Monday, July 28, 2008

sex, drugs, and b f skinner

The other night, I found myself in a bar, drinking a pint of Blue Moon, chatting with a drummer. He started explaining to me why he loves playing music as much as he does.

"There's just nothing like the high you get from playing good music, when you and the other band members are really on, and the crowd is really into it, you just get that great high, you know? But it's not always there, you don't always get that high, sometimes you're on and you get it, and sometimes you don't. You can always get a high from drugs or good sex, but the high from playing music, you don't know when you're gonna get it or not, so you keep on playing." Sipping beer, "Not that I do a lot of drugs or anything."

You have no idea how hard it was for me to not respond, "That's because you're being rewarded on a variable ratio schedule*, which is the most powerful schedule of behavioral reinforcement. Sex and drugs are reinforcing on a continuous schedule, meaning that you will always get that same high from those activities. But the fact that you sometimes get the high from playing music and sometimes you don't, and the unpredictability of receiving that high, causes you to continue to play music, each time hoping that you will receive that pleasurable high." Sipping beer, "This is a fascinating example of the operant paradigm at work." Throwing back a shot, "It's science, man." (Ok, I don't actually take shots, it just seemed like a good dramatic flourish for this story.)

People like me should not be allowed in bars.

*Note: This is probably why I'm addicted to the internet.

family ties

I never understood young adults who complained about seeing their family. I see this more on television and in movies, but I've also heard friends, coworkers, classmates, and even professors complain about not wanting to go visit their family.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid that I'm beginning to understand this phenomena. I've just spent the past weekend at home, and tonight my dad is coming down, and Tuesday my mom is coming down to help me move and will probably stay through Sunday. I'm really grateful for the help and know that this will be a good time, but part of me is groining, "Too. Much. Family. Time."

It's not that I don't enjoy spending time with my family or don't want to receive what they're offering. I'm just realizing that when they come down here, especially during the week, I feel like my space is being invaded. When I asked my mom to come down and help me move, I only asked her to come for the weekend, but then she suggested coming earlier to help me pack. I explained that would be fine, but I would be busy and wouldn't have a whole lot of time. So, she decided to come on Tuesday night, so she can spend Wednesday and Thursday helping me as well. It's a great idea in theory. This past weekend, my mom asked me for my schedule for each day this week. As she was writing it down, she explained, "You're really busy! When are you going to have time to pack?" "Erm, well, I have a little time Wednesday afternoon, and a little time Thursday morning, and then more time Friday afternoon and evening." "Yeah, I guess we'll just do most of the packing on Friday." Which is what I'd said all along. I'm sure we'll get some stuff done on Wednesday and Thursday and it will make Friday less stressful.

I like my space. I like having visitors, but I prefer them to come on the weekends when I'm less busy and can actually be a good hostess. And during the week, I'm so busy and all over the place, that hosting someone is just kinda stressful. Though my mom insists that I won't have to entertain her during this time and that she understands I'll be busy, I still feel guilty for not being around to spend time with her. Especially when she exclaims, "You're busy!" as if this surprises her.

Alright, just had to get that off my chest and into the blogosphere. Part of me is dreading hosting my family all week long. But I really need to put that aside, and be grateful for the help they're offering and the good times that we will share, when I'm not at work, seeing clients, studying, at a meeting, or with my church group. And I'm a big girl. I can put aside my needs for space and privacy and freedom for this one week and allow my family to invade my life down here. Honestly, pretty soon the fall semester will be starting and I'll be even busier and have less time to make it up to see them. While I complain, I do want to put aside my selfishness and cherish the this opportunity to spend time with my family. And I can't do this on my own. My natural inclination is to get riled up at this perceived threat to my independence and feel anxious and complain, but I need God's grace to override my natural reactions. And this threat to my independence is probably a lot of what these feelings are about. I have a hard time admitting that I need my family. I need to let go of my pride and surrender this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

cappucinos and Kierkegaard, in which our heroine falls for a philosophizing fellow

Once again, Cara said this was good blogging material, so here goes . . .

This past April, on the heels of a breakup, a new guy, erm man, actually, moved into town and started working at the coffee shop that I frequent. At the sight of his baby blue eyes behind those black plastic-rimmed glasses, paired with a big bright smile, I knew that I had to find out more about this pearl-snap wearing hipster. Turns out this hipster-looking dude is also a huge nerd, trying to get into a doctorate program here to study philosophy. We talked a little Freud, existentialism, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and theology, and I was licking my intellectual-loving lips. Could it be? An intellectual who writes papers and smokes cigars who actually has a personality and sense of humor and fashion sense and loves Jesus and plays Guitar Hero, and he's working at my coffee shop? How could I not be swooning?

Fortunately for my poor confused heart at the time, I didn't see him again until June, but I still remembered the impression that he made on me. Over the past month, we've continued to have more conversations, mostly about philosophy, theology, religion, or psychology, but also about coffee, music, movies, fashion, the fourth of july, television, education, and sometimes about things from our personal life, our family, or friends. I learned that he was living on his sister's couch, frequently awoken by his two year old niece, and is waiting to find his own place until he gets officially accepted into this doctoral program. I learned that he has a younger brother who was previously a meth addict, whom he cared for over several years, starting when he was 23, which quickly matured him. In this same conversation, I learned that he was significantly older than I realized, when he mentioned that he just moved here from living in Abilene for 12 years, where he spent "almost a third," of his life. I learned that his parents were divorced when he told me that his dad and stepmom came to visit for the fourth of July.

Most of the time, these conversations occurred with him on the other side of the counter, but often he would come approach me at my table where I sat and studied, and twice he sat down with me before or after his shift and talked to me for almost an hour. Mostly he talked about his latest philosophical revelation and I questioned and listened and tried to relate it to my experiences. Not gonna lie, a lot of it went over my head, and a lot of the conversations were rather one sided, but he would get so happy and animated about these things, that I just got sucked right in. One time during one of these conversations, his sister came up and I met her.

We soon built a friendly rapport with one another, and frequently joked and made one another laugh. I wasn't getting strong signals of interest from him, but occasionally he would do things that could border on flirtation, like last week when he came over to my couch, complimented my shirt, made me origami out of a napkin, which made me laugh, then returned to his counter saying, "Well, if you have any questions about Heidegger, you know where to find me!" Friendly? Very. Flirty? Meh, possibly. A few of my friends observed our interactions together, and agreed that he was very friendly with me, possibly flirty, possibly interested in me, but maybe just being friendly.

I was crushing on him, but definitely had my reservations. The biggest problem I had was how much he talks about his own ideas versus how little he asks me about my life and my thoughts. Not only was this a sign that he wasn't interested in me, but also not a quality that I admire nor want in a relationship. Because of this, I had a hard time actually picturing myself in a relationship with him, but crushes can be pleasant distractions, and I was enjoying the attention, so I continued the interactions, with several prayers throughout.

This past Friday, I was planning on going to a concert on Saturday, but hadn't found anyone to go with me yet. I'd told several friends about it, so he was discussing a concert, so I told him about it and asked if he wanted to go. "Actually," he replied, "I sort of have a concert of my own Saturday evening." "Oh really?" "Yeah, my sister just got the Aerosmith version of Guitar Hero, so she's having some friends over, and it's my duty to unlock all of the songs for them." That was it, and I was frustrated. Does he not realize that I had just asked him out? The cute smart blond customer who he's been talking and laughing with for the past month just asked him to go to a concert, and it didn't even phase him? Believe it or not, but it takes a lot for me to ask a guy to do something with me. I always prefer the man to make the first move, but based on a recent conversation with a friend, I decided that it was ok to make the first move, if he picked up the ball and ran with it. If he didn't grab the ball, then I'd know that he either wasn't interested or wasn't worth bothering with. I decided that I better accept what I'd felt all along in my gut - he really just isn't interested in me as more than a customer to chat with. He doesn't like me, he just likes having someone to talk with. But throughout the weekend, he was there when I arrived, and we continued having nice, fun, interesting conversations, and his friendliness continued, and the crushing continued.

Last night I arrived to work on a paper, and he was there, as friendly as ever, "Hey, I have to tell you something that I realized today!" and he began discussing Fear and Trembling across the cash register. At the end of his thoughts, smile stretching ear to ear, he stated, "I'm so glad I could share that with you!" I just laughed and said, "Yeah, I can tell that you really love this and really enjoy these conversations, you're in the right field for you!" A little later in the evening, I told him more about the case presentation I was working on, and we hypothesized a little about one of my clients. Some Mormon missionaries came in, and he told me that they witnessed to him. "Oh, are you converted now?" I asked. "No, I decided I don't want to have more than one wife." "Me neither. Actually, I don't want to have a wife at all." He laughed, "Yeah, I was wondering." "Actually, I wouldn't mind having a wife, someone to do my cooking and cleaning for me would be nice." "Yeah, it seems that in my relationships, we've always joked that I was the wife because I wound up doing most of the cooking and cleaning." My classmate Keisha came in, and sat at a table next to me, "How are things with the cowboy?" (He sometimes wears a straw cowboy hat). "Oh, I don't know, we've still been chatting, but I asked him to go to this concert, but he had other plans." "Did he tell you what those plans were?" "Yeah." "Well, that's better than just saying, 'Oh, I have plans,' and being vague about it. I say you ask him to hang out one more time, and if he doesn't respond well, that's it, you drop him." Yes mam.

The shop closes at 11, and around 10:20 I walked out the door to go grab a book from my car. He was having a conversation with another guy, but he stopped to ask me, "Are you leaving?" "No, not yet, I've just got to grab something from my car." "Ok, good. You're not allowed to leave yet. I won't let you." I smiled, "I'm just going to get a big scary book called the DSM-IV-TR." "Oh yeah, I've read it." "You've read it?" Why would anyone but a mental health professional read the diagnostic and statistical of mental disorders? This confused me, but in no way did I anticipate his response, "Yeah, my wife was a psychology major."

My wife. Was a psychology major. I can think of dozens of things he could have said that would have shocked me less than that statement. "I was committed to a psychiatric ward once," "I'm a convicted felon," "I think I'm gay," "I sacrifice lambs," or "Let's have a threesome," would have shocked me less. "My wife." I wonder if I looked like a deer in headlights. He continued talking but I didn't hear a word he said because my thoughts were spinning. He has a wife. No wedding ring. Sleeps on his sister's couch. Never mentioned her. He has a wife. I finally snapped out of the whirlwind of cognitions to ask, "So, your wife was a psych major, what does she do now?" "Actually, haha, she works at Wal-Mart. That's what happens when you switch from psychology to English without finishing either."

I soon found myself outside, trying to process all of this. All of our conversations, and no mention of the wife until now? There would be plenty of appropriate times for him to have mentioned it. "Oh, you study counseling psychology. My wife studied psychology." "Yeah, it seems that in my relationships, we've always joked that I was the wife because I wound up doing most of the cooking and cleaning. Now my wife and I take turns cleaning." "Yes, I had a great Fourth of July! I stayed here, but my dad and stepmom came down to visit. My wife had the day off too." "So, I can't come to the concert, I actually have other plans. My wife and I are playing Guitar Hero with my sister and her friends." "Yeah, this band plays there every Thursday night. It's also ladies' night, which means that ladies get in free. My wife loves it when she can get in free." "No, the Mormons didn't convert me, I've got one wife and that's enough for me!" "I can't wait to have my own place, have my own privacy again so I can throw wild parties and have wild sex with my wife." Ok, that last one wasn't such appropriate coffee shop talk, but you get the picture.

I paced around the parking lot, feeling a disappointed, but mostly shocked, confused, and angry. Have I just been stupid, completely misreading him? Did I bring this upon myself? Was he leading me on? Why didn't the little bugger tell me he was married? Why doesn't he wear a ring? Why has he been so friendly toward me? I texted Keisha. She was shocked, I wanted to say something to him, but she assured me this was a bad idea. I finally went back inside, and sat next to Keisha, who told me, "That is wack! This dude is really suspect. Even when you walked out, he was checking you up and down!" "I don't know, this is crazy, but I used to work at a coffee shop, and all the time guys would mistake my friendliness for something else. Maybe that's what I've done. I've just misinterpretted him. He's just friendly to his customers, and I took it too far." "No, listen, he's friendly to me, ok? But he's really friendly with you. He doesn't come over here and have little chats with me." And sure enough, he soon came over, and wanted to look at my DSM. He thumbed through it, and told me a story about how his wife had diagnosed a character from a novel, though he couldn't remember the diagnosis. When he first walked up, I wished he would walk away, but there he started, smiling, telling his story, and I got into it and wanted to listen to him. It was nauseating. After he left, Keisha started off again, "See? He has a wife and he does not need to be coming over here."

This was so distracting, I left soon afterward. I said by to him and the other dude behind the counter. "Alright," he told, "You can leave now, I wasn't going to let you leave before 10:45." Part of me thought that was really cute, but a bigger part of me was screaming, "You perv!" So, this is weird. I definitely don't have a crush on him anymore, and I'm not even that sad or disappointed, more just confused, feel stupid, and feel really annoyed at him. I definitely need to change my interactions with him, and probably should stay away from this coffee shop for a little while. When I do return, I can talk to him at the counter, but that's it. No more wandering over to the counter to continue our conversations, and if he comes to my table, I can ask him about his wife or something. Boundaries need to be set up, if not for him, definitely for me.

I can be appropriately friendly with married men, but only when I know the boundaries in my head and in my heart. The owner of this coffee shop is married, but I knew this from the beginning, and I know his wife too, so we talk, we laugh, he invited me to go see the Dark Knight with them, but none of this is weird because I knew all along that he was married. He is attractive, but I've never once felt attracted to him because knowing that he was married created boundaries for me. I think about and act differently toward men that I assume to be single than toward men that I know to be married. But when a married man presents himself as single, or at least doesn't present himself as married, I treated him like a single man, which involved being attracted to him and flirting with him. Ugh, the whole thing just leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

So there we go, another little glimpse inside my romantic universe that some of my friends like to live vicariously through (why? it's so weird in this section of the cosmos!). Apparently I'm no better at judging the relationship status of men than I am at judging their ages. Worst crush ever? Yes. Worse than crushing on an ex-boyfriend, or crushing on an ex-boyfriend's best friend or roommate, or crushing on the boy that then tells me he wants to date my best friend, or crushing on the pot-smoking atheist in my high school stats class, or crushing on the skater guy who dropped out of a college and has family issues, who also probably smoked weed. Crushing on the married 30-something year old tops them all. And because it's probably my worst crush ever, and because Cara told me that this would be good blog material, and that it would help me feel better about things, I've just written a ridiculously long post about it. I feel like my blog could become some sort of Sex and the City-esque column. Minus the sex, unfortunately. I hope you found this entertaining, because in the midst of the weirdness of it all, I find myself very entertained at the absurdity. I hope you don't think I'm a silly pathetic girl, because I kind of am, but I sure don't want to be. I hope you feel annoyed at this dude and want to grab his adorable plastic-framed glasses, and smash them between his copies of Time and Being and What Would Jesus Deconstruct, and then pour espresso all over the mess, and then run over it with his ugly truck with the "Don't Mess with Texas" bumper sticker on the back window, because I sorta do, but I'd rather someone else do it for me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fantasy Film Festival!!!!

My friend RC over at Strange Culture posted about how Diablo Cody has chosen 12 of her favorite films to be shown in a film series at the New Beverly Cinema, and he invited us to comment and asked us If you were making your own repertory cinema list what would you have to include?

So, I've given it some thought, and instead of 12 films, I've picked 14 for a week-long fantasy film festival. Here are my picks:

Subtle Romance:
Say Anything


London Love:
About a Boy
Love Actually

Family Dramas:
The Squid and the Whale
Ordinary People

Little Miss Sunshine

Coming of Age Dramas:
Motorcycle Diaries
The Graduate

Bring the Kids:
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971 version starring Gene Wilder)

I considered combining Sandlot and Murderball under the same night as Sports Films, and placing Young Frankenstein (another Gene Wilder gem to replace Willy Wonka) alongside Little Miss Sunshine, but thinking of the audience, I wouldn't want kids watching the rated R Murderball. I also considered including Moulin Rouge, the Sound of Music, the Princess Bride, and Army of Darkness. I guess I could have extended my film festival another couple of nights with "Horror Satire Comedies: Army of Darkness, Young Frankenstein" and "Musicals: Moulin Rouge, The Sound of Music." On the subject of satires, why didn't I include any Christopher Guest films? I also considered A Christmas Story as a favorite kids film. I also could have included another drama category with films like The 25th Hour, The Usual Suspects, and Mystic River. Oh well, there are just too many movies out there that I love and want everyone I know to watch!

This film festival idea reminds me of a couple of childhood memories. First, my cousin used to come visit most summers and when we were young we would place movie theatre with rented movies. We could make tickets for each of the films we were watching, and sell them to our stuffed animals, who became the audience. Secondly, in middle school and high school, my friends and I would have sleepovers and often picked themes for the films we would watch. For example, we once had a "Mentally Challenged Sleepover" and watched Forrest Gump and Rainman. Fun times all around.

So, what are your thoughts on my picks, and what would be your choices if you were given an opportunity like Diablo Cody?

Friday, July 11, 2008


This morning, as I slipped four thin pink and gold metallic bangles over my left hand, I instantly remembered Britt's recent visit and us going to eat at the Hindu temple in Dallas, where I bought these bangles. I miss Britt and I don't know when I'll see her again, but in a simple way, the bangles brought back fond memories of her and represent the connection we share, though we live in different states.

As I was walking to work, I realized that head to toe, everything I'm wearing represents a relationship I have or a significant event in my life. My flip flops were given to me by my dad and stepmom, my shorts were bought with a giftcard my mom gave me, and she helped me pick them out too. My underwear was bought when I was shopping with Heather, and my bra was bought with a giftcard from my stepsister. The scarf I'm wearing as a belt was given to me by a former roommate. (Scarf belts are a signature look of mine, by the way. I have an entire draw full of scarves for this purpose) The purse I'm carrying was given to me by my friend Meredith. My class ring was another gift from my mother, and it represents my college experience and the success of earning my first degree. I'm literally wearing all of these relationships, that have enriched my life physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Even the things that I bought for myself hold symbolic meaning for me. I bought my floppy hat to feel carefree and happy. I'm wearing the shirt that I wore at my interview for A&M; this very shirt on my body now came with me as I first visited this department and began to make the decision to come here. The ring I'm wearing on my right hand I bought about a month ago specifically to be symbolic. It's a silver ring, with three spirals in it. I feel like I'm coming out of a hard season in my life, and I bought this ring to represent that though I may feel confused, things may seem crazy and out of control, that's not the case. God is with me through all of this and is empowering me to handle anything that may come my way. I can handle ze craziness of life.

I'm a sentimental person, that's for sure. I easily become attached to things that I attach meaning to. I don't think it's good to be overly attached to material possessions, but as symbols, they can be quite meaningful. A couple of months ago, I dropped and broke this glass ring that I had bought in Venice. I cried when it broke, and later decided that I would ask my friend going to Italy this summer to buy me another one. Within a few days, I realized that I didn't need to replace it. It was just a thing, not a devastating loss, and I have many other things to remind me of my special time in Europe. I bought it because it was pretty, but didn't wear it a whole lot because it was purple and didn't match everything. As I'm writing this, I realized that I wear the silver ring I bought a month ago on the same finger that I would sometimes wear the Venice ring. At the time, I didn't think of buying the silver ring as a replacement. It may not be from an exotic locale, but I think I prefer the new ring on this finger to the previous one.

So, what about you? Do you own any symbolic possessions that are special to you?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Reborn on the fourth of july

For the past several years, the Fourth of July hasn't been one of my favorite holidays. I've had some good ones, but none of the good ones have been traditional at all. And some of them were just downright lame. Since being an adult, this year's Fourth of July was the first to celebrate with people my own age and nationality. Last year my mom and I went to Chicago (awesome, but not my age), the year before that we partied with our neighbors (again, not my age, more fun than I expected, but not where I would have liked to have been), 2005 I was in Mexico (pretty incredible party with hot dogs and tres leches cake and salsa dancing, but not my nationality, not even the right country), the year before that I was going through a breakup (lamest of them all), and before that, I honestly don't remember.

So finally, I made a point this year to celebrate the Fourth of July with American peers, by joining Cara out in Dallas. The night of the third, we saw Fleet Foxes in concert, and they were fenomenal! If you haven't already, you should definitely check out their tunes. They're even better live, mesmerizing, entertaining, magical.

The actual day of the fourth involved (deep breath), sleeping in on a temprapedic (sp?) mattress, driving around Oak Cliff trying to find donuts, settling on Sonic breakfast, conversing about life and relationships with a dear friend, a long shower in a nasty man's bathroom (the man isn't nasty, just men's bathrooms in general are icky), studying tests and measurements, sweating outside, wearing my turquoise bathing suit and floppy summer hat, finally putting away the books when people came over, sitting around, drinking margaritas and beer, being snobby about the beer I brought as opposed to the Corona offered by the host, being snobby about sharing my beer, being made fun of for being a beer snob, making fun of engineers, being made fun of by engineers for incorrectly using a chair, lounging in an inflatable shark pool, being crowded in an inflatable shark pool, eating burger dogs, eating bratwurst, eating chips and salsa, discussing poop, discussing a son's penis with young parents, discussing perginas with an OB/GYN resident, discussing church and the gospel, playing frisbee with my floppy hat, playing frisbee with an actual frisbee, being eaten by bugs, watching my bug spray being used as a torch, listening to the neighbors shoot off fireworks, listening to the ice cream truck drive by, whining about wanting ice cream, driving to an apartment to watch fireworks, stopping to get ice cream, sitting on the floor of an unfurnished apartment, eating ice cream, searching for the apartment rooftop, finding the rooftop, watching several firework shows from far away, climbing on the actual roof for a better view, skinning my knee, being afraid of heights, playing with a stranger's dog, listening to music, looking at yearbooks, riding in a scion.

I feel like this had all the necessary ingredients of a typical American Fourth of July in some degree or another (friends, hot dogs, alcohol, a pool, being outside, sports, fireworks). I know that this wasn't the ideal Fourth of July for everyone involved, but it was all that I wanted and more. Honestly, I just loved how chill the entire day was. No need to hurry, no responsibilities (though I did do a little studying), no need delay gratification, no need to impress anyone. Just being, and being with others who though most of them I don't know super-well, I feel pretty comfortable around. Maybe it helped that I was there with one of my closest friends, but it kinda amazes me just how relaxed I feel around this group of people. It's probably in part due to their welcoming and inclusiveness and the things we have in common, but it could also be due to the fact that with them, I have no real need to impress. Here's a group that I don't interact with on a regular basis, I'm not trying to "fit in" or become one of them, and this role as a friend of a friend or blog friend or visitor, frees me to really be myself. To state opinions and poke fun and be weird and be snobby and not worrying about how I'm representing myself. At the end of the day, I found myself wondering, why don't I do this more back in College Station? In College Station, I want to be liked, I want to make friends, I want to be respected, I don't want to offend. But on the Fourth of July, I felt like I was a more likable person because those things weren't on the forefront of my mind. I'm not sure how this will work out, but I'd really like to bring the Fourth of July me back to College Station with me tomorrow.

Did I mention that we crowded 6 people into a kiddie-sized shark pool? If you need proof of this impossible feat:

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

25/100 - From Martha!

The Big Read, an initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. How do you do?

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (not the entire thing, but at least part of every book, and almost all of the new testament)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (only the kids version)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (most of it, ugh)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (why is this separate from #33?)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (the movie was great, but it's hard to read the book after)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (better read it to my kids someday)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (one of the few books that actually made me cry)
58 Brave New World- Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (read some, haven't finished)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Ronald Dahl (anything by Ronald Dahl is amazing!)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I've read a quarter of these, that's well above average, woo-hoo! There are 20 more that I would like to read, which means that half of these will probably never be read by me. Honestly, there are quite a few that I've never heard of.

So, this is kinda redundant to my other recent post about a reading list, but if you were to pick one of these from the list that I must read before I die, which would it be?