I came across a list the other day titled, “50 Books to Read Before I Die.” From the list I had read only 20. These are not “filler” or “escapist” books, generally. They are for the most part, “classics.” (You know, the ones we should read before we die.)

I messed around with the list, deleted some, substituted others, chopped it off, and in the end, was dissatisfied. The result is given below. But the list I found that I liked the most is found here. I’ve read just over 40 of those, many that need to be reread.

Goodread’s list of “popular” top 50, also contains some essentials.

Make your own list–ammend it and let it evolve. My list is definitely going to change. If I include non-classics, and non-fiction it will look much different, but satisfy more.

Here is my list of 40:
1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
5. 1984 by George Orwell
6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
10. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
11. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
12. Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
13. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
14. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchel
15. Gulliver´s Travels by Jonathan Swift
16. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
17. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
18. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
19. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
20. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
21. Paradise Lost by John Milton
22. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Dafoe
23. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
24. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
25. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
26. To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
27. The great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald
28. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
29. Brave new World by Aldous Huxley
30. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
31. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
32. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
33. Ulysses by James Joyce
34. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
35. Frankenstein by Mary Selley
36. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
37. One flew over the Cockoo´s Nest by Ken Kesey
38. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
39. The Divine Comedy by Alighieri Dante
40. A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul

Post script: One other place offered, “Not the 50 books you must read before you die,” which amused me with some of the assessments. For example, regarding Pride and Prejudice, the author wrote: “Directly responsible for too many newspaper articles starting: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged…’”