Am I Well-Read? AM I??

I saw this over on Riayn’s blog, and thought I’d have a crack. See, the BBC published its Top 100 Books list, and apparently theorised that most people would have read a maximum of 6 of them.

So in an exercise of pure self-indulgence – apart from the very last point, which is important – I’ve bolded the ones I’ve read:

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (love Jane Austen)
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien (ahhh, I still remember tthe joy of discovering high school library…)
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (hasn’t everyone? *lol*)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (although long enough ago that I don’t remember much of it)
6 The Bible (bit of a no-brainer, really – if you’re going to believe something, you might as well read the closest thing to what your God’s been trying to tell people, right?)
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (dear god – well-written but bloody depressing. And irritating. “Heathcliffe!” “Cathy!” *snort*)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell (I always get this and Brave New World mixed up in my head, for some weird reason…)
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens (but possibly in ‘readers digest’ form)
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott (first read it at a ridiculously young age, and always loved it. And the sequels!)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (but not for years and years)
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller (how embarrassing, keep meaning to read it and have never gotten round to it)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien (funny book! my fave of his)
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger (but hardly remember a thing about it)
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot (another depressing effort, but with bright bits!)
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell (interesting book! gave me some insight into american race relations)
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald (know what I remember about this book? the narrator talking about his (soon to be ex) girlfriend and her sweat-moustache… 😀 )
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (Awwww… love these books for light amusement! Especially the way Adams got so frustrated by requests for more stories that he killed the characters, then blew up all possible alternates of those characters and all possible alternate earths, just to get the message across! 😀 )
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh (just read this very recently – still pondering. College-age boy who talks to his teddy-bear in public… hrm.)
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll (a bit more disturbing once I read all the Lewis/Alice backstory)
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame (for some reason, I always disliked this intensely as a kid. haven’t read it again recently)
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (somehow, I don’t find this book depressing at all. Odd)
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis (loved these books as a kid. quite liked them as an adult too 🙂 )
34 Emma – Jane Austen (awwww… dopey interfering chick who thinks she knows it all… do I see myself in her maybe??)
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen (awwww… reminds me of hubby and i!)
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 (sparked a lonnnng fascination with japanese culture)
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne (ummm… cute but cloying at times)
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell (first came across this as a cartoon!)
42 The Da Vinci 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 – LM Montgomery (another one of those childhood favourites)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy (very sad in parts – but I like his writing 🙂 )
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding (*shudder)
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert (sequels just not as good, somehow)
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen (friend and I both like this book – but we identify with different characters :-D)
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zifon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (must read this again some time)
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(another very recent read – weird but compelling writing)
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 (thought I’d read this years ago. ‘reread’ it recently, and found I hadn’t. Odd. Much more like Pride and Prejudice than the movie is)
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville (this was a tough one!)
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens (I like Dickens. Funny and insightful)
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson (Bryson is a HOOT. Suspect him of lying through his teeth, but at least he’s funny)
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray (must be unmemorable. know I’ve read it, that’s it)
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens (again with the 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 (meh)
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 (awww… loved this as a kid. sad that some people I know won’t let their kids read it)
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 (hard to read as a young teen with no idea of the historical period in question!)
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare (thanks, high school! you did one thing right. ish.)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factoy – Roald Dahl (Roald Dahl! Genius of a man)
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo (the git starts a chapter (about 2/3 in) talking about a particular battle in the French Revolution. if your copy includes it, trust me, skip the WHOLE CHAPTER. It’s completely irrelevant. Not a single plot point or reference to characters. gah!)

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9 Responses

  1. Thanks, Naomi. 🙂

    I shall rip this idea off you and Riayn. I am somewhat lost for inspiration at present, hence the tarot silliness.

  2. I was a lit major back in my college days, and I’ve only read 13 or so of the list. this is largely because this list sucks goatass for many reasons. It is missing several books by Douglas Adams, American Psycho isn’t on there, tehre’s no WIlliam Gibson or PK Dick or HP Lovecraft, or Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde or Anton LaVey or Aleister Crowley or Chuck Palahniuk or anything someone might actually read of their own free will. this list from the BBC is mostly books that have a history of getting forced upon students who are not of the right generation to appreciate them and too young to comprehend them anyway.

    and dracula’s on there but not frankenstein? epic fail.

  3. Counted up and have read 39 of those books, I’m a bit shocked they estimate most people would have read mostly 6 ?!
    Throw in a different mix of books and they’d probably get a much higher average of books read.

  4. Anja – have fun! 🙂

    Dok – it is VERY english-centric, eh? There are some international contributions, but not many.

    Jayne – it’d be interesting to have a look at a ‘Best-sellers round the world this century’ list, I reckon.

  5. […] of people have been doing this list lately – Anja has done it, Naomi has done it,  Riayn has done it, so I figured I would do it […]

  6. Does seeing the movie instead of reading the book count? lol.

    Most of the ones I can say I have read would be over 20 years ago now.

  7. You’ve got me beaten – I can only remember reading about 18 of them. Maybe one or two others I’ve forgotten.

  8. Good God–your list really puts me to shame, especially since I have a BA in English-creative writing!

  9. WS – ummm… half points? 😀

    Ian – I must admit I’ve been deliberately seeking out ‘classics’ lately. Partly because the newer stuff is either v. expensive, or v. hit-and-miss as far as quality goes.

    Scott – You probably read a different selection of ‘classics’, though, right?

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