reading project

I’ve been an avid reader since I was about 4 when my Mum taught me to read. The whole family read; we’d go to the library and pick up 40 books to last us for the three weeks until the next visit to town.

I remember my first science fiction book, The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold. It dealt with the paradoxes of time travel in a way that made my 14-year-old brain spark and fizz. I’ve loved the genre ever since and have inhaled whatever I could get my hands on, from 50’s pulp story collections to classics.

I found a copy of the Man Who Folded Himself last year; it does not hold up that well. Like watching The World of Oz as a drug-free adult, it’s not nearly as good as I remember it.


Last year, NPR created a list of the Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy books through nominations and votes. I saved it on Evernote, thinking to get back to it, but school started and it drifted to the bottom of the priority pile. However, I have a blissfully empty summer ahead of me so I thought it was a good time to revisit the list and fill in the missing pieces.

Out of this list of 100 books, there are 29 books that I know for sure I haven’t read. The remaining 71 contains books that I love dearly and revisit often (anything with an *), books that changed my way of thinking (Brave New World, 1984) and books that illustrated and cemented my core values. I remember getting so pissed off with Asimov’s future when I was reading the Foundation Trilogy; such rich male characters as leaders, such weak secondary female characters as teachers and wives. Why aren’t there brilliant women scientists in the future?, I thought.

There are also books that I’ve read because I’d heard that they were good and that they should be read. Lord of the Rings falls in that category; yes it was good, but a bit tedious, and I never have to go back there again. There are books noted on the list where I’ve read part of a series. I’m going to finish some of them, but there are a few series that filled me with enough meh that I have zero intention of getting the rest of the books. Wheel of Time, Sword of Truth and Shannara Trilogy will have to go on without me.

Just so you know, I am one of those people that finishes books. There are maybe 20 books that I haven’t finished and will never finish. The Road is one of them. Honestly, I was a bit surprised to find it on this list. I just didn’t think it was that good. I know everyone was going gaga over it, but frankly I’ve read better end-of-the-world stories.

And there are 7 books that I think I’ve read before but I’m not sure, and reading the synopsis didn’t trigger memories. I’m going to add them to To Be Read pile anyway. What will likely happen is I will buy/borrow it, read half of the first chapter and the rest will surface from some deep recess in my brain.

So, here’s my slightly over-ambitious project. I’m going to start with the books in red and green first, in no particular order. Then I’ll hit the blue ones, which will take me a while as I’ve only read 2 of the 16 books in the Vorkosigan Saga and 2 of 9 of the Culture series.

Which is not to say that I won’t reread American Gods or Neuromancer if the mood strikes.


  1.  The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. *The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
  3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
  4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
  5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
  6. *1984, by George Orwell
  7. *Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
  9. *Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  10. *American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
  11. *The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
  12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
  13. *Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  14. *Neuromancer, by William Gibson
  15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
  16.  I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
  17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
  18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
  19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
  21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
  22. *The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  23. *The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
  24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
  25. *The Stand, by Stephen King
  26.  *Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
  27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury – finished July 10
  28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
  29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
  30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
  31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
  32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
  33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
  34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
  35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
  36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
  37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
  38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
  39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
  40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
  41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
  42. *The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
  44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven: 
  45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
  46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  47. *The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
  48. *Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
  49.  Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
  50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
  51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
  52. *Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
  53.  Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
  54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
  55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
  56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
  57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
  58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
  59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
  60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
  61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
  63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
  64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
  65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
  66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
  67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
  68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
  69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
  70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
  71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
  72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
  73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
  74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
  75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
  76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
  77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
  78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
  79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
  80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
  81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
  82.  The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
  83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
  84. *The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
  85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
  86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
  87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
  88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
  89. *The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
  90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
  91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
  92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
  93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
  94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
  95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
  96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
  98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
  99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
  100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
 November 16: Still to read = 29


One Reply to “reading project”

  1. Wheel of Time just got increasingly tedious as it went on. Clearly Jordan wanted to drag it out as long as possible, then he died. Sanderson has done a decent job of keeping the final 3 books interesting, although I wouldn’t recommend the series to anyone due books 5-10 sucking large. I am a fan of Shannara though, derivative as it is.

    Ender’s Game – I found it juvenile. Very much aimed at a younger audience, and where it’s going is pretty obvious.

    Contact – about as grounded a “science fiction” book as there is. I still think back to it every time someone mentions TIVO.

    Love the Thrawn trilogy – it’s a brilliant use of the Star Wars universe, and is what SHOULD have been made into movies instead of the unforgivable prequels.

    Xanth – endless series, and I find Anthony very hit and miss.

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