Thursday, August 11, 2011

Random Thought - So, How Many Have You Read?

NPR recently released the results of its poll asking readers to pick the Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. There has been, of course, the usual rancor spawned by what books do and do not appear on the list, as well as the order that the books are ranked. It is also interesting to note that the list cheats a fair amount - a large proportion of the "books" listed are actualy series of books. Consequently, the list is not actually "100" books, but is probably more like 200 or 300 or more books.

Leaving those issues aside, the question that occurs to me is simply "how many of the entries on this list have I read?" So I went through and checked them off, and now I'm putting the list up for everyone else to see. Any book that I have read or series that I have read in full is in bold text. Any series that I have partially read is in bold red text. Any book or series that I have reviewed on this blog are in bold blue. Just for completeness sake, for any that have a movie or television adaptation, if I have seen that I have marked the entry with an asterisk. And I ask everyone else: which of these books (and series) have you read?

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy* by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide the the Galaxy* by Douglas Adams (read review)
3. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles* by Frank Herbert
5. A Song of Ice and Fire Series* by George R.R. Martin (read review)
6. 1984 by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451* by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (read reviews)
9. Brave New World* by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride* by William Goldman
12. The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer by William Gibson
15. Watchmen* by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (read review)
17. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein* by Mary Shelley
22. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?* by Philip K. Dick
23. The Handmaid's Tale* by Margaret Atwood
24. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
25. 2001: A Space Odyssey* by Arthur C. Clarke
26. The Stand* by Stephen King
27. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
28. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
29. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
30. The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman (read reviews)
31. A Clockwork Orange* by Anthony Burgess
32. Starship Troopers* by Robert A. Heinlein
32. Watership Down by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
35. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
36. The Time Machine* by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea* by Jules Verne
38. Flowers for Algernon* by Daniel Keyes
39. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad by David Eddings
42. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
46. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact* by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust* by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend* by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan the Barbarian Series* by Robert E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
73. The Legend of Drizzt Series by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series by Jim Butcher
87. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov (read review)
95. The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis (read reviews)

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  1. Sadly, I've only read 3.167. The Time Traveler's Wife, Sunshine, and Fahrenheit 451. The .167 comes from only reading Dune and none of the other books in that series.

  2. @Jenni: I realize that I forgot to give a total for myself - if you count partially completed series, I have read fifty of the entries on the list.

  3. I've read 16 and have started but not finished 3 other series. I find it weird they listed the Vorkosigan Saga when that's still ongoing. And Sunshine by Robin McKinley made the top 100?! That surprises me.

    Anyway, your progress is impressive! I need to read more sci-fi, apparently. :P

  4. 24 and now I'm feeling kind of uneducated. I mean, I'd been feeling uneducated until now, but this list is concrete proof of the fact that I haven't read very much of the established fantasy and science fiction books. Granted, some of the titles I see here are books I didn't really like (Time Traveler's Wife!), but there are also some of my favorite books included. I can't wait for the kids list... many of my favorite sci-fi and fantasy books would probably only qualify for that list!

  5. I'm going to post the list on my blog, too, once I get it all counted out. But at a glance I have to say it's sad to see what's missing... and what's there. Yes, we can call that rancor.

  6. I had to count the ones I haven't read - 13. Wow, I need to read those!
    This is a great list - I may transfer the entire list to my list of Books You Should Read in Addition to Mine!
    Except for the Doomsday Book which I didn't care for.

  7. @Alyssa: From what I can tell there wasn't any real requirement that a series be completed before inclusion (A Song of Ice and Fire is also an unfinished series).

    I should also say that there are a few books on there that I didn't list as having read that I might have read when I was younger but just don't remember (for example, I've read some McCaffrey, but don't recall if I have read Dragonflight). This is the result of years of reading books too quickly to remember their titles.

  8. @Biblibio: I didn't know there was going to be a kids list. That's cool.

  9. @Sue London: Well, to be fair, the list is basically a popularity contest and not an evaluation of the quality of the books. There are a fair number of books on there that I wouldn't include on a "best' list - the books by Zahn and Salvatore for example - and a number I would put on the list.

    Because it is just a populatiry poll, I figured that getting in to what books should be on the list and what shouldn't was not really a useful exercise. People like D&D based fiction and Star Wars spin off novels. I don't think they are particularly noteworthy books, but that's what people read.

  10. @Julia Rachel Barrett: You've read 87 of the books (or series) on the list? That's very impressive. I have most of the books on the list, I just haven't yet gotten to reading half of them.

  11. LOVED Something Wicked This Way Comes. I love Ray Bradbury in general. I'm rather surprised with some of the books being labeled fantasy/ sci-fi... Animal Farm? I wouldn't really pick that genre for the book, but that's me.

  12. Reading is my drug of choice - plus I've had my nose buried in a book since I was a toddler. Idiot savant, I guess.

  13. I've only read seven of these books, but there are quite a few I've seen as movies. I usually try to read the book before the movie, but it doesn't always work out. My TBR list is just so huge!

    Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :)

  14. @flashlight reader: I figure that Animal Farm was thought of as speculative fiction because the animals act like humans. Of course, the animals are supposed to be a metaphor and not taken literally so that is kind of stretching things. I believe it was nominated for a Prometheus Award (which is awarded to libertarian works of science fiction), so I guess it isn't that unusual that it would be on the list.

  15. @Rachel Brooks: I've seen a couple of the books on the list as movies as well. I didn't consider that aspect when I was figuring out which of these works I had read. Maybe I should go back and edit the list to include an asterisk or something to indicate which of these I have seen the movie adaptations for.