A compulsion to read

Book CoversEveryone that considers themselves a booklover will admit to having a compulsion to read. For me that compulsion, or need, stems from curiosity.

There is information contained in that text that other people have read that I am yet to discover.

But more than that, the consideration of that information is an experience others have had that I have not!

Flavorwire has recently compiled a list of The 50 Books Everyone Needs to Read, 1963-2013.

For each year, a single title released that year is chosen as the victor so to speak, and then a few other titles are listed as ‘Also Recommended’.

Let’s see how many of those listed I have read, or have on my ‘To Be Read’ pile… 

1964 : Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (also recommended)

1965: Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino (also recommended) – TBR

1967: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (also recommended)

1979: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (also recommended) and If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino (also recommended)

1982: The BFG by Roald Dahl (also recommended)

1988: Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (also recommended)

1995: Blindness by Josè Saramago (also recommended) – TBR

1997: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (also recommended)

2004: The Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (also recommended)

2006: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (also recommended)

2010: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (also recommended) – TBR

2011: The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht (also recommended)

So what does that mean? It seems I have not read any of the 50 titles considered ‘must-reads’ by the collator of this list, but a decent number of the runners-up.

Disclosure: If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission.

Have you read any of the 50 titles considered ‘must reads’ from the last half-century of publishing?

WARNING 1: This exercise is sure to make your reading wishlist explode!

WARNING 2: It can also make you feel old, reflecting on the years past ;)

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  1. Thanks so much for the link. My reading list has exploded, particularly as I was reminded of some authors who I have never quite gotten around to but they are always in the back of my mind (Roth, Delillo, Mitchell). I have read a lot of list, more than I expected, some incidentally as I was growing up (Dahl, Leguin, Blume, King), others through some of the eclectic professors I had for my undergraduate degree in English. Now that my time is more limited, I rely heavily on reviewers such as yourselves, The New York Times and bookstore David in Waterloo, ON to provide direction. Perhaps I get through more books too as I am not afraid to bail–I reckon if you don’t have me by page 50, it’s not worth it. I will admit to bailing on a couple of the recommended titles on the flavor wire list!

    I am surprised that Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins was not on the 2012 list. It is the book that has stayed with me the longest over the past year. There are not many books that I borrow from the library to read, then purchase because I have to have.

    Your recent review of Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena has put that one to the top of my To-get list.


    1. Colinda, I completely agree with you on Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins – it has such resonance, can remember the story clearly to this day also – certainly qualifies as a modern classic.
      I look forward to hearing what you think of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena – it’s another one that stays long in the memory…