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BBC Big Read - Top 100 books.


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1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman

4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling

6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne

8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell

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

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

25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

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

44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

46. Animal Farm, George Orwell

47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

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

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

69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett

70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding

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

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

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


I've read 41 of the Top 100 - actually 41 of the Top 90.


I've not read through the list before, but what strikes me most forcibly is that it is distorted by the number of children's books in the top 100. I suppose this shows that children were the most enthusiastic participants in this exercise, which can't be a bad thing. However, any list that includes a Jeffrey Archer novel has to be called into question. :eek:

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Thanks, DW.


I've read just 19 of these, although I have started a further 7 but failed to finish them. I also own 2 others which I haven't got around to reading yet.


Whilst I understand your comment re Archer, the point of the BBC's list was to list "popular" rather than "good". You could argue that the 2 should be the same, I suppose, but we all know that that ain't the way it works.


I could also question why LOTR is listed as a single entry, whereas it was always 3 separate books, yet H Potter gets 4 separate placings.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I've got a tally of 39 so far.


I don't think I'll ever read all 100, partly because there are books and authors on there I've tried, loathed and vowed never to return to, and partly because there are some books it seems almost inappropriate to read. Would a man in his mid-30s seen reading Jacqueline Wilson in public be liable to arrest...??


I could also question why LOTR is listed as a single entry, whereas it was always 3 separate books, yet H Potter gets 4 separate placings.


I think Tolkien himself always said LotR should be regarded as a single book, something JK's never claimed.


The thing for me about the Big Read is it probably resulted in me reading better. I don't really need encouragement to read more, but it did inspire me to try and read more classics, not something I'd really done much of since graduating. Mind you, I'm not sure its been entirely successful - the copy of "Anna Karenina" I bought at the time is still unread.

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I've read 41 of the top 100 and have several more on my shelf to be read. Most of the 41 are in the top half, including 9 out of the top 10 (I still haven't got around to reading The Lord of the Rings).


I am working my way through the ones I want to read and since the list first came out I've read three more, but I probably won't get around to reading Jacqueline Wilson or Ulysses :)

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Much to my surprise I've read 53.


There's a few more that I'd quite like to read, but am not sure that I will. They are older 'classics', and my eyes and brain have become lazy on a diet of modern books, I'm not sure I could manage the quantity of words, or ideas in them. I have thought of audio books, but I fall asleep just listening to 'Book at Bedtime'.

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I've read 36 of them, was hoping it would be more! Although a few of the ones I haven't read are ones I started and nevermanaged to finish, eg. Treasure Island. But then I was only about 6, so maybe I should try again! The next on my list is Anna Karenina - I got halfway through it about 5 years ago, and remember quite enjoying it but having to stop as it was cutting into my revision timetable!

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Agree that there's a lot of children's books on the list.


I think that's because the poll asked people to vote for the book they loved most, not the one they thought was the best. I guess the stuff we read (or have read to us) as a kid is more likely to fall into this category and more likely to leave a lasting impression.


I initially voted for "Catch-22" then realised I was doing it as much because I admired the ideas in it and its take on the world than the fact it was the book I'd most enjoyed reading. It probably didn't help that I'd had to read it under pressure on my degree course and try and analyse, contextualise and all those other things you have to do.


Later, I switched my allegiance to "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" which, whilst you could probably argue is of less literary merit than "Catch-22", is definitely the book that's given me the most pleasure over the years.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I surprised myself by having read 64 of trhe top 100,some of them many years ago. The ones I havent read are the Dickens I didn't do at school,Tracy Beaker (coz my kids are boys and I buy too much for myself anyway), Ulysses-shame on me- and a few of the more modern ones.I have read War and Peace tho.

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  • 2 years later...

It's interesting that just a few years later, the list looks quite different to one that would be drawn up now. The God of Small Things, despite its Booker, has more or less vanished without a trace. Not sure that Birdsong or Memoirs of a Geisha have stood the test of (very little) time, either.

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It's interesting that just a few years later, the list looks quite different to one that would be drawn up now. The God of Small Things, despite its Booker, has more or less vanished without a trace. Not sure that Birdsong or Memoirs of a Geisha have stood the test of (very little) time, either.
It would be interesting to see if, as part of the National Year of Reading, the BBC decides to repeat the experience. I've just noticed from the Amazon link that they are calling the book, the "Book of Books [2003]" which suggests there is likely to be another one.
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