BBC Book List

Since I’m an avid reader, I figured I would add my thoughts toward this list. The BBC published this list of 100 books with the statement that most people will have only read six of them. I would love to see an American version published someday since there are quite a few books on this list that I have never heard of and wonder if they are more commonly read by Brits. (there’s a lot of Jane Austen on here!) There are quite a few that I think should be added to this list, some that don’t really need to be here and many that I think are perfectly fine to watch the movie rather than read the book. I found it interesting how many of these I read in high school. Bill and I discussed a few and reminisced on whether we would enjoy re-reading some books that we felt we were forced to read as teenagers.

When I was going through the list Bill asked if Tom Clancy’s The Hunt For Red October was on the list. When I said no, he said, “then the list isn’t worth crap.”

Books I have read are in bold print. Books I have partially read are italicized. Books with an asterisk at the end, I saw the movie… and that’s enough for me.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen*

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  (I think it’s unrealistic to have the “complete works” on here. There should just be a handful of his plays listed.)

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger*

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell*

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald*

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams*

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*

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 – A.A. 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* (I saw some of the film… I think I fell asleep)

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 Birdget 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 Inferno – Dante

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 – E.B. 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

So I have read twenty-nine of these books. I know many were required reading in high school. And there are only one or two on this list that I actually have any interest in reading for pleasure. Between high school and today, I have read plenty of awe-inspiring and beautifully written books that I feel are worth to make some sort of everyone-should-read list. But with the ever-shortening attention spans of people these day, I guess we should be happy that anyone reads books at all, right? I wonder if the required reading has changed all that much in the fourteen years since I finished high school.


About wobetxela

Artist, mom, traveler, hiker, babywearer (for as long as they'll let me) and hobbyist photographer.
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3 Responses to BBC Book List

  1. christao408 says:

    I, too, am curious how the required reading lists have changed.

  2. stebow says:

    I would hope the high school required reading list has changed somewhat. Good writing did not stop in the early 20th century. 

  3. jackietebow says:

    Not being a big reader myself, I’ve actually read a number on books on this list. Most of which were school required readings. hehehe

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