[MUM] 100 Novels for the College-bound student

100 Novels for the College-bound student [MUM]

Published circa 2000.

In the months prior to graduating high school, my English teacher passed around a two-page handout with this title at the top. The pages were gray around the edges from being photocopied too many times and they had the look of something originally written on an electric typewriter. It was a list of books our teachers recommended we read to be “prepared” for college. I can’t remember if we were told who compiled the list, or what the criteria were for its selections, but it didn’t much matter. I have always loved lists – both making them and finishing them – and ten seconds after getting this handout I was checking off the few books on it that I had read. This was my first introduction to the idea of a literary canon. I brought it home and showed it to my mother. A former English major at Boston’s Emmanuel College, she’d had the kind of classic liberal arts education that meant she’d probably read close to two-thirds of the list by the time she reached her senior year. When I gave it to her she began marking it up right there on the kitchen table, giving the initials HS or C or A for whether she’d read a particular book in high school, college, or “after.” For purely sentimental reasons I’m putting this 100 book list with no known author in the blender, abbreviating it [MUM] in honor of my mother, who made it more than just another classroom handout. It, along with her collection from the Easton Press [EP], was my starting point. As far as lists go, it is conservative like the Radcliff [RR] with the telltale plugs for the briefer, student-friendly classics like Portrait and Ethan Frome. Still, it is ambitious in its breadth. Like the Observer [O], the [MUM] rambles across the centuries, handpicking favorites from Cervantes onward. All but ten of its entries have made it onto the master list. The outliers are a combination of “books of the times” from the boomer generation (Ordinary People, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden), high school-friendly dramas with non-Anglo-American protags, and, oddly, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer.

Here’s the full list. All of them made the Master List except for the selection separated by a space at the bottom.
MIGUEL DE CERVANTES – Don Quixote de La Mancha
DANIEL DEFOE – Robinson Crusoe
JONATHAN SWIFT – Gulliver’s Travels
HENRY FIELDING – Joseph Andrews
JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE – The Sorrows of Young Werther
WALTER SCOTT – The Heart of Midlotian
JANE AUSTEN – Pride and Prejudice
STENDHAL – The Red and the Black
HONORE DE BALZAC – Eugenie Grandet
VICTOR HUGO – Les Miserables
ALEXANDRE DUMAS – The Three Musketeers
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE – The Scarlet Letter
WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY – Vanity Fair
CHARLES DICKENS – David Copperfield
CHARLOTTE BRONTE – Jane Eyre
EMILY BRONTE – Wuthering Heights
HERMAN MELVILLE – Moby-Dick
GEORGE ELIOT – The Mill on the Floss
FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY – The Brothers Karamazov; Crime and Punishment
GUSTAVE FLAUBERT – Madame Bovary
LEO TOLSTOY – Anna Karenina
MARK TWAIN – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
THOMAS HARDY – The Mayor of Casterbridge
HENRY JAMES – The Turn of the Screw
SARAH ORNE JEWETT – The Country of the Pointed Firs
KATE CHOPIN – The Awakening
OSCAR WILDE – The Picture of Dorian Gray
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW – Androcles and the Lion
JOSEPH CONRAD – Heart of Darkness; Lord Jim
EDITH WHARTON – Ethan Frome
RUDYARD KIPLING – Kim
JOHN GALSWORTHY – The Forsyte Sage
EDMOND ROSTAND – Cyrano de Bergerac
STEPHEN CRANE – The Red Badge of Courage
WILLA CATHER – My Antonia
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM – Of Human Bondage
THOMAS MANN – The Magic Mountain
HERMAN HESSE – Siddhartha
E. M. FORSTER – A Passage to India
JAMES JOYCE – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
SIGRID UNDSET – Kristin Lavrandsdatter
FRANZ KAFKA – The Metamorphosis
SINCLAIR LEWIS – Arrowsmith
D. H. LAWRENCE – Sons and Lovers
EUGENE O’NEILL – Long Day’s Journey into Night
KATHERINE ANNE PORTER – Collected Stories
PEARL BUCK – The Good Earth
J. R. R. TOLKIEN – The Lord of the Rings
ALDOUS HUXLEY – Brave New World
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD – The Great Gatsby
WILLIAM FAULKNER – Collected Stories
MARJORIE KINNAN RAWLINGS – The Yearling
THORNTON WILDER – Our Town
ERICH REMARQUE – All Quiet on the Western Front
ERNEST HEMINGWAY – A Farewell to Arms
MARGARET MITCHELL – Gone With the Wind
THOMAS WOLFE – Look Homeward, Angel
ANTOINE DE SAINT EXUPERY – The Little Prince
ANDRE MALRAUX – Man’s Fate
JOHN STEINBECK – The Grapes of Wrath
GEORGE ORWELL – Animal Farm
ALAN PATON – Cry, the Beloved Country
GRAHAM GREENE – The Power and the Glory
SAMUEL BECKETT – Waiting for Godot
DAPHNE DU MAURIER – Rebecca
RICHARD WRIGHT – Native Son; Black Boy
JAMES AGEE – A Death in the Family
WILLIAM GOLDING – The Lord of the Flies
TENNESSEE WILLIAMS – The Glass Menagerie
ALBERT CAMUS – The Plague; The Stranger
BERNARD MALAMUD – The Fixer
RALPH ELLISON – Invisible Man
SAUL BELLOW – The Adventures of Augie March
ARTHUR MILLER – The Death of a Salesman
CARSON MCCULLERS – The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN – One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch
J. D. SALINGER – The Catcher in the Rye
KURT VONNEGUT – Cat’s Cradle
JOSEPH HELLER – Catch-22
JAMES BALDWIN – Go Tell It On the Mountain
JOHN KNOWLES – A Separate Peace
HARPER LEE – To Kill A Mockingbird
GUNTER GRASS – The Tin Drum
MAYA ANGELOU – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
URSULA K. LE GUIN – The Left Hand of Darkness
JOHN UPDIKE – Rabbit Angstrom
ALICE WALKER – The Color Purple

OLE ROLVAAG – Giants in the Earth

HANNAH GREENBERG – I Never Promised you a Rose Garden

JUDITH GUEST – Ordinary People

JOHN HERSEY – The Wall

KAMALA MARKANDAYA – Nectar in a Sieve

YUKIO MISHIMA – The Sound of Waves

JOYCE CAROL OATES – A Garden of Earthly Delights

TILLIE OLSEN – Tell Me a Riddle

RACHEL CARSON – The Silent Spring

JAMES FENIMORE COOPER – The Pathfinder

JAMES HALL AND CHARLES NORDHOFF- Mutiny on the Bounty

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