Saturday, February 21, 2009

BBC Book List Meme

This came to me from Facebook via Aislinge Kellogg, but I've modified it slightly to use it in a format that allows HTML. (The original had a lot of "add an X to the end of this category, and include a hash to mean thus-and-such," which is too difficult to read.) I expect I'll make comments along the way; I usually do.

Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.
1) Bold those you have read most or all of.

2) Italicize those you've read only pieces of

3) Add a '#' to those you were supposed to have read in school, but didn't
. (I don't have any of these; I didn't waste my education that way.)
4) Underline the ones you LOVE.

5) Set small those you plan on reading.

6) Set large those you did not read, but saw the movie!

7) Strikethrough
those you really didn't like.
8) Tally your total at the bottom.

  • 1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  • 2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
  • 3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (three times! all for classes)
  • 4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
  • 5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  • 6 The Bible (who hasn't?)
  • 7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  • 8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (at least twice)
  • 9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (read the first book so far)
  • 10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  • 11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
  • 12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
  • 13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (at least twice)
  • 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
  • 15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
  • 16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
  • 17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
  • 18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
  • 19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  • 20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
  • 21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  • 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
  • 27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • 28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  • 29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  • 30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
  • 31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  • 32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
  • 33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
  • 34 Emma - Jane Austen
  • 35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
  • 36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (this, I see, is another one of those badly compiled lists, including the same works twice)
  • 37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  • 38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
  • 39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  • 40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
  • 41 Animal Farm - George Orwell (several times)
  • 42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
  • 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • 44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
  • 45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
  • 46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
  • 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
  • 51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (gave up in boredom about 75 pages in)
  • 52 Dune - Frank Herbert
  • 53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
  • 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 (Dickens is a wonderful writer, but this is a tedious, turgid mess. His short books are generally his worst.)
  • 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
  • 62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  • 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 (I think so, but it was back in high school, and I don't remember it at all.)
  • 67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
  • 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
  • 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
  • 76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  • 77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
  • 78 Germinal - Emile Zola
  • 79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
  • 80 Possession - AS Byatt
  • 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
  • 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
  • 95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
  • 96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
  • 97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
  • 98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
  • 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
  • 100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (well, the Broadway show, but close enough)
Total Read Completely: 45
Total Read Partially: 3
Total Supposed to Read, but Didn't: 0
Total Loved: 12
Total Want to Read: 10 (these are all things I own copies of, which, at this point, is my definition of "want to read")
Total Just-the-Movie: 6
Total Read But Hated: 2

So I've seen as many movies as the BBC thinks I've read books, and read nearly eight times as much as they expect. I may perhaps be a bit older than they expect, though, and I'm definitely more interested in books than the norm.


Ray said...

I don't think this is actually from the BBC. The BBC did a Big Read 100 a few years ago, which you probably commented on at the time, with a lot of overlap with this list. I can't imagine them doing the same thing again so soon, or making those compilation errors (some & all of the Narnia books, frex)

Andrew Wheeler said...

Ray: You are right; the real BBC "Big Read" list (from a 2003 poll) is still sitting, mothballed on the BBC website, where it was posted sometime in the summer of 2005. This list has some of the same books, but in a very different order, and also has some repetitions.

The real BBC list was a popular meme for quite a while, and was still bubbling around as recently as last week. (Here's one example that I googled up.)

The mutant version seems to be a product of Facebook, though there's a blog version from the 16th.

I'm not sure where this list came from. There have been plenty of "long lists of stuff" memes wandering about during the last decade, usually without a trackable history -- and this looks like another one.

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed at the number of classics you've read. I am sadly lacking in that area, having been turned off by the way they were forced on me (and taught) in high school.

Lately I've been thinking of trying a few on my own, and that Dickens would be a good place to start. Almost walked out of Borders w/ GREAT EXPECTATIONS this weekend, but didn't quite make it. You seem to be a Dickens fan.

Jeff P.

Andrew Wheeler said...

Jeff P.: I think of myself as more of a Trollope fan, but I haven't managed to finish up either of them. (I went through a surge of reading lots of 19th century novels in the mid to late '90s, then stopped when time got tight after my sons were born.)

For Dickens, my favorite is Bleak House -- I particularly love that opening description of London, which sets the scene beautifully. Great Expectations is also excellent, and it's also shorter and in first person, which may make it a better first Dickens novel. Try poking through the beginning of one or both of them in a bookstore (or online -- Dickens is well out of copyright, so his books can be found for free) and see if they grab you.

scs said...

Two things about the list surprised me: that I couldn't find any actual evidence that it was from the BBC (as Ray and Andrew helpfully pointed out) and that I haven't even cracked half of the list yet.

At any rate, I can't believe how popular this list is this week! I just wrote a post about it for my blog as well.(

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