Nick’s Top 100 Must Read Books

nick barr
I. M. H. O.
3 min readOct 7, 2013


David Bowie recently shared his “Top 100 Must Read Books,” which you can check out here.

I was inspired to eke out my own list. When I look at the results I’m a little embarrassed. The list consists largely of what my parents and my teachers told me to read, plus comics.

100 of anything is a lot. I’ve barely read 100 books that I can give any kind of endorsement. There was no culling in the making of this list. Instead, I found myself limping to the finish line, resisting the urge to BuzzFeedify it down to a smaller number, reluctantly admitting the books that I’d initially discarded, weakening the overall integrity, damaging the literate reputation I sought to build. It was an interesting experience.

Anyway here’s my top 100. I hope it looks very different in ten years.

  1. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. Aesop’s Fables, Aesop
  4. Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo
  5. Amerika, Franz Kafka
  6. Animalia, Graeme Base
  7. Bartleby, the Scrivener, Herman Melville
  8. Black Hole, Charles Burns
  9. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  10. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  11. Call of the Wild, Jack London
  12. Candide, Voltaire
  13. The Case of the Midwife Toad, Arthur Koestler
  14. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  15. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
  16. Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
  17. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
  18. Collected Poems, Wallace Stevens
  19. Concrete, Thomas Bernhard
  20. The Confidence-Man, Herman Melville
  21. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain
  22. Cuentos de amor de locura y de muerte, Horacio Quiroga
  23. The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
  24. Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler
  25. Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
  26. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
  27. Drunk Enough To Say I Love You?, Caryl Churchill
  28. Dubliners, James Joyce
  29. The Egoist, George Meredith
  30. Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective, Donald J. Sobol
  31. Exiles, James Joyce
  32. The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan
  33. Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges
  34. Fortunately, Remy Charlip
  35. Foundation, Isaac Asimov
  36. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
  37. From Hell, Alan Moore
  38. The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzsche
  39. The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, Edward Albee
  40. Good Morning, Midnight, Jean Rhys
  41. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  42. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  43. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein
  44. The House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne
  45. I Saw Esau: The Schoolchild’s Pocket Book, Iona & Peter Opie
  46. Ida, Gertrude Stein
  47. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  48. Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, Chris Ware
  49. Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling
  50. King Lear, William Shakespeare
  51. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
  52. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  53. Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad
  54. Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  55. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein
  56. Lunch Poems, Frank O’Hara
  57. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
  58. Maus, Art Spiegelman
  59. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
  60. Moby-Dick, Herman Melville
  61. Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
  62. New Grub Street, George Gissing
  63. Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, Walter Kaufmann
  64. The Odd Women, George Gissing
  65. The Odyssey, Homer
  66. The Once and Future King, T. H. White
  67. The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, George Meredith
  68. Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis
  69. Paradise Lost, John Milton
  70. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
  71. Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein
  72. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
  73. Pierre: or, the Ambiguities, Herman Melville
  74. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
  75. Redwall, Brian Jacques
  76. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  77. A Scanner Darkly, Philip K. Dick
  78. Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad
  79. Shogun, James Clavell
  80. The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut
  81. The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  82. The Story of Ferdinand, Munro Leaf
  83. The Stranger, Albert Camus
  84. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
  85. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
  86. Tender Buttons, Gertrude Stein
  87. The 13 Clocks, James Thurber
  88. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
  89. The Underwater Welder, Jeff Lemire
  90. The Wild Duck, Henrik Ibsen
  91. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
  92. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Ludwig Wittgenstein
  93. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne
  94. Ulysses, James Joyce
  95. Waiting for the Barbarians, J.M. Coetzee
  96. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Edward Albee
  97. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
  98. Wieland, Charles Brockden Brown
  99. World Without End, Molly Cochran & Warren Murphy
  100. Y: The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughan