a spark

Three years…!

I didn’t mean to totally disappear. I thought for sure I’d post occasional updates, because I never stopped gaming.  Whenever I wandered here to read my old posts, however, I liked that the blog encapsulated my WoW experience so completely.  I started writing here when I was still new to WoW and to MMO’s, bright-eyed and alt-addicted and a little bit scared of PvP.  As I wrapped up, I had raiding fatigue, social burnout, and also knew I’d need to make a clean break from the game within the year anyway…

…because I was pregnant! We had our baby in the fall of 2010.  Knowing that big life change was coming made quitting the game even easier. Part of me wonders if it intensified my reactions to the various things happening in the guild. I’m not just talking about the hormones either. It’s easier to quit something you’ve been doing for a long time if you’re convinced you don’t like it.  I really had started to hate parts of it, too, like the raid leadership. 

I played on and off very casually after leaving my guild. I rerolled on a new server with different friends and unsubbed sometime before the kiddo was born.  Obviously, having a baby didn’t leave me with a lot of time or energy to play, but when Cataclysm was released, I couldn’t resist looking over my husband’s shoulder to see how the landscape in Azeroth had changed.  All it took was a single flight over Thousand Needles and I was at my battle.net account page putting in my credit card number.  I played very differently than I had when I was a raider and guild officer, of course, but it was a rather nice way to relax.  I liked the new content, too. I wasn’t a big fan of how they’d changed the priest mechanics, however, so ended up giving shaman healing a try and really loved it. (And so continued my tradition of changing mains with the expansion because I didn’t like the class changes. Same thing happened between BC and Wrath with my hunter.)

Blizzard then suckered me in with the one-year sub + D3 deal. Once D3 came out I never played WoW again. I might write more about D3 at some point, but for now I’ll just say that for as excited as I was about that announcement, and the possibility of playing with all my D2 friends that couldn’t bring themselves to pay a monthly sub for WoW, the game didn’t have nearly the longevity for me that I hoped it would.  This is for a multitude of reasons. My game time was much more limited, it was hard to find overlapping time with friends, etc, but ultimately the game was to blame, too. It just wasn’t that interesting to me to gear myself through the auction house.  In fact, the auction house was pretty much the only “mini-game” and the rest was was going through the same content over and over.  Snooze.  What a disappointment.

I played odds and ends of MMO’s when I could, but one of the other new limiting factors was that I’d switched to a mac.  Of course EVE Online has always had a mac version, but there wasn’t much else to choose from if I didn’t want to play WoW. There are more mac clients now (LotRO and GW2, I’m told), but the new games that tempted me (Rift, The Secret World) did not have them. Alas. I did sub to EVE for a while and had a stint with a fun/promising corp there (and I’ll surely write about this in another entry), but ended up dropping my subscription when we bought our house.  (That’s another hefty timesucker.)  The only other game I played at length was Glitch. (RIP.)

As an aside, I told myself that the distance from gaming was a really good thing, because one of my other goals was to write a novel.  (This was part of my plan when I quit freelancing.)  I fiddled around with various writing projects while I was pregnant, but didn’t really get a foothold on any of them. I took a lengthy break from writing after kiddo was born and began a new project in earnest when he was about a year old.  I started meeting every week with one of my old guildies (who happens to be a local) because he was writing, too.  It took a little more than a year, but I finally completed a full draft.  I’m working on revisions now.  (Yay?)

And so what sparked the comeback? I was looking for another writing outlet, certainly, and I have missed gaming, but it also has to do with my son.  He’s 2.5 now and is beginning to show an interest in computer games.  He’s not picking this up at home — he has never seen us play games before.  We don’t have a tablet for him or anything like that either.  Instead, he’s started playing with the kids’ terminals at the public library.  Some of the games he likes are deadly boring (so he may have inherited my husband’s infinite capacity for doing dailies), but it’s still fascinating to watch him play them.  It took him a few weeks to get the hang of using a mouse, but he’s pretty good at it now (though he almost always right-clicks before he left-clicks, maybe because the mouse is so big in his tiny hand).

He gets frustrated with the games from time to time because, well, he’s two, but also because the games don’t do what he expects. He already thinks every element in the environment should be responsive in some way if he clicks on it.  If he can see a place, he wants to be able to go there.  He doesn’t like it when the characters gab at him for too long. (He inherits that one from me.)  It’s interesting.  Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that he has opinions about game design, because he certainly has opinions about everything else.

The combination of all of these things got me thinking about the blog here again. I’ve already got some posts in mind. My feed reader has more than 100 dead gaming blogs in it, but I’ve been sifting through those and catching up a bit. (I see I wasn’t the only one disappointed with D3, heh heh…)

So, here we go again? Let’s see what happens.

And what are you playing?

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A Poxic Post-Mortem

Last night, I ran SFK for the first time since I ran it with Pox Arcanum last spring.  We went as part of a new static group that we’ve formed with my sister and her husband, as we’re showing them the ropes a bit.  As soon as I walked in, the memories hit me… just inside the doorway while we were buffing up, I remembered that Wara decided to kill a rat and the aggro from that pulled the first mobs in the next room.  I thought about how we went in hoping we’d get through the dungeon possibly twice, at most, during our session, and ended up fully clearing it out three times.  When the first mutton chop dropped last night, I started feeling really sad.  I miss playing with the Purple Poxers.

I’d cooked up the idea of putting together a static group back in February, and immediately got enough interest to get two groups going, with a couple of extra folks still LFG.  Given that we had enough people to sign a charter, we decided to form a guild, and in a series of blog posts we hammered out the plan for how the groups would play and what kind of restrictions there would be to make this play experience/experiment interesting.  In the weeks that followed, we put out a notice that we were looking for more, got a common blog going, created a spreadsheet to organize the forming groups, and slowly added more teams to our guild roster.

While our membership steadily increased in the months after, the number of consistently active teams seemed to plateau.  I think there were several factors here.  First, we had folks that signed on with enthusiasm for the project, but they really didn’t have the time.  They’d join a team, but then not show up for the scheduled playtime, or in some cases, never show up again.  After a few weeks, their teammates would reluctantly replace them.  Some teams also had scheduling problems they could never overcome.  The teams that did have success were the ones that said, “we’ll play every Tuesday night from 7-10pm,” or something specific like that.  The ones that scheduled their playtimes on the fly rarely managed to get their full team together.  Either they didn’t give enough notice before the suggested play date or someone didn’t check their e-mail on time, so they’d always come up short.  Some groups decided they’d play even if a member didn’t show up, which didn’t quite fall in line with my philosophy on how things should go.  I wonder if this contributed to the problems in those groups as well, since with that approach, it didn’t matter if you showed up or not.  It wouldn’t be as though the other four people couldn’t or wouldn’t play.

Another issue that cropped up with some of the folks that joined in the LFM wave was that they almost immediately added multiple toons to the guild.  This was intended to be an side project where folks created a single toon, and that’s all that each of the founders had.  In that LFM wave, we had people with up to 4 different characters playing with 4 different teams.  In my opinion, this led to a couple of major problems.  The first was with scheduling.  With each additional team these folks joined, they effectively removed another night of availability from their week for either scheduling or rescheduling with their teams.  If you have just one toon, if someone can’t show up on your regular night, there are potentially six other nights you could get together.  If you have four toons with static groups, that would mean only three other nights you could get together if someone had to reschedule.  If more than one group each week asks to reschedule, forget about it.  I believe this is part of the reason those teams never got off the ground.  Scheduling makes or breaks static groups.

The second issue that cropped up from multi-toon players was that these folks were essentially making Pox Arcanum their primary guild, and they had expectations of certain things that traditional guilds have, like a charter, well-fleshed out guidelines, and presence of leadership.  The founders didn’t feel the need for a charter or guidelines in the beginning because all the folks who initially joined had a firm grasp of what we were about.  We wanted the groups to form and run their own teams, arrange their own schedules, and do their own recruiting — if a team could do this, we assumed they’d very likely work well together as a group, too.  As for the presence of leadership, we intended for this to be an interesting side project for everyone and tried to make it clear that founders were unlikely to be on the server when it was not their scheduled play time.

I think it was this lack of visible guidelines from the beginning that led to folks straying from the original plan, unfortunately.  We did later produce some documents, an FAQ, etc, but by then, I think it was too late.  It seemed like every other time I logged in, I found someone leveling solo or doing something pretty obviously outside the “spirit of the Pox.” Many of these were the multi-toon folks looking to bide their time in between groupings (because this guild was now the main focus of their WoW play), I suspect.  I was frustrated because we had members playing outside the restrictions we’d set, and in turn, the folks playing outside those restrictions were frustrated because were were not a Real Guild.  I thought of the guild more as a collective, or maybe just a sandbox where we’d give teams the basic resources to get their groups going and let them form whatever experimental groups they’d like to try.  I began to feel as though starting the guild had been a mistake.

For as controlling as I felt like being, I rarely said anything to those other teams about how they were playing.  I mostly just kept to my own group.  We were playing exactly as I wanted to play.  I tried to accept the idea that although the other teams had deviated from the original plans, in the end, they were likely playing how they wanted to play, too.  Just because I thought they had the potential for a more fulfilling experience doesn’t mean it was necessarily true.

Still, the founders were concerned that new people coming in might do well with a bit more direction from the start.  The ranks were restructured such that only founders could add new members.  This would mean anyone who wanted to add an alt would have to ask the founders to do it, and we could potentially turn them down.  Some time after the green team dissolved, Nas and I started talking a bit about making leadership more visible, as well.  We felt like we had a choice to make: start policing things better to get everyone back in line with the original vision for Pox Arcanum, or just let it go completely and leave if things got too bad.  We already had a fair amount of energy invested in Pox Arcanum, so we started cooking up some documents to get folks back in line, laying down even more explicitly what we’d felt should be understood as new teams were forged.  If we could get new teams off on the right foot, at least, maybe the guild would have a better chance of being cohesive.  We’d also be offering a bit more leadership, so perhaps despite the new enforcement of the old restrictions, those being made to change their ways might still be a bit happier.

Unfortunately, the Purple team also dissolved as we were in the process of preparing these documents.  Somewhat ironically, one of the documents I was working on was a “what to do when your group breaks up” set of recommendations.  There are a couple of obvious options, but the one that made the most sense to me, given the spirit of the project, was to start over.  If your level 30 joins a group of other level 30’s that have had someone drop out, it’s just not the same.  You didn’t “grow up” together.  You don’t have history, and to me, creating that depth history was the purpose of the experiment.

At that point, I felt like my choices were to stick around, roll another toon, and hope to get into a new group, or just move on.  I decided that moving on was best, because if I stayed and took control of the guild, I’d potentially be raining on others’ good times by imposing restrictions that only I wanted.  This would suck for everyone.  I really didn’t want to have to police people.  I also really didn’t want to lead a guild and I was about to become the leader by default.  Almost all the founders had moved on and those that remained weren’t interested in running things either.  One of the multi-toon folks had pretty specific suggestions for how to handle guild stuff in the months before, so the guild was ultimately passed on to him.  I think this was for the best.  I wish him and all of Pox Arcanum the best of luck.

I confess I was relieved to leave Pox Arcanum behind, but still very sad about the Purples.  I won’t go into what disbanded us except to say that it was due to events that happened outside of our weekly play.  I always thought we had a wonderful group dynamic, particularly for people that didn’t ordinarily play together (aside from Mr. Ess and I).  We seemed to have a good balance of personality types, having both people that were interested in planning things for the group (right down to where hearthstones should be reset each week) and people who were willing to happily follow along with whatever the planners decided.  Everyone had a good sense of humor about the screw-ups (ugh, Madja pulled aggro with her big butt again!) and I always looked forward to Pox night.  Even though the guild itself didn’t quite turn out the way we’d thought, the Purples were an amazing group of people, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to play with them.

Here’s a screenie from our last adventures, in which we did the 225 fishing quest together and prepared for ZF, which was to be run the following week.

I miss you guys. 😦

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I’ll close up this post with some advice for those interested in playing in static groups, based on my experiences with the Purples and Pox Arcanum.

1) If possible, group with people that you already have a connection with, either in RL or in game.  If there already exists a relationship, it will be easier to keep that group relationship strong.  It also guarantees at least minimally good group chemistry.  Our first two founding teams were seeded with married couples, which also ensured that at least two people on each team would have similar availability each week.

2) Set a weekly day and time to play.  Always meet at that time.  Send out an e-mail in the days before to your group members and have everyone confirm that they’re available.

3) Define your ideas about how the group should run at the very beginning.  Will you twink?  Will you share resources?  Will you do BGs with your toon when the rest of the group isn’t on?  Will you do some minimal solo leveling and just stay within a level or so of your group, or will you level exclusively together?  Whatever you decide, make sure everyone is on the same page from the beginning.

4) Stay independent and self-contained. Create the group outside of a guild or form your own five-person guild. If you and four of your current guildmates decide to try this within your guild, others may perceive what you’re doing as exclusive.  (You could just say to hell with them, but I think it’s easier to just avoid the drama.)  A guild just for your static group will help you share resources more easily, but I’d be wary of ever expanding it further.  It really complicates things.

5) Be sure everyone accepts that these characters are potentially not going to be optimized in the way folks are accustomed to.  If you’re in a static group, it means you won’t get to play whenever you feel like it.  It will be tough to level your gathering skills without getting a bunch of xp for kills or exploration, so let go of that idea as well.  The point is not optimization — it’s the group experience.  If everyone truly embraces this idea of putting the group experience first , you’re on your way to having some great adventures together.

6) Avoid collection quests.  They suck. 😀

Nerfing BC Raids

Looks like BC raids are getting nerfed soon.  See the blue post here.

I think the word ‘nerf’ is overused and I typically associate it with whining, but this time, it seems apt.  The raid bosses are being made spongy and having their pointy edges removed so that raiders are less likely to get hurt.  Wonder if they’ll shorten that Karazhan reset timer sometime soon, too, then.  (That would be nice!)

Where’d she go?

Some folks stop blogging because they run out of things to say, but for me, it tends to be the opposite.  I have too much I want to write, I just can’t seem to get it all down.  Some of this has to do with time — I feel like I have a bit less of it to put toward blogging lately.  Some of it is just being overwhelmed by the amount I wish to write, however.  I start a post, realize it’s going to take me hours to compose and tweak it, and then I just decide to play around with Be.Imba or the latest batch of WWS numbers instead.  Meh…

This happened with my personal blog, too.  Something big would happen, I’d take a big trip or there would be a day I wanted to record every detail about, and then I’d never finish the write-up.  Time would pass, the subject would get stale (or I’d just get too overwhelmed), and I’d instead post a one-line summary of the idea in a lazy list post.  (You’ve seen a lot of these lately.)  I’m not sure how to break out of this, but I know that if I don’t, I’m probably done with this blog.

Another issue is that I play almost exclusively with my guild now.  In the past, much of my post fodder came from slumming with the puggers, spending quality time with the silly, the noobish, and the unintentionally funny.  While I could air some guildmate stories here, I’d rather not.  It’s not the point of my blog, and it doesn’t really seem fair either, since none of them (save just two or three) know about my blog.  I’m purposely anonymous here.  I don’t want to hurt feelings, call anybody out, nothing like that.  Generally, I like to keep my main WoW life and my WoW blogging life separate. Well, generally.

I have had fun playing with other bloggers.  In fact, since leaving Pox Arcanum (the subject of another potentially lengthy unwritten entry), I’ve found myself scoping out other WoW and non-WoW gaming communities to join.  I daydream about rolling on Silverhand to join the Leftovers.  I’ve pondered creating a toon on Earthen Ring to check out AIE, and see what gchat in a really busy guild looks like.  Open recruiting for CoW is closed, but I’ve even considered picking up Warhammer to see what this community is like.

Hm.  It’s as though I’m chasing after community as much as anything else in these games, and that’s, in essence why I started the blog as well.  Oh great… another post topic!  Sheesh!

Briefly…

To be expanded upon in future entries…

1.  I didn’t volunteer for the beta through my account, but a friend offered me a key, and when presented with the opportunity, I couldn’t resist!  So, I’m in the beta.

2.  My holy priest is about half way to level 64.   Woo!  She’s also slowly making the primal mooncloth she’ll need for her set when she hits 70.  She’s been to a few instances so far, but none of them with a fully level appropriate team.  Hopefully I’ll get to do that soon.

3.  I read that the authenticators were in stock again yesterday, so I rushed over to the Blizzard Store.  They are already out of stock again.  I guess Blizzard just doesn’t want my $6.50.

4.  I tanked an instance for the first time last night.  I was in a ZF group with my feral cat drood, and the tank had to leave.  I have no stamina gear or points in talents that would enhance my abilities in bear form (since this is my former Poxing druid), but I did my best, and I think it went pretty well.  Although it was mostly a guild run, I can see why (based on the one pug person that was there) that tanks don’t want to pug.

5.  Our guild ran three Kara teams this past week!  Three!!  There were two “noob” runs, plus one speed run. My hunter attended the speed run (awesomely fun) and my mage went on one of the noob runs (also fun, but a bit of a different tone).  Mm… badges.

Friday Meme: Where were you…?

Non-WoW content incoming!  I was tagged by Game Dame, so here I go…

September 11 Attacks

I was at work.  My husband came from next door to me that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center Towers.  I had just ground some coffee beans and was pouring water in the back of the coffee pot.  I thought, “Huh, what an idiot,” assuming it was another one of the multitudes of small plane accidents that happens every year.  I imagined a little plane smacking into the side of the building like a bug on a windshield.  He told me that while the news was filming after it happened, they caught on film a second plane hitting… and I said, “Another plane?”  He explained that these were commercial planes, not little private planes.  I was stunned.

We managed to set up a small tv at work and watch the news.  We tried to get into the news sites on the internet,  but most of them were overloaded, so we just watched the little tv with bad reception.  We saw the reaired footage of the planes hitting and saw the Towers fall as it happened.  We gathered news from friends and family, managed to get in touch with our friend that lives in DC to make sure he was okay, sent notes to friends in NYC, wondering if they were all right.  Classes were canceled and most of us stayed at work anyway, just to be with people.

I’m still deeply affected by images of the Towers.  Seeing them in the background of an old movie or photograph of the skyline kills me.  When images of the Towers are exploited to try to push my emotional buttons, it makes me furious.  To me, this is unforgivable.

I can’t bring myself to watch any of the films about 9/11, but somehow I can’t wait to see Man on Wire.  (How did I never hear about this before?)  It looks amazing.

Challenger Shuttle Disaster

I was in sixth grade, and it was quite a big event since there was a school teacher going up in space.  They set up televisions in some of our classrooms and piled the classes in.

To be honest, I don’t remember if I actually saw it when it happened.  For some reason, I think I was out of the classroom that day, as I was part of a “gifted” program for advanced kids, where we were taken out of class one day a week to do various extra enriching activities (independent research projects, reading, etc).  I don’t know why they wouldn’t have had us watch the shuttle takeoff, too, but I sort of remember coming down the hall and hearing some boys describing the explosion, and I think that was the first I’d heard of it.  These boys were actually happy, yelling and smiling.  They thought it was pretty exciting that it blew up, like it had been part of an action movie.  I don’t think they understood the reality of what had happened.  I remember the teachers being upset, and talking to us all about it in the weeks after.  I know I saw the footage of the explosion many times over on the news, and the video (and audio) is pretty clear in my mind to this day.  I don’t think I was watching live when it happened though.

Hurricane Katrina

I don’t remember particularly where I was when I heard about the hurricane or the levees breaking.  I did follow the news a bit, and recognized how poorly it was handled and how out of control it became.  I had been to New Orleans for the first time in the years before, and I felt strangely grateful that I’d seen it before the devastation.  Some of the photos of the aftermath were pretty horrifying, though there were also reports of some people refusing to leave when transportation was offered.  Our local Humane Society received a fair number of cats and dogs that were found as the rescue efforts were underway, and I wanted to adopt them all.

Reagan Assassination Attempt

I was a very little kid.  This was when I was in kindergarten or first grade, and I remember hearing about it, but it didn’t really have much of an impact on me.  I became interested in it as a teenager, obsessed with horror novels and true crime stories, learning about Hinckley’s obsession with Jodie Foster, etc.  (My parents also apparently had a time share, or something like that, in Colorado that backed up to the place where Hinckley’s parents lived, so there was a bit of a real-life connection there.)

I do remember hearing about James Brady receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Clinton though, and this made me cry.

John Lennon’s Death

Again, I was too young to understand the impact of this.  I was in kindergarten and had no idea who the Beatles were.

Kurt Cobain’s Death

I was in college.  I was never particularly a Nirvana fan (I was more a Stone Temple Pilots kind of girl), and it had been pretty clear in the years before that Cobain was not a stable person.  In other words, I didn’t find it surprising.  I thought it was sad for his family, of course, but he seemed primed for a drug overdose any day.  He’d shot himself, though apparently had drugs in his system at the time.

I did know people that were wrecked by this, and for some of them, I imagine it still hurts them.  He just wasn’t someone I felt a connection with or attachment to, through his music or anything else.

There were celebrity deaths that happened during my formative years that do still get to me though.  River Phoenix for one.  Jim Henson is another.  (If you grew up with the Muppets, you must watch this gem that Wara sent me a while back.)  I also miss Christopher Reeve.

Ok, now I’m sad.  Heh… time to catch up on some WoW reading and writing.

I won’t tag anyone specific, but please share if you feel so inclined.

Level 26 Pants

When my level 58 priest was collecting her first Hellfire Peninsula quests, I noted there was someone in general chat saying, “Does some1 want to join for 1st quests?”  Er, no thanks.  “I need help with 1st quests, plz.”  Same person, over and over.  I decided I’d better scoot away from the Orcs and do the demon-killing quest so they couldn’t find me, but I wasn’t quick enough.  They approached me, asked me to party, and … I caved.  They were a level 59 ret paladin, so it would certainly speed things up.  If they were too annoying, I’d just log over to another toon after we were done with these quests.

So, we ran around a bit, killing Orcs and picking up the wood and metal for the collection quests.  At first I thought they might try to tank somewhat, but they weren’t following any logical pattern to their approach of the mobs.  They were running around a bit randomly, and a few times we picked up three instead of one.  Normally I’d think a paladin would be fine with this, but they weren’t casting consecrate or doing anything to hold the attention of more than one, so I just blasted away as though I were by myself. I took a look at my damage meter at one point, and saw that I was doing most of the damage, in addition to healing us both.  A level 58 holy priest out-DPSing a level 59 ret paladin?  Hm.

They had to go afk a few times.  “Phone.”  “PHONE again.”  “/sigh that was my drum teacher.”  Heh.  I was doing fine by myself, I didn’t care.

Finally, they got back and we continued killing and collecting stuff.  “lol sry my dps is low,” they said.

“Nah, no worries.”

“My gear sucks,” they explained.

“Well, I guess that happens when you run right out to Outland at level 58 or 59.”

“No I havent killed anything since level 49 lol.”

“What??”

“Im waring level 26 pants.”

“Recruit-a-friend?” I ventured.

“Ya.”

So, they leveled from 49-59 without upgrading any gear.  And wearing level 26 pants?  Sounds like they didn’t do a heck of a lot of upgrading before that either.  Guess that’s one thing they don’t put in the advertisement for that program — Outland is going to be a shock if you skip the later levels in Azeroth. I have a sneaking suspicion this was their highest level character, too.  It’s going to be scary to run instances with some of these new recruit-a-friend folks…

Book Meme

From Dammerung’s recent post:

These are the National Education Association’s Top 100 books, part of NEA’s “The Big Read” program. To play along:

Look at the list and bold those we have read.
Italicize those we intend to read.
Underline the books we LOVE.

I’ve also put a footnote anchor by incomplete reads, with notes at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare [1]
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky [2]
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez [3]
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
[4]
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert [5] (Currently reading this.)
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce (No, but I read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and that was enough for me!! 😛 )
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt [6]
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [7]
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

[1] I certainly haven’t read all the plays, though we read a bunch in my Lit classes in school, of course.

[2] This was the last book for AP English my senior year of high school, and we’d spent so much time on the other stuff before it, we only had about a week to cover it.  I don’t think anyone finished it!

[3] I’ve read 3/4 of this, and I honestly have no idea why I ever put it down, as it is some of the most gorgeous writing I’ve ever read.  I am in love with Gabriel Garcia-Marquez!

[4] Same thing — I loved the first 2/3 (read it on a train to Chicago), but lost track of the book at one point, and have always meant to pick it up again.

[5] Like I said, I’m currently reading this.  As things stand now, it will not be underlined when I’m done.

[6] I tried.  I really tried.  I could not get through it though.

[7] I have read some of these stories, but have never sat down with the complete works.

Other notes —

Dammy also mentions which ones he wished he hadn’t bothered with.  For me, the standout is The Da Vinci Code, which was a steaming pile of crap, in my opinion.  I also disliked Germinal, but read it for a Lit class in college, so really had no choice.  I didn’t enjoy either Great Expectations or Heart of Darkness while actually reading them, but after I’d finished reading them, I somehow liked them more.  I’ve always meant to go  back and read them again to see if they were cases where because I was reading them for a class, I wasn’t enjoying myself.

As for books I have no desire to read and likely never will read… hmm.  Never say never?  I’ll read almost anything, really.  But, I think the ones I’d probably put to the back of the list are Ulysses, The Five People You Meet In Heaven, and most of the Dickens stuff.  I think if I reread Great Expectations and enjoyed it, I might give other Dickens another go, but I remember his stuff boring the pants off me in school.  I read Hard Times in college, and … yeah.  No thanks.  Mr. Ess tells me I should give Tale of Two Cities a try, and it is currently on my nightstand. We’ll see.

To my great surprise, my favorite book of all time is not on the list!  If you haven’t already, go read Steinbeck’s East of Eden.  I heart Steinbeck and will one day make a pilgrimage to Monterey.  Mah Favorite!! ❤ !!!

If I had to choose an all-time favorite from this list, I would have to choose To Kill a Mockingbird.  An English teacher in high school told us that this is one of those books that you can essentially read every ten years and pull something new out of it, given how different your perspective on life is.  The way that the plots and subplots are woven, there are different things (and even different themes) you’ll identify with.  It is amazing.

[Ok, back to WoW stuff soon!]