This list is part of an ongoing project which I have been working on for several years. The goal – to reduce the number of books in my personal library down to my top 100 favorite titles.

You may ask why I am doing this, because for many booklovers part of the joy of owning books is in the collecting and knowing that they are always at hand. And to be honest, I am no different and feel the same way about each and every book that I have accumulated over the years. Therein lies part of my problem. At my peak I had over 5,ooo volumes and along with many of my other ‘collected’ addictions I realised that I had been using these items as a way to base my worth…something that was crazy, unhealthy and just plain stupid. Having started the journey to come to terms with this, I then embarked on a mission to downsize my belongings and from this the ‘100 Books…’ list was born.

The journey is likely to be a long one and involve many comprises along the way, so as a motivational tool I decided to place this list online as part of my blog. Hopefully it will help keep me on track and at least in some small part contribute to my goal.

Here’s how my list looks so far with the titles in no specific order…

Be sure to click on any cover you would like a closer look at.

Journey to the West – Wu Cheng’en

Journey to the West Vol. 1 Journey to the West Vol. 2 Journey to the West Vol. 3 The Tower of Myriad Mirrors

My copy of ‘Journey to the West’ consists of 3 volumes containing all 100 chapters of the Chinese classic. These editions are hardcover and were published by Foreign Language Press (FPL) Beijing in 2002. I quite enjoy the accesibility of the releases by FPL for Western readers and I have a few other titles released by them in my collection. As I’m only just starting out on the journey of learning Modern Mandarin, I can’t as yet comment on the accuracy of the translations.

I’ve also included here a scan of ‘The Tower of Myriad Mirrors’, which I suppose you could call a supplement to the story of ‘The Journey to the West’. It’s story takes the form of a dream sequence and falls between chapters sixty-one and sixty-two of the original novel. It was written by Tung Yueh in around the 1640’s.

Journey to the West - Chinese Edition

This is the cover of a Chinese edition of ‘Journey to the West’ a friend of mine bought as a present for me on an overseas trip a few years back.

A Dream of Red Mansions

A Dream of Red Mansions, Vol. 1 A Dream of Red Mansions, Vol. 2 A Dream of Red Mansions, Vol. 3 A Dream of Red Mansions, Vol. 4

A Dream of Red Mansions

Another of the big Classics of Chinese literature. This softcover set of ‘A Dream of Red Mansions’ comprises four volumes each with a glossy cover jacket and is also published by FPL.

The fifth thumbnail above is the cover for the 1st volume of a 3 volume hardcover set also released by FPL, which I was fortunate enough to find on ebay last year. Each of the three volumes has a matching book jacket (as pictured) and it’s own paperboard slipcase. From what I can tell this edition was published in 1980.

Outlaws of the Marsh

Outlaws of the Marsh, Vol. 1 Outlaws of the Marsh, Vol. 2 Outlaws of the Marsh, Vol. 3 Outlaws of the Marsh, Vol. 4

Three Kingdoms

Three Kingdoms Vol. 1 Three Kingdoms Vol. 2 Three Kingdoms Vol. 3 Three Kingdoms Vol. 4

Another great set from FPL, matching the ‘A Dream of Red Mansions’ and ‘Outlaws of the March’ releases above. I understand that there is also a fourth set available adding ‘Journey to the West’ to list.

#5 The Divine Comedy – Dante
#6 Paradise Lost – John Milton

The Stand – Stephen King

The Stand

Of all Stephen Kings novels ‘The Stand’ is the only one I keep coming back to. So much so that I have had to replace paperback copies of this title on a regular basis due to it’s size of approximately 1400 pages and the limited life span such a huge volume places on it’s bindings.

Readers may be surprised to note that ‘The Stand’ has appeared in many ‘Top Books’ or ‘Greatest Books’ list over recent years.

#8 The Ring Trilogy – Koji Suzuki
#9 The Mahabharata
#10 The Histories – Herodotus
#11 The Twelve Caesars – Suetonius
#12 Fall of the Roman Republic – Plutarch
#13 The Foundation Trilogy / Sequence – Isaac Asimov
#14 The Dune Trilogy / Sequence – Frank Herbert
#15 The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkein

Bleach Series (Manga) -Tite Kubo

Bleach Vol. 1 (Japanese Cover)

Bleach is one of my ‘guilty pleasures’. I know at my age I’m probably not the audience that the manga is aimed at, but I really can’t resist. Bleach is still an ongoing series with regular releases in the Japanese magazine Shonen Jump. Tite Kubo has crafted an immensly popular story which has now given birth to an even more popular anime series of the same name and several movies.

At last check, Vol. 28 had just been released.

#17 The Iliad – Homer


The Odyssey – Homer

The Odyssey - Homer

The Baroque Cycle – Neal Stephenson

Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson The Confusion, Neal Stephenson The System of the World, Neal Stephenson

While I will always provide larger images (just click on the thumbnail) for each of the titles under discussion in this list, I highly encourage you to check these ones out for the amazing meld of artwork that they carry. See if you can identify any of the works of art that have been used…

More widely known for his Cyberpunk novels ‘Snowcrash’ and ‘The Diamond Age’ (and lets not forget Cryptonomicon), Stephenson shows that his literary skills are impressive no matter what genre he decides to work in.

This is one huge historical series, rich in detail and scope, with a story that never lets you go.

The ‘Ramses’ Series – Christian Jacq

The Son of Light The Temple of a Million Years The Battle of Kadesh The Lady of Abu Simbel Under the Western Acacia

Over 5 volumes Christian Jacq tells the story of the life of Ramses II, starting from the age of 14 in the first novel and moving onwards into and through his 60 year reign as Pharaoh of Egypt as the story progresses.

Edit: 26th December 2008

Today I downloaded a copy of the first volume “The Son of the Light’ as an ebook from eReader.com

In keeping with the idea of my ‘100 Books…’ project I’ve decided that where possible (except when replacing damaged or missing volumes) any future copies of the titles already on this list will be purchased in electronic formats.

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3 Responses to “100 Books…”

  1. Thor Says:

    Great idea! I’ve thought about creating a similar list. I just never seem to get “a round toit”.

  2. trish d. dish Says:

    I’ve done what you’re doing but for different reasons. Oftentimes I feel like the girl in Ever After who, when asked to choose a book, says, “I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens.”

    I’m glad you mentioned Neal Stephenson, though. I’ve got Quicksilver and Cryptonomicon on my TBR list…

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