100 Books sounds like a lot of books. It is a lot of books. When I first went to college after high school, I pursued a degree in English Literature (which I never finished). I love books & reading and I love the English language. During that time, I accumulated lots of books and I started to kind of collect them, too. I’d go to the bookstore and buy 5-10 books because they looked pretty, and I wanted to read them eventually. As the years went on and studying became more tedious, and the reward of reading for fun disappeared, I fell out of love with reading. I still had a massive amount of books, but I hadn’t read most of them and honestly, probably didn’t intend to. I ended up decluttering my library a few years ago and basically got rid of everything. Even now, I’m careful not to allow books to accumulate just for the sake of having books. If I didn’t love it or if I didn’t read it, I usually don’t keep it.
I’ve got a serious love affair with bookshelves. When we visited the Trinity College library in Dublin last year, I almost passed out. I wanted to set up a tent and move in. I hope to have an entire room of books on beautiful bookshelves one day. BUT – I want to have read all of those books. I want to own books that I have read & enjoyed and therefore decided to keep. I do NOT want a lot of books that stare me in the face and make me feel guilty about never having read them or make me feel like a total fraud. Instead I want to dive deep into different worlds- worlds of fantasy and faerie, worlds of daring adventure & real people who’ve lived real lives, worlds of theology & deep thought.
I believe in the power of books. They create us & mold our minds, opening up our imaginations and challenging our thoughts and forcing us to think. Of all the things I want to accomplish as a parent, endowing my children with a love of reading is one of them. I vow to read to them every night & on road trips, to take them to the library whenever they want to go, to allow them to read as much as they want & almost whenever they want. I recognize that reading isn’t always easy for everyone & it isn’t always fun for everyone, but I believe that often times that comes from a poor education system or a lack of good examples. I also know kids who hated to read until they got their hands on a book about dinosaurs or cars or history, and suddenly they are voracious. It can be a learned love.
Over the years I’ve sadly become a bit of a TV addict. I love good movies & I hate reality TV, but I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit watching stuff that did not enrich my life, it just passed the time. I want to reclaim that time & give it to books. Books on books on books. No matter how interesting or educating it is to watch guys on a fishing boat wrestle crabs out of the water or border security guards do their jobs, I just don’t think TV will ever grow me or teach me like a book can. Plus, the act of reading itself is a good brain workout and forces you to really internalize and think about what you’ve read.
The list of 100 books I’ve created is extensive, I feel, and encompasses a pretty good array of genres. I didn’t want to only read novels. I wanted to try new things. There are books on this list that were recommended to me, and I’m not sure if I’ll like them. There’s a book on this list that was written by a friend. There are books on this list I never would have picked up 10 years ago. Some of these books I’ve read, but I can’t imagine not reading them again for a project like this. Some authors are over-represented (hello, Neil Gaiman and C.S. Lewis) because frankly, I can’t get enough of their beautiful minds. Some of these books are short & sweet kids’ novels because I absolutely adore a good children’s lit book with fairies and talking animals. This is not a list for anyone but me. (However, if you’re looking for some book recommendations, I do hope it is helpful to you!)
As I mentioned, some of these books were recommended, some have been sitting on my shelf unread for too long, and some I chose off of the New York Times Bestseller list or the Indigo.ca website. A few are classics that I wish I’d read long ago. A few are classics that were forced on me in school, and I’d like to try them again without the threat of a grade over my head. I plan to post my reviews & recommendations here, though I likely won’t get to every single book I read – time just won’t allow for it. I’ll try to focus on the ones that I truly find life changing or enjoyable or important.
I am not trying to make this an impossible task – this is meant to be fun!! So, here are the “rules” for this project:
- I will listen to audio books. I am trying to keep these to under 25% of the list, but audio will allow me to “read” for even more of each day.
- I am allowed to switch out a book on the list for another book at any time, I just can’t decrease the total number.
- If I start a book and absolutely hate it or can’t get through it, I can a) skim through the rest and call it done or b) pick a different book of a similar genre.
I hope you’ll let me know what you think of this list and, if you’ve read any of these, tell me what you thought of them! (P.S. The crossed out books I’ve finished already!)