If the bookmark that inspired this blog—the bookmark that lists the 50 books we should all read before we die—is our class textbook, then it is my duty as a teacher to tell you that our textbook is flawed. 50 is a nice round number, but it cuts off so many really good stories that should at least get an honorable mention.

In some cases, it’s a diversity issue—for example, out of 50 titles listed, 10 are written by female authors, proving a serious lack of representation. In other cases, it’s simply an issue of taste—I’m not sure everyone should read Dante’s The Divine Comedy before they die, helpful as it may be in that particular scenario. There are also better ways to spend one’s time than to read all of The Canterbury Tales, such as reading only a handful of the Tales with an English professor close by.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to add to the list with my own expertise. Since I started this blog, I’ve been making “side posts” for other novels, plays, and even an epic poem. If you want to read my thoughts on why these should be included on the 50-books list, click on any of the links below.

And this is a GROWING list, so check in for updates!

  1. The Odyssey by Homer
  2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  3. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  4. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  5. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  6. Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave by Aphra Behn
  7. The Shining by Stephen King
  8. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  9. Selected Children’s Books by Dr. Seuss
  10. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  11. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  12. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  13. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  14. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  15. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  16. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
  17. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  18. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  19. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  20. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
  21. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  22. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  23. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  24. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  25. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)