An exercise in choosing a career

Right now in my life, I’m staying home with the kids, and I’m busy and fulfilled and content. My work is important. But in a couple of years, my youngest will be in Kindergarten, and I had always planned to go to work. The only problem is, I’m not totally sure what I want to do.

In Scott Adams’s “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big”, he gives some advice on how to choose a career. “One helpful rule of thumb for knowing where you might have a little extra talent is to consider what you were obsessively doing before you were ten years old. There’s a strong connection between what interests you and what you’re good at. People are naturally drawn to the things they feel comfortable doing, and comfort is a marker for talent.”

I like making lists. I feel like they help me organize an otherwise cluttered brain. I’ll start with “what you were obsessively before you were ten years old”.

What activities did I obsess over when I was a kid?

  • Sorting small things (coins, beads, buttons, legos, crayons, Halloween candy) into containers (egg cartons, bowls, fishing tackle boxes, Kaboodles)
  • Watching hours of TV
  • Eating large amounts of food
  • Playing Legos for hours on end
  • Coloring out of books, but not for artistic reasons. I would make games out of using each crayon in the collection one time and never repeat a color, and it didn’t matter if the colors made sense in the picture. I had to make sure each crayon got used and that its existence in the universe was justified.
  • Listening to music or audio books while I folded towels or built Legos. I would listen in deep concentration for hours on end. I would pick apart the music and sing along with each instrument individually, which gave me the foundations for becoming a musician later.
  • Digging in the mud, using the garden hose to make rivers and lakes.
  • Reading (A Wrinkle in Time, The Little House Series, The Time Machine, The Headless Horseman, a random X-Files novel with lots of swearing.)
  • Playing piano
  • Playing pretend (survival games, soldier games, escaping bad guys…. rarely “house” or “drama” like most young girls did)
  • Riding bikes, Rambo hikes, berry picking, roller blading, swimming

 

What activities am I ALWAYS in the mood for as an adult?

  • Reading
  • Walking
  • Screentime
  • Making lists
  • Eating/Drinking
  • Taking a nap, or at least laying around if I’m not sleepy

What activities am I passionate about but only want to do when I’m in the mood or have the energy?

  • Playing music
  • Housework (especially if I can listen to music or an audio book)
  • Cooking
  • Exercising
  • Sex
  • Watching documentaries or educational programming
  • Playing with kids
  • Showering/getting ready
  • Eating out
  • Watching a movie
  • Organizing the house
  • House projects, plumbing, texturing, painting etc
  • Reading education or adult development stuff (parenting books, music books, etc)
  • Teaching lessons
  • Having a conversation
  • Academic learning
  • Writing

What are my core values?

  • Human rights
  • Lifelong learning
  • Equality and fairness (as opposed to sexism, racism, etc)
  • Physical fitness, healthy diet habits, healthy mental habits
  • Making choices for long-term benefit, both socially and personal (money, schooling, career, family planning, etc)
  • Treat yourself and others with kindness and compassion
  • Respect others’ beliefs
  • Respect your own time- don’t waste it.
  • Respect authority, but question everything. Don’t take anything as truth until you’ve tested it yourself.
  • Progress never ends

 

I’m not sure how this will help me decide what I want to do when I grow up. But I think I want to do something that facilitates long-term learning and progress.  I would love to go back to college for a couple of years, but I can’t commit until I don’t have toddlers at home. For now, I’ll just read as much as I can and keep learning Spanish and piano.

Long time comin’

I haven’t posted anything in a long time. I haven’t been actively writing since part-way through my pregnancy with Eli. Pregnancy does something to your brain that makes it hard to concentrate, and just being sooooo tired…. And then having a baby and toddler isn’t really that much better on my brain. I’ve noticed my writing skills have really gone down in the last two years due to being out of practice, for which I feel both guilt and nostalgia. I think I can improve and break new ground pretty quickly.

I’m addicted to long-term goals. I love doing something little every day for a cumulative goal. My mental health and happiness are important to me, and feeling like I have my own identity and my own skills outside of parenthood is an important component of that. I also want to have the option of using my skills for pay, should I ever want or need to. But I also want to make sure I’m not overloading myself or my family. I think I can do a few small things every day without stressing or neglecting my parenting and household duties.

This is what I want my average day to be like:

  • -Morning: gym
  • -Noon: writing for 30 min, maybe a nap
  • -Afternoon: Family
  • -Evening: practice piano for 30-60 minutes
  • -Night: Relax, watch a show, stretch and roll.

These are just things that are for me and only me. The rest of my day is for mom duty and household duty. And if I don’t get to do everything every day, that’s fine. But if I can do each thing at least 4 times a week, I’ll be happy.

 

 

 

 

2017 Goals!

Yearly goals really set the tone for the entire year for me. I need to be working toward something or else I sink into the despair of futility, knowing that every item of clothing I wash will become soiled, every boy I bathe will get dirty, every meal I cook will be complained about and one way or another, end up in the city sewers. Goals are my way to get satisfaction from doing jobs that are not cyclical- that actually have a finished product.

I always aim high with the intent that a 50% completion is a job well done, and that even attempting is better than wasting my whole year watching sub-par super-hero flicks on Netflix and not having anything to show for all the thousands of hours I could have done something, anything useful.

2017 will be a good year. I have some exciting goals with very modest and realistic action plans. There’s a good possibility that I’ll achieve higher than my usual 50%.

My Goals:

#1- Lose 30 Pounds. I’ve been meeting with the nutritionist at my gym and have a really solid plan which is doable and comfortable. My calorie goal is about 2100, with at least 150g of protein and 7-14 veggies a day, and staying relatively low-carb. I’m very comfortable eating this way and can maintain it indefinitely. We will have a well-planned cheat meal once a week at a nice restaurant, and even get dessert if we’ve been on point all week.

#2- Compete in a power-lifting meet. I already have a two hour daily gym habit, so training for a meet is just a good way to keep me organised and have something exciting to work toward. I love lifting heavy and I love to feel strong!  I have a handful of training sessions already purchased and will be training with a successful competitor. The meet is in December so I’ll have plenty of time to finish recuperating after giving birth in June and to train up.

#3-Finish the last three units of my EdX religion course “World Religions Through Their Scriptures”. Last year, I completed the introductory unit, Christianity, and Islam. I still have Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism to complete.

#4- Spend the year studying Buddhism. I want to read some of the main scriptural texts (Dhammaphada) as well as some books by important teachers (Beyond Religion- Dalai Lama, The Myth of Freedom- Chogyam Trungpa, “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialsim- Chogyam Trungpa), memoirs of important Buddhists, explore http://fpmt.org/, watch some documentaries, etc. I have a list of great sources.  I can spend my free time in the evenings studying Buddhism and working through my EdX class while Doug plays his Xbox, and that way we can spend “shoulder to shoulder time” doing our own activities together.

#5- Learn to meditate and practice mindfulness. I want to focus on improving empathy toward others. I feel like I’m so overwhelmed and over-stimulated with my own life that if I can learn to calm my mind, I’ll be better prepared to reach out to others. I can read some books about meditation, and some will overlap with #4, and I can practice in the afternoons while the kids are sleeping and the house is quiet. I will find some books and other resources, and use http://audiodharma.org/ for help.

#6- Start volunteering a the local refugee center once a month. Because I have young kids at home, my schedule is limited, but I should be able to devote an evening a month to do whatever they need me to. My first task is to call and set up an appointment, and have them do a background check on me.

#7- Learn basic Spanish. This goal is long overdue, considering I live in a city where a third of the population are Spanish speakers. Most of our refugees come from Mexico, Central and South America, so my value as a volunteer with the refugee center will increase as I increase my Spanish skills. I have a couple of fun language learning apps, as well as a text book and work book from Doug’s Spanish class in college. Doug speaks fluent Spanish and he seems willing to let me practice on him. I can study Spanish while I eat meals and while I do my cardio at the gym, and any other time I can fit it in.

#8- Make music a daily part of my life. Last year, I was so focused on reading 100 books that I spent all my free time reading and listening to audio books. By the end of the year, I really missed listening to music and playing music. This isn’t a good year to make a concrete goal of instrument practice, but if I can at least listen to music every day, that will keep me happy. I can listen to Pandora or music I own on my shower speaker when I get ready every day, and while I fold laundry and to housework.

#9- Keep my house cleaner and baby-safe. Eli will be crawling any day now, and my once-a-week vacuuming isn’t quite going to cut it for baby-safety. I have a checklist app that has weekly rotating household duties that I will use. I also will do my best to make it through a monthly full-house organizing checklist, doing on average one job a day, but allowing myself to do more when I have energy and less when I’m busy.

#10- Post on my blog monthly. Because the nature of my blog is just a public brain-dump, I could write about anything from goal updates to poetry to parenting stories to philosophy. I want to make sure I’m getting at least a little writing practice in each month. Ideally, I would write a little in my daily journal and do writing exercises every day. This year, one post a month may be the best I can do. I will probably write on Sundays, which are supposed to be my day off.

Each of my goals has a detailed action plan, which includes resources and when each thing will fit in my schedule many of the goals overlap with one another, so what looks like 10 goals really boils down to a few tasks each day. A sample daily goal schedule is as follows:

6:30 wake up, mom duties

8:00 healthy breakfast (#1) and practice Spanish while I eat (#7)

8:30 drive to gym, listen to music (#8)

9:00 work out, practice Spanish during cardio (#7) and listen to music (#8), lift weights (#2, #1)

11:00 drive home, listen to music (#8)

11:30 healthy lunch (#1), work on religion classes (#3, #4)

12:00 mom duties, cleaning duties (#9)

1:00 rest, meditate (#5)

2:00 cleaning duties (#9)

3:00 mom duties

4:00 dinner prep (#1)

5:00 eat a healthy dinner (#1)

6:00 play with kids

7:30 play an instrument (#8), read something Buddhist (#4,5,6)

9:00 watch a show with Doug, have a healthy snack (#1)

10:00 read and go to bed, relaxation meditation (#5)

 

It seems very complicated, except that this is already my daily routine. The only change is that I’m listening to music instead of audio books, and my reading time is devoted to learning Spanish and Buddhism instead of books like last year. With so much overlap of goals and knowing that my daily schedule is already a habit for me, I think I have a good chance of achieving most of my goals this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 Goal Wrap-up

2016 was a big year for me. Besides accomplishing several of my goals, I also had a baby in June which added some unforeseen challenges to my goals. Below are my original goals with my report on each in purple. I also added some goals part way through the year that are at the bottom in green.

-Write several times a week, finish more writing workbooks 

When I made writing goals, I was in a huge writing kick. I love writing and I would use nap time to do it. Unfortunately, pregnancy and childbirth made me tired, and so my only hour with a quiet house was toast for the entire year. I should have predicted that. 

-Finish my book, at least to a rough draft level

See note above. I do plan to come back and finish the book at some point.

-Work out at least 4 times a week

Check! It really helps to have a gym membership to the best gym in town and lots of friends who go and hold me accountable. And not to mention two hours of child care where the kids get to socialise and I get my sweet freedom to workout at my own pace.

-Continue to build healthy food habits and stick with them

Check! Emeals.com really helped with that one. There were definitely some months right around when Eli was born that my food habits were rough, but I was successful for at least 10 months.

-Really learn how to use my cast iron skillet

Satisfied. I’m still not totally sure the right way to clean the sucker. I’m still using soap and water and scrubbing for an hour. But I can make some very tasty steak and pork chops!

-Finish setting my 40-by-40 goals(still missing about 9 goals)

Nope. Haven’t really thought about it. At this rate, this decade will be up by the time I pick all 40 goals.

-Finish painting inside of house

Sortof. We painted the living room. That’s all. 

-Run the Rock-n-Roll half marathon in December

Check! Five months postpartum. Probably not the best idea while still recuperating from symphysis pubic dysfunction during pregnancy. I ran the stupid race. And my pelvis didn’t let me hear the end of it. (The OB assured me my pelvis wouldn’t break in half. I was a bit worried.)

-Finally finish unpacking closets after moving 3 years ago

Nah. I had no energy. I blame Eli. 

-Learn to play the bass

Check! And it was SUPER fun! I’m not a pro, but I know where all the notes are and some basic stuff. I can follow guitar chords. I got to jam with some mom-friends weekly and we even played at our church talent show!

-Read through the Quran and study Islamic culture as part of my 40-by-40 goal to study one religion/culture a year

Check! This was extremely eye-opening and rewarding. I think everyone from any religion should take time to deeply study other religions. Along with reading the Quran, I completed an EdX class through Harvard on Islam, read a small pile of books, watched some documentaries, and really feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. 

-Read 100 books

Check! The Qur’an was my 100th book. Some books were kindof cheating, like The Magic Treehouse books I read to my kids. But some were unusually long, like the Hyperion series and the Qur’an. 

-Complete all 6 units in the EdX course World Religions Through Their Scriptures

Half check. I made it through the introduction unit, Christianity, and Islam. Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism will be on my 2017 goals. 

Of 13 goals, I completed 7 and half-completed two more. That’s pretty dang good. I’m really excited for my 2017 goals. I’ll be posting in the next few days- keep a lookout!

How did you do on your 2016 goals?

Book pics for 2016

NON FICTION

Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World- Dalai Lama  (short)   L

Iran Awakening- Shirin Ebadi (short) memoir

Nickle and Dimed-     American poverty journalistic

When Breath Becomes Air   –  (short)  Brain cancer  E

Being Mortal

Unselfie – raising kids to have empathy

What I talk about when I talk about running -memoir

No God but God – Islam

Thinking in Pictures – Autism Temple Grandin  M

The sleep revolution

The Other End of the Leash

The power of less – minimizing

 

 

FICTION

Pope Joan – 9th century woman, only woman pope  E

King Leopold’s Ghost – Congo Holocaust in the 1910’s    M

A little Princess

Persuasion – jane austin

In the Shadow of the Banyon – Cambodia civil war

The House of Spirits- South America 3 generations  L

 

Jan – When Breath Becomes Air

Feb- Pope Joan   *Michelle*

Mar- Thinking in Pictures

Apr- King Leopold’s Ghost

May- Beyond Religion  *Lindsey*

Jun- The House of Spirits

Contact by Carl Sagan

contact_sagan

First off, lets define some literary terms:

1-” Speculative fiction is a fiction genre speculating about worlds that are unlike the real world in various important ways. In these contexts, it generally overlaps one or more of the following: science fiction, fantasy fiction, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history. It is often used as an umbrella term for science fiction and fantasy considered as a single genre.”

2- “Science fiction is a form of fiction that deals principally with the impact of actual or imagined scienceupon society or individuals.”

3-” Fantasy  is a genre that typically features the use of magic or other supernatural phenomena in the plot, setting, or theme.”

Some stories are clearly science fiction, such as 2001 Space Odyssey.  Some are only fantasy, such as The Last Unicorn. Others can be both, like Star Wars. Star wars has space ships and advanced technology, which would make it sci fi, but it also has the Force, which could be considered a form of magic, which is fantasy.

What genre is Contact and why

 

Contact is a 1985 science fiction novel by Carl Sagan. It deals with the theme of contact between humanity and a more technologically advanced, extraterrestrial life form. It ranked No. 7 on the 1985 U.S. bestseller list. The novel originated as a screenplay by Sagan and Ann Druyan (whom he later married) in 1979; when development of the film stalled, Sagan decided to convert the stalled film into a novel. The film concept was subsequently revived and eventually released in 1997 as the film Contact starring Jodie Foster.”

Click here for a trailer for the movie.

What did you like, dislike, or find notable?

 

Carl Sagan was probably the most well-known scientist of the 1970s and 1980s. He studied extraterrestrial intelligence, advocated for nuclear disarmament, and co-wrote and hosted ‘Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.'”

  • He was a successful astrophysicist who worked with NASA
  • He used his celebrity as a scientist to educate the world about science
  • He also was politically active about nuclear disarmament and other environmental causes
  • Also, by the way, he wrote Contact.

The Blue Dot was created as an afterthought, or tiny sequel to Cosmos.

How does Carl Sagan use astrophysics to motivate good behavior?

I am not an atheist. An atheist is someone who has compelling evidence that there is no Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. I am not that wise, but neither do I consider there to be anything approaching adequate evidence for such a god. Why are you in such a hurry to make up your mind? Why not simply wait until there is compelling evidence?”

“Do you understand how – assuming either of us ever did say ‘The universe can be explained without postulating God’ – this could be understood as dogmatic? I often talk about the ‘God hypothesis’ as something I’d be fully willing to accept if there were compelling evidence; unfortunately, there is nothing approaching compelling evidence. That attitude, it seems to me, is undogmatic.”

Understanding Sagan’s religious beliefs, can you think of instances in Contact where those beliefs are expressed? 

-how the world’s religions and cults reacted to receiving the signal, building the machine, and Ellie’s journey.

-How the governments reacted after the journey

 

Sagan was known to be a feminist.

How does he express his beliefs in women’s equality in the book?

-Main character and support character (doctor) women

-Experiencing what being a woman in a male dominated field would be like

-How being a smart girl affected romantic relationships

 

More about Carl Sagan

 

 

 

 

If I Ran For President

There’s not a single moderate running for office in 2016. With the two main political parties becoming increasingly more polarised, I feel like the best choice for president would be someone in the middle who can fairly utilize ideas from both sides and avoid  corruption and bias. Thus, a thought experiment: What if I ran for President of the United States? What would my platform be?

 

SOCIAL

  1. Take care of those who need help, but smart phones and TVs are not a human right. Food, shelter, and transportation and employment services need to be available to those who need it so they can function even on a low income. Americans need to do their best to work their own jobs and be self sufficient, but the government realises that bad things happen sometimes and people need help.
  2. Protected classes need continued protections, but not special privilege. Scholarship money and job opportunities should be amply available, as long as the candidate is qualified. When a minority competes with a non-minority for entrance to a University or employment, the better qualified should be chosen, regardless of protected class.

ECONOMY

  1. Compensation of business leaders should be no more than 20 times that of the lowest paid employees, contractors included. If the CEO wants a raise after they’ve hit their max, they must raise the wage of their lowest paid employees. This also includes stock dividends or any other sneaky ways CEOs could find ways to pay themselves.
  2. Certain industries have become inflated and need to be audited. These include but are not limited to rent/mortgage, medical/prescription, insurance, and public higher education. These are industries that affect every american, and when they are inflated, cause Americans to pay a higher and higher percentage of their income to those specific industries, leaving little money for other budgetary needs. The profit ratio should be capped.

GOVERNMENT

  1. Government employees shall not vote to raise their own wages.
  2. Campaign donations and lobbying should be banned. Non-For-Profit groups that represent the people may send letters to politicians, but nobody can offer politicians job opportunities or bribe them through the politicians’ private holdings. Politicians who own stock or businesses shall forfeit their vote on any matter that relates to their own personal wealth. This would hopefully decrease corruption- but we would continue to root out other forms of government corruption as we identify them. If a politician is caught taking any kind of bribe, they shall be subject to criminal court and lose their position in the government.
  3. All government agencies should be audited financially and employment should be weeded.
  4. The tax code needs to be simplified so the rich and corporations cannot get out of paying taxes, but even the poor should pay their part.

EDUCATION

  1. Children’s’ education should be more geared toward making function adults, focussing on behavior, financial independance, employment readiness, health, and creative exploration. There should be less stress on standardised testing and early academics and they should give more time to free-time, play-time, and creative learning.
  2. Public higher education should be made cheaper or free to students while maintaining its high quality of education, as long as the courses are directly related to job preparation and not wasted on “curiosity courses”. The tax burden on the community would be minimal, but the skilled labor created and added to the economy would more than compensate.

 

I realise most of these things would be impossible. And honestly, I have no desire to actually be president. But, if someone had a platform similar to this, they would have my vote in a heartbeat. Too bad nobody even comes close this year.

 

 

2016 Goals

I like making goals. I don’t usually finish all of them, but even finishing most of them means I’m doing things and not stagnating. I’m much more motivated when I’ve defined real goals for myself that are things I want to do and am not forced to do.

 

 

-Write several times a week, finish more writing workbooks

-Finish my book, at least to a rough draft level

-Work out at least 4 times a week

-Continue to build healthy food habits and stick with them

-Really learn how to use my cast iron skillet

-Finish my 40-by-40 (still missing about 9 goals)

-Finish painting inside of house

-Run the Rock-n-Roll half marathon in December

-Finally finish unpacking closets after moving 3 years ago

-Learn to play the bass

-Read through the Quran and study Islamic culture as part of my 40-by-40 goal to study one religion/culture a year

Common Sense

Why do we assume that we’re right?

There’s this magical, universal constant called “common sense” that we gather around us, like a force field, to back us up and protect our argument.

What happens when both sides use common sense as they fight each other? They both equally feel right, and each party has had enough reinforcement from their people that they think the majority of people are on their side, putting the “common” in “common sense”. Don’t both sides just cancel each other out?

It’s a fallacy to assume huge statistics of people think the way you do, or that your opinion in any way represents another party. You can speak for yourself. That’s all.

I personally know zero people who are affected by the church’s recent decision on declaring legally married homosexual couples apostate, and delaying their children’s involvement in church rites. However, every church member, past and present, has a very strong opinion about this, no matter what side they’re on.

I’m not writing to talk about where I stand, because I want to be able to continue to digest this issue as I get more info. I’m also afraid to talk about it openly for fear of being labeled “apostate”, like a four letter word, for even considering both sides of the issue. I can’t tell you if the decision is inspired. I can tell you that it feels unfair, and there are many who are deeply hurt by it, with fair reason. If it’s faith to say “lets wait and see”, maybe I’m practicing faith.

At any rate, I’ve seen some low, low things going on in the Mormon community that I’m not happy with, from both sides. I’ve heard people argue that the one side is just waiting to deal a blow to the other party. I’ve heard that anyone who disagrees with the “right” party is clearly uneducated on the issues, or just doesn’t understand, or lacks the capacity to see things from someone else’s view.

Look guys, clearly this is a difficult issue with strong arguments on both sides. Nobody won by this decision. The church is suffering more division than I’ve seen in my lifetime, and lots of bad press- they don’t win. The same-sex-attracted community obviously loses too. This is an ugly situation all the way around and makes me so sad to watch it play out.

Lets clean up a bit. If we have issues, rather than fighting with our brothers and sisters and trying to prove everyone wrong (making them feel like garbage), lets talk directly to our church leadership about our issues. It’s important the chain of command is aware of exactly how this is effecting the church membership and in what quantities.

Rather than fighting with our friends, we can try our best to see things from their side. We can learn from one another. I know it’s risky to listen to someone else’s side sometimes. Every time someone disagrees with you, a little part of you is offended that someone could think that way. But guess what? That’s what Jesus wants us to learn- how to see things through another’s eyes. Mourn with those who mourn.

We’ve all lost something. We have that in common.

BBC’s The Big Read: Top 100 Novels to Read in Your Lifetime

Fearing that it will eventually be taken down, I copy/pasted the list from the BBC website. I want to read all these for my 40-by-40, so I need to have access to this list for the next ten years.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie