How many of the Top 100 have you read?

There’s this meme going around Facebook at the moment, so I thought I’d drag it out of the social network and onto my blog. It’s pretty flawed, as these things always are, but interesting nonetheless. (Although I am confused by 14 and 98 – bit of a cock up there). Anyway, it goes like this:

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses!

So yeah, the usual chain letter nature of these things applies here. I’ll bold and italicise as instructed. If you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged.

1) Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (Does And Zombies count?)

2) The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3) Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4) Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5) To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6) The Bible

7) Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

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 – This could be a bold one, but I’m not sure I’ve read everything.

15) Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier – not sure if I finished it ornot, was quite young

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 – I don’t think I’ve read all seven, or whatever it is.

34) Emma – Jane Austen

35) Persuasion – Jane Austen

36) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis – Isn’t this part of the Chronicles of Narnia? It’s the 14/98 situation all over again. This really isn’t a very well thought out list…

37) The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38) Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere

39) Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40) Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

41) Animal Farm – George Orwell

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

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

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

67) Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68) Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69) Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70) Moby Dick – Herman Melville – Yep, I’m one of those people that’s actually read this whole book. I now know far too much about whales.

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 Thackera

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 I’ve read a lot of Sherlock Holmes, so I assume this is one of them. Is this an omnibus edition or something?

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

That’s not a bad result, I suppose. Certainly more than six. But I do question the list. Including “complete works” or series, then adding another item which is a book from that series is a bit redundant and shows quite a lack of thought and planning in the list. But there you go. The list did at least make me notice a couple of things that I’ve been meaning to read but still haven’t, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.


EDIT: Thanks to Trudi Canavan in the comments for pointing out that the list from Facebook is not, in fact, the same as the original list from the BBC, which you can read here. Which is also out of date, having been last updated in August 2004. Ah, the internet is a minefield of “almost”.


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17 thoughts on “How many of the Top 100 have you read?

  1. Ha! Thanks Trudi. I’ll add an edit into the original post. No surprises that Facebook and its denizens corrupt a good thing!

  2. I think most people would have read more than six. Many of the books on the list are required reading in many school curriculums in the US.

  3. I hit about 15-16 (lost count and also the motivation to recount) but if you add the movies I’ve seen (Yeah that counts…) it’s probably another dozen. If you add on the ones I want and intend to read if I ever discover the standard day is now 36 hours long I’m probably up over half of them.

  4. not sure that seeing the film ‘counts’ as reading the book…

    seeing the film is a valid way to spend time, and in many cases get the gist of a storyline, but it ain’t reading the book

    from memory, only two of these appeared on my school curricula

    and it’s nice to know you’re no better than I am at finishing books you’ve started, al!

  5. also took a quick look at the australian list, and was heartened to see that 2 of the top 10 are actually by australian writers

  6. Seeing the film definitely doesn’t count as reading the book. Shame on you, Damien!

    Monika – it’s a new thing I’ve got going on. I used to read the whole book regardless. I felt that if I’d started it, I had to see it through. Now I think, Fuck that! There are too many books and not enough time to waste hours on something that isn’t moving me.

    Also, some of those are things I’ve read part of at some point and have every intention of reading eventually. “The Count Of Monte Christo”, for example – I’ve got it on my iPhone and plan to finish it at some future point yet to be determined.

  7. I’ve managed 27 – quite pleased with that! Alan – you really do need to read the Wasp Factory – very twisted.

  8. James – it’s one of those books I’ve been meaning to read for donkey’s years. I’ve read pretty much all the Iain M Banks books, but none of the Iain Banks ones.

    Bryce – nice going. Seems everyone here has read well over the 6 suggested. Then again, that number was probably pulled straight out of the arse of whoever corrupted the original list from the BBC. Also, anyone reading this blog probably has a bigger disposition to reading than others.

  9. I find it hard to believe that most people have only read 6. My 12 year old daughter has read 6 of the list above, and started a couple more!

    If you go back to the ‘original’ BBC list, she’s read 17 of them (although splitting out the Harry Potter series, and adding Jaqueline Wilson and Roald Dahl was of great benefit to her numbers!)

  10. Your 12 year old is a beacon for all the other young people out there. There would be some 12 year olds that haven’t ever read a novel. Probably because their parents haven’t either. Good for her!

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