Monday, March 02, 2009

The BBC's Book List

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. I bolded every one I've read, plus added comments here and there:

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (really enjoyed it, have read many other Austens)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (love the idea of it, but it bogs down in places and I don't think I ever actually finished the last book)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (quite likable, but not quite as charming as Austen)
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (actually just the first three volumes so far, but I intend to eventually read the rest, especially if one of my sons wants me to read them aloud)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (great, but perhaps a touch overrated?)
6 The Bible (read a lot of New Testament straight through on my mission, but otherwise just pieces here and there)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (started it, strongly disliked it)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (I don't remember actually ever reading it; I read fewer than a third of the novels assigned in high school)
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (haven't read it yet but am committed to reading more Dickens in my lifetime)
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (started it, didn't like it enough to continue)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (I've read only a handful of plays, not a big fan)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (probably my single favorite book ever, seriously)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger (what's all the fuss about?)
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot (fantastic book, in my top 10 for sure)
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (way overrated, kind of boring)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens (I happen to be reading this one right now)
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (enjoyed the first section, but then bogged down and quit)
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (not the book, but loved the radio show and hated the movie)
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (quite liked it)
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (liked the portion I read, but didn't even get halfway)
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (loved it in high school)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (wow, this one really turned me on to Dickens, and relatively recently too)
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (enjoyed the first one but thought they got progressively boring, not sure how far into the series I made it)
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (this one really appealed to my imagination)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (enjoyed it quite a bit)
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (I suppose Disney doesn't count?)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell (seems like I read at least part)
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (made the time pass fast on the treadmill)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (in some ways kind of flat and distant but in other ways quite interesting and certainly unpredictable)
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (went on way too long, but I did finish it; it sort of put me off 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 (I've enjoyed quite a few Atwood novels, but this one doesn't make my top three of hers)
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (I'd like to reread this one)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan (I'm actually a much bigger fan of his book Saturday)
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (quite a narrative experience!)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (while I'm well read in fantasy, I'm quite weak on sci-fi)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (not sure what Austen is my favorite; I'd like to reread them all)
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 (I read the first few chapters online recently and would like to continue it)
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 (wow, quite a stylistic, queasy trip, certainly not the slightest bit boring)
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (eh, not as great as I expected for all the fuss)
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac (this one's on my reading list)
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy (I didn't like it well enough to seek out more Hardy)
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville (I loved this one unexpectedly well, probably in my top 10)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (seems like I read it, can't be sure)
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (ditto)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce (read the first few pages, sold the book quick)
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray (this one is in my top three ever, I think)
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 (loved the movie)
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert (loved this one, in my top 10)
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 (read all these within a short period of time as a teen, would like to revisit sometime)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (couldn't get into it in high school)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (really didn't like this at all)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (it's on my list to read someday)
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 (I consider myself a big Dahl fan)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Total I've read: 39 (more or less)


Anonymous said...

39? Wow -- you rule. Me:

LotR, Mockingbird, Bible, 1984, Catch-22, Hobbit, Catcher in the Rye, Hitchhikers', Crime and Punishment, Lion Witch Wardrobe, Animal Farm, 100 Years, LotFlies, Two Cities, Brave New World, Curious Incident, Mice+Men, On the Road, Dracula, <3 of Dkness, Watership Down, Miserables

=22. Currently reading Grapes -- will probably stop thereafter just so I can be resting on a prime number.

Yates said...

Hello, Sir.

I've read 26 of the list. We agree on Moby Dick. It's my #1. We disagree on Catch-22. You should give it another try, especially after years of toiling in a corporate bureaucracies. The sharp satire of institutional idiocy will be simultaneously painful and cathartic. (Incidentally, I didn't like Catch-22 for the first 50 or so pages, either.)

Also, I love Gatsby and Heart of Darkness.

But really, I can't understand why The Christmas Box wasn't on the list.

vincent g said...

45, plus most of Shakespeare's plays--more than half of them I read in High School, guess I should give more credit to my former teachers.