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100 Books December 5, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed below.  How about you?  Have you read more than 6 of these books? Count only those books you’ve read in their entirety.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen*
2 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 1984- George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens*
11 Little Women – Louisa May Alcott*
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare*
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
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 The Moonstone -Wilkie Collins
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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 (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown*
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
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
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
76 The Inferno – Dante
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* * * * * * *
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 – E.B. 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
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*

Boldface = Read book cover to cover
Italics = Started but didn’t finish the book
* = Saw the movie (which doesn’t count)

So . . . how’d you do?  More than 6?  Shall we write the BBC and say it underestimated us?


1. Alicia - December 5, 2010

At least 27. I was unsure of about 5 of them (I might have). Does that make all of us that read more than 6 above average? =)

nrhatch - December 5, 2010

Above average readers, anyway ~ assuming the BBC is correct in its initial premise. 🙂

2. Richard W Scott - December 5, 2010

Sigh. Only 38 of these.

nrhatch - December 5, 2010

I had a real advantage since my two favorite authors were included a total of 9 times:

Austen ~ 4x
Dickens ~ 5x

Plus, #23 and #26 were missing, so I added The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (an author on the BBC list at #45) and Gulliver’s Travels.

3. souldipper - December 5, 2010

Literary version of the Bucket List! My mom gave me a reading list when I left home. (I know…some people get furniture! 🙂 ) I still have it and cherish having her hand written notes about “why” she suggests certain ones.

nrhatch - December 5, 2010

Awesome! Have you updated the list?

I wish I’d kept notes of all the books I’ve read and loved over the years.

4. Booksphotographsandartwork - December 5, 2010

Ok so I didn’t do so well. I have read at least four and started at least four. I can’t believe that anyone has acutally finshed Moby Dick. I think thats the kind of book I would have to do in a group study. I do remember starting Watership Down as a young teenager. I’m pretty sure I didn’t finish it but then again I don’t remember that far back! The Life of Pi was really interesting and different. Some of these are terribly sad. I have been wanting to read The Grapes of Wrath but with a group and no one wants to join me. Why isn’t Hemmingway’s The Old Man and the Sea on that list? I read that three times!

nrhatch - December 5, 2010

You should add The Old Man and the Sea to your list at #23 (and #26) . . . maybe that is one of the books that was missing when I received the list. 🙂

5. Cindy - December 5, 2010

I reckon about 40 of them.

nrhatch - December 6, 2010

After posting this, I did a search of BBC 100 Books and came up with several different lists floating around.

So, I’m not sure whether this is the “actual” list tossed out by the BBC.

Other lists had Stephen King and Ken Follett and few selections by Dickens and Austen.

6. Lyndatjie - December 6, 2010

These are practically all my favourite authors – so I’ve read quite a bit on this list.
However – none of my modern day horror writers are here… 😦

nrhatch - December 6, 2010

Horror, Sci Fi, and Fantasy stories are not heavily represented in this list. I did a quick search I found similar “BBC Lists” with Stephen King included.

I expect that the original BBC has been doctored quite a bit.

7. Maggie - December 6, 2010

I got 27. I’m surprised Bleak House wasn’t on this list.

nrhatch - December 6, 2010

I saw Bleak House on one of the other BBC lists floating around in cyberspace.

8. Debra - December 6, 2010

I think I did pretty well.:)27 for sure and 32 maybe:) (the ‘maybes’ were a long time ago:) I think there are some books missing from this list.

But I have more to read I see:)

I do have some lined up in my B&N free ebooks:) So yay for me!

And yes some of these are really sad…and thus I probably will not read those.

thanks for the fun post:):)

nrhatch - December 6, 2010

Aren’t free e-books a great way to round out our reading lists?

I agree with you ~ there are definitely some sad books on the list that I am not inclined to read. I like HAPPY stories.

9. M. Howalt - December 7, 2010

Definitely a lot more than six, quite a few that I have read some of (books series of which I have only read half, among others), quite a few authors that I read, but not the books on the list, and then there are some that are on my reading list and will be devoured in the near future.
Fun list. While I don’t regard all the books “necessary” for me to read, it did remind me of a few that I would like to. Thanks!

nrhatch - December 7, 2010

I agree. If someone handed me this list and said that every book on it was a “must read” . . . I would disagree.

We need to be guided by our own preferences, not by someone else’s idea of what a “well read” reader looks like.

I’ve seen other lists where the Harry Potter series was listed by individual books. Here, all 7 books are grouped together.

Also, why have Hamlet listed by itself and ALL the other Shakespearian works listed together? Is Hamlet “better” than Midsummer Night’s Dream, Merchant of Venice, and MacBeth?

What this list did for me . . . remind me that I have miles to go before the journey of discovery ends.

10. M. Howalt - December 7, 2010

Not only personal preferences, but also, in my case at least, what is useful. As a writer it’s probably a good idea to read diversely or to be acquainted with certain works/genres, and to read literature that could prove … inspiring. I recently read a handful of books because I wanted to see what was written in a certain genre that I was about to try out myself. If nothing else, then to see what has already been done.

I was wondering about Shakespeare vs Hamlet as well, as well as on C.S. Lewis book vs the whole Narnia series. And why just Inferno of Dante’s Comedy?
Anyway, I like the diversity of the list. And I, too, am reminded of certain books that I’ve been meaning to read. 🙂

nrhatch - December 7, 2010

I think that’s the key ~ use lists like these as a springboard to create a personal reading list governed by individual preference and by your current literary nutrition needs.

M. Howalt - December 7, 2010

“Literary nutrition needs.” I like that phrase! 🙂

nrhatch - December 7, 2010

Read two classics . . . and call me in the morning. 😉

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