a bit of grace

The random musings of Kate Grace

The Mission Redone

Unemployed and bored, I launched into a personal challenge in early 2010 as a way to both better myself and keep my mind from slipping deeper into creative hibernation.

I committed myself to reading through the whole of the Strand 80, a list of 80+ novels designated as the “best” by Strand Bookstore customers. If you have never experienced Strand, dear book worm, than allow me to introduce you to a Wordie’s Mecca. The greatest bookstore on earth, tucked away in the urban folds of Manhattan.

I started off nicely, but then distractions set in. I discovered Hunger Games. LOST came back. LOST left. I got editorial comments. I went into a rewrite coma. I exercised. I came up with excuses to not exercise. I performed weekly. I volunteered. I spoiled my nieces. I spoiled myself. …you get the picture.

All the while I have continued making my way down the list, mindfully avoiding Ulysses, but not at the speed I had initially intended. So, I propose a minor edit to the original challenge and since my vote is the only one that really counts in this instance, the proposition has been accepted.

The time limit for the challenge will be removed. I will simply work my way through the Strand 80 at a speed that will allow me to both enjoy the books and life.

So once more for the record, The Strand 80:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee *

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen ***

3. Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald *

4. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger *

5. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

6. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand *

7. Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J. K. Rowling *

11. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

12. 1984 by Geore Orwell

13. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

14. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell *

15. Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

16. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Yowzah!)

17. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

18. Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut

19. Ulysses by James Joyce (yikes!)

20. Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini *

21. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller ***

22. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

23. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

24. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

25. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

26. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien ***

27. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J. K. Rowling ***

28. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon *

29. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

30. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

31. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

32. Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll***

33. Stranger by Albert Camus

34. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley***

35. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott36. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

37. Moby Dick by Herman Melville 

38. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

39. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

40. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

41. Anthem by Ayn Rand *

42. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

43. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

44. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

45. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

46. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez***

47. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery*

48. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger***

49. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

50. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera*

51. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath*

52. The World According to Garp by John Irving

53. Middlemarch by George Eliot

54. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

55. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

56. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling *

57. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling *

58. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway *

59. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card ***

60. Bleak House by Charles Dickens

61. Beloved by Toni Morrison

62. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens *

63. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers *

64. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

65. The Sound and Fury by William Faulkner

66. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolfe

67. The Giver Lois Lowry

68. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

69. Blindness by Jose Saramago

70. Life of Pi by Martel Yann *

71. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

72. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak ***

73. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

74. Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis   

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis   

The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis  

 The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis   

The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis   

The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis (I think this may be cheating)

75. The Odyssey by Homer *

76. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown *

77. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger78. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle ***

79. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer *

80(a). The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

80(b). The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde *        


(*) a book I’ve read, but it’s been a while so I’ll give it another go

(***) already read it and still remember it pretty clearly, so reserve the right to not read

(!?!?!?!?) where the heck is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas!?!?!?

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This entry was posted on July 6, 2010 by in regular.


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