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To Infinity and Beyond > Jody's 50 Before 50 Challenge(s)

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message 1: by Jody (last edited Jan 17, 2022 02:45AM) (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments I keep seeing these kinds of lists around, so I've decided to make one of my own. I've restricted it to books published prior to 1940, as they're the ones I most want to knock off my list. I've also kept to one book per author to try and share the love!

I've got 7.5 years to do it ... I reckon I've got this!

50 Before 50: Pre-1945 - 12/50
(In order of publication)

1. Holy Bible: King James Version
✔ 2. The Iliad by Homer (22/4/20)★
3. Aesop's Fables by Aesop
4. The Arabian Nights by Anonymous
5. Beowulf by Unknown
6. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
7. Inferno by Dante Alighieri
8. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
✔ 9. Othello by William Shakespeare (7/12/18)
✔ 10. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (14/5/19) ★
11. Paradise Lost by John Milton
12. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
13. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
14. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
✔ 15. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (23/02/20)
✔ 16. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (18/1/19)
17. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
18. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
19. Vilette by Charlotte Brontë
20. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
21. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
22. Silas Marner by George Eliot
23. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
✔ 24. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (06/07/21)
✔ 25. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (09/01/22)
26. Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant
27. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
✔ 28. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome ★ (18/3/19)
29. Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
30. Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
✔ 31. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (10/11/18) ★
✔ 32. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (08/09/19) ★
33. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
34. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
35. Howards End by E.M. Forster
✔ 36. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (15/11/19) ★
37. Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
✔ 38. Ulysses by James Joyce (30/11/18) ★
39. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
40. The Castle by Franz Kafka
41. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
42. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
43. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
44. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
45. I, Claudius by Robert Graves
46. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
47. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
48. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
49. Native Son by Richard Wright
50. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

50 Before 50: 1945 Onwards - 14/50
(In order of publication)

1. Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder by Evelyn Waugh
2. The Blood of Others by Simone de Beauvoir
3. Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
✔ 4. The Plague by Albert Camus (4/9/19)
5. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
6. Molloy by Samuel Beckett
✔ 7. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (13/7/18)
✔ 8. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (25/1/19)
9. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
10. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
11. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
12. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
✔ 13. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (16/10/21) ★
✔ 14. Voss by Patrick White (21/12/18) ★
15. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
16. Butcher's Crossing by John Williams
17. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
✔ 18. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (12/9/19) ★
19. Another Country by James Baldwin
20. Dune by Frank Herbert
21. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
22. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
✔ 23. The Godfather by Mario Puzo (20/4/19) ★
24. Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle by Vladimir Nabokov
25. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
26. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
✔ 27. Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally (22/6/19) ★
✔ 28. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (8/3/20) ★
✔ 29. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez ★ (10/8/2018)
30. Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
31. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
32. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
33. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
34. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
35. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
✔ 36. The Secret History by Donna Tartt (10/7/19)
37. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
38. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
✔ 39. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat (1/12/18) ★
40. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
41. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
42. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
43. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
44. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
45. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
46. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
47. Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates
✔ 48. Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry (20/10/19)
49. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
✔ 50. Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (08/08/21) ★

★ = new author

➜ = currently reading
✔ = finished


message 2: by Jody (last edited Jan 17, 2022 02:48AM) (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments (WIP) 50 Before 50: Non-Fiction - 15/50

✔ 1. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (13/9/18) ★
2. The Bhagavad Gita by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
3. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
4. A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe
5. The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain
6. Beyond Good and Evilby Friedrich Nietzsche
✔ 7. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (22/12/18) ★
8. The Birth of Britain by Winston S. Churchill
9. All But My Life: A Memoir by Gerda Weissmann Klein
10. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
11. The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
12. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig
13. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
14. Alicia by Alicia Appleman-Jurman
15. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
✔ 16. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (17/3/19) ★
17. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
✔ 18. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama (21/10/18)
✔ 19. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (2/8/19) ★
20. The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIV
21. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
✔ 22. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell (16/12/18) ★
23. Down Under by Bill Bryson
24. Billy Connolly by Pamela Stephenson
✔ 25. A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz (21/12/2019) ★
✔ 26. Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester (12/12/18) ★
27. The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
28. The Anatomy of Fascism by Robert O. Paxton
29. Auschwitz: A History by Sybille Steinbacher
30. Buddhism for Busy People: Finding Happiness in an Uncertain World by David Michie
31. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
✔ 32. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan (17/10/18) ★
33. The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan
✔ 34. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (2/11/18) ★
35. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
36. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
37. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks
38. The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint by Marc Bekoff
39. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
✔ 40. Columbine by Dave Cullen (30/8/18) ★
41. Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder
42. Raising Girls by Steve Biddulph
✔ 43. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (3/10/18) ★
✔ 44. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes (23/8/18) ★
45. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
✔ 46. A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston (22/6/19) ★
47. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
48. The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
✔ 49. I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara (8/10/18) ★
50. Untitled by Trevor Noah

★ = new author

➜ = currently reading
✔ = finished


message 3: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8310 comments Mod
Jody -- this is amazing! I'm excited to see your 1945 and on list!

Now I'm thinking on how I can modify this to suit my own reading and age haha!


message 4: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 2480 comments Ambitious, Jody! Now you've got me thinking . . . 70 before 70 - that's 7.5 years for me!


message 5: by Lizzy (new)

Lizzy | 742 comments I just recently read Three Men in a Boat for one of this year’s prompts, and enjoyed it. It is exactly what the title says — 3 friends taking a boat trip up the Thames from London to Oxford, over the course of 10 days or so in 1890. Very sweet and low key.


message 6: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2362 comments First off, I love this.
Second off, way to start the list with a 1000+ page book.
I too feel inspired to do something similar. And to see how many of the books on your list I've read (20 so far). And a lot of the other ones are on my TBR as well.


message 7: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2783 comments Great idea and a very ambitious list! I’d like to do something similar, but it would have to be a 60 before 60 or 50 While I’m still in my 50s. Good luck and enjoy!


message 8: by Jody (last edited Jul 09, 2018 09:15AM) (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Emily, Kathy, Pam you can totally do it!! I'm working on Part II at the moment - those fifty are a little less obvious for me, what I really want to read.

Katie - I know!! I reckon those early ones are going to be the hardest. I'm still not entirely sure how I'm going to tackle The Bible - I want to actually get something out of it, so I might end up reading it with a guide.

I was actually pretty happy when I was making my list, there are way less (for me) "essential" books to put on it then there would have been a few years ago.


message 9: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8310 comments Mod
I'm turning 30 in April of next year, so I may wait until then and do a "40 before 40" list then. I love looking at your list though.. it gives me lots of ideas!


message 10: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments You could totally start it now, Emily. You totally should! Join meeeeee ...


message 11: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8310 comments Mod
Jody wrote: "You could totally start it now, Emily. You totally should! Join meeeeee ..."

Bahahahah. Tempting, since you already made the lists for me...

I'll consider. I may just do the 1945 onward list because the idea of reading 40 *old old classics* makes me want to barf a little.


message 12: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 704 comments I'd love to see the list for 1945 and on. I'd be tempted to do that challenge with you (though I have fewer years to 50 than you do)! I don't know if I could force myself to read Beowulf. Good luck on your quest! Heck...the top 10 seem pretty daunting. I've read 4 and 1/2 of those.


message 13: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments I think I’ll probably have my 1945 onwards list done in the next day or so. I’m trying not to put too much thought into it, just going with the ones that jump straight to mind.

The first twelve on my list are a bit daunting ... which is probably why I haven’t read them yet. But I figure quite a few of them I can break up (Bible, Aesop, 1001 Nights, Canterbury Tales) which might help. Maybe ... 🤣

I’d love to see others’ lists if you end up doing them. Join me, Tammy!!


message 14: by Hilde (new)

Hilde (hilded) | 813 comments Great idea, Jody:) The Bible is on serial reader with 287 issues, so that could be one way to do it as a nice year-long project.


message 15: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2362 comments We're all on the edge of our seats for the After 1945 list. No pressure or anything. Are you done yet?


message 16: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8310 comments Mod
Yea, I mean, no pressure, but like... is it done yet?


message 17: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments OMG you guys. 😂 There you go! It's done. 😃 Man ... that second list was a lot harder to narrow down. I need to up my game on post-war lit.


message 18: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8310 comments Mod
Great list!

Ok how did you choose those? Were all of these on your TBR? Or did you consult lists and whatnot? I want to make my own (because of course, now I have to), but I’m not sure where to start (and if I started with my TBR, they would all be post-2000 😂)


message 19: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments Oh, I completely love this! I am going to have to come up with my own version because, as Emily so delicately stated, "the idea of reading 40 *old old classics* makes me want to barf a little."

Good luck Jody!


message 20: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2783 comments I came up with a list of 50 new-to-me authors that I want to read. That gives me a little more flexibility. I’ll post it later this week! Thanks for the idea.


message 21: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Emily wrote: "Ok how did you choose those?"

I started off by just typing my little heart out into a spreadsheet - books that just popped into my head. I ended up with well over 100 books, and when I decided to split it into pre & post 1945 it was reasonably even, which was nice!

When I went to kind of vaguely refine the list, I decided to limit it to one book per author, which helped trim it down, and then I just went and looked at some lists on List Challenges (I'm a visual person, so I like looking at the covers!) to see if anything jumped out at me that I hadn't thought of. I think the only book out of all of these 100 that wasn't on my list was Vilette. The post-1945 list was way harder to narrow down, so I decided to just bite the bullet and post it before I piss-farted around with it too much and drove myself mental deciding between books. How do I choose? It's like Sophie's Choice. Oh crap. I forgot that one. 🤦🏼‍♀️ Anyway, I want action, not perfection, so I'm not changing it.

Starting on my first book soon!

Pam - I love your idea of authors too - I debated doing that, but it would mess up my chronological order. I can't deal with that kind of anarchy.


message 22: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments Count me among your inspired fans! I have fewer years to 50 and I am also in the "barf at the thought of 50 old classics" camp so I will have to give this some thought and come up with a plan.

Thanks for the inspiration and I can't wait to follow along with your progress!


message 23: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 704 comments Ha ha! I'm in! I've got 25 under my belt so far and several that I'll be reading by the end of the year. Great list!


message 24: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments First book down - woot!


message 25: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 704 comments How was the Graham Greene? Only 99 to go!


message 26: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments I liked it - his writing is beautiful enough for me to be able to endure the heavy focus on religion. It was a very melancholy book, for sure.


message 27: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Ok, so because I'm possibly crazy, I'm adding two more lists. Non-fiction (thanks Katie) and fun/children's books. I've got a couple of spreadsheets of potentials going, but I'm adding them to my list here once I'm sure about them.

Hit me with your suggestions!


message 28: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8310 comments Mod
You are crazy. But I love it! Can't wait to see your lists!


message 29: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2362 comments Yesssss.


message 30: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2362 comments Also, how will I ever make nonfiction recommendations. l need to go pour over my nonfiction shelf now.


message 31: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2783 comments What level of children’s books? I have lots of mid-grade favorites.


message 32: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments Are you looking for anything in particular when it comes to non-fiction? Memoirs, political, narrative?


message 33: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2783 comments Some recommendations, off the top of my head, for children's mid grade: Al Capone Does My Shirts, Catch You Later, Traitor,The Lost Years, The Witch of Blackbird Pond,The Big Wave, The Cross of Lead, anything by Scott O'Dell. I was planning on reading Fog Magic this year. It sounds really good and it won the Newberry.


message 34: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments For children's books, I'm mostly looking at ones that I can read with my Spider, who turns nine next month. So I'm probably going to go with a bunch to suit now-ish, and a bunch to suit when she gets older ... unless she gets sick of us reading together, which in all likelihood is quite possible. 😩

Katie ... I'm counting on you girl!

Rachel - I'm pretty open when it comes to non-fiction, but I'm not especially interested in politics, or (sorry!) American history. That said, I will read almost anything if it's interesting enough!


message 35: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments ha ha! No worries, I just didn't want to recommend anything you had no interest in. Ok, here are a few random, non-political non-fiction books to check out:

Educated: A Memoir
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
In Cold Blood
The Executioner's Song
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books


message 36: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Thanks Rachel! I loved In Cold Blood - it's one of my favourites. I didn't like The Executioner's Song, and I haven't really liked the other two I've read from Jon Krakauer, but I do want to give him one more chance! 😊 I'll definitely take a look at those other three too.

Pam - thanks for your recommendations! I've only ever heard of The Witch of Blackbird Pond, so I'm excited to check them out!


message 37: by Chrissy (last edited Jul 19, 2018 10:03AM) (new)

Chrissy | 932 comments Do you like science related nonfiction? If so, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst is excellent! Not an easy read, but so well conceived, explained, and written. I found myself sharing ideas from it with friends, husband, and coworkers constantly.

And if you like travel memoirs, The Pillars of Hercules is my favorite of the Paul Theroux books I’ve read.


message 38: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Ooh, I’ll look that up! One of my favourites was Henrietta Lacks, so I’m definitely not averse to science, even though I’m not sciencey myself. I love travel, so am totally down for travel memoirs too. Thank you!


message 39: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2783 comments For non-fiction, I recommend Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed Medicine in the Twentieth Century. I thought the book was fascinating!


message 40: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (last edited Jul 19, 2018 12:30PM) (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8310 comments Mod
My favorite nonfiction that I've read this year was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The characters were phenomenal! I also enjoyed The Rules Do Not Apply, but I don't think it's a must read.

I did really enjoy Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and I hear it's a great audiobook.


message 41: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments I did the Modern Romance audiobook and yes! It was fantastic.


message 43: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2362 comments Okay, here's what I got.

I'd recommend one of these three. They all have to do with sexual assault. I'd probably recommend Missoula of the first two listed, but it's by Krakauer & you didn't like him. But the third is a combination memoir and true crime & it is so devastating, but really well written.

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town
A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir

Maybe I shouldn't have led with sexual assault. This one is about a woman who writes about raising her daughter & girly-girl Disney culture. I found it so interesting & I don't even have kids.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture

I see that I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life is on your TBR. I find learning about our microbiota equally parts fascinating & horrifying.

And then finally, I'd recommend Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran. It's a memoir, and the author is a human rights lawyer defending women in Iran, and she's a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Are you doing Around the World? I can't remember, but assume you are, because challenges, and it would be a good choice for Iran.

And I have tons more, so if you're looking for certain types of nonfic, let me know.


message 44: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8310 comments Mod
Ugh. I'm going to have to start a nonfiction list. I blame all of you!


message 45: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments I'm definitely willing to give Krakauer another shot, but I am very interested in the third one on your list. Cinderella has been on my radar too - it's a subject I'm obviously quite concerned about with the Spider! The Iran book looks fantastic too - I am, of course, doing Around the World! I've already ticked off Iran (The Complete Persepolis), but it left me wanting to know more.


message 46: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2362 comments Do it, Emily!


message 47: by Jody (last edited Jul 20, 2018 10:16AM) (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Yes Emily! Join us!!

I went into a bookshop yesterday and got my NF book-lust going on. I absolutely cannot wait until I get to the US next week and have the WHOLE DAMN SHOP IN ENGLISH. Man, my TBR is going to go nuts.


message 48: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8310 comments Mod
OK FINE.

I was going to make a 20 Before 40 list, but my TBR had 37 nonfiction books.... so. I need help. I don't think I need all of those on my "Must Read Before 40" list, but I need advice on which ones I can scratch from that list and which ones I should definitely keep.

(I could definitely do 40 before 40 since I have 10.5 years before I hit 40, but... I want to make sure the ones on the list are worth it.)


message 49: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Finally finished my fifty non-fiction ... there's some alliteration for you. Now I just need to read them, although I finished seven while I was putting the list together. 🤣

Children's and fun list next. At least I'm making the most of my not-really-feeling-like-reading time.


message 50: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2783 comments Three books on your non-fiction list that I loved: Angela’s Ashes, Krakatoa, and The Bielski Brothers! Now that your list is done, have fun reading them!


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