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IMG_3128Remember chain letters? You’d drop a letter into the world with instructions to send it on again, and return mail was promised to everyone in the chain as their reward. Optimists imagined an epistolary chain forging bonds across the country. Pessimists like me fretted at being the next link in a Ponzi scheme designed to fund the Post Office through purchases of stamps.

Imagine building a reading list this way.

Last month, one of my colleagues started an email chain sharing his favourite books. They were books that, as he said, he “could remember where I was when I read them – they were that important.”

He should have known better than to start that chain. The team jumped in with their books. All we got in return was a fascinating, personal, and growing list of books that taunted us with the call of all books: “Read me!”

The List as we’ve creatively called it, stands at forty-four books of no obvious theme or taste. Disproving any argument for “classics” or “essentials” – because eight hardcore readers offered up not a single duplicate. Not. A. One. Not even Harry Potter or Shakespeare.

I have foolhardily taken up this challenge. You might almost call it a quest. Possibly even Quixotic. By the end of 2019 I want to read all forty-four books and anyone is welcome to jump in and out along this journey. Am I looking for more books? Please, no! Do I need advice on where to start or how to conquer the list? Absolutely.

  • Aldous, Huxley. Brave New World
  • Bloom, Harold. The Western Canon
  • Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay
  • Chabon, Michael. Moonglow
  • Clancy, Tom. Dead Or Alive
  • Claremont, Chris & Byrne, John. Dark Phoenix Saga
  • Dallaire, General Romeo. Shake Hands With The Devil
  • Dostovesky, Fyodor. Crime And Punishment
  • Doyle, Sir Conan Arthur. The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
  • Dumas, Alexandre. The Count Of Monte Cristo
  • du Maurier, Daphne. Rebecca
  • Eggers, Dave. A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius
  • Ephron, Nora. I Feel Bad About My Neck
  • Goldman, William. The Princess Bride
  • Guareschi, Giovanni. The Don Camillo Omnibus
  • Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan
  • Hofstadter, Douglas R. Godel, Escher, Bach
  • Joyce, James. Ulysses
  • Kendi, Ibram X. Stamped From The Beginning
  • Larsen, Erik. Devil In The White City
  • Levin, Ira. Rosemary’s Baby
  • Lewis, C.S. The Magician’s Nephew
  • Lewis, C.S. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe
  • Mann, Thomas. Buddenbrooks
  • McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics
  • Moore, Christopher. A Dirty Job
  • Oliver, Mary. Felicity
  • Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet On The Western Front
  • Robin Hood varia
  • Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone et al.
  • St. John-Mandel, Emily. Station Eleven
  • Schwalbe, Will. The End Of Your Life Book Club
  • Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Sheffield, Rob. Love Is A Mixtape
  • Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich
  • Spiegelman, Art. Maus
  • Strayed, Cheryl. tiny beautiful things
  • Thomas, Roy. Savage Sword Of Conan
  • Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit
  • Tolstoy, Leo. War And Peace
  • Vonnegut, Kurt. Breakfast Of Champions
  • Watson, Peter. Ideas
  • Wilde, Oscar. De Profundis
  • Zahn, Timothy. Star Wars: Heir To The Empire
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