Tuesday, 18 August 2009

100 Books you must read... apparently

Joanne Walpole tagged me with this meme concerning what is claimed to be the 100 best books. There's only one that I'd put on my own 100 best books list and they do seem heavily weighted in favour of older worthy British books with a smattering of recent ones to prove the compilers aren't too academic. Apparently the BBC claim that on average readers will have read 6 of these books. As most of them are the kind of books they are fond of adapting into dull and worthy tv series it makes me wonder why they bother.

Anyhow, I've highlighted the 20 I've read and added some comments. I'll tag some people elsewhere.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (outdated - proves they know nothing about Fantasy)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (no way!)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (brave choice for the 6th best work of fiction!)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (dull)
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 (one of my favourites)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (10 places below Potter!)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (I was 12!)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (thought I should, annoyed I did)
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (Have these people read any sf?)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell (What can I say?)
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 (read 42 times)
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (Read as a kid, didn't get it)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graham (as above)
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 (Why is this in at 33 too?)
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 (good times)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
(better than 1984)
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (you have got to be kidding!)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (Not Irving's best by a long way)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy (school text)
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (dull)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (now I know they don't like sf. Over-rated.)
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 (more thoughtful than 1984)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (School again)
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 (school text. I saw the film instead)
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (started so I didn't finish)
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce (started but my brain exploded)
76 The Inferno – Dante (had a go, but I preferred Larry Niven's version)
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (flaming school text)
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
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 (not as good as his sf)
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


Stuart Douglas said...

While I agree that the list is weighted towards worthy classics, it's not in order of priority I don't think - it's just 100 books you should have read not 100 ranked books.

I.J. Parnham said...

Thanks, Stuart. I hadn't realized it was a random list (in all senses of the word!).

Stuart Douglas said...

If I were more cynical I'd suggest that the part of the randomness of the list in some way correlates to the book catalogue of whichever nameless publisher created the list in the first place :)

Loretta C. Rogers said...

I was amazed at how many of these titles I've read. Of the thirty-seven titles, some of which are on my bookself, I enjoyed several, others not so much.

beverly said...

I couldn't stand "Pride and Prejudice", (book or film") but "Wuthering Heights" is one of my favourites, as is "Tess of the D'Urbevilles. I don't think there is any difference between so called "great" literature and some Black Horse Westerns, though that would horrify some academics. The essential ingredients in both have passion, conflict and great characters.

Sandy Cody said...

Interesting list. I've read more than I would have thought. Of course, some are duplicates, i.e., "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" + a couple others. There are several titles I would not include, but that's what makes this sort of thing fun.

Thanks for sharing.