Newsweek's Top 100 Books (2009)

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This list is a work in process. My focus with this list is to highlight books available on BARD. I //only// mention RCs if it's the only available audio format for a title. I still need to look-up and add BR's to a good number of books. Please feel free to update.

--- //[[|Dan Malosh @ MN1A Regional]] 2013/05/29//

#1 - War and Peace (1869) by Leo Tolstoy


  • DB 26275 - Read by Gordon Gould. Reading time: 60 hours, 52 minutes.
  • DB 67136 - Read by Conrad Feininger. Reading time: 63 hours, 28 minutes. 2007 translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
  • BR 09710 - 14 volumes.

ANNOTATION: Epic historical novel portrays five aristocratic families against the background of Russian social life during the Napoleonic Wars (1805-1814). Depicts campaign battles, the burning of Moscow, and the French army's winter retreat.

#2 - 1984 (1949) by George Orwell


  • DB 73474 - Read by Andy Pyle. Reading time: 13 hours, 56 minutes.
  • DB 34268 - Read by Alexander Scourby. Reading time: 11 hours, 15 minutes.
  • BR 10312 - 3 volumes.

ANNOTATION: A satirical, frightening novel about a future time under a totalitarian regime, where the people believe ignorance is strength and war is peace. For high school and older readers.

#3 - Ulysses (1922) by James Joyce


  • DB 19994 - Read by Alexander Scourby. Reading time: 30 hours, 43 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Deals with a single day - June 16, 1904 - in the life of Leopold Bloom, a Dublin advertising salesman. The stream-of-consciousness style and the use of interior monologues expose the personalities of the characters.

#4 - Lolita (1955) by Vladmir Nabokov


  • DB 67388 - Read by David Hartley-Margolin. Reading time: 14 hours, 34 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Incarcerated and awaiting trial, widowed middle-aged professor Humbert Humbert tells of his erotic obsession with preadolescent girls–particularly twelve-year-old Dolly Haze, whom he calls Lolita. Humbert details his fascination with Lolita and describes their bizarre road trip.

#5 - The Sound and the Fury (1929) by William Faulkner


  • DB 49885 - Read by Bruce Huntey. Reading time: 10 hours, 9 minutes.

ANNOTATION: In 1928 Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, the Compson brothers–Quentin, Jason, and the “idiot” son Benjy–narrate events that trace the gradual disintegration of the family and include the ostracism of their wanton sister, Caddy.

#6 - Invisible Man (1952) by Ralph Ellison


  • DB 56346 - Read by Peter Jay Fernandez. Reading time: 20 hours, 57 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Classic novel of a young black man's search for identity. Follows the unnamed protagonist from his youth in a Southern town through the depression years in Harlem, where he examines and rejects the values thrust on him by both whites and blacks. National Book Award 1953.

#7 - To the Lighthouse (1927) by Virginia Woolf


  • DB 67708 - Read by Kimberly Schraf. Reading time: 8 hours, 36 minutes.

ANNOTATION: During summer visits to the Scottish coast, members of the Ramsey family reveal their personal challenges and innermost thoughts. Youngest child James must forfeit a yearned-for visit to the lighthouse. Ten years later, James, surviving family members, and former guests complete the long-delayed outing. Includes Eudora Welty's 1981 foreword.

#8 - The Iliad (8th century B.C.) by Homer


  • DB 66356 - Read by Fred Major. Reading time: 25 hours, 43 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Robert Fagles's 1990 translation of the Greek epic poem written during the eighth century B.C.E. and attributed to Homer. Relates the events of a few days of battle near the end of the Trojan War. Focuses on Achilles's withdrawal from the fight and its disastrous effects on the Greek campaign.

#8 - The Odyssey (8th century B.C.) by Homer


  • DB 72052 - Read by Roy Avers. Reading time: 19 hours, 10 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Robert Fagles's 1996 translation of the Greek epic poem attributed to Homer. After the Trojan War, Odysseus begins a ten-year voyage back to Ithaca during which he relies on his wit and wiliness to survive encounters with Poseidon, god of oceans, and other divine and natural forces.

#9 - Pride and Prejudice (1813) by Jane Austen


  • DB 50549 - Read by Jennifer Mendenhall. Reading time: 12 hours, 8 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A classic novel of social customs in late eighteenth-century England. Depicts the personality clash between Elizabeth Bennet, one of five daughters of a country gentleman, and prosperous, aristocratic landowner Fitzwilliam Darcy, which eventually develops into courtship.

#10 - Divine Comedy (1321) by Dante Alighieri


  • DB 30589 - Read by Gordon Gould. Reading time: 16 hours, 32 minutes.

ANNOTATION: John Ciardi's faithful translation of Dante's classic epic poem in its entirety. Dante describes being lost in a frightening forest, meeting the poet Virgil, and being conducted by Virgil through hell (The Inferno), purgatory (The Purgatorio), and paradise (The Paradiso).

#11 - Canterbury Tales (14th century) by Geoffrey Chaucer


  • DB 20461 - Read by Patrick Horgan. Reading time: 15 hours, 19 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A poetic comedy from fourteenth-century England. During the annual April pilgrimage to Thomas a Becket's shrine at Canterbury, the travelers stop at the Tabard Inn, where their host suggests a story-telling contest. The jovial tellers of the ribald tales include a friar, summoner, nun's priest, and miller.

#12 - Gulliver's Travels (1726) by Jonathan Swift


  • DB 23150 - Read by Bradley Bransford. Reading time: 14 hours, 32 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Published in 1726 as a scornful satire on humankind, this novel follows the travels of Captain Lemuel Gulliver into remote and fanciful nations of the world. On his voyages he encounters miniature people, giants, horses with human reason, and a flying island.

#13 - Middlemarch (1874) by George Eliot


  • DB 20078 - Read by Patricia Beaudry. Reading time: 33 hours, 51 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A morality tale set in a middle-class English town. The main characters show the contrast between a shallow, selfish life and one made worthwhile by the characters' vital response to the world around them.

#14 - Things Fall Apart (1958) by Chinua Achebe


ANNOTATION: Portrays traditional Ibo society in nineteenth-century Nigeria and one of its great men, Okonkwo. Through rituals, the lives of the individual and the community are unified, giving them order and significance. But the time-honored system of beliefs and behavior falls apart with the arrival of missionaries and colonists.

#15 - The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by J.D. Salinger


  • DB 47480 - Read by Ray Hagen. Reading time: 6 hours, 54 minutes.

ANNOTATION: As Christmas vacation begins, Holden Caulfield recounts his feelings and reactions to flunking out of Pencey, his third prep school. Instead of heading straight home, he wanders around New York City. This account of his adventures conveys his dismay at the adult world. Strong language. For senior high and older readers.

#16 - Gone with the Wind (1936) by Margaret Mitchell


  • DB 33082 - Read by Mitzi Friedlander. Reading time: 42 hours, 45 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A romantic Civil War epic in which Scarlet O' Hara, a forceful and ruthless heroine, and Rhett Butler, a war profiteer, play out their tempestuous love affair against the background of the war-torn South.

#17 - One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


  • DB 59490 - Read by Peter Gil. Reading time: 14 hours, 33 minutes.

ANNOTATION: 1820s to 1920s. Latin American epic tale follows seven generations of the Buendía family through triumphs and disasters that parallel the fortunes and misfortunes of their utopian town, Macondo. By the Colombian Nobel Prize-winning author.

#18 - The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald


  • DB 16147 - Read by Alexander Scourby. Reading time: 4 hours, 56 minutes.
  • BR 11057 - 2 volumes.

ANNOTATION: The glitter and recklessness of the Jazz Age is the backdrop for this novel about Jay Gatsby's desperate attempt to recapture the past, and along with it, the love of Daisy Buchanan. Amid extravagant parties at Gatsby's palatial estate, his neighbor narrates the story of his obsession with the American dream.

#19 - Catch-22 (1961) by Joseph Heller


  • DB 48063 - Read by Gary Telles. Reading time: 20 hours, 3 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Bombardier Yossarian desperately tries to stay alive during World War II. Military rules make it impossible for anyone to achieve the combat quota necessary to quit flying. Yossarian and his buddies concoct ways to avoid the ridiculous orders of their officers.

#20 - Beloved (1987) by Toni Morrison


  • DB 26026 - Read by Yvonnne Fair Tessler. Reading time: 11 hours, 31 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Related in kaleidoscopic fashion and set in rural Ohio during the period immediately following the Civil War, this chronicle of slavery and its aftermath traces the life of Sethe, a former slave. Sethe has a secret in her past so horrific that it has alienated the community, driven off her two sons, isolated her surviving daughter, and threatened her new, loving relationship with Paul D., also a former slave.

#21 - The Grapes of Wrath (1939) by John Steinbeck


  • DB 68308 - Read by Steven Carpenter. Reading time: 17 hours, 20 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Steinbeck's classic tale of the Joads, who, like many other families during the Great Depression, are driven from their homestead by drought, economic hardship, and the encroachment of large agricultural interests. They leave Oklahoma in search of a better life in California but meet with hardship and injustice.

#22 - Midnight's Children (1981) by Salman Rushdie


  • DB 16993 - Read by Patrick Horgan. Reading time: 22 hours, 19 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Biting satire tells of Saleem Sinai, who is born at the stroke of midnight, August 15, 1947–the instant of the birth of the new state of India. From that moment, his life is magically entwined with India's fate as a nation. Saleem's particular gift is a 'cucumber' of a nose with which he goes through life smelling his way.

#23 - Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley


  • DB 59911 - Read by Michael Russotto. Reading time: 4 hours, 30 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Series of essays in which the author examines various threats to human freedom predicted in his 1930s satirical novel Brave New World. Discusses overpopulation, government propaganda, brainwashing, chemically induced as well as subconsciously suggested persuasion, and education, along with possible countermeasures.

#24 - Mrs. Dalloway Reader (1925) by Virginia Woolf


  • DB 58332 - Read by Kimberly Schraf. Reading time: 14 hours, 21 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Selection of critical essays exploring the evolution and impact of Virginia Woolf's 1925 classic novel Mrs. Dalloway and the companion piece, “Mrs. Dalloway's Party.” Includes the two works, Woolf's journal entries and letters regarding the works' creation, and various writers' commentary. Includes editor's introduction.

#25 - Native Son (1940) by Richard Wright


  • DB 41552 - Read by L.J. Ganser. Reading time: 33 hours, 3 minutes.

ANNOTATION: This volume covers Wright's prose through 1940. The editor restores Wright's original manuscripts, which had been extensively changed for publication. Includes Lawd Today!, Uncle Tom's Children, Native Son, How “Bigger” Was Born, a literary chronology, and notes by Arnold Rampersad.

#26 - Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville

Volume 1 (1835)


  • DB 61828 - Read by Ted Stoddard. Reading time: 38 hours, 48 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Classic treatise by a French aristocrat comprehensively examines the underpinnings of American democratic institutions–including the rights and powers provided by the Constitution, forms of governments, and concepts of freedom and equality. Also analyzes the influence of democratic values on intellectual movements, customs, and political society. 2000 translation by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop.

Volume 2 (1840)


  • DB 14245 - Read by Gordon Gould. Reading time: 16 hours, 33 minutes.

ANNOTATION: First published in Paris in 1835, this volume contains a philosophical examination of social and economic as well as political change, traced through both general experience and the American experience.

#27 - Origin of Species (1859) by Charles Darwin


  • DB 15937 - Read by Ryan Halloran. Reading time: 23 hours, 16 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Classic of biology and evolution that introduced an account of how every species develops or evolves from a previous one.

#28 - The Histories (440 B.C.) by Herodotus


  • DB 58293 - Read by Ken Kliban. Reading time: 24 hours, 41 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Excerpts from the writings of the fifth-century B.C. Greek historian and traveler known as the “father of history,” translated by Walter Blanco. Describes the wars and worlds, even folktales and gossip, of ancient Greece, Persia, Egypt, and Italy.

#29 - The Social Contract (1762) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau


ANNOTATION: The eighteenth-century French philosopher's major work advocating the principles of political right, which declared that the general will is the rightful authority in matters of controversy.

#30 - Das Kapital, or Capital by Karl Marx

Volume 1 (1867)


ANNOTATION: Originally intended as part of a six-volume work, this volume is the only one published during the author's lifetime. Marx examines the process of producing capital, including the value of commodities, the circulation of money, the role of labor and machinery in manufacture, and the question of accumulation, particularly as it applies to agriculture and to industry.

Volume 2 (1885)


ANNOTATION: Compiled by Friedrick Engels, Marx's lifelong partner, and published posthumously. This volume contains an extensive introduction by Ernest Mandel. The author continues with technical analyses of aspects of capitalism that were initiated in Volume 1, including the question of supply and demand and the ownership of private property.

Volume 3 (1894)


ANNOTATION: Compiled by Frederick Engels and published more than a decade after Marx's death. Certain subjects, such as world markets and competition, are not fully developed in the original manuscript, but this volume examines the process of capitalist production in its totality. Controversial from the start, Marx shows how he would have solved the problems of what he believed would be the collapse of capitalism.

#31 - The Prince (1532) by Niccolo Machiavelli


  • DB 67703 Read by Roy Avers. Reading time: 19 hours, 19 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Selected writings of Florentine politician Niccol ̣Machiavelli (1468-1527), in which he expounds his philosophy on government and power. Includes The Prince, The Mandrake–a satire–excerpts from The Art of War and The Discourses, and essays about Pisa, French people, Germany, and the ruling Medici. Edited and translated by Peter Constantine.

#32 - Confessions (397-398) by Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo


ANNOTATION: The first nine books take Augustine from his birth in fourth-century Roman North Africa through his conversion to Christianity and baptism in Milan at the age of thirty-three. In the final four books, Augustine, who is by now a Catholic bishop, examines the nature of God and prayer, ponders such mysteries as creation, and interprets the Holy Scriptures.

#33 - Leviathan (1651) by Thomas Hobbes


ANNOTATION: An English philosopher discusses the idea of absolute government that is embedded in a contract between the citizens and a sovereign authority. Examines human passion and its effect on reason and the need to restrain emotions.

#34 - The History of the Peloponnesian War (431 B.C.) by Thucydides


  • DB 42452 - Read by Gary Telles. Reading time: 23 hours, 5 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Written in the fifth century B.C. by an Athenian commander, this is a history of the twenty-seven-year conflict between Athens, a democratic state and sea power, and the states of the Peloponnese headed by Sparta, a conservative power with an efficient military force.

#35 - The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Book 1: The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)


  • DB 47486 - Read by David Palmer. Reading time: 18 hours, 35 minutes.

ANNOTATION: As the Ring cycle begins, Frodo, a home-loving hobbit, inherits the magic ring that his Uncle Bilbo brought back from his adventures in The Hobbit (DB 48978). To protect the ring from the powers of darkness, Frodo must make a long, dangerous journey.

Book 2: The Two Towers (1954)


  • DB 47487 - Read by David Palmer. Reading time: 15 hours, 27 minutes.

ANNOTATION: In this sequel to The Fellowship of the Ring, the now-separated companions of the Ring meet Saruman the wizard, cross the Dead Marshes, and prepare for the Great War in which the power of the Ring will be undone.

Book 3: The Return of the King (1955)


  • DB 47488 - Read by David Palmer. Reading time: 19 hours, 2 minutes.

ANNOTATION: In this sequel to The Two Towers, Frodo and Sam bear the Ring to Mount Doom. The War of the Rings, fought between the forces for good and the Dark Lord of evil, is ended.

#36 - Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) by A.A. Milne


  • DB 48132 - Read by Bob Askey. Reading time: 5 hours, 47 minutes.

ANNOTATION: The adventures of Christopher Robin, a boy, and his favorite companions–Winnie-the-Pooh, a bear; Eeyore, an old grey donkey; and Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga, and Baby Roo. Contains the unabridged texts of Winnie-the-Pooh, first published in 1926, and The House at Pooh Corner, from 1928.

#37 - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) by C.S. Lewis


  • DB 50083 - Read by Erik Sandvold. Reading time: 35 hours, 32 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Seven stories presented in the chronological order in which C.S. Lewis intended them to be read. The first is The Magician's Nephew, telling how the journeys between the two worlds began and how the wardrobe came to be a doorway leading into Narnia. [Includes //The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe//.]

#38 - A Passage to India (1924) by E.M. Forster


  • DB 21242 - Read by Bob Askey. Reading time: 10 hours, 59 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A classic novel about social, political, and personal relations between the English and the people of India after the turn of the century. The conflict of cultures and personalities during the wane of British rule reaches near-riot proportions when a respectful Indian doctor is accused of sexually assaulting a young Englishwoman.

#39 - On the Road (1957) by Jack Kerouac


  • DB 31675 - Read by Don Emmick. Reading time: 13 hours, 10 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A group of young people epitomize the beat generation as they roam the American continent in a wild, desperate search for identity and purpose.

#40 - To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee


  • DB 36414 - Read by Carole Jordan Stewart. Reading time: 10 hours, 35 minutes.
  • BR 09237 - 3 volumes.
  • BR 12850 - 3 volumes.

ANNOTATION: Scout Finch is an outspoken and literate six-year-old tomboy when she begins her tale of growing up in a small Alabama town with her brother Jem and her attorney father Atticus. The children's intense curiosity about a reclusive neighbor is eclipsed by Atticus's attempt to defend a black man against charges of raping a white woman.

#41 - The Holy Bible (King James Version: 1611)


  • DB 68777 - Read by Alexander Scourby. Reading time: 79 hours, 2 minutes.

ANNOTATION: The King James Version of the Old and New Testaments as read by Alexander Scourby in the early 1950s.

#41 - The Holy Bible with the Apocrypha (Revised Standard Version: 1952)


  • BR 14943 - 24 volumes. Oxford University Press.

ANNOTATION: Fiftieth anniversary edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (1952), which revised the American Standard Version (published in 1901) that was, in turn, a revision of the King James Version (published in 1611). Includes Apocrypha.

#42 - A Clockwork Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess


  • DB 15213 - Read by David Broughton. Reading time: 5 hours, 51 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A 15-year-old hooligan named Alex roams the streets of London terrorizing people at random. He is arrested and subjected to corrective brainwashing with unanticipated results. The author adds a flavor of reality of his prophecy of future urban life by inventing the teenage dialect of “nadsat.”

#43 - Light in August (1932) by William Faulkner


  • DB 20001 - Read by Harold Scott. Reading time: 14 hours, 34 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Joe Christmas, an orphan of mixed blood, travels to the South, seeking a place and people with whom he can belong. But he is soon hardened by white and black bigotry.

#44 - The Souls of Black Folk (1903) by W.E.B. Du Bois


  • DB 63648 - Read by Chuck Young. Reading time: 8 hours, 14 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Fourteen essays and sketches by civil rights activist, published in 1903, examine African American experiences in the post-Civil War South. Argues that emancipation should have brought immediate racial equality and that racial accommodation policies reflected a sellout. Centennial edition includes 2003 introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer/historian David Levering Lewis.

#45 - Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) by Jean Rhys


ANNOTATION: Fascinated with the character of Bertha, the madwoman in “Jane Eyre”, Jean Rhys has imagined her as a carefree girl and an attractive young woman in the days before she came to England. Rhys creates a romantic, colorful, and thought-provoking past for this enigmatic woman.

#46 - Madame Bovary (1857) by Gustave Flaubert


  • DB 49192 - Reading time: 14 hours, 16 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A young middle-class Frenchwoman, Emma Bovary, is bored with her husband (an inept doctor) and their country existence. Her romantic fantasies lead her astray, into adultery and self-destruction. Translated by Gerard Hopkins.

#47 - Paradise Lost (1667) by John Milton


  • DB 31889 - Read by Patrick Horgan. Reading time: 10 hours, 30 minutes.

ANNOTATION: An epic poem using the fall of mankind and the story of Paradise Lost and sought for in the life of man as its main theme. Richly elaborate symbolism is employed in describing Satan's battle with God, descent to Hell, and his seduction of Adam and Eve.

#48 - Anna Karenina (1877) by Leo Tolstoy


  • DB 49499 - Read by Suzanne Toren. Reading time: 35 hours, 50 minutes.

ANNOTATION: In the 1870s in Russia, Anna flaunts convention by having an adulterous affair with Count Vronsky. Preferring the allure of romance to her stifling marriage with Alexis Karenin, Anna's happiness disintegrates as she loses her peace of mind. Originally published in 1877. Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.

#49 - Hamlet (1603) by William Shakespeare


  • DB 24285 - Read by Geoffrey Sherman. Reading time: 5 hours, 44 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A tragic drama about a young prince attempting to avenge his father's murder. His uncle has seduced Hamlet's mother, killed his father, and usurped his claim to the crown. Hamlet's melancholic, irresolute temperament, however, inhibits decisive action and contributes to more calamities.

#50 - King Lear (1608) by William Shakespeare


  • DB 29214 - Read by Jon Beryl. Reading time: 5 hours, 41 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A tragedy concerning a petulant king and his three daughters. Amid much other, more political action, Lear is taken in by false avowals of love from two of his daughters, and disinherits a third because of her refusal to flatter him.

#51 - Othello (1622) by William Shakespeare


  • DB 35241 - Read by Alexander Scourby. Reading time: 5 hours, 7 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A seventeenth-century drama about Othello, a Moor in the service of Venice who marries a senator's daughter. He overcomes the father's opposition, but is sabotaged by an older soldier whom he failed to promote. By prevarication, the soldier creates jealousy leading to confusion and tragedy.

#52 - The Sonnets (1609) by William Shakespeare


  • DB 50129 - Read by Fred Major. Reading time: 2 hours, 46 minutes.

ANNOTATION: The complete collection of 154 sonnets attributed to Shakespeare, without commentary. Sonnets 1 to 126 are addressed to a beloved friend–a young man–while Sonnets 127 to 152 are to a lady of dark beauty, and the last two poems are adaptations of a Greek epigram.

#53 - Leaves of Grass (1855) by Walt Whitman


  • DB 32177 - Read by George Backman. Reading time: 15 hours, 4 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A classic work of poetry by Whitman, who, born in New York in 1819, was a teacher, editor, war correspondent, and government clerk. The poems included in “Leaves of Grass” present a broad view of Whitman as philosopher, propagandist, humorist, and poet. “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd,” a tribute to Abraham Lincoln, describes the grief of those watching the passing of the train bearing the president's body.

#54 - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) by Mark Twain


  • DB 43591 Read by John Polk. Reading time: 13 hours, 1 minute.

ANNOTATION: A comprehensive edition of Twain's 1885 tale about a boy who runs away from home and floats down the Mississippi on a raft with an escaping slave. Includes four episodes originally deleted from the first edition, an introduction by Twain biographer Justin Kaplan, and an addendum of explanatory and interpretive notes.


  • DB 57349 Read by Nick Sullivan. Reading time: 11 hours, 22 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Tom Sawyer's friend young Huck Finn explains the reasons he is running away from home and recounts his exploits floating down the Mississippi River on a raft with Jim, an escaped slave.

#55 - Kim (1901) by Rudyard Kipling


  • DB 35722 - Read by Patrick Horgan. Reading time: 11 hours, 17 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Kimball O'Hara is an Irish orphan growing up in India during the time of the British Raj. His childhood as a vagabond is cut short when he is adopted by his father's regiment. But Kim's love of adventure leads him to wander at every opportunity, and his background makes him particularly useful in secret-service activities. Thus, while still a boy, he pursues two Russian spies in the Himalayas, capturing their papers.

#56 - Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley


  • DB 25835 - Read by Ronald B. Meyer. Reading time: 8 hours, 32 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Classic horror story. A monster, endowed with life by a young scientist named Frankenstein, later turns on his creator.

#57 - Song of Solomon (1977) by Toni Morrison


  • DB 38330 - Read by Barry Bernson. Reading time: 11 hours, 58 minutes.

ANNOTATION: This novel surveys nearly a century of American history as it impinges upon four generations of a single black family. Macon Dead III, known as Milkman, is the first black baby allowed to be born in Mercy Hospital in the 1930s. Milkman undertakes an epic journey into an understanding of his family's heritage and, hence, himself.

#58 - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) by Ken Kesey


  • DB 56351 - Read by Gordon Gould. Reading time: 12 hours, 20 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Chief Bromden, a long-term inmate of a mental institution, relates the story of a struggle for control of the ward, centering around the hateful, authoritarian Nurse Ratched and a new patient, the fiercely independent Randle Patrick McMurphy. Fortieth anniversary edition with an introduction by the author.

#59 - For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) by Ernest Hemingway


  • DB 49108 - Read by Lindsay Ellison. Reading time: 18 hours, 6 minutes.

ANNOTATION: American Robert Jordan has joined the Republicans fighting against the Fascists during the Spanish civil war. He is on a mission to destroy a strategically located bridge with the help of a band of guerrillas. At their camp he falls in love with Maria, a young torture victim.

#60 - Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut


  • DB 64540 - Read by Don Hagen. Reading time: 5 hours, 23 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Billy Pilgrim, adrift in time, randomly revisits past and present manifestations: senile widower stalked by an assassin, hopeful young newlywed, giraffe on the planet Tralfamadore–where time is an illusion–and, most crucially, American POW during the firebombing of Dresden in World War II.

#61 - Animal Farm (1945) by George Orwell


ANNOTATION: An allegorical political satire of communism in which the animals on a farm overthrow their master and live a utopian life until the intelligent pigs take over and one establishes himself as dictator.

#62 - Lord of the Flies (1954) by William Golding


  • DB 48388 - Read by Christopher Walker. Reading time: 7 hours, 18 minutes.

ANNOTATION: With horrifying implications, a group of English boys are wrecked on a desert island and have to establish their own system of government.

#63 - In Cold Blood (1965) by Truman Capote


  • DB 22726 - Read by Ray Hagen. Reading time: 11 hours, 54 minutes.

ANNOTATION: The author coined the term “nonfiction novel” for this account of the murder of a Kansas family. He reconstructs the crime and the backgrounds and personalities of all the principals, drawing his information from observation, interviews, and official records.

#64 - The Golden Notebook (1962) by Doris Lessing


  • DB 23376 - Read by Sally Darling. Reading time: 29 hours, 38 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A complex novel that explores the intimate details of the life of Anna Wulf, a writer evolving as a woman in relationships with men, as an artist, as a communist, and as a mother. Points up the differences between life and art as conveyed in Wulf's notebooks.

#65 - Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust

Book 1: Swann's Way (1913) / Book 2: Within a Budding Grove (1919)


  • DB 23759 - Read by Noah Siegel. Reading time: 41 hours, 28 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A complex semi-autobiographical work by the French author begins with part one, Swann's Way, which covers Marcel's youth and the love story of M. Swann. In part two, Within a Budding Grove, Marcel's boyish affair with Gilberte ends, and he goes off to the seaside for his health. Translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin.

Book 3: The Guermantes Way (1921) / Book 4: Cities of the Plain (1922)


  • DB 23760 - Read by Noah Siegel. Reading time: 48 hours, 2 minutes.

ANNOTATION: In part three, The Germantes Way, Marcel, now a young man of fashion, moves in the exclusive social circle of the Duchess de Guermantes. Part four, Cities of the Plain, concerns the homosexual Baron de Charlus and Marcel's growing attraction to Albertine. The Dreyfus Affair is included in the background. Translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin.

Book 5: The Captive (1923) / Book 6: The Fugitive (1925) / Book 7: Time Regained (1927)


  • DB 23761 - Read by Noah Siegel. Reading time: 44 hours, 56 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Part five, The Captive, finds Marcel living with Albertine, but tortured by jealousy of her lesbian friends. In part six, The Fugitive, Albertine leaves Marcel and is killed in an accident. The concluding book seven, Time Regained, shows how World War I affected the lives of all the characters. Translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin.

#66 - The Big Sleep (1939) by Raymond Chandler


  • DB 32657 - Read by Ray Foushee. Reading time: 6 hours, 52 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A nightmare story of degeneracy in southern California, in which two Hollywood heiresses become mixed up in blackmail and murder.

#67 - As I Lay Dying (1930) by William Faulkner


  • DB 49008 - Read by Faith Potts. Reading time: 5 hours, 46 minutes.

ANNOTATION: The Bundrens, poor whites in Mississippi, face numerous obstacles as they trek across the countryside to deliver their mother's body for burial in her home town. First published in 1930; this edition includes changes made by Noel Polk in 1985 based on the author's notes.

#68 - The Sun Also Rises (1926) by Ernest Hemingway


  • DB 34114 - Read by Alexander Scourby. Reading time: 6 hours, 28 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A wealthy group of English and American expatriates in post-World War I Europe move from the boulevards of Paris to the bullfights of Spain–bathing, eating, and drinking. The disillusioned characters reflect the war-weary “lost generation” of the 1920s.

#69 - I, Claudius (1934) by Robert Graves


  • DB 12463 - Read by Gordon Gould. Reading time: 18 hours, 3 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Realistic story purports to be the lost autobiography of the emperor Claudius, who lived from 10 B.C. to 54 A.D. It vividly depicts the political conspiracies, superstitions, orgies, and incest within imperial Rome.

#70 - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940) by Carson McCullers


  • DB 58532 - Read by Annie Wauters. Reading time: 12 hours, 11 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Deep South, 1930s. John Singer, who is deaf and mute, feels content until his best friend, also mute, is committed to a mental institution. Singer, who can read lips, becomes the confidante of several town residents, all of whom want answers to their problems.

#71 - Sons and Lovers (1913) by D.H. Lawrence


  • DB 39196 - Read by Fred Major. Reading time: 18 hours, 0 minutes.
  • BR 09812 - 5 volumes.

ANNOTATION: Restored text. Story of Paul and William Morel, brothers who bear witness to the tensions of their working-class parents. William adopts the bitterness that his father expresses too freely. Paul, the younger, finds one woman appealing and another exciting, but can elicit for neither the sensitive feelings he has for his mother.

#72 - All the King's Men (1946) by Robert Penn Warren


  • DB 53553 - Read by Steven Carpenter. Reading time: 20 hours, 57 minutes.
  • BR 13840 - 5 volumes.

ANNOTATION: Restored edition, reconstructed from the author's original typescript, recreates the world of a corrupt southern politician of the 1920s and 1930s. Country boy Willie (Stark) Talos rises to become governor of his state only to be brought down by his personal failings. 2001 editorial afterword by Noel Polk.

#73 - Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953) by James Baldwin


  • DB 33488 - Read by John Stratton. Reading time: 7 hours, 32 minutes.
  • BR 08734 - 2 volumes.

ANNOTATION: While living in Harlem, John experiences a religious conversion on his fourteenth birthday. Flashbacks portray the lives, suffering, and sins of John's African-American forefathers, especially their struggles with racism and poverty as they moved from the rural South to this northern ghetto.

#74 - Charlotte's Web (1952) by E.B. White


  • DB 46839 - Read by Jamie Horton. Reading time: 3 hours, 31 minutes.
  • DB 74950 - Read by Alexander Scourby. Reading time: 3 hours, 10 minutes. Digital restoration of Alexander Scourby's original 1960 analog recording for the American Foundation for the Blind.
  • BR 09405 - 1 volume.
  • BR 17770 - 1 volume.

ANNOTATION: Fern, a young girl with a unique understanding of animals, shares a special friendship with her uncle's pig and Charlotte, a wise spider who weaves encouraging words in her web.

#75 - Heart of Darkness (1902) by Joseph Conrad


  • DB 58105 - Read by Gary Telles. Reading time: 6 hours, 58 minutes.
  • BR 11418 - 4 volumes.

ANNOTATION: Allegorical tale in which Marlow, a wandering seaman, recounts a journey into the heart of the Belgian Congo where he confronted human savagery. Centenary edition includes “The Congo Diary” and “Up-River Book,” Conrad's notes documenting his 1890 visit to the region. 2002 foreword by A.N. Wilson.

#76 - Night (1958) by Elie Wiesel


ANNOTATION: “Night” is the story of a Jewish boy who is deported with his family and community from Hungary to the horrors of the infamous Auschwitz. In “Dawn,” Elisha, the sole survivor of his family, becomes a Jewish terrorist in Palestine and is ordered to execute an Englishman. In “The Accident,” a concentration camp survivor tries to rebuild his life in New York City.

#77 - Rabbit, Run (1960) by John Updike


ANNOTATION: Weary of his marriage, Henry leaves his pregnant wife and job and lives with a prostitute. He returns home after his child is born but leaves again at the death of the infant.


  • DB 63882 - Read by Fred Major. eading time: 65 hours, 5 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Rabbit Angstrom: A Tetralogy ; Rabbit, Run ; Rabbit Redux ; Rabbit is Rich ; Rabbit at Rest. Four novels published between 1960 and 1990, two of which won the Pulitzer Prize. Stories chronicle the midlife misadventures of Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom as he faces family strife and unsolved issues of sex and death. Includes 1995 introduction by the author.

#78 - The Age of Innocence (1920) by Edith Wharton


  • DB 65343 - Read by Kimberly Schraf. Reading time: 13 hours, 56 minutes.
  • BR 12711 - 3 volumes.

ANNOTATION: New York, 1870s. Newland Archer anticipates a safe, conventional future with his socially impeccable fiancée, May Welland, until the arrival of May's exotic cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska. Archer finds himself torn between his attraction to Ellen and his security in a bland, but proper, marriage to May.

#79 - Portnoy's Complaint (1969) by Philip Roth


  • DB 67856 - Read by Ray Hagen. Reading time: 8 hours, 48 minutes.
  • BR 18419 - 2 volumes.

ANNOTATION: In this satire on Jewish life, the protagonist - who is on a psychoanalyst's couch - confronts his guilt regarding adolescent masturbation; lustful, masochistic adventures in adulthood; and sexual fantasies. He also deals with his feelings toward his domineering mother and demanding, overworked father.

#80 - An American Tragedy (1925) by Theodore Dreiser


  • DB 23138 - Read by John Stratton. Reading time: 35 hours, 7 minutes.
  • BR 18631 - 8 volumes.

ANNOTATION: First published in 1925 and based on an actual murder case, this classic novel depicts the dark side of the American dream in the story of a young man who will do almost anything to gain wealth and social acceptance. While he loves a poor factory worker who is carrying his child, he is dazzled by a rich woman who seems to embody all his fantasies.

#81 - The Day of the Locust (1939) by Nathanael West


  • DB 12925 - Read by David Goetz. Reading time: 5 hours, 0 minutes.
  • BR 18383 - 2 volumes.

ANNOTATION: A man arrives in Hollywood hoping for success as a scene designer, but he becomes only another nondescript, unsuccessful character on the fringes of Hollywood studios.

#82 - Tropic of Cancer (1934) by Henry Miller


ANNOTATION: Recounts the experiences, sensations, and thoughts of a young expatriate American writer and his friends in 1930s Paris as they scrounge for food, read and converse, and have relationships. The author's autobiographical first novel initially published in 1934.

#83 - The Maltese Falcon (1930) by Dashiell Hammett


  • DB 74949 - Read by Leon Janney. Reading time: 6 hours, 39 minutes. Digital restoration of Leon Janney's original 1961 analog recording for the American Foundation for the Blind.
  • DB 16593 - Read by Ralph Bell. Reading time: 7 hours, 47 minutes.

ANNOTATION: While hunting for his partner's killer, San Francisco private detective Sam Spade runs afoul of the police and a cluster of eccentric characters looking for the priceless statuette of a black bird.


ANNOTATION: //Complete Novels//. Five classic mysteries originally published between 1929 and 1934, featuring hard-boiled detectives. Stories include The Thin Man, which introduces the husband-and-wife team of Nick and Nora Charles, and The Maltese Falcon with Sam Spade.

#84 - His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Book 1: Golden Compass (1995)


  • DB 44343 - Read by Suzanne Toren. Reading time: 12 hours, 3 minutes.
  • BR 13276 - 3 volumes.

ANNOTATION: A tale set in Victorian England on an alternate Earth. Young Lyra Belacqua and her daemon enjoy an idyllic life among the scholars at Jordan College. Then her friend Roger and other children are abducted by the Gobblers. Venturing north in pursuit, Lyra encounters an alien and sinister world.

Book 2: The Subtle Knife (1997)


  • DB 45857 - Reading time: 9 hours, 47 minutes. Read by Suzanne Toren.
  • BR 13277 - 3 volumes.

ANNOTATION: Lyra and her daemon are joined in Ci'gazze by twelve-year-old Will, who is searching for his long-lost explorer father. Will proves his mettle–losing two fingers in a fight–and now bears the magical Subtle Knife.

Book 3: Amber Spyglass (2000)


  • DB 50939 - Read by Suzanne Toren. Reading time: 16 hours, 10 minutes.
  • BR 13278 - 4 volumes.

ANNOTATION: In this continuation of The Subtle Knife Lyra is hidden in a cave by her mother, Mrs. Coulter. Two angels want Will and his magic knife to accompany them to Lord Asriel, but Will is determined to find Lyra first.

#85 - Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927) by Willa Cather


  • DB 56535 - Read by Kimberly Schraf. Reading time: 8 hours, 31 minutes.
  • DB 15290 - Read by Donald Madden. Reading time: 6 hours, 53 minutes.
  • BR 14859 - 2 volumes.

ANNOTATION: A tale about the exploits of Bishop Jean Latour and Father Joseph Vaillant, French Catholic priests who organized pioneer and Indian missions throughout the newly created diocese of New Mexico in the second half of the nineteenth century.

#86 - The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) by Sigmund Freud


  • DB 50005 - Read by Clifford Carpenter. Reading time: 20 hours, 57 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Joyce Crick's new translation of Freud's first edition of his classic work written in 1899. Introductory material describes how Freud incorporated autobiography into his theoretical writing; also provides glimpses of daily life in late-nineteenth-century Vienna.

#87 - The Education of Henry Adams (1918) by Henry Adams


  • DB 22293 - Read by Peter Johnson. Reading time: 16 hours, 43 minutes.

ANNOTATION: The 19th-century American historian wrote this partial autobiography in 1905. He described his early education as “18th-century” and found it inadequate preparation for dealing with the complex forces of modern life.

#88 - Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (1964) by Mao Zedong


  • DB 19940 - Read by Paul Baker. Reading time: 5 hours, 27 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Selections taken from the writings of Chairman Mao Tsetung showing his aims for the communist revolution in China and the development of his political and social philosophy.

#89 - The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (1902) by William James


  • DB 14445 - Read by George Patterson. Reading time: 22 hours, 12 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Often called the father of American psychology, the author published this “study in human nature” in 1902. A pragmatist, he argues that any article of religious faith is “true” if it provides emotional satisfaction, and that all religious experiences are of equal value.

#90 - Brideshead Revisited (1945) by Evelyn Waugh


  • DB 53981 - Read by John Horton. Reading time: 12 hours, 6 minutes.
  • BR 18644 - 3 volumes.

ANNOTATION: Waugh's classic exploration of faith, tradition, and moral values in a rapidly changing Britain. Charles Ryder narrates the story of an aristocratic English Catholic family between the First and Second World Wars. Charles first meets alcoholic Sebastian Flyte at Oxford and later falls in love with his married sister, Julia.

#91 - Silent Spring (1962) by Rachel Carson


  • DB 20184 - Read by William Lazar. Reading time: 10 hours, 9 minutes.
  • BR 11887 - 3 volumes.

ANNOTATION: The author criticizes man's large-scale use of chemical insecticides and weed killers, warning that such a policy jeopardizes the environment and damages wildlife.

#92 - The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936) by John Maynard Keynes


  • DB 16178 - Read by Paul Jones. Reading time: 13 hours, 39 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Outlines and explains the author's theory of economics, which has been of tremendous significance in the world economic situation.

#93 - Lord Jim (1900) by Joseph Conrad


  • DB 15912 - Read by George Rose. Reading time: 12 hours, 25 minutes.
  • BR 18722 - 4 volumes.

ANNOTATION: The hero of this novel is a young, untested chief mate who was disgraced by yielding to panic in a crisis, so he spends the rest of his life in a vain effort to redeem his honor in his own eyes.

#94 - Goodbye to All That (1929) by Robert Graves


  • DB 26218 - Read by Vanessa Maroney. Reading time: 22 hours, 56 minutes.

ANNOTATION: At the age of 34, the English poet published this autobiography, with much attention to his service with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in World War I.

#95 - The Affluent Society (1958) by John Kenneth Galbraith


  • DB 25346 - Read by Lou Harpenau. Reading time: 10 hours, 32 minutes.

ANNOTATION: A Harvard economist appraises the effects of prosperity on the United States and international economic and social systems, maintaining that an over-production of goods and an under-investment of people is responsible for inflation and recession.

#96 - The Wind in the Willows (1908) by Kenneth Grahame


  • DB 24592 - Read by Flo Gibson. Reading time: 5 hours, 46 minutes.
  • BR 12977 - 2 volumes.

ANNOTATION: The adventures of Mole, Water Rat, Badger, bumptious Mr. Toad, and other animals who live along the river and in the woods.

#97 - The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) by Alex Haley & Malcolm X


  • DB 65510 - Read by L.J. Ganser. Reading time: 20 hours, 2 minutes.
  • BR 17499 - 5 volumes.

ANNOTATION: The life of African American religious leader Malcolm X (1925-1965). The author describes his boyhood in Lansing, Michigan, street life in Harlem, conversion to the Black Muslim movement while imprisoned for robbery, and evolution into a high-profile spokesman for black dignity, power, and separatism. Foreword by Alex Haley.

#98 - Eminent Victorians (1918) by Lytton Strachey


  • DB 18557 - Read by Pat Hurley. Reading time: 10 hours, 25 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Critical examination of the Victorian era as seen through the lives of four prominent figures of that age: an ecclesiastic, a woman of action, an educator, and an adventurer.

#99 - The Color Purple (1982) by Alice Walker


  • DB 58842 - Reading time: 8 hours, 51 minutes. Read by Tracy Mickens Hundley.
  • BR 12265 - 2 volumes.

ANNOTATION: Follows two black sisters–Nettie, a missionary, and Celie, raped by her father and married to a cruel man. Nettie's letters do not reach Celie, and Celie's shame is so great that she writes only to God. Anniversary edition includes Walker's 1992 preface.

#100 - The Second World War by Winston Churchill

Book 1: The Gathering Storm (1948)


  • DB 23699 - Read by Patrick Horgan. Reading time: 28 hours, 33 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Volume I of “The Second World War” series covers the period from 1919 to 1939 and includes chapters on the mistakes of the Allies after World War I, the rise and rearmament of European dictatorships, and the failure to preserve Austria and uphold Czechoslovakia.

Book 2: Their Finest Hour (1949)


  • DB 23700 - Read by Patrick Horgan. Reading time: 26 hours, 55 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Volume II of 'The Second World War' series describes the problems confronted by Churchill as he assumes the office of Prime Minister in 1940. Covers the battle for France, the tragic story of Dunkirk, the rebuilding of the British army, and the victorious Africa campaign ending at Tobruk.

Book 3: The Grand Alliance (1950)


  • DB 23701 - Read by Patrick Horgan. Reading time: 32 hours, 37 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Volume III of “The Second World War” series covers the military operations of the critical year of 1941, with the attack on Russia by Germany and America's entry into the war.

Book 4: The Hinge of Fate (1950)


  • DB 23702 - Read by Patrick Horgan. Reading time: 35 hours, 0 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Volume IV of “The Second World War” series covers the period from 1942 to 1943. Describes the events leading to the invasion of Sicily, warfare in Africa, the reconquest of Europe, meetings with Roosevelt, and efforts at collaboration with Stalin.

Book 5: Closing the Ring (1951)


  • DB 23703 - Read by Patrick Horgan. Reading time: 26 hours, 14 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Volume V of “The Second World War” series focuses on the conflict from June 1943 to June 1944. Aided by the command of the ocean, mastery of the U-boats, and growing superiority in the air, the Allies are able to conquer Sicily and invade Italy.

Book 6: Triumph and Tragedy (1953)


  • DB 23704 - Read by Patrick Horgan. Reading time: 27 hours, 48 minutes.

ANNOTATION: Volume VI, the concluding volume of 'The Second World War' series covers the military campaigns ending in the defeat of Germany and Japan, the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, President Roosevelt's death, and the beginnings of peace negotiations.

wiki/newsweeks_top_100_books_2009.txt · Last modified: 2014/06/06 15:09 by mn1a