The Library 100

Here is a list of the top 100 novels of all time found in libraries around the world as compiled by the Online Computer Library Center.


How many have you read? Click here to find out!


Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
Treasure Island , Robert Louis Stevenson
Pride and Prejudice , Jane Austen
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
Moby Dick, Herman Melville
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again, J.R.R. Tolkien
Frankenstein, or, the Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley
Oliver Twist , Charles Dickens
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Madame Bovary: Patterns of Provincial Life, Gustave Flaubert
The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien
Dracula, Bram Stoker
The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum
Les Misérables, Victor Hugo
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Animal Farm, George Orwell
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Call of the Wild, Jack London
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
The Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper
Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
Heidi, Johanna Spyri
Ulysses, James Joyce
The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi
Ivanhoe, Walter Scott
The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane
Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
Lord of the Flies, William Golding
The Prince and the Pauper, Mark Twain
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling
The Red & the Black, Stendhal
The Stranger, Albert Camus
The Trial, Franz Kafka
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence
Kidnapped: The Adventures of David Balfour, Robert Louis Stevenson
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
A Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne
Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
My Ántonia, Willa Cather
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
The Vicar of Wakefield, Oliver Goldsmith
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain
White Fang, Jack London
Fathers and Sons, Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev
Doctor Zhivago, Boris Leonidovich Pasternak
The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
Persuasion, Jane Austen
Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
Candide, Voltaire
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy
Sons and Lovers, D.H. Lawrence
Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
The Swiss Family Robinson, Johann David Wyss
Bleak House, Charles Dickens
Père Goriot, Honoré de Balzac

Righting Your Writing

Like a firm handshake, good writing gives people a lasting impression. No matter what the intention, medium, or technology — how and what you write needs to be clear, easy to read, and effective.

In his book On Writing Well, William Zinsser says, “We are a society struggling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.” If what you’re trying to communicate is hiding in that kind of clutter, it’s likely your readers will not hear what you’re trying to say.

“Writing is hard work.” Zinsser explains. Good writing takes time and attention. Here are some suggestions for righting what you write:

Start with an Outline. Jot down the points you want to make. Collect and organize your thoughts before you write them.

Stick to the Point. Don’t waste words telling people what they already know or don’t need to know.

Avoid Jargon. Don’t use words that people outside your line of work won’t understand. Find another way to say it.

Use Familiar Combinations of Words. “Everything that coruscates with effulgence is not ipso facto aurous,” works a lot more effectively as “All that glitters is not gold.”

Use “First-degree” Words. Words that create an immediate image will get the point across quicker. For example, use object instead of manifestation, or face instead of visage.

Avoid “Windy Phrases.” Is there a shorter way to say something? Say it that way. “The secret of good writing,” says Zinsser, “is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.”

Read it out loud. Better yet, ask someone else to read it back to you. Do you pay attention? Is your message clear? Do you understand yourself?

“Good writing doesn’t come naturally,” explains Zinsser. But good writing is essential if you want to communicate effectively with your audience.

(Need help? Visit our sister website Words by Jen for information on our copy writing and editing services.)

BOOK REVIEW: Convenience Store Woman

CONVENIENCE STORE WOMAN
Written by Sayaka Murata

The English-language debut of one of Japan’s most talented contemporary writers, selling over 650,000 copies there, Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction―many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual―and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action…

A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and a world hidden from view, Convenience Store Woman is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.


As a former “convenience store woman” myself (college days), I easily stepped into the world of Keiko Furukura. It was very familiar — perhaps in too many ways. Who hasn’t felt a little off-center from the rest of the world sometimes? Hooray! for Keiko to figure out a work-around that brings her peace and fulfillment. And Bravo! the reader who can welcome Keiko into her/his heart…she is sweet and funny and sad, and living life on her own terms. Happily. — Jen Payne

BOOK REVIEW: How to Be a Good Creature

HOW TO BE A GOOD CREATURE
A Memoir in 13 Animals
Written by Sy Montgomery
Illustrated by Rebecca Green

Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet’s rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy’s life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets.

This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals—Sy’s friends—and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.


One of my favorite movies as a child was Dr. Doolittle. (The Rex Harrison classic, thank you.) Well, flash forward a few decades and meet naturalist Sy Montgomery and her menagerie of friends—the dog, the pig, the octopus, the spider. And more. From the stunning cover design to the sweet interior illustrations and through each charming story, you’ll get a new look at this world from the perspective of Montgomery and her chance encounters with the animals who have changed her life…and might just change yours. — Jen Payne

BOOK REVIEW: The Essex Serpent

THE ESSEX SERPENT

by Sarah Perry

An exquisitely talented young British author makes her American debut with this rapturously acclaimed historical novel, set in late nineteenth-century England, about an intellectually minded young widow, a pious vicar, and a rumored mythical serpent that explores questions about science and religion, skepticism, and faith, independence and love.

When Cora Seaborne’s brilliant, domineering husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one. Cora leaves London for a visit to coastal Essex, accompanied by her inquisitive and obsessive eleven-year old son, Francis, and the boy’s nanny, Martha, her fiercely protective friend. While admiring the sites, Cora learns of an intriguing rumor that has arisen further up the estuary, of a fearsome creature said to roam the marshes claiming human lives. After nearly 300 years, the mythical Essex Serpent is said to have returned, taking the life of a young man on New Year’s Eve. A keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, Cora is immediately enthralled, and certain that what the local people think is a magical sea beast may be a previously undiscovered species. Eager to investigate, she is introduced to local vicar William Ransome. Will, too, is suspicious of the rumors. But unlike Cora, this man of faith is convinced the rumors are caused by moral panic, a flight from true belief. These seeming opposites who agree on nothing soon find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart—an intense relationship that will change both of their lives in ways entirely unexpected.


I did not fall in love with this book right away. It was one of those relationships where you keep asking: should I or shouldn’t I continue? But things change one muddy night in the marsh, and it’s not until then that this book gets moving at an interesting – albeit slow – pace. The themes of religion, science, superstition, and intrigue start to reveal themselves more clearly then, as do the characters. There is a lot to this story, and it’s a good one! But truth be told, I found the supporting characters much more interesting than the main ones. Forget Cora and Will – meh – pay attention to Francis, Martha, Naomi, and Stella. They are much more fun to follow! — Jen Payne

BOOK REVIEW: The Course of Love

The Course of Love: A Novel
by Alain de Botton

We all know the headiness and excitement of the early days of love. But what comes after? In Edinburgh, a couple, Rabih and Kirsten, fall in love. They get married, they have children—but no long-term relationship is as simple as “happily ever after.” The Course of Love explores what happens after the birth of love, what it takes to maintain, and what happens to our original ideals under the pressures of an average existence. We see, along with Rabih and Kirsten, the first flush of infatuation, the effortlessness of falling into romantic love, and the course of life thereafter. Interwoven with their story and its challenges is an overlay of philosophy—an annotation and a guide to what we are reading.


This should be required reading. For everyone. Period. — Jen Payne

BOOK REVIEW: The Immortalists

Immoirtalists

The Immortalists
by Chloe Benjamin

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes. The prophecies inform their next five decades. A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.


While a bit predictable, the premise of this book is interesting, and you are certainly set-up for a good story from the very early pages. It wanders off a few times, puts you in some compromising positions with the characters, and trips on itself here and there, but overall it offered a new take on an old question and several distinct answers. — Jen Payne