Reading List

I love reading and I love making lists. Unfortunately, right before embarking on the most ambitious, crazy busy , and stressful adventure of my life, I decided to combine these two loves and make a booklist to guide my two years of Peace Corps reading. I figured that without the ability to play Animal Crossing on the Wii around the clock (literally), I would finally have time to read some of the classics I was never able to before. I read a lot and I was an English major, but there are so many books that have slipped through the crack that I just haven’t read but think I should.

Before leaving the states, I went online and copied all kinds of book lists-Top 10 books of the 20th Century, Greatest English Classics, Top 1,000 Books of All Time, etc. When I got to site and had some free time, I went through all of these lists and started compiling my own. I added the books that appeared the most or were highly reviewed or books that just popped out to me. I tried not to have multiple books by the same author so I could get a broad collection. The list I put together is 50 books. I also brought The Norton Shakespeare and the Bible with me from America and was also planning on reading them cover to cover during my service.

I had it all planned out.

Here’s what I wasn’t counting on: being placed at a school with 3,000 books in the library. Many of the books on my list are in that library but there are so, so many more that are not. I am constantly fighting the temptation to reread Harry Potter or spend two days straight reading the Hunger Games or flipping through The Witches in between classes. We have a really great young adult section my but love for children’s literature is slowing me down.

So, I’m trying something out; I’m letting myself read what I want to at that moment, which is really the way to do it. I’m not sure if I’ll finish the gigantically-huge-and-intimidating-reading-list that I wrote up but that’s ok because I am enjoying whatever it is I’m reading at the moment.

Here’s my list below and as you scan through it, leave me a comment if you think I forgot something, or love one of the books I’m about to read, or think the book I included for a particular author pales in comparison to another one of their works.


Peace Corps Reading List

The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Currently Reading Love’s Labour’s Lost)

The Bible (Currently Reading Psalms)

The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger (Finished)

A Passage to India, E. M. Forster (Finished)

The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing (Finished)

The Comedian, Graham Green (Finished)

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Catch-22, Joseph Heller

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway

Moby Dick, Herman Melville

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin

My Antonia, Willa Cather

Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes

Atonement, Ian McEwan

Beloved, Toni Morrison

Lady Chatterly’s Lover, D. H. Lawrence

The Trial, Franz Kafka

Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe

The Stranger, Albert Camus

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

The Great Gatsby, Scott Fitzgerald

The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells

Their Eyes were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Native Son, Richard Wright Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

1984, George Orwell

Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

Naked Lunch, William Burroughs

Ubik, Phillip K. Dick

Mansfield Park, Jane Austin

Tales, Edgar Allen Poe

Life: A User’s Manual, Georges Perec

Under the Net, Iris Murdoch

Rabbit, Run, John Updike Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

The Adventures of Augie March, Saul Bellow

Pere Goriot, Balzac

The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot

The Glass Bead Game, Herman Hesse

Ulysses, James Joyce

Death in Venice, Thomas Mann

A Dance to the Music of Time, Anthony Powell

London Fields, Martin Amis

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark

Underworld, Don DeLillo

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon


2 thoughts on “Reading List

  1. My comment is . . . that you must read a lot faster than I do!
    (Nodding off is a problem for me too.)
    I really liked “The Handmaids Tale”.

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