The results are in!
Reader’s choice quickly became readers’ choices with so many of you voting and leaving comments. I apologize for any technical difficulties you may have encountered in doing so and greatly appreciate your efforts and opinions.
Lolita and A Prayer for Owen Meany were the clear winners. I’ve been meaning to read both of these for some time based on numerous personal recommendations over the years so that worked out well.
First up, however, owing to early love from John Marcher and others, is Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. I figure I might as well tackle my nemesis when I’m fresh and enthusiastic. Hopefully, the story at least features a lighthouse somewhere. Don’t tell me and crush my hopes and dreams if it doesn’t.
To the Lighthouse was one of six books in a tie for third place. I’ve decided to put all of them on the list, even Oryx and Crake, for which Jennifer made a compelling counterargument. (I’m going to blame her anti-Canadian sentiments on hormones: Jenn stop jeopardizing your baby’s future in the Great White North by criticizing Atwood—will no one think of the children!?!)
Other books I really want to read based on comments here and on Facebook and Twitter are Crime and Punishment, The Master and Margarita, Never Let Me Go, and The Sense of an Ending. That last one is strictly in honor of Aaron, ultimate Barnes fan as well as creator, potentate, and Lord High Executioner of the original Facebook challenge that kicked off this crazy reading frenzy.
So, I ended up with a list of twelve, which, if you know me at all, is a very good thing as it would drive me crazy all year long not to be matching the number selected in previous years.
The Dirty Dozen
Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov)
Midnight’s Children (Salman Rushdie)
The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
Middlemarch (George Eliot)
Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)
Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood)
A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
The Sense of an Ending (Julian Barnes)
The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield)
To The Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf)
War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)
These twelve books have 6000+ pages between them. Doable? Certainly. (Goodreads tells me I read approximately 18,000 pages in 2011.) Likely? Only time will tell.
If anyone wants to join me, I’m happy to read these in any order, depending on library availability (which probably only affects The Sense of an Ending, for which I’m currently no. 178 of 192 holds). Just let me know and we can coordinate.
UPDATED UPDATE (January 4):
I will be starting a secret group (meaning only members can see the group, who’s in it, and what they post) on Goodreads for discussing these books as I go along. Selfishly, I am also hoping it will be a space for motivation and encouragement.
If you want to read along with any or all of these selections and join the discussion there, please contact me and I will invite you to the group. If you are not already on Goodreads, it is quite easy to set up an account just for these discussions. You can get an idea of how it looks and works by visiting my profile.
I am not getting To The Lighthouse from the library until this weekend, so I don’t anticipate any real activity until next week.