My 100: Books

Over on the main Brown Eyed Baker page I have a My 100 page. I started it years ago and it’s a running list of all the recipes that I want to try eventually. Sort of a baking/cooking bucket list. It always gets a lot of positive feedback and I wanted to do something similar over here on Unplugged. I have lists typed in Word documents, Excel files, and written in notebooks of all the books I want to one day read. So I have consolidated them all here and hope to work through at least one a month.

I’m sure I’ll be adding to this list as I discover new books I want to read, and if you have any not listed here that you would recommend I’d love to hear about them!

My 100: Books

1. 97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman
2. A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
3. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
4. A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
5. A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
6. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
7. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
8. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
9. A Year on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball
10. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
11. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
12. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
13. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
14. Bloody Crimes by James L. Swanson
15. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
16. Citizens of London by Lynne Olson
17. Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
18. Crime and Punishment by Fjodor M. Dostojewskij
19. Decision Points by George W. Bush
20. Digging to America by Anne Tyler
21. Dream When You’re Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg
22. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
23. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
24. Follow the River by James Alexander Thom
25. Food Inc. by Karl Weber
26. Food Matters by Mark Bittman
27. Food Rules by Michael Pollan
28. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen {March/April 2011}
29. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
30. Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
31. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
32. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
33. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
34. In the Company of Others by Jan Karon
35. In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
36. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
37. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
38. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent
39. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
40. Love Walked In by Marisa De los Santos
41. Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard
42. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
43. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
44. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
45. Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain
46. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
47. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
48. My Life by Bill Clinton
49. One Day by David Nicholls
50. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
51. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
52. Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen
53. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
54. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
55. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
56. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
57. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
58. South of Broad by Pat Conroy
59. Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush
60. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
61. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
62. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
63. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
64. The Boy Next Door by Meggin Cabot
65. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
66. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
67. The Confession by John Grisham
68. The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre
69. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
70. The First Tycoon by T.J. Stiles
71. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
72. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
73. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
74. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
75. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows
76. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
77. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
78. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
79. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
80. The Last Campaign by Thurston Clarke
81. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
82. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
83. The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum
84. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
85. The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
86. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
87. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
88. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
89. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
90. The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald
91. The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss
92. The World Below by Sue Miller
93. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
94. To the End of the Land by David Grossman
95. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
96. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
97. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
98. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
99. What Is the What by Dave Eggers
100. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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40 Responses to My 100: Books

Angela December 1, 2010 at 5:17 am

I’m so glad you did this! I love your recipes already and I have been looking for a book list/book club forever! I too have list and list scribbled on bits of paper, typed out, written on back of bookmarks everywhere. Many of your books are ones I want to read and some are ones I’ve already enjoyed. I started writing down ones I thought you should read about midway through your list and was happy to see The Art of Racing in the Rain on there. It’s great! Alice Berg is a great writer you should try Never Change, it was the first I read and turned me on to her forever. I also suggest The Handmaid’s Tale, The Red Tent, and anything by Sue Monk Kidd or Alice Hoffman. I look forward to reading with you!


admin December 1, 2010 at 9:06 am

Hi Angela, Thanks so much for the recs, I wrote them down and will be adding them to the list!


Tania December 1, 2010 at 11:05 am

The Handmaid’s Tale is a great recommendation!


Michelle December 1, 2010 at 11:55 am

Oooh thanks for seconding that Tania! A definite must-read then!


Karen January 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Great books! Don’t know if you have read the Color of Water or Glass Houses both great books. Love your blog, just found it and can’t wait to bake some of your recipes.


Robyn December 1, 2010 at 8:33 am

love your list! took a quick scan through – american wife is my favourite book of the last few years. when you finish eat, pray, love you should read that one next!


Michelle December 1, 2010 at 9:10 am

Thanks Robyn! I’m making a note to read that one soon! I still haven’t decided how I’m going to choose which ones I read next! Any ideas? :)


Amber December 1, 2010 at 10:16 am

Can I just say I am fairly new to “The Brown Eyed Baker” and I simply adore your site–go there every day. I love to cook and read and when I saw your post this morning I was elated ! Many of the books on your list I have read–my favorite being “The Help”—fabulous book. At this moment I am reading “Room” by Emily Donoghue–very good also, and if you’ve never read anything by Harlen Coben–you should !! Happy Holidays to you !!


Michelle December 1, 2010 at 11:56 am

Happy Holidays to you too Amber! Welcome to the site, and so happy to hear you were excited about the additions! Thank you also for the book recs – I have heard wonderful things about The Help, I can’t wait to read it!


Denyalle December 1, 2010 at 1:14 pm

This is a wonderful list! I’m the same as you, always have books I want to read written in class notebooks, scraps of paper, bookmarked online. I need to take a cue from you and write them all down somewhere! One of my favorite books I’ve read this year is Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. Not sure if it’d be your cup of tea (pun not intended), but I thought I’d throw it out there!


Michelle December 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Thanks Denyalle, I’ll definitely check it out!


Paula December 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I saw your list and there are some books in it that I’ve read, and some others that are waiting for me at home :)

I would recommend you Khaled Hosseini (very sad, but interesting), Memoirs of a geisha, Rebecca of Daphne du Maurier (I enjoied it, and it’s very interesting), also about Sara’s Key, Stieg Larsson (is long but it cacthes you, although there are people who hates it, so, who knows about you?).
The Guernsey is very pleasant, and I also loved The thirteenth tale.
About Like water for chocolate, I didn’t enjoy it, but I know people who read it again and again.

And then, you have some obligued books in your list as Anne Karenina, War and peace (with patience and time!!), Crime and punishment, Jane Eyre, all of Jane Austen, Wuthering Heights (a dark but recommend history). I liked them all!!

We also share some future reading ;) as Fall of giants (I’ll read it soon), One day (I’ve it in english!!), Water for elephants, and especially Forgotten garden. I received this yesterday, and I really loved the other Kate Morton novel (La casa Riverton in spaniard), so I’m looking forward to eat it soon (cos books can be eaten also, is not??).


Michelle December 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Hi Paula, Thanks so much for all of the great reviews! Much appreciated!!


Sarah December 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm

If you’re planning on reading American Wife, you should read Prep too. It’s Curtis Sittenfeld’s first book and it’s amazing.


Michelle December 1, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Hi Sarah, I actually read Prep a looooooong time ago, probably right when it first came out, maybe 5 or 6 years ago? I loved it! Looking forward to American Wife!


Sarah December 1, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Well American Wife was even better I think! You’ll really enjoy it and won’t want to put it down!


Alyce December 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I love all of your lists. You obviously put a lot of thought into them. I am inspired to do my own. I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series earlier this year. I had a hard time putting them down, so block out some time. They are a little dark, but a good read.


Anna December 1, 2010 at 8:12 pm

If you like Food Inc you should read What to Eat by Marion Nestle. It is an in depth book about every aisle in the grocery store! It definitely makes you think!


Michelle December 1, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Thanks for the rec Anna! I will definitely add it to my list!


Angela December 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm

I have a list of books that I want to read, mostly books that I skipped over/didn’t read in highschool/college that I should have been reading. I have slacked off a little and have been reading new stuff, but I hope to get back on track and then fill my list with many of these books too!!


Books n' Cooks December 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Great list! I’ll second Anna Karenina, The Help, Sarah’s Key, Pride & Prejudice (BBC version of the movie is fantastic if you haven’t seen it), Memoirs of a Geisha, and Snow Falling on Cedars. I’ll also chime in for The Handmaiden’s Tale.

If you like Sarah’s Key, add the True Story of Hansel and Gretel to your list – it was fantastic. I’ll also add that the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins is one of my favorite young adult books, right up there with Harry Potter.

Happy reading!


Diane December 3, 2010 at 1:36 pm

In my early teens, I set out to read “the classics”–and got through quite a few (although some were Reader’s Digest condensed books–does that count?). But one day I discovered Jane Austen (starting with P&P, of course), and I was so blown away by her style and stories that after devouring all her books, several times, nothing else seemed worth reading. I tried…but concluded that I’d reached the pinnacle of English fiction and there really was nothing else worth reading. =P Sorry, Hemingway! (It was a mistake to try “The Old Man and the Sea” shortly after feasting on Jane.)

My tastes run to historical fiction, classics, and nowadays, mostly nonfiction (not much time for “pleasure reading”), but from your list above, I am so envious of you for not having yet read Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre (possibly my #1 favorite of all time). My test for a good book is whether it can be re-read many times with pleasure (after a lapse of time, of course). “Rebecca” and “Wuthering Heights” I don’t think I’d ever re-read because they’re quite depressing and I must have my happy ending. But I’m sure the quality of the writing is good, and that is essential for a good read. I wish I’d read more Dickens when I had more time, but I’ve lately gotten hooked on all the incredible BBC adaptations coming out, and I’ve decided they’re so well done, I may as well have read the book (who has time to read a 2-inch thick book?!). Here are a few I’ve seen and loved: David Copperfield (with Daniel Radcliff–this is what got me started and I make people watch it first because it’s quite accessible and not 8 hours long!), Our Mutual Friend, Bleak House, Little Dorrit…and I’d better stop with that, because branching out to movies or other authors would keep me here a while! But as someone else mentioned, the BBC P&P adaption with Colin Firth is not to be missed. After that, you may end up as another citizen of Ha!


Jacob December 4, 2010 at 9:50 am

Great list! I like how you have a mix of classics and moderns. But I was so surprised you didn’t have Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand on there, it was voted the most influential book of all time (Except for the bible) in the Library of Congesses’ survey.


Michelle December 4, 2010 at 10:15 am

Hi Jacob, I actually don’t have Atlas Shrugged on there because I’ve already read it, years ago. And it is, hands-down, my all-time favorite book, ever. Love it.


Gloria December 5, 2010 at 12:46 am

Great list Michelle! I too have a love for food and books. I have read several on your list and highly recommend Memoirs of Geisha, Art of Racing in the Rain, Guernsey Literary Society and Water for Elephants. I also read the first 2 Steig Larson books and almost didn’t read them because I couldn’t get past the first 50 pages…..but if you can make it past that it picks up and sucks you in. Here are a couple of others you might like…The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and if you want no brainer, hilarious (laugh out lout) read about the antics of a New Jersey girl turned bounty hunter….check out One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. Will you be providing review of you the books you check off the list on Unplugged? Cause that would be pretty cool!


Michelle December 5, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Hi Gloria, Thank you for the recs! Yes, I am planning on writing about the books once I finish them, and also thinking about maybe doing a little online book club of sorts. Maybe in January!


Beth December 5, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I think you should start an Oprah book club of sorts–the Brown Eyed Baker Blog Book Club–you name the book each month and then at the end of the month, we all “discuss” it.
Water for Elephants is wonderful but I think my favorite out of all on your list is A Thousand Splendid Suns–if you read the Kite Runner, you’ll love this one, but its so much better. Can’t recommend either of them enough!


Michelle December 5, 2010 at 9:53 pm

I did read The Kite Runner and loved it, so I’m excited to hear your review of A Thousand Splendid Suns!

And I’m totally thinking about the book club thing. I think it would be fun! Maybe I’ll start it up in January!


Evelyn December 6, 2010 at 5:01 am

Hi Michelle,

I love this list and its inspired me to draw up one as well!
So many books that you have mentioned, I would greatly recommend.

Some suggestions I have:
Alice Sebold’s ‘Lovely Bones’
Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘ Love in the Time of Cholera’
Haruki Murakami’s ‘Norwegian Wood’
Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’
Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s ‘The Little Prince’
Salman Rushdie’s ‘Midnight’s Children’
Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things’
Zadie Smith’s ‘On Beauty’

Have fun reading!


Michelle December 6, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Thank you for the list Evelyn! The only one of those I’ve read is Lovely Bones, so I will definitely check out the others!


Sandy December 6, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Yours is the only blog this middle aged Mom reads, & I think you are super!
I have a recommendation for your reading list: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls; and if you have never read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or Angela’s Ashes, I would recommend those also. They are all stories about growing up in dysfunctional families and are captivating and will make you grateful for the family that you have! I have ready many of the books on your list, & I might recommend starting with some of the following because they go quickly (whereas you will be on War and Peace for a while!)
Water For Elephants, The Help, Rebecca, Snow Falling On Cedars, and Jane Eyre. Thanks again for your wonderful contribution.


Michelle December 6, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Aw thank you Sandy! You are too sweet! I have read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Angela’s Ashes, but I will definitely add The Glass Castle to my list! Thank you so much for the ideas!


Whitney December 7, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Nice list! I’ve read “The Help and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” in the last couple of months after not reading a good book for awhile. I became obsessed with both, to the tune of staying up until 4 and 5 am to finish them! I second adding “The Lovely Bones” to your list … incredible. Rebecca is an all-time favorite, as is Pride & Predjudice (and the BBC film!). Good luck!


Darla December 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Love your book list! So many great reads on here! I’m a huge reader too, and have read many of the books you have listed. Absolutely love so many of them! Have you ever heard of Shelfari ( It’s one of my favorite sites…great place to keep track of your reading wish list, as well as what you’ve already read. Thanks for sharing!


Connie January 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm

in defense of food will change your life! i almost wanted to become a vegetarian after reading that book!


lorilu March 15, 2011 at 9:57 pm

hello ! I recently started following your blog ( so fun….you’re adorable ! ) and was so happy to find your 100 books list, I work in a bookstore and am always interested in what local people are reading, I love to recommend books and see that quite a few books on your list have been read by me or are on MY wish list….thanks so much for sharing….

p.s. two of my all time favorites are poisonwood bible and the help…..excellent !
happy reading and baking :)


Caelyn May 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm

the thirteenth tale is CRAZY. hope you enjoy it :)


Elaine May 25, 2011 at 7:05 am

This list somehow led me to “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper, and it was great. Just finished it last night. Next on the list is Skippy DIes, then Freedom! Thanks for making this list!


sabrina jayne October 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm

some of the BEST BOOKS i have read in the past year are books by Fannie Flagg. she’s the lady who wrote Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. i have read that book twice (yep, within the past year) because her writing just completely sucks me in. i love it! and i still love the movie too! :) right now i’m in the process of reading her other books (yep, a 2nd time thru), but i’m reading them out loud to my husband… hehe. i know, it’s sad that i’m reading to a grown man, but he’s such a slow reader and i want him to experience the joy i get from Fannie’s books. my absolute favorite is Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven. i totally recommend you reading some of them. i think you will love them like i do. :)


Ashley December 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Read The Help! You’ll read it fast because its so amazing! You won’t be able to put it down! Also Michael Pollans books are amazing!


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