Monday, July 21, 2008


This comes courtesy of Kate Hardy (who got it from Michelle Styles.)

Apparently the average adult has only read 6 of these top 100 books. Idea is:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE. (I can't find anywhere to underline on my blog so I'm adding a note)

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (well, yes...)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (loved it)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (well, the first four, the size of # 5 stopped me in my tracks -- I read in bed!)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee(fabulous)
6 The Bible (I'm of an age where it was compulsory)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (loved it)
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
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
(great fun)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks (the dh keeps telling I should)
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (lost interest fairly early)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell (wept buckets at the end)
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (loved it)
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (loved it)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (am I the only person in the world who didn't get it?)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (loved it)

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (loved it)

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen (loved it)
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen (loved it)

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 (very involving)
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (:) )
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
(this was because I kept hearing about it. Loathed it)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (loved, loved, loved it)
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 (oh, yes!)
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 (wept buckets, but I 'd seen Dirk Bogarde play Sydney Carton in the film which made it personal!)
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 (wonderful)
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (the dd loved this but I reeled back from it when she was telling me the story)
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy (I struggled with Hardy)
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding (great stuff)
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce (not a chance!)
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome (Coots forever!)
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray (fabulous)
80 Possession - AS Byatt (I know I had a copy but can't remember reading it)
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 (loved it)
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
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 (read it while in hospital expecting the s&h)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute (I think I read everything Shute wrote. The Trustee from the Toolroom was my favourite)
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Well, I've read a lot of those books -- although there are some shocking omissions (I seem to have missed a chunk of the French writers) -- but most were so long ago that I'm struggling to remember when and where. It is a slightly skewed list, but then how could you possibly choose the top hundred books? And how on earth did some of them sneak in there? The Da Vinci Code? Please! There are a gazillion better books.


Lois said...

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee*
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte*
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger*
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell*
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding*
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck*
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Well, I did better than I thought. LOL :) The * are the ones I was forced to read in school, and therefore have no fond memories of. LOL I also haven't read every single Shakespeare play, but I put the Complete Words to symbolize the many I have. And my love here is P&P! :)


Snookie said...

I've read a lot of them, but i'm with you on wondering how some of them got listed... but I guess it has to do with how they conducted the survey in the first place

Donna Alward said...

Sales? :-)

I'm such a cynic.

I had 29, I think, including the DaVinci Code which I loved despite it's glaring deficiencies.

But we did have a discussion about all the omissions, or how we'd read several by authors with only one book listed.

Jenny Haddon said...

I've read most of 'em but then I read like a rocket and always have. No discrimination and serious word greed. Even so, I'm missing Dan Brown, I admit.

I agree with you about the Time Traveller's Wife, Liz. I was saying to friends only yesterday that I thought the idea was done better, sharper, harder in John Wyndham's short story 'The Seeds of Time'. I have never been able to get it out of my head, especially the achingly sad ending.

Lois, WHY do they keep inflicting 'Lord of the Flies' on schoolchildren? I love Golding but hated that one. Give me The Spire or Darkness Visible (creepier that Stephen King) any time.

And, the last time I looked, 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' WAS part 1 of The Chronicles of Narnia, so it gets counted twice.
So however they conducted the survey, Snookie, I don't think it's impressive.

Liz Fielding said...

I'm afraid rather a lot of those books are the ones we were forced to read at school. Living overseas with no television and only the World Service on the radio (which always lost the signal at the interesting bits) gave me a lot of time to read.

I loved John Wyndham, but seem to have missed The Seeds of Time -- or maybe I've forgotten it. I am in awe of your encyclopaedic, across the board, knowledge of books, Jenny. You seem to have read everything -- except the Dan Brown. Don't go there...

Dena said...

Hi Liz and Kate, I was surprised when I went down the list that I had read 26 of them! I've read all the first seven except for the Harry Potter books. They definitely could have done better on picking and deleting. I only seen The Da Vinci Code so I don't know about it though now I'm curious about it? Why didn't you like it?

Barb said...

I'd read 51 of these, Liz. And Dan brown and JK Rowling were not on my list. Many of them would have been on my list of favourites. I guess that means I have a median taste?

Anonymous said...

I hadn't noticed til I started reading comments here that they did have overlap, not only with Narnia/LLW, but also Complete Shakesp/Hamlet.

I've read 20-some of those, intend to read several on the list. Read a lot of them b/c I had to in school and don't remember the details of them. Was supposed to read some in school and actually blew it off. Totally out of character for me. My English teacher in high school did not motivate me.

I read The Time Traveler's Wife in audio and loved it til near the end and something that happens there made me start picking apart that scene and then I picked apart the whole book . . .

I have no intention of doing Dan Brown. I had too many people I respect tell me that the man can't write. Since I have a TBR that at the start of 2008 was going to take me 2-3 years to get through, well, why would I pick up a book that's not well-written? Not even going to do it in audio . . .

The Harry Potter books I'm waiting on til my kids are a bit older, and then we'll listen. We've been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia this summer. Have an hour or so left in The Last Battle. I've really been enjoying it, as I hadn't read the CofN in 20-30 years (oh, wait, I lie about my age . . . um haven't read the CoN in about 5 years LOL)

Liz, my sister loved Hardy. We couldn't get many of his books here back when we were in high school and I remember dragging a million of them back from London with us 25+ years ago.

Interesting list. I do wonder how they came up with it though . . .


Donna Alward said...

Penn, Hardy is one of my favourites.

I also waited to read the HP series, and did all of them in the last year reading aloud to my kids. We all enjoyed them.

I think Dan Brown is a love him or hate him kind of thing. I ended up with a copy of DaVinci and I couldn't put it down. Is he a great writer? Nope. But he wove a plot so that I had to know what happened, I can't deny it. I ignored the lack of character depth and author intrusion. LOL. I read Angels and Demons too and the pacing drove me insane.

But I enjoyed BOTH of those better than The Bridges of Madison County which everyone raved about and which was one of those I read and said, GOD I could do better than that! It truly was the reverse of the norm - the movie was far better than the book!

My best friend did this list recently too and told me I must read The Lovely Bones. Said the beginning is hard to get through, but after that it's incredible (By hard I think she means just tough subject matter, not writing quality).

Linda Goodnight said...

Interesting list, but like you, I can't see how some of them made it. My personal list would be entirely different with lots more romance! LOL!

I've read lots of these as a student years ago but can't remember them. The romancy ones, of course, stand out. "Gone With the Wind" is the reason I'm a romance novelist today. I hated the ending and felt compelled to rewrite it dozens of times.

Jenny, I am so with you about "Lord of the Flies". A voracious reader as teen, I was completely turned off by that hideous story. Ugh.

And one question: Has anyone ever actually struggled all the way through "War and Peace"? I tried, truly, I did, but couldn't get there.

Linda Goodnight

Liz Fielding said...

Linda -- if you'd spent two years in Arabian Gulf back in the late sixties you'd have devoured it out of pure desperation!

michelle Douglas said...

Good lord - I've read about 60 of these!

I'm with you, Liz, on the Dan Brown. Though, I did enjoy both The Time Traveller's Wife and Lord of the Flies. I would definitely recommend The Lovely Bones.

LOL, Donna - have decided that I shall never read Bridges of Madison County, but I'm glad you like Hardy - Tess is in my tbr pile and perhaps should be moved closer to the top.

Ooh, Linda, I loved War and Peace. Ulysses is my Achilles heel. Can never seem to make it past the snot green sea in the opening pages.

Michele L. said...

I have read 21 of these books. I haven't read The Da Vinci Code yet but it is in my TBR pile. I have heard mixed reviews about it.

I have read all the Harry Potter books and loved them! I have read them all three times through now! The last book is my favorite since everything is revealed in it.

I haven't read any of the Jane Austen books yet but plan to since they are also in my TBR pile! I have over 200 books in my TBR pile and it keeps growing! I love to read and can't say no to a book that looks good!

Yes I agree with everyone how this list was compiled anyway. I read, THE 5 PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN and I really didn't care for it. I even saw the movie when it was on TV. Actually the movie was better than the book I thought.

Yes, I read the LORD OF THE FLIES in school also. I thought it was a horrible book but for some reason it is considered a classic. Of course we dissected the story in class but the discussion did not interest me.

I too read THE LOVELY BONES and loved the story! Yes, the subject matter is tough but the story is told so brilliantly and the ending is a nice one. I actually cried reading this book because it was a touching story.

A lot of these books I really want to read but, alas, there never seems to be enough time, or another book grabs my attention! I love romance books especially comedies the best! I love Jennifer Crusie and Vicki Lewis Thompson! Oh, let's not forget Janet Evanovich! Her books are excellent!

Now why weren't any of their books on this list? Hey, why don't we make a list of the top 100 romantic books of all time! Those 3authors would be on my list!

Michelle Styles said...

I will put my hand to having read War and Peace all the way through -- just after university. I had my first flat and my dh was away in England...It took me about five days. It is excellent, but I prefer Anna Karennia. My eldest son is currently reading W&P and I can't believe how long it is taking him!
Lord of the Flies is not very good. And I was not fond of Time Traveller's Wife. I kept thinking grooming of children...I also prefer Portrait of Jenny which is sort of on the same subject.
I find Dan Brown to be great for showing his bones and how to telegraph.
Anyway, I would love to know who made the list in the first place. I suspect that it has to do with books in cinemas and television or books people talk about, rather than the merits of any such book.

Liz Fielding said...

My dd raved about The Lovely Bones but just listening to her describe the story was enough. I'm sure it was wonderful but not something I'd choose.

My problem with Dan Brown was that he kept stopping the forward momentum to explain stuff. His style reminded me of Dennis Wheatley -- another huge bestseller in his day, so what do I know? :)