Become-Well-read-With-Only-100 Books-Challenge

This whole thing is based on this article that I read on Book Riot:

100 books to turn you well-read!

I have decided to read every book on this list, no matter how long it takes so that I may be truly well-read by societal standards.(“Well-read” for this person then has a number of connotations: a familiarity with the monuments of Western literature, an at least passing interest in the high-points of world literature, a willingness to experience a breadth of genres, a special interest in the work of one’s immediate culture, a desire to share in the same reading experiences of many other readers, and an emphasis on the writing of the current day.)

This isn’t because I have something to prove to somebody or I want to be pretentious about being well-read, but because I want new ideas for what to read, and i want to read outside my genre. 🙂

Some of these books are those that I’ve abandoned after trying. They’re the ones that scare me the most but I’ve made a bit of a dent in the list already, so that’s comforting. 🙂

Besides, there are a substantial number that I’ve read about a quarter or half of already so that’s good right? RIGHT?! Oh, I’m screwed, I know, but what’s the point of a challenge if it’s simple?

Here’s the list. I’ll strike out the ones I’ve read already.

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Maria Remarque
  5. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay  by Michael Chabon
  6. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  11. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  12. Beowulf
  13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  14. Brave New World by Alduos Huxley
  15. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  16. The Call of the Wild  by Jack London
  17. Candide by Voltaire
  18. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  19. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
  20. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  21. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  22. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  23. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  24. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
  25. The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
  26. The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor 
  27. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  28. Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  29. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  30. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  31. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  32. Dream of Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
  33. Dune by Frank Herbert
  34. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  35. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  36. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  37. Faust by Goethe
  38. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  39. Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
  40. The Golden Bowl by Henry James
  41. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  42. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  43. The Gospels
  44. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  45. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  46. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  47. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  49. Harry Potter & The Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  50. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  51. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  52. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  53. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  54. House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
  55. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  56. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  57. if on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
  58. The Iliad by Homer
  59. The Inferno by Dante
  60. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  61. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  62. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  63. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  64. The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  65. The Little Prince by Antoine  de Saint-Exepury
  66. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  67. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  68. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  69. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  71. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  72. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  73. The Odyssey by Homer
  74. Oedipus, King by Sophocles
  75. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  76. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  77. The Pentateuch
  78. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  79. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  80. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  81. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
  82. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  83. Slaughterhouse-5 by Kurt Vonnegut
  84. The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner
  85. The Stand by Stephen King
  86. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  87. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  88. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  89. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  90. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  91. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  92. Ulysses by James Joyce
  93. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  94. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  95. Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
  96. Watchmen by Alan Moore
  97. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  98. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  99. 1984 by George Orwell
  100. 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James

We Can Be The Writers We Want To Read

I really enjoyed this. i agree with every word. 🙂

Thought Catalog

We can be the writers we want to read. We aren’t sentenced to a lifetime of consuming; we can create. We can carve messages into the tree trunks and picnic tables that dot our landscape.

I really think you should start writing; yes, you. You right there. Start jotting down your deepest fears and anxieties, or reminisce about the greatest night of your life, or write a story where Regis Philbin kills a drifter just to see if he can get an erection. Hey, instead of writing your idea, maybe you’d rather make it into a song or a drawing or a movie or a stylish hat. Whatever you want – I chose writing because you don’t need cameras and guitars, or even pants or anything. Never underestimate something that can be done lying down.

Me, I started writing because I felt out of sync with the world. I spent…

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The Absurdity of Having Guilty Pleasures

I recently became active on Goodreads. Those of you who don’t know what it is, check it out. It’s addictive. Just remember that I warned you.

I used the Barcode Scan option in the Goodreads app on my smartphone like a baws (I LOVE that little beep it makes! Do you love the beep? And I get excited every time it finds the correct book. It’s…it’s like magic!) and scanned one of my favourite books and gave it four stars even if it is –shudder- “chick-lit”. I then stared at my phone for a few minutes and added in the comments box: “A guilty pleasure.  :)”

I’m not very sure why I felt the need to clarify this to the world. Why did I feel the need to be guilty about enjoying this book?Yes, it’s extremely girly. Yes, it has a corny, happy ending of the kind that “serious” readers abhor. It’s just comforting, entertaining and enjoyable.

It’s true that I generally don’t enjoy this “chick-lit” genre of books, also known as popcorn fiction or beach-reads. I find the very name  derogatory to the “chicks” who may enjoy them, and I find that the stories themselves are  stereotypical and I think they degrade women despite the fact that their target audience is women. I also agree that they give people unrealistic expectations about romantic love. (Trust me ladies, being with a man who gives you butterflies in your stomach each time he looks at you will be very disconcerting and uncomfortable in the long run!)

The thing about me is, I’m constantly on the lookout with books with female protagonists who live normal, relatable lives, to read when I’m down or when I am not in the mood to read something new. Needless to say, this is an uphill task because most female characters in adult fiction are side-lined or entirely generic. And the ones in girly books are, well, way too girly. Or way too helpless. Or worse, way too focused on finding her “soul-mate”. I understand that finding romantic love has never been more important that now, with familial bonds weakening and friends being entirely too absorbed in their own careers, and I am in fact, a believer in romantic love. But what about your life? The one outside of your significant other? It infuriates me, especially when women themselves are the ones producing such tripe. This task was a lot easier when I was a teenager, it seems, and I could comfortably read and reread Jacqueline Wilson books till the books got tattered and the covers came off. I still give them a go sometimes when I’m down, though of course, the age difference is too great for the characters to be relatable now. It’s sad but I now find it easier to relate to a thirty-something protagonist than a teenage protagonist, despite only being in my early twenties. (Except Katniss Everdeen. She’s awesome.)

I must stop digressing.

After looking long and hard, I feel like people imagine that clever, unique teenagers will evolve into dull, man-obsessed young adults and therefore won’t enjoy books about clever, unique girls their age anymore.

Anyway, this book is an exception of sorts. The book was more sensibly written than most chick-lit and I’ve read it more times than I can count. And it’s made me feel fuzzy and happy each time. And this yet again begs the question: Why am I guilty about owning it and reading it and enjoying it? Does it make me less of a feminist to read a book that targets women exclusively? Does it reduce my intelligence in any way to have a comforting book that doesn’t hodge-podge-jelly-brainify me, when I’m having a bad day? (Blog title reference for the win!) Does it make me a fraud of some sort if I own a book that doesn’t make me think or add value to my life in some way, except to make me happy? I think about all these questions and the answer to all of them seems to be no. Doesn’t it?

Yet, this book will only ever be a guilty pleasure in my bookshelves, the one I won’t list as a favourite, even though it probably is. I feel like this makes me a fraud more than anything else. I’m afraid of being judged, as someone shallow, as someone silly, just like I judge people who read “chick-lit”, despite knowing a number of exceptions. I just start off by having this assumption and this makes me kind of snobbish and shallow.

Is there something wrong with reading “chick-lit” books or is there something wrong with the classification itself? Why aren’t there any dude-lit books?  Or is any book that isn’t chick-lit automatically dude-lit? (Excepting feminist literature, I mean) All of these questions confuse me greatly. I feel sad that some sort of patriarchy seems to have seeped into one’s choice of literature as well. When did I become so judgmental? I miss being a child where I devoured every book, including wildly age-inappropriate books without any thought as to whom it may be targeted at.

What is your opinion on so-called Chick-lit and the way people perceive it?

Why do people have guilty pleasure books, movies and shows?  It’s not like crisps, or nutella or alcohol, or something remotely addictive or unhealthy for one to feel guilty about it!

Do you judge people based on their choices in literature, movies or music? Do you subscribe to the theory, “It’s not what you’re like; it’s what you like”? (High Fidelity reference. Read it.)

Do you have any recommendations of books with strong female protagonists?

Do you know of any good books with bookworm protagonists? I miss those.

Tell me in the comments.

Note: the author enjoys nothing more than a good, well-reasoned debate.

Cheers.

Oh, if anyone is wondering, the book I’m speaking of is Bad Behaviour by Sheila O’ Flannagan. I’m cringing as I write this title. I need to do some more thinking about what can only be described as this bad attitude, of mine…

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

I needed to hear this from somebody else. Intelligently written. 🙂

Life Scribbles

“So, what do you want to do with your life?”

THIS is the great existential question of our generation.

No matter how many times you ask me (mom, dad, strangers who pretend to care), my answer will always be the same.

“I DON’T KNOW.”

Why can’t the existential question of our generation be something simple.

Like, are you a dog person or a cat person?

Easy.

Dog person.

Or

“Orange juice or apple juice?”

Easy.

Apple.

But, no. Adults, teachers, peers, and anybody who can get a word in edge wise will ask you the same loaded question over and over again as if one day, you will have a satisfying answer.

I don’t know what I want to do with my life, but I can tell you what I don’t want. I don’t want to constantly worry about figuring out what I do want. I don’t want to force…

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Being a Book Reviewer with Reviews Conspicuously Absent

I am astonished at myself. I created this blog to review books, nothing more and nothing less. Yet, over the past few weeks I’m surprisingly finding it increasingly difficult to review the books I read. There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, I’ve been increasingly reading books of a genre that escapes description due to its sheer complexity. It’s like, when someone asks me what the book is about, I say, “It’s about this man, and he does things, I guess…” I feel like it isn’t what the book is about that makes it so fantastic, but the way it’s been narrated and put together. Take High Fidelity, for example;  it’s about a 35-year-old record store owner who splits up with his long-term girlfriend. I told my friend this and she asked me why I’m reading such depressing books! But the book isn’t  depressing at all, it’s funny and clever and gripping with such simple yet wonderful insights that one can’t help loving it. It’s just so…real. And the music! I want to listen to every single song mentioned in this book. And it made me feel like signing up for singing lessons despite having sub-zero musical talent. I don ‘t know why. I was just so excited about music and everything to do with it after reading it.  How would I review it, though? I don’t know! Is it about relationships? Is it about music? Does it teach any valuable life lessons? The answer is both yes and no to all these questions. It just tells a story, and does it well. The rest is up to the reader.

Also, I am against spoilers.  I can’t do a review if it gives the plot away. So I usually make up for it by simply describing how a book made me feel, and this works pretty well for me.  Except, most of the books I’ve been reading have given me the same feeling of excitement and exhilaration; a feeling of something having changed within me after reading the book and a deep desire to keep writing myself. This is great for me, of course, but it’s absurd for my reviews because people would think I’ve gone nuts if I wrote this in every review I write. It would also become a tad repetitive. I don’t know the reason for this. It might have to do with the authors I’m reading or it might have to do with the fact that I’ve begun to read again after nearly a year and I’m particularly thrilled by this. The book review part of my blog (the supposed main part) is suffering greatly as a result.

On the other hand, I’ve been itching to write and I’ve been going around confessing personal things on my blog, which is completely uncharacteristic of me. Surprisingly, people have found this interesting and I’ve gotten a lot of appreciative comments from friends, family and family of friends, as well as strangers. I’ve also gotten a number of followers which is immensely surprising to me, because I was convinced, and still am  a little, that blogging is the equivalent of setting letters in a bottle into the ocean.  I’m immensely grateful to all my followers and the little orange plus on the right of the webpage, which sends a little shiver of glee through me every time. I’m not sure but I think that’s what inspiration feels like. 🙂

Keep reading and writing everyone, it makes being alive feel like a worthy endeavour. 🙂 Cheers.

Being a Lousy Law Student

This post is more for me than it is for anyone else. It might not even make sense to others. But that’s okay. It might seem even comical to those people who believe apathy is fashionable.

I didn’t know this could happen either, trust me. I believed that passion can only be felt for the arts, not for something as mundane as the law. I then proceeded to prove myself spectacularly, comically wrong.

Let me explain.

I have been through the wars, and for the first time, it has made me want to write, rather than hide and cringe every time I see my metaphorically dusty blog.

I don’t know how many of you have read my posts closely enough to know this, but day-dreamy little Sindhu, with her eyes glazed over, and her nose in a book, has a misguided dream of being a lawyer. I’m 3/5ths there presently, and I’m constantly bloody afraid that I’m going to be terrible at it: I’m definitely a terrible law student.

Law school sometimes goes out of its way to prove me right, constantly hitting me in the face with bad grades and several other humiliating failures, like it did yesterday for the umpteenth time. I don’t want to lie; I cried. For hours. I’m tearing up again now.

But at the end of the day – and yes, I absolutely accept that this makes me batshit crazy – I still love it. I love law. I also love law school. I don’t know if this makes me very brave or very stupid. What do you think?

Okay, thank you for that chorus of “stupid”! I have my reasons, you know! You really should ask.

Firstly, I’m hoping that being a terrible law student won’t necessarily translate into being a terrible lawyer. I’m not daft. I remember things I’ve learnt, for the most part. I can analyse and such.  I’ve gotten compliments too, about my lawyerly talents, even if they have been “few and far between”, so to speak.

Besides, although I have done badly in my examinations, I haven’t failed or anything. (Yes, I’m grasping at straws here.) That’s good. Right?

I came to law school with starry eyes and lofty ideals, and that girl isn’t lost yet. I’m hoping that I can still make a difference, provided of course, that those people who are already making a difference let me help them make a difference. (In other words, hire me, NGO’s. This is an awesome cover letter!)

Most importantly, I really REALLY love studying law. It excites me in a way that previously, only fiction could. When I do legal writing, even though I know I’m not good at it, I don’t care about other writing anymore.  Some articles about the plight of the economically-backward make me cry with a passion and fill me with fury of a kind that I previously only experienced when Dobby died, and I want to be part of the revolution to fix their plight.

My love of fiction was unequalled and now law comes a close second. I can’t give it a better testimony than that.

I want to quit trying to be a lawyer. The thought has crossed my mind plenty of times. I don’t think I can, though because law is the thing that keeps me sane, even though it doesn’t seem that way right now.

I may only be mediocre at best, but that’s okay. I can always marry a rich guy. 😀 I’m only kidding. I can always live in a smaller house, buy fewer clothes and shoes (Yes, but just as many books) and be a lousy but happy lawyer. I can, no?

I want to whine that my talents are unrecognized, that the grading system is unfair and that the entire education system needs an overhaul. All of these things might even be true. Maybe I will be the person advocating for such concrete changes tomorrow. One never knows.

However, the thing that I needed to realize – and the thing that many others in my place need to realize – the thing that a wise but generally annoying friend of mine helped me realize is that it’ll all be okay. I’m doing what I love. I know what I want to do in the future. And working towards it will give me more happiness that achieving it ever could.

cliched ending>

But you know what? If the ending isn’t happy, I can’t write about it. Or even talk about it. That’s just how I am. At least when it comes to my own life.

Bear in mind, happy endings don’t occur when good things happen. Happy endings occur when people feel happy. Ushoo. So much wisdom. I overwhelm myself with my brilliance.

Let’s move on now before I end up converting this blog post into a bloody self-help book.