BBC’s 100 books list

A number of my friends on social media have been posting this as a meme so I wanted to join in.

The theory is that the BBC estimates that most people will only read/have read 6 books out of the 100 listed. People are told to reblog the list bolding the titles they have read.

The BBC never said anything of the kind. I watched the original series of programmes that introduced the list, which generated a lot of interest and comment at the time. The ‘six books’ thing was someone’s unofficial throwaway comment intended to provoke discussion. It certainly did!

I did a bit of research before finding the definitive original list in a format that could be downloaded and edited. It didn’t contain the later additions of Jacqueline Wilson’s books for young teens, and there are one or two other titles ‘missing’ which I have seen on other lists. So far as I can tell, this is the 2003 version but is unranked. There were originally 200 books and that might explain the gaps. There were also versions where people added or subtracted books at will…

As requested, I’ve bolded the ones I’ve read, and have also added my own star ratings in line with my normal monthly reviews. It appears I’ve read 86 of the original 100 and a few of the ones I’ve missed were missed deliberately. I’ve put my five star reads in red.

I apologise for some of the extra line breaks. WordPress wouldn’t let me remove them.

1.The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon***** (made special because I read it in Barcelona where it is set)
2.Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres****
3. Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden*****

4.One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Marquez****
5.The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
6. Watership Down, by Richard Adams*****

7.The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
8.The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold***
9.Atonement, by Ian Mcewan
10.Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons. (I know it – was there a TV series?)
11.Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini****
12.The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins****
13. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams*****

14. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen*****

15. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien***** This came top of the nation’s list, and mine too!
16.Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë**** I went to the school in this.
17.Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling**** I prefer the films.
18.To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee*****

19.The Bible*** Yes, I’ve read all of it and really, you’d need stars or otherwise for the various sections.
20.Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë*** Too melodramatic for me.
21.1984, by George Orwell****
22.His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman****
23.Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens****
24.Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott***
25.Tess of the D’Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy**** I ‘did’ this for A level.
26.Catch-22, by Joseph Heller***
27. The complete works of Shakespeare*****  All read but I really do prefer the stage versions.
28.Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier***
29. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien*****

30.Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulks***
31.The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger***
32.The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger***
33. Middlemarch, by George Eliot*****

34.Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell***
35.The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald – started and abandoned twice
36.Bleak House, by Charles Dickens****
37.War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy***
38.Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh****
39.Crime and Punishment, by Fydor Dostoevsky***
40.The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck****
41.Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll****
42. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame*****

43.Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy***
44.David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens****
45. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis*****

46. Emma, by Jane Austen***** My favourite of Austen’s books.
47. Persuasion, by Jane Austen*****

48. Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne*****

49. Animal Farm, by George Orwell*****

50.The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown**
51.A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – I don’t like Irving but have read other books by him
52. Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery***** I read all the sequels, too.
53.Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy****
54.The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood****
55.Lord of the Flies, by William Golding****
56.Life of Pi, by Yann Martel**
57.Dune, by Frank Herbert***
58. Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen*****

59. A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth***** Vies with LotR for top spot in my personal pantheon.
60.A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens****
61.Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley****
62.The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon*****

63. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Marquez*****

64. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck*****

65.Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov***
66.The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas – I think I only know the film version but I might have read the book when at school.
67.On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
68.Jude the Obscure, by Thomas Hardy****
69.Bridget Jones’s Diary, by Helen Fielding***
70. Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie*****

71.Moby Dick, Herman Melville*** ( I confess to skimming this)
72.Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens****
73.Dracula, by Bram Stoker***
74. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett*****

75. Notes From a Small Island, by Bill Bryson***** It seems odd me that this reached the list, along with the bible and the complete works of Shakespeare. They’re the only ‘non-fiction’. And yes, I know the plots of Shakespeare are fiction but they’re usually shelved as plays, not fiction.
76.Ulysses, by James Joyce – started and abandoned twice
77.The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
78.Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome***
79.Germinal, by Emile Zola
80.Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray***
81. Possession, by A.S. Byatt*****

82.A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens****
83.Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell***
84.The Color Purple, by Alice Walker***

85.The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro**
86.Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert***
87.A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry
88.Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White****
89.The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom
90.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle****

91.The Faraway Tree Collection, by Enid Blyton****
92.Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad***
93. The Little Prince, by Antoine de St.-Exupery*****

94.The Wasp Factory, by Iain Banks****
95.A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
96.A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute****
97.The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas***
98.A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess***
99.Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl***
100. Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo*****


Somebody remind me not to do this kind of list again. Getting the formatting right for WordPress was a nightmare!

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