Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Big Read List, in which I officially lose my honorary Brit status

The Big Read list has been passed around quite a bit, this past week or two, so I thought I'd join in. It's a list of 100 books; the BBC believes most people will have read only 6 or so off this list. They probably have a point. I doubt you'll see anyone outside the book blogging community getting all excited about the list. The average Joe probably has only read what's required or the most popular tripe, right? Anyway, I'm going to alter mine a little.

Bold black = I have read it
Purple = I read part of it but did not finish
Green = I own a copy and plan to read it
** = A personal favorite from this list
Red = You've got to be kidding. Who comes up with these lists and why this book?
Blue = Would like to read this one, but don't own a copy

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen**
2. The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien - Here is where I lose my honorary Brit status. I haven't read this and still haven't summoned the interest, although I keep saying, "Maybe someday." It's the British favorite from this list. Or, maybe I should say "favourite".
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter Series - J. K. Rowling (I've read 3 of the books)
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 DuMaurier**
16. The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18. Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger**
19. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Elliot
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 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams**(also got to hear the author do a reading from this one)
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh**
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. The 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 - C. S. Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen**
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C. S. 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 - A. A. Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The DaVinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - L. M. 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 - Alduous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime- 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. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On the Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' 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 Thackery
80. Possession - A. S. 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 - Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton - Although I'd never heard of Enid Blyton, till recently, I'd like to read something by her. She seems to be a childhood favorite of many.
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 O'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 (Saw the musical in London and watched the movie - does that count?)

Aw, only 34. But, this list clearly makes the statement that I need to challenge myself to read some of those that I own but have not yet read and finish a few others.


  1. I've read 30--you and I are running neck in neck :-)

  2. Melissa,

    Cool! There are plenty of books I'm anxious to read on that list. Maybe you and I can find a few to buddy read in 2011. Wouldn't that be fun?

  3. Chris,

    I think we can safely assume it's an age-based ass kicking. I probably should have read at least 50 by now, though. It's a good list, for the most part. I don't quite get why Mitch Albom and Dan Brown keep ending up on those lists, though -- nor The Lovely Bones, which I have done everything in my power to avoid.

  4. I've read about 40 I think. And I totally agree with you on the red ones! Tried two of those and just blah. Tossed aside before ten pages.

  5. Jeane,

    I'm glad you agree with me about those books! I'm not even willing to try them, although I did buy a copy of the illustrated DaVinci Code to look at the pictures. I waited till I found a copy for a quarter, though, and I thought the pics were disappointingly small. I'm pretty sure I re-donated it -- if not, it'll be going soon.

  6. I think that 34 is awesome (of course that could have something to do with the fact that I've only read one more than you). :)

  7. Alyce,

    Yes, I'm afraid that sounds highly suspicious. ;)

  8. Anonymous6:04 PM

    I love your color coding, especially the red. I had the exact same thought about 32 and 88,

  9. Ms. Fizz,

    Thanks. I thought the list had some interesting little flaws. Like, why would you put down the Chronicles of Narnia as one item and then The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as another? That's just one of several things about that list that baffled me, although it's better than some I've seen.

  10. I wonder about some of these. I mean, the Da Vinci Code? Really? There are some on here that I just don't WANT to read.

  11. Amanda,

    Exactly. Da Vinci is one I won't touch and I'm also not the slightest bit interested in Pullman's series (but in that case it's because the author has turned me off).

  12. I managed to get through 61 of the books on this list. I did break down and finally read Dan Brown's books and while they were better than I expected, they're not that great either. I refuse to read Albom's book and can't believe it made this list.

    Anyway, thanks for giving me an exercise to stretch my brain with! I've been reading you for a few weeks now and love coming to see what new things you have up...especially the pictures of your fur girls!

  13. Liongoddess,

    Wow, I think you should get some sort of prize for that. 61 is awesome!

    Confidentially, I've read one Dan Brown book. It was entertaining, but it also set forth a spontaneous eye roll (at the end).

    I'm glad I helped stretch your brain and that you're enjoying my blog! It's getting to be about time for more fur girl pics, isn't it?

  14. I love your red marked items -- haha. So true. How did these end up on the list.

    I think I've read 40 of these so I was kind of impressed. usually I don't do well with these types of reading lists.

  15. Iliana,

    You have to wonder. Did they throw in a few bestsellers for grins? Kind of odd!

    40 is impressive, for sure. I don't usually do well with these lists, either, but partly because a lot of them tend to be heavy on bestsellers or award-winning books and I don't honestly pay attention to either. I read what interests me and that's that.

  16. I can maybe almost see The Lovely Bones (although I abandoned it halfway through - far too sad for me) but The DaVinci Code? I have read it but it's ridiculous. The only reason I can think that it was so popular is that no one had heard of that premise before (it's been around).

  17. Carrie,

    The premise of The Lovely Bones really, really bothers me. I'm not sure why. That and the sad factor have kept me way the heck away from it.

    I've read a Dan Brown book. I don't think it was anything great. I'm still wondering if they felt obligated to toss in some modern bestsellers but . . . why? I'd like to know the idea behind the list. What makes these people think the average person has only read 6? Where did that number come from? Why did they choose the titles they chose?

    Curious am I.


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