Archive for September 22nd, 2008

The Big Read

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Found this on Maureen McGowan’s blog (who found it on Sara Hantz’s blog—hi, Sara!). Seems The Big Read, sponsored by the BBC, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on this list. How do you fare?

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The 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 (Yes, I’ve read the whole damn thing—whoops, sorry on the damn. After taking a university course in the The Bible as Literature, I figured I should. I didn’t read anything else while I read the Bible. It took me 9 or 10 months to read THE WHOLE THING).
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

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
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (Okay, not the Complete Works. I’ve read ALL the Histories, but believe I got stuck halfway through the Comedies. Which is too bad, because I like his Tragedies the best—having also read several Shakespeare plays for various English classes over the years—and I didn’t make it to that volume. I tried the same routine as with the Bible—not allowing myself to read anything else until I read The Complete Works. I stopped reading anything at all, so I had to dash that plan.) (At this point I should admit I have a collection of the Hundred Greatest Books Ever Written, which is how I got stuck intending to read three volumes in a row of Shakespeare). (I read the Bible before I had kids).
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens (I may have read this and forgotten—I forget a lot of the books I’ve read, a side effect of Reading Too Much).
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Not that I remember any of it—another side effect of Reading Too Much).
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll (May Have Read It, Don’t Remember, See Caveat Above)
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
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
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
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 (I have it, but have I read it?)
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
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 – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (can’t remember – I have it, but have I read it?)
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

If I’m counting right, I’ve read at least 51 of the books on this list. Let me note that I’ve read dozens of books not on this list, but should be. Only one Margaret Atwood listing? No John Irving? What kind of list is this?

Okay, I majored in English, too. That accounts for a handful of the list. The rest I read because I am demented. You try reading ALL of Moby Dick, and not no abridged version, neither. You read that whale encyclopedia in the middle. We’ll see how sane you are after that!