Wednesday, June 22, 2011

urban spelunking and excessive web surfing

right now i'm looking up pictures and video of Dixie Square Mall on the internet.  i don't know why i'm so interested in it; it's just kind of fascinating that it's been abandoned since the 1970s (and after numerous efforts, it doesn't look like it will ever be completely demolished or remodeled) and that people have made a hobby out of exploring it.  there are entire websites devoted to it and other vacant malls and buildings, hotspots for gutsy adventurers, the likes of which i am not.  i wish i had the time, resources, and courage to do some urban exploration of my own someday (a posse to do it with would be nice too).  since i don't have all of that, i suppose diving through countless wikipedia pages will have to suffice.  or maybe i could take it a step further and write a short story about a small band of urban explorers once my prose life is back in order.  that way, i can spelunk* vicariously through fictional characters.

*google chrome doesn't recognize "spelunk" in spell check.  if it isn't actually a word, it should be.  besides, how can you have a gerund without a verb?

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Seven (Final)

Ami tried to stifle a laugh. All this time, my stalker was an android. He looked like any other person!

"ACE One...why are you following me? What do you want to know?"

ACE One looked up at the sky. The rain had stopped, but fierce black clouds still blanketed the atmosphere. "Why."

"Why what?"

"Why did you create me? Why must I protect humans against the robot threat? I'm more robot that human." He looked straight at Ami now. "But I have another question. Why can't I smile or laugh? Why am I expressionless? Why do I feel so empty inside? I hear you humans telling jokes and anecdotes and laughing at them, but I stand there, apathetic. I read your tragedies, Romeo and Juliet, Antigone, trying to see what makes the human race shed tears when I can't. I hate being calloused to those sorts of things. I want more than anything to know how to smile, how to cry."

"What are you saying, ACE One?"

"The articles on the computer-casts have publicized my studies of humanoid behaviors. For the two years that I have been awake, I have wanted to know how to you." He stepped back, picking up the gun. "I have found many things about your race. And I think I know what it is the android lacks--we have no souls, are missing many of the basic human emotions. I want to grin and shed tears, like you humans. I want to know how a heart breaks and is mended. And that one emotion that not even you humans understand...I want to know why that is such an enigma, why it makes you weep and smile at the same time.

"Ami...all I want is a soul. I want to feel." ACE One took the gun and stepped behind her. She tensed as she realized what was about to happen.

"No! I won't let you do this to me. Look, ACE One, you don't need a soul; you're programmed not to show emotion because those feelings would eat away at you on the battlefield every time one of your counterparts died. There's a reason you were made like's called optimum efficiency. You are a war machine; your only purpose is to defend us, to destroy the robots completely if they attack. You have no reason to kill me; I have done nothing wrong!"

ACE One didn't move; he seemed to be digesting what Ami had just said. But soon she realized that it hadn't fazed him. Without a word, he pressed the gun into the back of her head lightly.

With a piercing yell, Ami wheeled around, wrestled the gun from the android's fingers, and fired a shot at him from close range. ACE One seemed only vaguely conscious of the blow; he removed the bullet deftly with a finger as some of his blood oozed out of the wound. Ami groaned, throwing the gun on the ground beside her. She rushed ACE One, grabbing his shoulders and trying to push him backward. He did the same, showing no sign of giving up. They struggled against each other for about a minute.

Ami knew there was only a slim chance of overpowering him, but something in her soul told her, begged her to try. She didn't want it to happen...she didn't want to die yet...she hadn't even had time to live...

Her adrenaline was not enough to win the struggle. ACE One pushed her away and slapped her, causing a red handprint to appear on her face. With a crack of his neck, he advanced, once again picking up the gun, walking behind her.

"'Optimum efficiency' doesn't concern me. And I do have a reason to kill you, Ami. They say that when the human body dies, its soul remains suspended." At these words, Ami sank to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably. It was fruitless; she had no way of escaping fate. What an exciting life I've led, she thought.

Placing the gun at the back of Ami's head, ACE One leaned to Ami's ear, saying as sensitively as an android knew how, "I believe your expression for this sort of thing is 'I'm sorry.' As I told you, I will get what I want..."

He fired a quick shot to Ami's head. She collapsed, soulless like the android that had killed her. ACE One holstered the gun, sighing rigidly.

"The problem comes...because I don't know how to get it."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Six

Ami looked behind her as she ran once again in the rain; she saw that the man from the diner, the same one who had been following her for most of the day, was clumsily trying to conceal a long-barrel pistol under his trench coat. Her eyes widened.

Ami stopped suddenly and shouted, "Why can't you just leave me alone?"

The man spoke; the thunder accentuated his low, soft voice eerily. "You have something I want. And I will get what I want, one way or another." he pointed to his gun for emphasis.

Ami clenched her fists. "Then what is it you want? Take it and leave me!"

The man remained expressionless, placing his weapon on the soggy ground. He walked over to Ami and gripped her collar tightly. It was as if he blew his next words into her ears; the storm suddenly waned and died as he spoke. "Answers. Answers that I know only you hold."

Still staring shiftily at the gun on the ground, Ami felt her heart rapidly throbbing. "What about myquestions? Why do you have to chase me around? How do you know I hold the answers?"

The man slowly dropped Ami and moved his hands to his coat. Ami at once thought he was reaching for another gun, but he only let his jet-black trench coat fall to the ground, turning and pointing to the back of his neck. A bar code and the number one had been cut into his skin. Ami recognized the markings at once.

"I know you have the answers, Ami...because you made me."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Five

Ami rematerialized in what seemed like an otherworld compared to where she had been. The clouds overhead shed their rain on the desolate land. A single road stretched in either direction as far as the eye could see. Looking around at the nothingness, Ami felt unbearable alone. This was definitely nother city; it seemed to be more of an alternate dimension. But she couldn't say for sure. She vowed never to push all the tele-pad buttons simultaneously again, no matter who was chasing her.

She wished Laia were with her; she'd know what to do, or would she? Wait until she hears about this,Ami thought. I bet she'll never say the boogeyman isn't real again.

As thunder rocked the earth, Ami frantically scanned the horizon; the rain still came down in fat drops on her uncovered head. Seeing that the coast was clear and no cars were coming, she quickly crossed the street, scrupulously avoiding puddles as she ran.

Walking about a quarter mile, Ami spotted a small diner on the side of the road. At first glance, she thought the place looked greasy and deserted, but a clap of imposing thunder shattered her nerves and urged her inside it anyway.

Wringing out her hair and wiping her feet on the threadbare welcome mat, Ami sat at a stool, noticing that she and a man viewing a compu-cast in the corner of the diner were the only patrons in the place. She tried to settle down, ordering coffee.

As Ami sipped the coffee gingerly, the owner of the diner wiped his hands on his oily apron. "You okay, missy?"

Ami shook her head as she explained her predicament. No, she wasn't okay. She'd been running in the oppressive rain for what seemed like an eternity. When the owner asked her why she'd been running, she shuddered noisily.

"Mister...have you ever had the feeling that you're being...followed?" At this, the man in the corner looked up from his compu-cast as if intrigued.

The owner guffawed loudly. "No'm, can't say that I have." Ami, however, barely heard this response. She was brooding over her coffee, wishing the day were over, that she was back at home, at work, or at least not in the middle of nowhere.

As she paid for the coffee, the diner owner tried to cheer her up to no avail. He looked at the change she had given him. "You're short a nickel. And why such a long face? You can't be walking around mopin' all the time, even if ya do feel like someone's watching." He looked pointedly at her as she fished a nickel out of her purse. "It's that daggum govinment that's doing it to you. They find out so much about ever'thin' and they makes ya feel paranoid. Don't worry; whatever ya goin' through's just a bad dream. It'll all go away."

"Sure," she retorted. She drained the last of her coffee. "If only I had been at work today. My boss made me take a day off; he said I was working too hard."

He scratched his grisly hair, pondering her statement. "Maybe ya were. You're much too young ta be worried about workin'. Ya need to enjoy life a tad, wake up and smell the coffee. Leave workin' for da old folk like me. Life's too short ta let the govinment getcha all messed up. What can I do for ya, sir?"

Ami, surprised at the owner's abrupt change in subject, turned around to see to whom he'd been speaking. It was the person from the corner. "Excuse me," she said as she walked past him and to the door. She turned to thank the man for the coffee and the good advice. It was then that his blood red eyes locked on to hers. With a gasp, Ami bolted out of the diner. She heard the owner yell, "Daggum govinment got you all uptight, yessir."

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Four

He held out a black leather wallet overstuffed with receipts and ID cards, refusing to look at her as he spoke. "Excuse me, I think you dropped this."

Ami checked her purse, finding that her wallet was not there. The one the man held, then, was indeed hers. So that was what she'd lost; he must have picked it up when she'd dropped it.

She cautiously stepped up to him, accepted the wallet, turned around...

And felt huge hands like vises bind her, one by the waist, the other by the neck. She had been tricked for perhaps the first time in her life; to her memory, she'd always seen through every prank phone call and every practical joke since kindergarten. How had she made such a stupid mistake this time?

Torrential rain struck her cheeks and slipped down her face like cold tears. The man's muscles pressed against her soaked-through body, contracting as he lifted her up off the ground. Ami tried to break free, to hit her captor, but his body was as hard as a plate of armor. He leaned in to her ear, whispering, "Ami, Ami, Ami...I'm surprised you fell for such a simple tryst."

Before he could say any more, Ami leaned down and bit the man's forearm. His grip loosened only a little, but it was enough for Ami to squirm out of the hold and drop to the ground. He reached out to grab her again, but she sidestepped out of the way, tripping and falling on the pavement. As she picked herself up and began to run again, she heard the man's footsteps a little behind as he splashed in puddles on the street.

She didn't know where she was going, but she felt that anywhere was safer than here. She tore past kids making mud pies and commuters awaiting hover-buses and air taxis. A grocer stepped outside his shop door and Ami knocked him into a puddle as she zipped by.

Ami looked behind her, mortified by how much the man had advanced. If she didn't think of a way out soon, he was going to catch her again, and who knew what he would do to her this time...?

At long last, her deus ex machina appeared on the horizon. A tele-pad, unoccupied and seeming to glow in the midst of the crowded sidewalk, was there on the street corner. Ami ran in, shut the door, and punched every button, praying that the machine would let her go somewhere. She closed her eyes while the computer processed her molecules and transported them to what she hoped was a safe place.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Three

She looked up at the sky, trying to calm her nerves. It was still cloudy, but slivers of sun peeked through every now and then. She decided to take that as a good omen--

Until she passed by an internet cafe and caught sight of the man she'd seen at the apartment entrance.

She began to pick up the pace, making sure to note every nuance of her surroundings. Everythinglooked normal; a woman was walking her dog, two small children were dueling with toy robots, a teenage boy was parking a hover car recklessly as his girlfriend looked on--

The man was casually strolling a little ways behind her. She turned to face him.

It was then that Ami's supposed good omen revealed its true colors. A single drop of rain slid through the air and landed neatly on the ground, coaxing a legion to follow. For a long time, Ami and her shadow stared at each other as if one were trying to make sense of the other. The action around them seemed to halt. Their eyes burned into each other, and neither one dared to speak. It was then that Ami thought she saw the man move his lips; what was he saying? She couldn't read lips well, but it looked like he was saying, "Come here."

And suddenly, the hustle and bustle of urban life exploded all around them. Ami's stalker had disappeared before her eyes into the crowd.

She broke into a jog, trying to put distance between herself and her pursuer; something told her that he was still out there. But she made slow progress, and she felt stupid running from nothing. I'm losing it; I need to go back to work or something, she thought.

Ami stopped after she turned the corner, leaning against the brick wall of a pizza parlor, catching her breath, listening. She heard the diverse sounds of the city: the beep of car horns, the shouts of tourists and vendors arguing over prices, the pattering of the rain, the plod of footsteps, the yowl of cats scuffling in alleys...

Footsteps, louder this time. 

Ami peered around the corner and let out a gasp. The man had found her.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Two

Ami rode the elevator down to the lobby. There, her friend Laia met her. Laia seemed to have the perfect life: every day, she finished working, received praise for jobs well done, and still had time to go joyriding around the city. Laia had what Ami's colleagues all called an "exciting life"; she often tried to show Ami what to wear, how to speak, and how to make friends outside the office, but in vain. Changing Ami...was nearly impossible.

Laia greeted Ami and pointed to the compu-cast projection on the wall, gray eyes flashing. "You read about that, right?" Ami nodded, and Laia continued. "They say it's a study on the human race; what do you think it means?"

Ami took one look at Laia. "That I won't get any sleep tonight."

Laia put a hand on Ami's shoulder. "Stop worrying," she said. "The boogeyman isn't real. The only thing that goes bump in the night is the local dance have nothing to worry about." Laia walked toward the car garage. "Gotta go, kiddo. Try to relax."

Ami didn't answer; she was looking out the window. Something had caught her eye.

Someone kept walking by the entrance. he seemed to be waiting for someone. Ami regarded him closely; people rarely lingered outside her apartment like this. 

Even from a distance, he seemed to loom over her. His sandy brown hair fell in untidy clumps around his flawless face. He seemed relatively normal, but Ami noticed how every now and then, his eagle eyes, the color of magma, gazed through the window, seeming to find her first before taking in the rest of the scene. They locked eyes for just a split second, sending chills into Ami like a driving blizzard.

Maybe I'm just sleepy, Ami mused. Why would he be looking in at me anyway?

She walked calmly but warily through the exit, passing the man without him noticing her. So, she'd just been delirious; he'd obviously been looking for someone else.

Ami gazed in awe at the many things she had only heard about. She heard the shouts of tenants and landlords and smelled frappuccino and burning rubber. Because she had always been hurrying to her office, she had never regarded the city streets so thoroughly in her life.

Ami reached the street corner, passing her main mode of transportation: the teleport pad. It resembled an old-fashioned phone booth, except it was equipped with a computer instead of a telephone. It was the quickest way to get anywhere; one had only to type in coordinates and wait for the machine to transport him or her. Ami had grown to love the tele-pad, for it had helped her get to work promptly every morning since she had accepted the job. Except this morning; she once again grumbled about hating mandatory vacations.

The person inside the tele-pad clearly didn't know how to use it. Ami waited outside it for about five minutes and then gave up. It was for the best, she decided. Even if she found a vacant tele-pad to use, where would she go, and what would she do there?

As Ami walked past the tele-pad, she couldn't help feeling as if she had dropped or misplaced something, but she couldn't think of what it was. She shrugged. I'm so paranoid. Why can't I settle down?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment One

Dying, dying dead.
The voices in my head
Tell me life is just a memory...
Searching for a soul.

(Issue #1 by Eni)
Ami stared at the computer-cast in disbelief. Her hazel eyes scanned each line of material as she chewed her French toast, trying to make sure she hadn't missed a detail.

There's definitely someone watching us... she thought. Shutting down the article she'd been reading, she strode to the window.

Ami lived on the top floor of an actual glass house. It was a high-rise building made entirely of sturdy glass reinforced with steel. Ribbons of pink and orange sunrise streamed through the windows and woke her most mornings. To her, feeling those rays beaming pleasantly upon her was a sign that it would be a good day.

This morning, however, was cloudy.

Ami looked out of the window at the commuters of the year 2450. Some people were crowded in hover-cars and buses, and others were flying on airboards or using aeropacks, trying to get to work on time. She felt like the Android Construction Experiment she'd been coordinating was calling her back to work; however, today was a "vacation day" for her--one that she'd practically been forced to take.Man... she thought. And I'd just improved my latest android prototype. "I'm working too hard"? Says who?

Research and Engineering Incorporated, the company that Ami worked for, had been developing the ACE project for almost three years, with myriad successes and twice as many failures. At present, the androids, robot-like beings with humanoid features, were strictly defense mechanisms against the threat of the hostile true robots, but REI's next objective was to develop a household model for consumers. Ami had come up with the main model for the androids, their arsenal, the voice modules, and even the name of the project. She was invaluable to the whole development, so her employer thought a day off was necessary; "Wouldn't want our powerhouse to shut down," he had said.
Ami still stood at the window, staring at her petite reflection with a sigh. She was hopelessly normal. She always combed her red hair back into a drab ponytail before going to work. She didn't wear makeup or jewelry, and she dressed as if she were being interviewed. Her friends and colleagues always told her to dress up (or perhaps down) and live a little, step away from the desk for once. But she never listened to them; she told herself instead that her projects were her one true love--she'd been bound to them in quasi-holy matrimony when REI had hired her five years ago at age seventeen. REI, the top company in the area, had automatically scouted her out for her expertise, even though she had just become a college sophomore. She didn't have time for clubbing or movies...she had a figurative husband and children to take care of! Her birthday was in a few days, and she hadn't begun to plan a celebration due to choosing to work overtime each night. She realized that perhaps she should break free from her work life; even so, it was almost as if she couldn't. She sighed again. I should try to make the best of my day off and follow my friends' advice, she mused. 

"Sine Animus" -- Author's Note

Dear Readers and Friends,

I decided recently that I might get back into prose writing.  I haven't done anything prose related since the summer of 2006, when I wrote my short story "Sine Animus" for my creative writing class at Phillips Academy Andover.  I posted this story on Facebook in installments (it was 13 pages long, so it couldn't all fit in one note), and I thought I'd do the same on my blog as well, possibly to signify that there may be more short stories and other works of prose to come.  I'd love feedback on this piece, and any others I might unveil in the future.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

cause baby you're my disease...

i wrote this back in January, intending to post it at that moment, but then i decided it wasn't a good idea.  as i sat here editing this disclaimer, playing with syntax and punctuation, i was still ambivalent about publishing my thoughts--although i appreciate vulnerability, honesty, and openness, it's still hard for me to embody those qualities sometimes.  it's like giving you x-ray vision for the distinct purpose of using it on me, letting you see everything i am in one glance.  but i digress.

i think we sometimes put a specific face on addiction.

we think city kids are more susceptible to it; Mr./Ms. Suburbia would never do such a thing.

we think it’s for the lonely middle-aged man and the struggling young starlet.

to be honest, though…no one is immune.

i think we all struggle with things, and sometimes we go so far as to let them control us.

it’s the substance we feel like we can’t do without.  it’s the boy or the girl who we feel is our world.  it’s the thought we entertain constantly, waiting in helpless agony for the day that our brains will finally crack and we’ll make everything public in an embarrassing fashion.  it’s the thing we do in private, that we don’t want anyone to know about, not even the people who can probably help us.  the thing that we’re too ashamed to mention by name.

we all have skeletons lurking in our closets, waiting for us to acknowledge their existence so that maybe they can eat us alive,  jump on our backs, make us feel dependent, before we decide to take action.

we all wrestle with something, whether we know it or not.  and a lot of times, we are the very thing we are fighting against. 

the 500 book bucket list

over the past 2 years or so, i've compiled 5 lists of books to read in my lifetime--one for novels and novellas, one for short stories, one for plays, one for (auto)biographies and memoirs, and one for other nonfiction (i.e. essays and such).  i keep telling people about the novel list in particular; i don't know why...i guess i'm really proud of it.  after looking on old AP English reading lists, getting suggestions from random groups of people, researching the complete bibliographies of some of my favorite authors (stephen king and haruki murakami feature prominently), and googling "must-read novels" on more than one occasion, i've come up with a list of 500 books total.  it was originally supposed to be a list of 300, but i increased it last month because i kept getting really good suggestions (and i'm not adding any more...i do want to finish the list on this side of heaven, after all...).  since finishing up the twilight series a couple of days ago (don't judge me), i've read 19 books out of 500--3.8% if you couldn't do that in your head (i couldn't either).  for your enjoyment, i've included the list here:

1.   1Q84 -- Haruki Murakami 
2.   Adam Bede—George Eliot
3.   The Adventures of Augie March—Saul Bellow
4.   After Dark -- Haruki Murakami 
5.   Age of Innocence—Edith Wharton
6.   The Alchemist--Paulo Coelho
7.   Alias Grace—Margaret Atwood
8.   All Quiet on the Western Front—Erich Maria Remarque
9.   All the King’s Men—Robert Penn Warren
10.  All the Pretty Horses—Cormac McCarthy
11.  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay--Michael Chabon
12.  America is in the Heart—Carlos Bulosan
13.  The American—Henry James
14.  American Gods -- Neil Gaiman
15.  American Psycho -- Bret Easton Ellis 
16.  An American Tragedy—Theodore Dreiser
17.  Anansi Boys -- Neil Gaiman 
18.  The Angel's Game -- Carlos Ruiz Zafon 
19.  Anna Karenina—Leo Tolstoy
20.  Anthem--Ayn Rand
21.  The Appeal -- John Grisham 
22.  The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz—Mordecai Richler
23.  Armies of the Night—Norman Mailer
24.  Around the World in Eighty Days -- Jules Verne 
25.  The Art of Racing in the Rain -- Garth Stein 
26.  As a Driven Leaf--Milton Steinberg
27.  The Associate -- John Grisham 
28.  Atlas Shrugged—Ayn Rand
29.  Atonement—Ian McEwan
30.  At the Mountains of Madness -- H.P. Lovecraft 
31.  Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man—James W. Johnson
32.  The Awakening—Kate Chopin
33.  Babbitt—Sinclair Lewis

The Bachman Books--Stephen King as Richard Bachman
34.  Rage 
35.  The Long Walk
36.  Roadwork
37.  The Running Man

38.  Bag of Bones -- Stephen King
39.  Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress -- Dai Sijie 
40.  The Beach -- Alex Garland 
41.  The Bean Trees -- Barbara Kingsolver 
42.  Bel Canto--Ann Patchett
43.  The Bell Jar -- Sylvia Plath 
44.  Beloved—Toni Morrison
45.  The Best of Everything--Rona Jaffe
46.  Birdsong -- Sebastian Faulks
47.  Black House -- Stephen King/Peter Straub 
48.  Blaze--Stephen King as Richard Bachman
49.  Bleak House—Charles Dickens
50.  Bless Me, Ultima—Rudolf Anaya
51.  The Blind Assassin--Margaret Eleanor Atwood
52.  Blindness -- Jose Saramago 
53.  Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West -- Cormac McCarthy 
54.  The Blue Hotel—Stephen Crane
55.  The Bonesetter’s Daughter—Amy Tan
56.  The Bonfire of the Vanities -- Tom Wolfe 
57.  The Book Thief -- Markus Zusak

Bourne Trilogy -- Robert Ludlum
58.  The Bourne Identity
59.  The Bourne Supremacy
60.  The Bourne Ultimatum 
61.  Brave New World—Aldous Huxley
62.  Breakfast of Champions--Kurt Vonnegut
63.  The Brethren -- John Grisham 
64.  Brideshead Revisited—Evelyn Waugh

Bridget Jones – Helen Fielding
65.  Bridget Jones's Diary
66.  Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Bridge Trilogy -- William Gibson
67.  Virtual Light
68.  Idoru
69.  All Tomorrow's Parties

70.  The Bridge of San Luis Rey--Thorton Wilder
71.  The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao—Junot Diaz
72.  Brighton Rock—Graham Greene
73.  The Broker -- John Grisham
74.  The Brothers Karamazov—Fyodor Dostoevsky
75.  Buddenbrooks--Thomas Mann
76.  By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept--Paulo Coehlo
77.  Call It Sleep—Henry Roth
78.  Candide—Voltaire
79.  Cannery Row—John Steinbeck
80.  Cat’s Eye-- Margaret Atwood
81.  Cat's Cradle—Kurt Vonnegut
82.  Cell--Stephen King
83.  The Centaur—John Updike
84.  Ceremony—Leslie Marmon Silko
85.  Cereus Blooms at Night--Shani Mootoo
86.  The Chamber -- John Grisham
87.  Choke -- Chuck Palahniuk 
88.  Christine--Stephen King
Chronicles of Narnia—C.S. Lewis
89.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
90.  Prince Caspian
91.  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
92.  The Silver Chair
93.  The Horse and His Boy
94.  The Magician's Nephew
95.  The Last Battle
96.   The Client -- John Grisham 
97.   A Clockwork Orange—Anthony Burgess 
98.   Cloud Atlas -- David Mitchell 
99.   The Colorado Kid--Stephen King
100.  Coming Through Slaughter—Michael Ondaatje
101.  A Confederacy of Dunces -- John Kennedy Toole 
102.  The Confession -- John Grisham 
103.  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court—Mark Twain
104.  Constant Gardener--John le Carré
105.  The Corrections -- Jonathan Franzen 
106.  Correlli’s Mandolin--Louis de Bernieres
107Crooked Little Vein -- Warren Ellis 
108.  The Crossing—Cormac McCarthy
109.  Cry, the Beloved Country—Alan Paton
110.  The Crying of Lot 49—Thomas Pynchon
111.  Cryptonomicon--Neal Stephenson
112.  Cujo--Stephen King
113.  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time—Mark Haddon
114.   Daisy Miller-- Henry James
115.   Dance Dance Dance -- Haruki Murakami 
116.   The Dark Half--Stephen King 
117.   David Copperfield-- Charles Dickens 
118.   The Dead Zone--Stephen King
119.   Dead Until Dark -- Charlaine Harris 
120.   Death Comes for the Archbishop—Willa Cather
121.   A Death in the Family—James Agee
122.   Death of Ivan Ilyich—Leo Tolstoy 
123.   Delta Wedding—Eudora Welty
124.   Demian -- Herman Hesse 
125.   Desperation -- Stephen King 
126.   The Devil Wears Prada -- Lauren Weisberger 
127.   Diary -- Chuck Palahniuk 
128.   Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant—Anne Tyler
129.   The Diviners—Margaret Laurence
130.   Doctor Zhivago—Boris Pasternak 
131.   The Dollmaker—Harriette Louisa Arnow
132.   Dolores Claiborne--Stephen King 
133.   Don Quixote—Miguel Cervantes 
134.   Down and Out in Paris and London—George Orwell
135.   Dreamcatcher--Stephen King
136.   Duma Key--Stephen King
137.   East of Eden—John Steinbeck
138.   Egalia’s Daughters--Gerd Brantenberg
139.   The Elegance of the Hedgehog -- Muriel Barbery 
140.   Emma—Jane Austen
141.   The Emperor of Ocean Park--Stephen L. Carter
142.    Empire Falls -- Richard Russo 
143.    The English Patient -- Michael Ondaatje 
144.    The Enormous Room--e. e. cummings
145.    Ethan Frome-Edith Wharton
146.    Even Cowgirls Get the Blues—Tom Robbins 
147.    Everything is Illuminated—Jonathan Safran Foer
148.    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close--Jonathan Safran Foer
149.    The Eyre Affair -- Jasper Fforde
150.    The Fall—Albert Camus
151.    Far From the Madding Crowd—Thomas Hardy
152.    Fathers and Sons—Ivan Turgenev
153.    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas -- Hunter Thompson 
154.    Feather Crowns—Bobbie Ann Mason
155.    Fifth Business—Robertson Davies
156.    Fight Club -- Chuck Palahniuk 
157.    Firestarter--Stephen King
158.    The Firm -- John Grisham 
159.    The Five People You Meet in Heaven -- Mitch Albom 
160.    Flowers for Algernon--Daniel Keyes
161.    For Whom the Bell Tolls—Ernest Hemingway
162.    Foucault's Pendulum -- Umberto Eco 
163.    Frankenstein—Mary Shelley 
164.    Freedom -- Jonathan Franzen
165.    The French Lieutenant’s Woman—John Fowles

The Friday Night Knitting Club -- Kate Jacobs
166.    The Friday Night Knitting Club
167.    Knit Two
168.    Knit the Season

169.    From a Buick 8 -- Stephen King 
170.    The Gargoyle -- Andrew Davidson 
171.    A Gathering of Old Men—Ernest Gaines
172.    A Gesture Life—Chang Rae Lee
173.    The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon--Stephen King
174.    Girl with a Pearl Earring -- Tracy Chevalier 
175.    Go Tell it On the Mountain—James Baldwin
176.    The God of Small Things--Arundhati Roy
177.    The Gods Themselves--Isaac Asimov
178.    Going After Cacciato—Tim O’Brien
179.    Gone with the Wind--Margaret Mitchell 
180.    Good Omens--Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
181.    The Good Soldier—Ford Maddox Ford
182.    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society -- Mary Ann Shaffer 
183.    Gulliver’s Travels—Jonathan Swift
184.    Half of a Yellow Sun -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
185.    The Handmaid’s Tale-- Margaret Atwood 
186.    Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World -- Haruki Murakami 
187.    Hard Times-- Charles Dickens 
188.    Haunted -- Chuck Palahniuk 
189.    Hear the Wind Sing -- Haruki Murakami 
190.    Heart of the Matter-- Graham Greene 
191.    The Help -- Kathryn Stockett 
192.    Her Fearful Symmetry -- Audrey Niffenegger
193.    High Fidelity—Nick Hornby
194.    The Historian -- Elizabeth Kostova 
195.    The History of Love--Nicole Krauss

Hitchhiker's Guide -- Douglas Adams
196.    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
197.    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
198.    Life, the Universe and Everything
199.    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
200.    Mostly Harmless
201.    And Another Thing...

202.    A Home at the End of the World –Michael Cunningham
203.    Homecoming—Cynthia Voigt
204.    The Hours--Michael Cunningham
205.    House Made of Dawn—N. Scott Momaday
206.    House of Leaves--Mark Danielewski
207.    The House of Mirth—Edith Wharton
208.    House of Sand and Fog--Andre Dubus
209.    The House of Seven Gables—Nathaniel Hawthorne
210.    The House of the Spirits--Isabel Allende
211.    Howard’s End—E.M. Forster
212.    How to be Single--Liz Tuccillo 

Hunger Games Trilogy -- Suzanne Collins
213.    The Hunger Games
214.    Catching Fire
215.    Mockingjay

216.    If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler--Italo Calvino
217.    Immortality--Milan Kundera
218.    In Country—Bobbie Ann Mason
219.    In the Lake of the Woods-- Tim O’Brien
220.    In the Time of the Butterflies—Julia Alvarez
221.    Infinite Jest--David Foster Wallace
222.    Invisible Cities -- Italo Calvino 
223.    The Invisible Man -- H.G. Wells 
224.    Invisible Monsters -- Chuck Palahniuk 
225.    Ishmael--Daniel Quinn
226.    The Island of Dr. Moreau--H.G. Wells
227.    The Jane Austen Book Club -- Karen Joy Fowler 
228.    Jane Eyre—Charlotte Bronte
229.    Jasmine—Bharati Mukherjee
230.    Jitterbug Perfume--Tom Robbins
231.    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell -- Susanna Clarke 
232.    Joseph Andrews—Henry Fielding
233.    A Journey to the Center of the Earth -- Jules Verne 
234.    Jude the Obscure-- Thomas Hardy 
235.    The Jungle—Upton Sinclair
236.    Kafka on the Shore -- Haruki Murakami 
237.    The King of Tors -- John Grisham 
238.    The Kite Runner—Khaled Hosseini
239.    The Lacuna -- Barbara Kingsolver 
240.    Lady Chatterley’s Lover—D.H. Lawrence
241.    The Last Juror -- John Grisham 
242.    The Last of the Mohicans—James Fenimore Cooper
243.    Le Pere Goriot—Honore de Balzac
244.    Les Liaisons Dangereuses -- Laclos 
245.    Les Miserables—Victor Hugo
246.    A Lesson Before Dying—Ernest Gaines
247.    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman--Laurence Sterne
248.    Life of Pi—Yann Martel
249.    Like Water for Chocolate -- Laura Esquivel 
250.    Lincoln--Gore Vidal
251.    Lisey's Story
252.    Little Bee -- Chris Cleave 
253.    Little Children -- Tom Perrotta 
254.    Locus Solus--Raymond Roussel
255.    Lolita--Vladimir Nabokov
256.   A Long Way Down-- Nick Hornby
257.    Look Homeward, Angel—Thomas Wolfe
258.    Lord Jim—Joseph Conrad
259.    Lord of the Flies—William Golding 
260.    Love in the Time of Cholera--Gabriél García Márquez
261.    Love Medicine—Louise Erdrich 
262.    Love, Rosie--Cecelia Ahern
263.    The Loved One—Evelyn Waugh
264.    The Lovely Bones—Alice Sebold
265.    Loving--Henry Green
266.    Lullaby -- Chuck Palahniuk 
267.    Madame Bovary—Gustave Flaubert
268.    The Magic Mountain—Thomas Mann 
269.    Main Street—Sinclair Lewis
270.    Mansfield Park-- Jane Austen
271.    The Master and Margarita--Mikhail Bulgakov
272.    The Mayor of Casterbridge-- Thomas Hardy
273.    The Memory Keeper's Daughter -- Kim Edwards 
274.    Men at Arms—Evelyn Waugh
275.    The Metamorphosis—Franz Kafka 
276.    Middlemarch—George Eliot
277.    Middlesex--Geoffrey Eugenides
278.    Midnight's Children -- Salman Rushdie 
279.    The Mill on the Floss—George Eliot
280.    Miss Lonelyhearts—Nathanael West
281.    Moll Flanders—Daniel Defoe
282.    Monkey Bridge—Lan Cao
283.    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress--Robert A. Heinlein
284.    Moxyland -- Lauren Beukes 
285.    Mrs. Dalloway—Virginia Woolf
286.    My Antonia-- Willa Cather
287.    My Sister's Keeper -- Jodi Picoult 
288.    The Name of the Rose--Umberto Eco
289.    The Namesake—Jhumpa Lahiri
290.    The Nanny Diaries -- Emma McLaughlin 
291.    Narcissus and Goldmund—Herman Hesse
292.    Native Son—Richard Wright
293.    Native Speaker—Chang-Rae Lee
294.    Needful Things--Stephen King
295.    Netherland—Joseph O’Neill
296.    Never Let Me Go -- Kazuo Ishiguro
297.    Neverwhere -- Neil Gaiman
298.    No Country for Old Men—Cormac McCarthy
299.    No-No Boy—John Okada
300.    Northanger Abbey-- Jane Austen
301.    Norwegian Wood -- Haruki Murakami 
302.    The Notebook--Nicholas Sparks
303.    Notes From Underground—Fydor Dostoevsky 
304.    Nothing Like the Sun—Anthony Burgess

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency -- Alexander McCall Smith
305.    The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
306.    Tears of the Giraffe
307.    Morality for Beautiful Girls
308.    The Kalahari Typing School for Men
309.    The Full Cupboard of Life
310.    In the Company of Cheerful Ladies/The Night-time Dancer
311.    Blue Shoes and Happiness
312.    The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
313.    The Miracle at Speedy Motors
314.    Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
315.    The Double Comfort Safari Club
316.    The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

317.    O Pioneers!-- Willa Cather
318.    Obasan—Joy Kogawa
319.    Of Human Bondage--W. Somerset Maugham
320.    Officers and Gentlemen—Evelyn Waugh
321.    On Chesil Beach -- Ian McEwan
322.    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich—Alexander Solzhenitsyn
323.    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest—Ken Kesey
324.    One Hundred Years of Solitude—Gabriel Garcia Marquez
325.    The Optimist’s Daughter—Eudora Welty
326.    Orlando—Virginia Woolf
327.    Oryx and Crake -- Margaret Atwood
328.    Our Gang--Philip Roth
329.    Our Mutual Friend-- Charles Dickens
330.    P.S. I Love You—Cecelia Ahem
331.    Pamela—Samuel Richardson
332.    The Partner -- John Grisham
333.    A Passage to India-- E.M. Forster
334.    Pattern Recognition -- William Gibson
335.    The Pelican Brief -- John Grisham
336.    People of the Book -- Geraldine Brooks
337.    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer -- Patrick Suskind
338.    Persuasion-- Jane Austen
339.    Pet Sematary--Stephen King
340.    The Picture of Dorian Gray—Oscar Wilde
341.    Pinball, 1973 -- Haruki Murakami
342.    The Plague--Albert Camus
343.    The Pleasure of My Company--Steve Martin
344.    Pnin—Vladimir Nabokov
345.    Pocho—Jose A. Villarreal
346.    The Poisonwood Bible -- Barbara Kingsolver
347.    The Portrait of a Lady—Henry James
348.    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man—James Joyce
349.    Possession -- A.S. Byatt
350.    Power and the Glory-- Graham Greene
351.    Praisesong for the Widow—P. Marshall
352.    A Prayer for Owen Meany -- John Irving
353.    Prep -- Curtis Sittenfeld
354.    Pride and Prejudice--Jane Austen
355.    Prime of Miss Jean Brodie—Muriel Spark
356.    Prince and the Pauper—Mark Twain
357.    Princess Bride -- William Goldman
358.    Purple Hibiscus -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
359.    Push--Sapphire
360.    Q & A—Vikas Swarup

Rabbit -- John Updike
361.    Rabbit, Run
362.    Rabbit Redux
363.    Rabbit is Rich
364.    Rabbit at Rest
365.    Rabbit Remembered

366.    Ragtime—E. L. Doctorow
367.    The Rainmaker -- John Grisham
368.    The Reader -- Bernhard Schlink
369.    The Red and the Black--Roger Stendhal
370.    The Red Pyramid--Robert Riordan
371.    The Red Tent -- Anita Diamant
372.    The Regulators -- Stephen King as Richard Bachman
373.    The Remains of the Day--Kazuo Ishiguro
374.    The Road--Cormac McCarthy
375.    Robinson Crusoe—Daniel Defoe
376.    Room -- Emma Donoghue
377.    A Room with a View-- E.M. Forster
378.    Rose Madder -- Stephen King
379.    The Runaway Jury -- John Grisham
380.    'Salem's Lot -- Stephen King
381.    The Sea Wolf—Jack London
382.    The Secret Agent--Joseph Conrad
383.    The Secret History -- Donna Tartt
384.    The Secret Life of Bees--Sue Monk Kidd
385.    Seize the Day—Saul Bellow
386.    Sense and Sensibility-- Jane Austen
387.    Sent for You Yesterday—John Edgar Wideman
388.    The Shack -- William Young
389.    The Shadow of the Wind--Carlos Ruiz Zafon
390.    She's Come Undone -- Wally Lamb
391.    The Shipping News—E. Annie Proulx
392.    A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian -- Marina Lewycka
393.    Siddhartha—Herman Hesse
394.    Sister Carrie—Theodore Dreiser
395.    Slaughterhouse Five—Kurt Vonnegut
396.    Snow Falling on Cedars—David Guterson
397.    Song of Solomon—Toni Morrison
398.    Sons and Lovers—D.H. Lawrence
399.    Sophie’s Choice--William Styron
400.    South of the Border, West of the Sun -- Haruki Murakami

Space Trilogy--C.S. Lewis
401.    Out of the Silent Planet
402.    Perelandra
403.    That Hideous Strength

404.    Special Topics in Calamity Physics -- Marisha Pessl
405.    Spook Country -- William Gibson

Sprawl Trilogy -- William Gibson
406.    Neuromancer
407.    Count Zero
408.    Mona Lisa Overdrive

409.    Sputnik Sweetheart -- Haruki Murakami
410.    Startide Rising--David Brin
411.    State of Fear--Michael Crichton
412.    Steppenwolf—Herman Hesse
413.    The Stone Angel—M. Laurence
414.    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle--David Wroblewski
415.    The Street Lawyer -- John Grisham
416.    The Summons -- John Grisham
417.    Surfacing-- Margaret Atwood
418.    Survivor -- Chuck Palahniuk
419.    Swann’s Way—Marcel Proust
420.    The Swiss Family Robinson--Johann David Wyss
421.    A Tale of Two Cities—Charles Dickens
422.    The Talisman -- Stephen King/Peter Straub
423.    Tender is the Night—F. Scott Fitzgerald
424.    Tess of the D’Urbervilles-- Thomas Hardy
425.    The Testament -- John Grisham
426.    The Thirteenth Tale -- Diane Setterfield
427.    Things Fall Apart—Chinua Achebe
428.    Thinner--Stephen King as Richard Bachman
429.    A Thousand Acres—Jane Smiley
430.    A Thousand Splendid Suns -- Khaled Hosseini
431.    The Three Musketeers—Alexandre Dumas
432.    A Time to Kill -- John Grisham
433.    The Time Machine -- H.G. Wells
434.    The Time Traveler's Wife -- Audrey Niffenegger
435.    Tipping the Velvet--Sarah Waters
436.    To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee
437.    To The Lighthouse—Virginia Woolf
438.    Tom Jones—Henry Fielding
439.    The Tommyknockers--Stephen King
440.     Tracks—Louise Erdrich
441.    Trainspotting -- Irvine Welsh
442.    Treasure Island—Robert Louis Stevenson
443.    The Trial—Franz Kafka
444.    The Turn of the Screw--Henry James
445.    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea -- Jules Verne

Twilight Series -- Stephenie Meyer
446.    Twilight
447.    New Moon
448.    Eclipse
449.    Breaking Dawn

450.    Typical American—Gish Jen
451.    Ulysses—James Joyce
452.    The Unbearable Lightness of Being—Milan Kundera
453.    Uncle Tom’s Cabin—Harriet Beecher Stowe
454.    Under the Dome--Stephen King
455.    Vanity Fair—William Thackeray
456.    Vicar of Wakefield—Oliver Goldsmith
457.    The Virgin Suicides -- Jeffrey Eugenides
458.    War and Peace—Leo Tolstoy
459.    The War of the Worlds -- H.G. Wells
460.    The Warden—Anthony Trollope
461.    Washington Square—Henry James
462.    Watch that Ends the Night—Hugh Maclennan
463.    Water for Elephants--Sara Greun
464.    The Way We Live Now—Anthony Trollope
465.    We Need to Talk about Kevin -- Lionel Shriver

The Wheel of Time -- Robert Jordan
466.    The Eye of the World
467.    The Great Hunt
468.    The Dragon Reborn
469.    The Shadow Rising
470.    The Fires of Heaven
471.    Lord of Chaos
472.    A Crown of Swords
473.    The Path of Daggers
474.    Winter's Heart
475.    Crossroads of Twilight
476.    Knife of Dreams
477.    The Gathering Storm
478.    Towers of Midnight
479.    New Spring
480.    A Memory of Light

481.    The White Boy Shuffle -- Paul Beatty
482.    White Fang—Jack London
483.    White Noise -- Don DeLillo
484.    White Teeth -- Zadie Smith
485.    The White Tiger -- Aravind Adiga
486.    A Wild Sheep Chase -- Haruki Murakami

Wicked Years -- Gregory Maguire
487.    Wicked: The Life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West
488.    Son of a Witch
489.    A Lion Among Men
490.    Out of Oz

491.    Wide Sargasso Sea—Jean Rhys
492.    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle--Haruki Murakami
493.    Winter in the Blood--James Welch
494.    The Winter of Our Discontent-- John Steinbeck
495.    Wise Blood—Flannery O’Connor
496.    The World According to Garp -- John Irving
497.    World War Z—Max Brooks
498.    Wuthering Heights—Emily Bronte
499.    The Yiddish Policemen's Union -- Michael Chabon
500.    You Can’t Go Home Again—Thomas Woolf

i've got a long way to go, but a lifetime to get there.

happy reading, everyone...if you want to see the other 4 lists (which are way shorter than this one, i promise), let me know.  :)  

with love,
The Bookworm

if i have my way, there will be a room like this in my house.