Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An Almost 100 Books to be Read in 5 Years

After reading numerous blogs, I have decided to also challenge myself by assigning to myself 100 books to be read in 5 years, depending on availability and cost.

The first set of books comes from Africa's Top 100 books as researched by the Zimbabwe Library Foundation. If I should come across interesting translations from Francophone and Lusophone writers, I would read them alongside these. As it stands now, all these writers are from Anglophone countries (except Mahfouz Naguib, from Egypt). Since this list contains mostly the classic, new writers would be read alongside these.

Note: All books by the following authors would be read as and when they become available:
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
Books I have read would be italicised;
Books I have read and reviewed on this blog would be italicised, crossed and linked;

Books from Africa's Top 100 Books by the Zimbabwean Library Foundation:
  1. Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe
  2. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  3. Anowa by Ama Atta Aidoo 
  4. The Beautyful Ones are not yet born by Ayi Kwei Armah
  5. A Dry White Season by Andre Brink 
  6. The Life and Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee 
  7. Nervous Condition by Tsitsi Dangaremba
  8. The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta
  9. The Blood Knot by Athol Fugard 
  10. Burgher's Daughter by Nadine Gordimer
  11. A Question of Power by Bessie Head
  12. Bones by Chenjerai Hove 
  13. Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night by Sindiwe Magona 
  14. The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz (I: Palace Walk; II: Palace of Desire; III: Sugar Street) 
  15. House of Hunger by Dambudzo Marechera 
  16. Indaba, My Children by Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa
  17. Chaka by Thomas Mofolo
  18. A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiongo'o
  19. Labyrinths by Christopher Okigbo 
  20. The Famished Road by Ben Okri
  21. Song of Lawino by Okot P'Bitek 
  22. Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadwai 
  23. Season of Migration to the North by Salih El Tayyib
  24. Third World Express by Mongane Serote 
  25. Death and the King's Horsemen by Wole Soyinka
  26. The Palm-Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola
  27. Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera 
Other books by African writers:
  1. Summertime by J.M. Coetzee 
  2. The Healers by Ayi Kwei Armah
  3. Osiris Rising by Ayi Kwei Armah 
  4. They Say you are One of Us by Uwem Akpan
  5. Tsoti by Athol Fugard 
  6. Toads for Supper by Chukwuemeka Ike 
  7. Mine Boy by Peter Abrahams
  8. Ake: The Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka 
The second set of books consist of acclaimed translations:
  1. The Trial by Franz Kafka 
  2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  3. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  4. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky 
The third category of books are selected Booker Winners
  1. The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer
  2. Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee 
  3. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  4. Possession by A.S. Byatt
The fourth set of books is by Nobel Laureates (some have been covered already). Books for this set were taken from different Top 100s such as Modern Library Top 100 Novels; Readers' List and Boards' List; Times Top 100 Novels etc.
  1. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  2. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner 
  3. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner 
  4. Light in August by William Faulkner 
  5. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
  6. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  7. Kim by Rudyard Kipling 
  8. A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul
  9. A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
  10. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing 
  11. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
  12. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
  13. Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann 
  14. the Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann 
The fifth set of books is other Classics by non-Nobel Laureates:
  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  6. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  7. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood 
  8. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood 
  9. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
The sixth set of books is those that some readers say are difficult to read:
  1. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon 
  2. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon 
  3. Mason and Dixon by Thomas Pynchon 
  4. Vineland by Thomas Pynchon 
  5. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace 
  6. Poker by Wittgenstein 
  7. Mistress by Wittgenstein 
  8. Tractatus Logico Philosophicus by Wittgenstein 
  9. Philosophical Investigations by Wittgenstein 
  10. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison 
  11. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 
  12. The Great Gatsby by Scott F. Fitzgerald
  13. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes 
  14. Moby-Dick by Hermes Melville 
  15. Ulysses by James Joyce 
This List is not up to 100. The categories add up to 82. Please add the remaining 18. Also if there are some mistakes please let me know. Note: Additions and Revisions have been done here


  1. Wow, I'm well impressed with that. There are some amazing books on those lists, including Summertime (Coetzee), Lord Of The Flies (Golding), The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), practically everything in the non-Nobel Laureates Classics list, the Gabriel Garcia Marquez's...

    Oh, I can go on and on.

    Best of luck with this challenge. It sounds tremendous.

  2. I love this list! you have so much great reading ahead of you! and we have some great reading of your reviews :-)

  3. @anothercookiecrumbles thanks I hope I am able to get access to these books and read them.

  4. @Marie...thanks for your comments. However, I would or might not review the non-African writers. What a shame! But that's my policy. I am glad you like my list.

  5. Wow man, I just admire your passion for African writings. I think you should start from Armah's "the beautiful ones are not yet born" it is a great book!!

  6. thanks Ed. That book is a scarce commodity. I hope to lay my hands on it one day. If you come across someone selling it please let me know.

  7. Nana: I wanted to stop by and say thanks for checking out my blog. I try to have international giveaways most of the time, so keep an eye out. I have a global poetry giveaway for John Amen's More of Me disappears and for Night of Flames by Doug Jacobson if you are interested in WWII novels. Sometimes the giveaways are from the publishers, so they limit shipping.

    I hope you'll stop by to check out more reviews...I'm adding you to my reader.

  8. thanks Serena for checking on me and stopping by. I am glad. I would check out and see what is happening.

  9. WOnderful list and quite comprehensive. I would suggest Somerset Maugham for classics. I'm also planning some "difficult" and experimental fiction and so would suggest books by William Gaddis. Also, how about a bit more Caribbean fiction? Will compile a list for you. Ah, reading!

  10. Thanks Kinna, would add these ones and would be waiting for your compilation.

  11. I am Geoffrey Gyasi. I happen to open your site by chance(through Google). I am highly impressed by your enthusiasm for reading. Well, I am also an ardent reader and writer. I have read almost half of your list of 100 novels. My favorite amongst them, which I would like you to read as quickly as possible are disgrace by j. m Coetzee, The Beautyful ones are not yet born, the famished road. I have almost three-quarters of all your lists and would like to help you out with some of the books you may need. So call me on 0246515585 or email me at: geoffreygyasi@yahoo.com. All the best.

  12. Thanks Geoffrey I would do so... I am glad to have a partner in reading... and who said Ghanaians don't read? lol...


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