, 4) Excuse My Reading and 5) Vishy’s Blog. Plus anyone else who fancies taking part.

The rules are as follows:

  1. Include a link back to Amazon’s official 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime page.
  2. Tag Perfectly Tolerable, the creator of this meme (to whom I say a big thank-you).
  3. Tag the person who nominated you – that would be me, Book Jotter.
  4. Copy the list of books and indicate which titles you have read.
  5. Tally up your total.
  6. Comment on the post you were tagged in and share your total count.
  7. Tag five new people and comment on one of their posts to let them know.


Why not take part yourself? I would love to know how many of these books you have read. Please post below and let me know.

Categories: Features, Readathons / Challenges

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49 replies

  1. I believe I made it to twenty but yeah, definitely US centred.

  2. Wow, I am very far behind. 😉

  3. Thanks for tagging me, Paula 🙂 Feel honoured! I have read 24 from the list. I was surprised to see Somerset Maugham’s ‘Of Human Bondage’ on the list. I have never seen that in s list before. So nice! It is one of my favourite books. Looking at the list made me realize that there is a lot of reading to be done still 🙂

  4. Read like 2 from that list, kind of feel bad lol

    • You mustn’t feel bad, Laura. Reading is such a personal thing. One person’s ‘classic’ is another’s ‘load of old rubbish!’. This post is just a bit of fun to encourage people to try something outside their usual sphere – and there’s plenty of that for me on this particular list. 😱

  5. I’ve read 18 or 19 of these, most of them children’s books or fantasy. I’ve read surprisingly few of the classics on here (and don’t intend to read a few of those. I know enough about Lolita to know it would NOT be my cup of tea, for instance.)

    I take all of these lists with a healthy helping of salt, but there are definitely some books here on my TBR list (and/or on my Kindle or shelves.) And a few more that ought to be.

    BTW, I love the phrase “creaking Kindle.” Yes, mine too. 🙂

    • Thank you, lovely Lark lady (sorry, I’m not sure what to call you)! Yes, I agree, these lists aren’t to be taken too seriously.

      I did read Lolita a couple of years ago, and while I thought it very clever and superbly written, the story itself was extremely depressing. Still, it enabled people to openly discuss a controversial issue at a time when society was reluctant to do so, which wasn’t a bad thing.

      Oh dear, yes, the creaking Kindle. So glad to hear I’m not alone! 🤯

  6. Okay, I’ve read 38… not too bad but certainly room for improvement (to the tune of 62 books!). I think all of the ones I’ve read were in pre-blogging days. I’ll think about tackling the full list!

  7. Thanks for participating!!! That was super smart to include which ones are on your TBR.

    I would not call 19 “disgraceful” by any means haha. Like you told Saturday Night Reader it is an unusual list. (Which is why I liked it so much!)

    I didn’t notice that it was US centered, but I am from the US so that could have something to do with it. Now I am super curious what the list would like like in other countries. At the risk of sounding ignorant, what makes it US centered? Is it because they are mostly American authors or because the books are popular in the US? Are books like The Hunger Games as popular in North Wales as they are here? What are some super popular books over there? Are they popular here too?

    • Thanks Brittany, I really enjoyed doing it.

      Mmm, that’s a tough one because there is definitely a big cross over in US/UK reading tastes. I wasn’t at all surprised to see ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ or ‘The Great Gatsby’, for instance – they are hugely popular over here, too. It was good to see your favourite, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, and also ‘Great Expectations’, but I would be really surprised not to see at least one novel by the Bronte’s or Thomas Hardy on a British equivalent.

      I suppose the editors must have based their choices on big sellers because I was surprised by some of the non-fiction titles, as some were unknown to me. The same with a couple of the fiction (‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’?) – but perhaps that’s just me. I would also be amazed if something like ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ or ‘All the President’s Men’ appeared – we would far more likely see something greared towards British politics.

      Off the top of my head, a similar list over here might include novels by E.M. Forster, Graham Greene, A.S. Byatt, Daphne du Maurier, George Eliot and so on – but no doubt others will disagree and suggest a different set of authors. Anyhow, it’s good to see a reading list with a difference. It widens horizons and that’s never a bad thing! 😃

      • I did some statistics on the list back at my blog, 73% US authors (some with dual nationality), 93% books originally written in English so the list is clearly not even aiming at a global coverage. Which might not be a bad thing, it just means that it is a good list of important books from an US perspective. From a Swedish perspective any list including children books but ignoring Astrid Lindgren is obviously flawed 😉

    • Oh, just noticed that I didn’t respond to your question re. Hunger Games. The answer is yes, it is very popular over here (and not just in North Wales). You could file this one under Mid-Atlantic Massive! 😏

      • Thank you for taking the time for such a great response!

        My (completely uneducated) guess is that they tried to limit the number of classics on their list. Like you said they were going for “all life stages” and “not feeling like homework” so maybe that is why Bronte didn’t make the list? I feel like she normally makes US lists too.

        Diary of a Wimpy Kid is an elementary and middle school level series. I know my brother (age 11) likes it and he hates reading. So far there are 12 books and 4 movies, so I am guessing a lot of other kids like it too?

        Off the top of my head I didn’t recognize any of the authors you listed (E.M. Forster, Graham Greene, A.S. Byatt, Daphne du Maurier, George Eliot) though after looking them up, I have heard of A Room with a View, and A Passage to India by E.M. Forster. I didn’t recognize any books by the others.

        🙂 This was fun to learn more about books in other countries! I had just sort of assumed that as long as people were reading in English then the popular books would be similar everywhere and I never paid any attention to where the author was from. I knew J.K. Rowling is a British author, but never really thought twice about it.

    • It’s been great fun, Brittany! We could perhaps do something similar in the future. 😄

      • I’m afraid I replied on the wrong comment, my comment above was meant to end up here.

      • Many thanks for the stats. Totally agree, there are so many Nordic and Scandinavian classics, it’s difficult to know where to begin. I would definitely like to see ‘Doctor Glas’ by Hjalmar Söderberg included. Also, there are no trolls from Finland – I’m a big fan of the Moomins! 😊

      • The Moomins would definitely be on any Nordic version of the list. We were discussing Nordic literature on LibraryThing before Christmas, if you are interested you can find many interesting reviews here: (I’m “alvaret” in the thread).

  8. Cool tag 😁 I might be worse though lol. Though it would be 20xs worse if this list was only classics 😅

  9. I feel like it’s so hard to pick JUST 100 books out of all the books in the world for a list like that. I’m curious how many of those I’ve read, though. I’ll have to look through the list more closely 🙂

    I can recommend reading Pullman ASAp though. I read the whole series last year, and it was just so unbelievable. Probably one of my all time favorites!

    • Thank you, Evelina. I agree, it’s impossible to make a list of 100 books that are ‘better’ in some way than all the rest. Not only is it difficult to whittle the number down but it would be (to use one of my favourite clichés) like herding cats to make a choice of titles agreed upon by everyone else. Still, it’s a great way to discover new books and to get people talking.

      With regard to Pullman’s trilogy, I’ve got all three books ready on my Kindle and hope to read them this year. Glad you enjoyed them so much – I’m looking forward to getting started! 😃

  10. Wow this is so cool! I might consider trying this. I’ve read only some though I’m certain I cannot read 100 books a year lmao

  11. I have read 17, many more to go! i will try to knock some out this year! : )

  12. I will reblog this! : )

  13. Reblogged this on Two Gals and a Book and commented:
    I have read 17 of the 100– hopefully knock some more out this year!

  14. What an eclectic list. It would be interesting to know the details of their criteria.

  15. I have read 28 – feel disappointed. I usually score well. A list to keep me on my toes!!

  16. There are books on the list that I haven’t even heard before … I think you didn’t do too bad with 19 🙂

  17. I’ve read 19, if my count is correct. Glad to see I’ve read a couple of the slightly more esoteric choices, like The Power Broker and The World According to Garp.


  1. Book Tag: Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime – Curiouser and curiouser

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