The Big Read

Here’s a blast from the past!  In 2003 the BBC launched a survey to find the nation’s best loved book of all time.

Although the results are somewhat engaging, by allowing unlimited entries per author the final list clogs up a bit.  The rule of only one book per author in the top twenty-one places, which then went on to the final round of voting, balances this out a little. Below is the final order.

As a retrospective it makes for interesting reading, it’s not a surprise to see the Harry Potter books placing so highly (as well as Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials), although that probably speaks more for the demographic of voters and the HP phenomenon being at fever pitch at the time, perhaps.

Now is your turn to play along at home, how many of these have you read? I’ve finished the highlighted forty-three books, which is a bit disappointing, especially as I have owned plenty of the other books at times but never gotten around to reading them when they were within my grasp.

  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

35 Replies to “The Big Read”

    1. Inpressive statistics! Lists are great, although I get a bit obsessed with being a completeist. Never having read Harry Potter makes you a bit of a rarity these days.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Disappointingly I’m only certain about 34 of those and Harry Potter boosted my stats…
    There are a few others that I think I might have read but it’s been so long I can’t really remember if I have, or if they just sat on the bookshelf at one time…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I used to have a ‘bookshelf of guilt’ I always kept it front and centre so I could see those books I’d had for ages or the classics I feel I should have read. Mainly I ignored this bookshelf but now regret it thanks to ths list. The only decent thing Rowling has done in the last few years is to boost the stats of a few readers, I hope I don’t get cancelled for being controversial.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I always feel torn between completing a list and going with what I truly fancy reading at the time, either way I feel underread and it spurs me on to read more.

      Like

    1. Impressive, the Pratchett books in particular gave me higher numbers, judging by the next hundred that didn’t make it (just posted that list) you can see how many of those would have bulked up your stats.

      Like

    1. Some of these books I don’t think would interest me but I do enjoy keeping score of the ones that I have gotten around to, I had a moment of silence for the books that I had owned but have since given away.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent, the timing is perfrct for all the shops beginning to open, at least that is the case over here, as if we needed an excuse for adding and purchasing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My library is fully open now, including their inter-library loan service. I am more concerned checking out books than getting my hair cut.

        Like

  2. What a great list. It feels like I have read most of them, but in reality it is about half. I’m another non-HP reader and haven’t seen the films either. I could never get in to any of it for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find it interesting how so many readers haven’t read more of these books, maybe we just seem well read haha! The HP films were the best, the books were good first time around, not sure how they will hols up again.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Spookily, I’ve also read 43, but a lot of them are different to your 43! Philip Pullman’s The Dark Materials is one of the best books I’ve ever read (all 3 of them), so I would definitely catch up with that one if you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read 41 of these, and have many others on my shelves. I only made it through the first three HPs. My son made it through all of them twice. I’ve been reading more culturally diverse authors for the past several years, so I’m not sure I’ll ever get to those that are considered part of the canon, mostly because there are too many other fabulous authors to read now. I wish I could put swipe the palm of my hand across a book and absorb the thing as a whole.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, there are so many good books out there, I love to mix up the type of books I read, it does depend a lot on what I can find in second hand bookshops and there is always going to be more of those well known titles unless I hit it lucky.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I haven’t gotten around to Ulysses uet, I hear it mixed opinions about it. Harry Potter I did enjoy on the whole in my one read through of the series, although the quality of the books does vary.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Sorry, I meant mor of the quality of the story, I was invested in books one and three especially but book five was where I was only in it to complete the series.

          Like

  5. Late again! I have read 47 books on the list. I have read no Pullman or Pratchett and very little foreign literature including from the States, which is why the numbers are low. I wonder which books the list would include/exclude now?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sure there would be a lot more bestsellers popping up, especially those that have been filmed, or remade, everything is remade worse these days!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I suppose recognisable franchise names can pull in support easier. Personally I enjoy throwing myself intp indie films a lot more, or just the original films themselves.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Harry Potter was like so much in life, overhyped and not as good as most people seem to think. Nevertheless it had its high points.

      Like

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