100 Most Meaningful Books of All Time

Tonight on a whim I googled “most meaningful book” and this list of the 100 most meaningful books of all time came up.

According to the Christchurch City Libraries website a “2002 survey of around 100 well-known authors from 54 countries voted for the most meaningful book of all time in a poll organised by editors at the Norwegian Book Clubs in Oslo. Voters included Doris Lessing, Salman Rushdie, Carlos Fuentes and Norman Mailer. Miguel de Cervantes’ tale gained 50% more votes than any other book, eclipsing works by Shakespeare, Homer and Tolstoy.” The link for the original post can be found at: http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Literature/Best/2002/100Meaningful/

The books beyond Don Quixote, which was voted most meaningful, are arranged alphabetically by author as opposed to in order of meaning. Here is the list:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe
Fairy tales and stories by Hans Christian Andersen
Pride and prejudice by Jane Austen
Old Goriot by Honore de Balzac
Trilogy: Molloy, Malone dies, The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett
Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Collected fictions by Jorge Luis Borges
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Outsider (The Stranger) by Albert Camus
Poems by Paul Celan
Journey to the end of the night by Louis-Ferdinand Celine
Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Great expectations by Charles Dickens
Jacques the fatalist and his master by Denis Diderot
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin
Crime and punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Possessed by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Invisible man by Ralph Ellison
Medea by Euripides
Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
The Sound and the fury by William Faulkner
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
A Sentimental education by Gustave Flaubert
Gypsy Ballads by Federico Garcia Lorca
One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Dead souls by Nikolai Gogol
The Tin Drum by Günter Grass
The Devil to pay in the backlands by Joao Guimaraes Rosa
Hunger by Knut Hamsun
The Old man and the sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Iliad by Homer
The Odyssey by Homer
A Doll’s house by Henrik Ibsen
The Book of Job by Anon
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The Castle by Franz Kafka
The Recognition of Sakuntala by Kalidasa
The Sound of the mountain by Yasunari Kawabata
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
Sons and lovers by D H Lawrence
Independent people by Halldor K Laxness
Complete poems by Giacomo Leopardi
The Golden notebook by Doris Lessing
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Diary of a madman and other stories by Lu Xun
Mahabharata by Anon
Children of Gebelawi by Naguib Mahfouz
Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Essays by Michel de Montaigne
History by Elsa Morante
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
The Man without qualities by Robert Musil
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Njal’s saga
1984 by George Orwell
Metamorphoses by Ovid
The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
The Complete tales by Edgar Allan Poe
Remembrance of things past by Marcel Proust
Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais
Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo
The Mathnawi Jalalu’l-Din Rumi
Midnight’s children by Salman Rushdie
The Bostan of Saadi (The Orchard) by Sheikh Saadi of Shiraz
A Season of migration to the north by Tayeb Salih
Blindness by Jose Saramago
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
King Lear by William Shakespeare
Othello by William Shakespeare
Oedipus the King by Sophocles
The Red and the black by Stendhal
The Life and opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo
Gulliver’s travels by Jonathan Swift
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The Death of Ivan Ilyich and other stories by Leo Tolstoy
Selected Stories by Anton Chekhov
Thousand and One Nights
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Ramayana Valmiki
The Aeneid by Virgil
Leaves of grass by Walt Whitman
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar

I am not certain what to make of this list. After perusing it I do think that if one were to read all of these books the reader would have a very good survey of world literature and would have read a vast range of really amazing books. While I am not so certain about the inclusion of Pippi Longstocking, I do have to say that I have read articles stating that Steig Larson based his Lisbeth Salandar from the millenium trilogy on a grown up version of Pippi Longstocking. I might also add a few books to the list. Books like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin because it made such a contribution to the Abolitionists’ movement in the US and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden for adding to the Transcendentalists’ movement. Let me think on this list and see if there are others that I might add. To anyone reading this post, can you think of others? The Bible? The Volsung Sagas? Metamorphosis?