Project Fill-in-the-gaps

fill-in-the-gapsI stole this idea from Aerin,who stole it from Moonrat, who stole it from Andromeda. According to Moonrat, Andromeda wanted to collect a list of 100 books to read to fill in the gaps she has when it comes to classics and contemporary fiction. She gave herself 5 years to read all 100 books. She also gave herself a 25% forgiveness rate so 75% completion rate is victorious.

We’re all giving ourselves the same rules Andromeda gave herself. So I should be completed with my list by March 29, 2014.

Edited: Okay so it’s February 2014 and I’ve realized that I’m not even halfway through with my list. My new completion date will be December 2015.

The criteria for the list:

  • Snobby classics I’ve always wished I could tell people I’ve read, but would never read otherwise because I can’t imagine enjoying them (these will probably end up making up the 25)
  • Books that I’ve bought and owned for a long time, but haven’t read because they’re reeeeally long and I’m easily daunted by length at time of reading–choosing
  • Some books I’ve been curious about and keep forgetting to buy/read
  • Award-winning books
  • Books that I think are probably important
  • Books that meet one of the standards above and push me out of my comfort


  • Achebe , Chinua- Things Fall Apart
  • Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi – Purple Hibiscus (Orange Prize Nominee, Commonwealth Prize)
  • Agee, James – A Death in the Family (’58 Pulitzer Prize)
  • Agee, James – Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
  • Ahmad, Jamil – The Wandering Falcon
  • Allende, Isabel – The House of Spirits
  • Amir & Khalil – Zahra’s Paradise
  • Anderson, Laurie Halse


  • Babbitt, Natalie – Tuck Everlasting Completed 2010
  • Beagle, Peter S. – A Fine and Private Place
  • Beowulf
  • Butler, Octavia – Kindred


  • Carter, Angela – The Bloody Chamber
  • Chandler, Raymond – The Big Sleep
  • Cheever, John – The Stories of John Cheever
  • Chekhov, Anton – The Cherry Orchard or 40 stories
  • Cisneros, Sandra – Caramelo
  • Colwin, Laurie – Home Cooking


  • Dante – The Inferno
  • Danticat, Edwidge – Create Dangerously
  • Datlow, Ellen – Black Swan, White Raven
  • Deloria, Vine – Custer Died for Your Sins
  • Dog, Mary Crow – Lakota Woman
  • Doyle, Arthur Conan – The Complete Sherlock Holmes Vol. 1
  • DuBois, W.E.B.  -The  Souls of Black Folk


  • Eliot, George – Middlemarch
  • Ellison, Ralph – Invisible Man (’53 National Book Award)
  • Erdrich, Louise – Love Medicine (’84 National Book Critics Circle Award)


  • Fisher, M F K -
  • Friedan, Betty – The Feminine Mystique


  • Gaines, Ernest – A Lesson Before Dying (’93 NBCCA)
  • Giddings, Paul – Ida: A Sword Among Lions


  • Hamilton, Edith – Mythology
  • Hansberry, Lorraine – A Raisin in the Sun finished August 2011
  • Harjo, Joy – She had Some Horses
  • Harrington, Michael – The Other America: Poverty in the United States
  • Heat-Moon, William Least – Blue Highways
  • Hemingway, Ernest – Old Man and the Sea (’53 Pulitzer)
  • Homer – The Odyssey and The Iliad
  • Hsien-Yung, Pai – Crystal Boys
  • Hurston, Zora Neale – Their Eyes Were Watching God   completed4/3/2011


  • Ishiguro, Kazuo – Never Let Me Go


  • Jelloun, Tahar Ben – This Blinding Absence of Light (2004 Impac Dublin)
  • Jones, Edward – The Known World (’04 Pulitzer in Fiction)


  • Kennedy, William J.-  Ironweed (’84 Pulitzer in Fiction)
  • King, Thomas – Green Grass, Running Water
  • Kingsolver, Barbara – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
  • Kushner, Tony – Angels in America (’93 Pulitzer in Drama) Completed 10/09


  • Lahiri, Jhumpa
  • Larsen, Nella – Passing
  • Lesser, Elizabeth – The Seeker’s Guide
  • Li, Yiyun – The Vagrants


  • Mansfield, Katherine – The Collected Stories
  • Marable, Manning – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention
  • McCarthy, Mary – The Group
  • Medley, Laura – Castle Waiting *completed 4/9/09
  • Melville, Herman – Moby Dick  *Completed 2009
  • McGonigal, Jane – Reality is Broken
  • Milce, Jean-Euphele – Alphabet of the Night
  • Millay, Edna St. Vincent – Selected Poems (Pulitzer)
  • Momaday, N. Scott – House Made of Dawn (’69 Pulitzer)
  • Morrison, Toni – Beloved (’87 Pulitzer) completed December 2010
  • Murakami, Haruki – 1Q84


  • Obama, Barack – Dreams From My Father
  • O’Brien, Tim – The Things They Carried
  • Oliver, Mary – Red Bird completed February 2011


  • Paley, Grace
  • Pattou, Edith – East *completed 3/30/09
  • Parks, Suzan-Lori – Topdog/Underdog (’02 Pulitzer in Drama) *completed 4/19/09
  • Porter, Katherine Anne – Collected Stories (’66 Pulitzer)
  • Pollock, Donald Ray – Knockemstiff Gave up
  • Potok, Chaim – The Chosen
  • Proulx, Annie   Brokeback Mountain completed 2012



  • Robinson, Marilynne – Housekeeping (’81 Pen/Hemingway)
  • Russo, Richard – Empire Falls (’02 Pulitzer)
  • Rylant, Cynthia – Missing May (’93 Newbery Medal)


  • Sappho – Poems
  • Sexton, Anne
  • Shakespeare, William – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Smith, Zadie – Changing My Mind  gave up on 1/2011
  • Spiegelman, Art – Maus (’92 Pulitzer & ’92 Eisner)
  • Steinbeck, John – The Grapes of Wrath


  • Tan, Amy – The Joy Luck Club  Completed 1/2012
  • Taylor, Peter – A Summons To Memphis (’87 Pulitzer)
  • Teasdale, Sara – Love Poems (1918 Pulitzer for Poetry)
  • Tolstoy, Leo – War and Peace
  • Twain, Mark – Huckleberry Finn *Completed 2009
  • Twarp, Twyla – The Creative Habit *Completed 2010
  • Tye, Larry – Satchel *Completed 2011


  • Virgil – The Aeneid


  • Walker, Alice – The Color Purple (’83 Pulitzer)
  • Weber, Karl – Waiting for Superman completed in 2013
  • Wells, H. G.
  • Welty, Eudora (’72 Pulitzer Prize)
  • White, T.H. – The Sword in the Stone
  • Wilkerson, Isabel – The Warmth of Other Suns
  • Williams, Tennesse – A Streetcar Named Desire (’48 Pulitzer in Drama)
  • Woolf, Virginia – Moments of Being
  • Wright, Richard – Black Boy


  • X, Malcolm – Autobiography of Malcolm X


  • Yenne, Bill – Sitting Bull
  • Yolen, Jane – Touch Magic
  • Yoshimoto, Banana – Kitchen


Is there a book you think I left off? Leave a comment!

25 thoughts on “Project Fill-in-the-gaps

  1. Oh, your list is excellent! and you even have them alphabetised. a friend of mine is doing up a blog badge/logo for the ‘fill the gap’ project if your interested? i’m going to post them up on my blog/email them to moonrat when they are done.

  2. awesome list. i’m pleased to see we have several in common :) shoot me an email if you’re interested in reviewing as you go along over on–a bunch of us will make us all more likely to stick to it!

      1. The only Annie Proulx (haven’t read any yet) on my radar is Shipping News.

        I can’t recommend Tolstoy’s War and Peace highly enough.

      2. Hi, Vasilly

        I’ll be one of your cheerleaders this Saturday. Nice to meet you. If you would like to read something by V. Woolf, I would recommend you “Orlando” or “Mrs. Dalloway”. Regarding the last one, my favorite movie is “The Hours” and that’s the book I’ll be reading Saturday. Have you decided?

  3. Thanks for the comment! I’m glad there are others to encourage me. I give up so easily…

    The Things They Carried and The Virgin Suicides are two of my all-time favorite books. I hope you love them!

  4. Great list! I’ve read ten on there, (eleven if you end up reading The Shipping News)

    Good luck with Moby Dick – I’ve started it, and it is going to be a marathon read I think. Let me know what you think!

  5. FYI–in case you want to pass it on, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is being offered as a free ebook until 4/15 at Happy reading! :)

  6. Oh, I love this. I’m going to have to put together my own list now. Here’s my comments on the books since I’m an English major too:
    Sense & Sensibility – yuck, couldnt finish
    The Cherry Orchard – good, liked it
    Invisible Man – yuck, couldn’t finish
    Stories of John Cheever- will have to add this to my list. I’ve liked his short stories so far “The Swimmer”
    Inkheart and Looking for Alaska-sitting on my shelf from library, desparately awaiting time for me to read.
    Raisin in the Sun – wow you haven’t had to read it yet? Its been assigned in 2 of my lit classes so far. Its OK.
    Beloved – yuck, couldnt finish it. watched/scanned movie instead
    Hamlet – this has been assigned in 3 lit classes, I’ve yet to read it but suffered through a movie version instead.
    War and Peace – on my shelf to read as well.

    Cool List!

  7. I love the challenge! I’m planning to start my own January 1st…but I’m not sure I can handle the idea of a 5 year plan. Thanks for the idea! Now to create a list.

  8. What, no Infinite Jest? :p I spent 7 months working my way through that bad boy (okay, more like 3 if you don’t count all the procrastination time). I spent the last few days of December reading the last 300 or so pages just because I didn’t want to look at it anymore! lol

    This sounds like a great challenge! I think I need to add this to my long-term list of challenges.

  9. Didn’t like Banana by Yoshimoto, gave up on Grapes of Wrath, loved The Old Man and the Sea and Hamlet, that’s all I read from your list. Gave up on my list — I do badly with having to read something. The pressure makes me hate the book almost instantly.

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