Saturday, October 3, 2009

BBC Best-loved Books

This list was in a note on Facebook, and I couldn’t help but make a posting out of it. When I first read the note, the list had no title, and I presumed these were supposed to be “proper readings,” considering that Emily Bronte and Charles Dickens show up several times apiece. Consequently, I was appalled to find so many of the Harry Potter books, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and The Princess Diaries on the list and surprised to see a number of Dahl’s books on there, as well.

However, after a little sleuthing, I found that these books were taken from a “best-loved books” list voted upon by BBC readers in April 2003. This makes entries like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and His Dark Materials more understandable (and, in my opinion, justifiable, in terms of the former). Yet, even if this were a “proper” Best Books list, I would have been glad to find so many newer books on it and not so much stuffy old “required reading material” that the mysterious They seem to qualify as classic literature.

Below I have indicated the books I have read by striking them in bold. I have made a few ***starred*** comments here and there after books I was unable/unwilling to finish as well as movies I have seen. I have also underlined those books that would have made it onto my “best-loved” list.

Note: The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of these 100 books listed here. How sad, considering that already 4 on the list are J.K. Rowlings books!

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 ***Does it count if I started it?***
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***Also started this one....***
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***Yeah, only if Muppets Treasure Island counts***
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***But how is A Little Princess not on here?!***
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King***Started this one too***
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***And The Brothers Karamazov. And The Idiot. And Notes From Underground. And more.***
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***On my list I believe***
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 **Really, almost anything by Dahl deserves “best-loved” status. I wish Fantastic Mr. Fox had made the list.***
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***Saw it...***
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***On my list***
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie***No, but I started the Satanic Verses and plowed my way through about 2/3***


K said...

Not all people are readers or like to read... I've read and finished two of the books on that list. Neither of those books are Harry Potter or 1984 (which I have been required to read twice in my life--once in high school and once in college), and neither were read in the past decade. If you go by what I've been required to read, I would have read 9. Makes me realize how pathetic it is that I don't read.

agoldste said...

I think 9 qualifies, considering--like you said--not all people are readers or like to read. And after all, at least you read the required readings. I'm sure some people got around that caveat....

K said...

The operative phrase is "would have"... I never did the required readings.