BBC Book List

So this list has been sitting in my “Draft” blog posting folder for about eleventy billion years. Don’t even remember where I first saw it, but since my brain is sleepy and I don’t feel like actually writing anything of substance tonight, I give you my copy of “which of the BBC’s top 100 books have I read” list1.

Bold = I’ve read the whole thing
Italics = I’ve read part of it
[my additional comments in square brackets]


1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman [I *loved* the first book and just couldn’t put it down. The second two were OK, but didn’t catch me the way the first one did.]
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams [loved, loved, loved this whole series. That Douglas Adams was a frood who really knew where his towel was.]
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling [I’ve read the entire Harry Potter series several times over!]
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee [I remember reading this is high school. Don’t remember a heck of a lot about it though.]
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell [Read this one in high school and wrote an essay about it.]
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 [Never read the book, but *loved* the movie when I was a kid.]
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 [This was my favourite of the Harry Potter series.]
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien [Read it in high school. Did not like.]
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 [‘Daisy’s changed her mind!” Read it in high school. Liked it a lot.]
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens [I’ve seen the movie!]
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 [Another one I read in high school and absolutely loved. I think I still have a copy of this that belongs to my friend Jody.]
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  [Hilarious!]
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding [Shockingly, I have not read this.]
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 [Saw the movie. Hated, hated, hated it!]
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 [Read in high school. Wrote a comparative essay of this and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.]
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


So, I’ve read 20 of the 100. How many have you read?

  1. I had to Google it to find a source, because when I’d copied it from wherever I got it, I didn’t include my source in my draft blog posting. Reference FAIL! []

17 Replies to “BBC Book List”

  1. Hmmn…

    6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 16, 25, 30, 35, 43, 46, 51 (I think), 70 (excellent but so disturbing), 87, 89

    So 15 total.

    I don’t like “classics” or Harry Potter, so that makes sense. And I HATED The Great Gatsby.

    (this list is very very biased/arbitrary)

  2. Yeah, I have no idea how they made the list. I’m also not a fan of “classics,” so it makes sense that I haven’t read that many of these. And, as you know, I love the Harry Potter books and four of the books on the list were HPs. Why only the first four? Perhaps this is a really old list?

    And how could you hate the Great Gatsby. It was greeeeeat!

  3. I’ve read – 1,2,5,6,7,8,9,10,12,14,18,21,22,23,25,29,35,36,40,41,42,44,46,47,50,51,52,58,63,64,75,92 – so 32 of them. This doesn’t surprise me, I read way too many books as a teenager. 🙂

    P.S. – The Secret Garden, The Thorn Birds, and The Clan of the Cave Bear are all books from this list that I would HIGHLY recommend. Some of my favorites, ever.

  4. “That Douglas Adams was a frood who really knew where his towel was.”

    That statement was so full of geekery and awesome, I couldn’t help but smile. W00t!

  5. At first glance I thought I had read about 40 from the list, but on more thorough review I can only honestly claim to have read 22 (and maybe claim a partial on 5 or so others.) Perhaps the best thing I wrote as an undergraduate was a lengthy “Rhetorical Criticism” term paper that analyzed ironic applications of the work of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Albert Camus. Each author condemned fascism and made powerful statements about individuality, yet the major works of each have been repeatedly incorporated into propaganda for fascist movements. (This was especially common in Africa in the 1970s and 80s when partisan newspapers promoted unity among factions that were often widespread and poorly organized.) I characterized it as “topical irony” when these powerful (if fictional) testaments to the dangers of authoritarian regimes were printed to rally support for authoritarian regimes.

    If you’re looking to claim a few more of these titles, I cannot recommend Dune highly enough. The first six books in the milieu are all both excellent and profound. Frank Herbert was a photographer smitten with nature years before he showed an interest in writing. This novel, written in the 1960s, explored issues like resource depletion and ecological interdependence well before there was significant public awareness of such concepts. Though all film and television treatments of the material took great liberties with it, some (especially the long version of David Lynch’s Dune) did a fine job dramatizing a few of the most amazing moments in written science fiction, if not also prose in general.

    If you want something less demanding, The Godfather is highly entertaining while also providing all sorts of additional information on the characters from the first two films in that franchise. It is lengthy, but it covers many years of the Corleone saga. If you favor something shorter, Animal Farm is a fairly small tome that tells a tragic story in terms that are often amusing. U.S. schools teach the book as a repudiation of communism, but it is more accurately regarded as an allegory for the corruption of Leninist idealism by Stalinist leadership. If you actually know early Soviet history, it is hard to mistake which individual or group each character represents.

  6. I’ve read at least 29 of them, maybe more (and just so you know, Gone with the Wind sucks, as does War and Peace). You really should read Satanic Verses, although it’s not my favorite Rushdie. I’m reading the Lord of the Rings right now, and I’m wondering how I never read it as a child.

  7. @Demonweed – I thought I’d read Animal Farm, but then when I thought more, I realized that I hadn’t. I think maybe I got it from the library, had it sitting around my place for a month and then it got recalled and I never read it. I think I should pick that one up!

    @Stacy – I have started Satanic Verses, but I’ve only read about 5 pages so far! It’s definitely on my “to do” list!

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