Augie’s 150 Books to Read in Your Lifetime

Not sure how I missed this but, fortunately, I came across a small sign mentioning it while roaming the local B&N Sunday evening. Seems that in celebration of its sesquicentennial (150 years) last year, faculty and staff at local Augustana College came up with a list of 150 books they recommend.

Although the list may in part reflect the fact Augie is an ELCA school, it is unquestionably diverse and eclectic. That makes me wonder even more about the fact I am wholly unfamiliar with the top five books and that I’ve read only 20-25 books on the entire list. As the page notes, though, “This is not a list of the ‘best’ 150 books or the ‘most important’ 150 books, but rather a fascinating snapshot of this group of people in the year 2010 and the books they have loved and want others to also read and enjoy.”

I’m not sure how the actual rank was determined and I’m not going to repeat the entire list, but here’s the top 50, with the ones I’ve read in bold.

  1. Illusions: Tales of a Reluctant Messiah, by Richard Bach
  2. The Snow Tree, by Caroline Repchuck
  3. A Very Easy Death, by Simone de Beauvoir
  4. Black Child, by Camara Laye
  5. If It Die, by André Gide
  6. Remembrance of Things Past, by Marcel Proust
  7. The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. The Bible
  11. The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch
  12. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safron Foer
  13. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
  14. Straight Man, by Richard Russo
  15. Last Moon Dancing, by Monique Schmidt
  16. Saint Maybe, by Anne Tyler
  17. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
  18. Practical Gods, by Carl Dennis
  19. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
  20. Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger
  21. The Next Place, by Warren Hanson
  22. Good-Night Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
  23. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
  24. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
  25. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
  26. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
  27. Up the Down Staircase, by Bel Kaufman
  28. QB VII, by Leon Uris
  29. Nicholas & Alexandra, by Robert K. Massie
  30. The Shack, by William P. Young
  31. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
  32. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
  33. Dear & Glorious Physician, by Taylor Caldwell
  34. The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama
  35. My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok
  36. Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  37. London, by Edward Rutherford
  38. Possessing the Secret of Joy, by Alice Walker
  39. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
  40. The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough
  41. Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch
  42. Wizard of Oz series, by L. Frank Baum
  43. The Worldly Philosophers, by Robert Heilbroner
  44. Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
  45. Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson
  46. Stones Into Schools, by Greg Mortenson
  47. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
  48. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  49. The Magus, by John Fowle
  50. The Chronicles of Narnia (series), by C. S. Lewis

…there is no passion more rewarding that reading itself … it remains the best way to dream and to feel the sheer carnal joy of being fully and openly alive.

Pat Conroy, My Reading Life

1 comment to Augie’s 150 Books to Read in Your Lifetime

  • Troy Jones

    Pretty interesting list. Heavy on fiction and short on History, science, philosophy, and no Twain or Steinbeck. But you are right, pretty interesting on the fiction side.

    Sidenote: I hope for their sake 🙂 there is nothing about the ranking. Martin Luther, who subscribed to Sola Scriptura, would not be happy the Bible isn’t #1.

    My list of the five books they have left off:

    1) Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn by Twain
    2) Travels with Charley/East of Eden or Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck
    3) Interior Castle by St. Therese of Avila (if one is spiritual) or Everlasting Man by Chesterton (if one is searching)
    4) Winnie the Pooh by Milne
    5) 1984/Animal Farm by Orwell