I plan to read all of the 100 books on the so-called BBC book list that went around Facebook a while ago. So far, I’ve read 87 of them, and I plan to read the rest, post my thoughts on them, and share my experiences reading them. If it’s been too long to remember, I may do some rereading.
Below is my list so far. Wish me luck!
The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up? (I’ve read 87 of them.)
Instructions: Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read.
1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (x)
2 The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien (x) (Part 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Part 2: The Two Towers, Part 3: The Return of the King)
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (x)
4 Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling (x)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (x)
6 The Bible – (x)
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (x)
8 1984 – George Orwell (x)
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman (x)
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens ( )
11 Little Women – Louisa M. Alcott (x)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (x)
13 Catch-22 – Joseph Heller (x)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (x)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier (x)
16 The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien (x)
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks (X)
18 Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger (x)
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger (x)
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot (x) (Three posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell (x)
22 The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (x)
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens ( )
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy ( )
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (x)
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh ( )
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky ( )
28 The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck (x)
29 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll (x)
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame (x)
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (x)
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens ( )
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis ( )
34 Emma – Jane Austen ( )
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen (x)
36 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis (x)
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini – (x)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres (x)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden (x)
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne (x)
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell (x)
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown (x)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (x)
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving (x)
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins (x)
46 Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery (x)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy (x)
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (x)
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding (x)
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan (x)
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel (x)
52 Dune – Frank Herbert (x)
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons (x)
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen (x)
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth ( )
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon (x)
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens (x)
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (x)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon (x)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (x)
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (x)
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov (x)
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt (x)
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold (x)
65 The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas (x)
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac (x)
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy (x)
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding (x)
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie ( )
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville (x)
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens (x)
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker (x)
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett (x)
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson (x)
75 Ulysses – James Joyce ( )
76 The Inferno – Dante (x)
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome (x)
78 Germinal – Emile Zola ( )
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray (x)
80 Possession – AS Byatt (x)
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens (x)
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell (x)
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker (x)
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro (x)
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert (x)
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry (x)
87 Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White (x)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom (x)
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (x)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton (x)
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad (x)
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (x)
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks (x)
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams (x)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole (x)
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute (x)
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas ( )
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare (x)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl (x)
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo (x)
I was thinking about it yesterday, and I really don’t think Lord of the Rings will be the hardest thing for you on this list. I listened to the trilogy on audiobook, and that worked well for getting through the content. It might even be easier to read them in book format because there are lots of poems and songs that the characters recite, which are quite boring and you’d be able to skip them more easily when reading then when listening. 🙂
You should alternate one fun book to one boring book to keep yourself going!
another mistake…The lion the witch and the wardrobe are part of the Narnia chronicles. And I have a copy of “The Little Prince’ if you want to borrow it.
Good catch, Debbie! And yes I want to borrow The Little Prince.
Wow! I thought for sure that there would be no way I had read more of these then you but I have read 64 of them. This is probably due to my age than anything. But, I do have to say that some of them I have read multiple times.
A couple of these I would definitely NOT agree with and there would be others I would put on this list.
Lord of the Rings would in no way be the most difficult read in here. I would say Joyce’s Ulysses or Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Even Frank Herbert’s Dune, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, or Middlemarch by George Eliot (Marian Evan).
I was surprised to see some of the books you haven’t read and it will be interesting to see what you think of them. I am most interested in hearing your views on Lord of the Rings, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dune, Catch 22, The Count of Monte Cristo, Middlemarch, and A Town Like Alice.
For pure moral reasons follow your heart and skip Lolita – it’s garbage. Remember that list I gave you of the 50 books that all high school graduates should have read before entering college. They actually had Lolita, Tom Jones and Fanny Hill listed! It’s not so amazing to me how America has lost it’s moral compass when these are books suggested for young readership.
I’m impressed by how many you’ve read, but I will soon pass you! 🙂 I agree that Ulysses (which I’ve read part of), or War and Peace (which I’ve also read part of and then gave up), or Middlemarch will be technically harder to read. But, I think Lord of the Rings will be hard for me because I don’t like it. I hated the movies.
I may take your advice on Lolita. I’m still deciding. It will for sure be last!
I show this list to my class. It would have been fun if I’d done it with you in class! You’d totally have shown me up.
I know this may be sudden and random, but I’m coming up on my last year of high school, so the list of fifty books that should be read before entering college piqued my interest… Is there anyway you would be able to send/show me the list? Thanks. =]
I’m excited about your blog. I’m reading many of the above as well — for the first time (in my case.) Very best wishes to you. 😀
Thanks! I’m glad you found me. I’ll have to check out yours.
I hadn’t read your introductory comment, but as I was looking at your list, I was wondering if you had read Reading Lolita in Tehran. Then I went back up, and voila, there you said you had! I’m skipping Lolita, but did enjoy reading Reading Lolita in Tehran, which I only picked up because my then college-age daughter read it and I wanted to see what she was reading. I haven’t read much great literature, but want to start. Right now I teach middle school English in a home school co-op, and I’m trying to give my students a hunger for opening their eyes to the world around them — through books and everything else.
I think this list is a great place to start if you want to get into reading more literature. I actually had a slow time getting through Reading Lolita in Tehran. I loved it, but it took me a while to digest, which I guess is the sign of a great books sometimes. Thanks for stopping by!
I managed to get through it in about two sittings, because I knew if I dragged it out I would never get back to it. I am insanely jealous of how that lady writes, even if some of the material was a bit much for my sensibilities. I know I wrote about it somewhere, just trying to find it. I do have a post (http://finishwellhomeschool.blogspot.com/2012/01/high-school-literature.html) about high school literature. One of the article links in it is about how reading fiction is good for developing your business and interpersonal communication skills. I have a post on another of my blogs that tells an amusing (to me) story about starting to read Anna Karenina, as well as the role of story in our lives. http://virginiaknowles.blogspot.com/2011/04/in-middle-of-story.html
Wow, I’m impressed! I’ve only read around 25 of these, I did a post about this challenge on my blog too. Good luck with reading them all! 🙂
I like this list, probably because I have read so many, but I keep running into more and more lists with great books I just HAVE to read and there’s never enough time. Sigh. I’ll take a look at your post.
Ha yeah tell me about it! Sometimes I get all depressed thinking about all the amazing books out there I will never have the time to read. I’m such a slow reader as well which is really annoying! 😛
A magnificent article. I’ll be sure to subscribe to the rest of your posts! Thanks 🙂
Thanks for posting this – it’s given me a great way to choose some new books to read! I was surprised to find I’ve read about 21 of the books on the list. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised since I love to read, but the past year or 2 I haven’t read as much…this list is the perfect motivation! Also, congrats on being freshly pressed today!
Thank you! I hope you find something enjoyable from the list.
Don’t skip Lolita. The point of Lolita isn’t to glorify the content, which is indeed terrible–it’s to point out how terrible it is. That’s what makes it such a classic, and such an important American read. It’s brilliantly done, especially when you remember that it’s written from the perspective of the perpetrator himself, and still indicts his every action. And the language is fantastic. But if you really feel compelled to skip it, sub in another Nabokov work–try The Gift, maybe.
Okay, okay. I think you just convinced me to at least give it a try. 🙂
I have read just 23 books from your list and it bugs me. awwww. hehhe
I think you should be proud of 23!
I recommend you read Lolita. I understand that the context of the story is pretty left-field, and I can understand your hesitation, but I really ignored it. The writing is witty, beautifully constructed and there are never extreme descriptions of what occurs.
Good to know. You’ve given me some confidence.
What I great thing to do, I am so glad I found your blog. I too have been trying to get through an old BBC top 200 list (The Big Read I think it was called). It’s been such a strange and amazing reading journey. I think I have read about 62, so 138 left to go! I started to read Lolita the other day, and am struggling a little bit with the content. but I do have to say the writing is amazing. You should have a look at the top 200, its got some great books not on the 100 list, like The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and one of my all time favourite books, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Good luck with your reading!
I didn’t know there was a BBC top 200. I guess I have some books to add to my list now! Thanks!
I am so glad I found your blog, what a great thing to do! I have been trying to read my way through the BBC top 200 (I think it was called The Big Read). I have only read about 62, so 138 left to go! Started Lolita a while ago and I do struggle with the content, but you should give it a go. The writing it amazing. You should also try out the 200 list because it has some great books on it like The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and one of my favourites, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.
Just finished The Count of Monte Christo bringing my count to 33 – and then I noticed 32 comments had been made, which means mine would be …
Yes, I just could not resist.
Whatever you do, don’t bypass Lolita!
Interesting inclusions in the list of 100 are #14 and #98 … do the compilers of this list believe that Hamlet was written by a different William Shakespeare than the one who authored Complete Works of William Shakespeare?
By the way, love your blog.
Thank you! Yeah, I noticed that strange inconsistency. Is not Hamlet part of the Omplete Works? I think it is a mistake. I am looking forward to The Count of Monte Cristo.
Damnation. I took so long to write that comment it ended up being #35. So much for poetic coincidence.
Alas, that would have been a neat coincidence.
I have read only 17. Ouch!
17 is a respectable amount!
🙂 Compared to the average of 6, Definitely!! 🙂
I have read 44! Although some of these books I was forced to read in school
Wow! I am impressed, even if you were forced. 🙂
Want to start a new bookclub? One book a month?
I’d love to have you along 🙂
Do tell – http://gargisharma1.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/bookclub/
Hi Emily! I stumbled upon your blog today and I’m excited to keep reading it. I’ve read a respectable 34 from this list and hope to read even more!
34 is definitely respectable! Thanks for reading. I am glad you found me.
While I’ve only read a handful from the list, all of the ones that I have read, I really enjoyed.
I was wondering what you thought of some of them, like 1984, Catcher in the Rye, Gatsby, and One Hundred Years of Solitude? Most of these I’ve had to read for school, but they were really amazing books, at least in my opinion.
I’m so glad I found your blog. It has been so interesting to read, and I now have a list of books to read over the summer!
I plan on writing what I thought on my blog. 1984 is coming up. One Hundred Years of Solitude has already been posted. Just click on the link above in the list!
Ah! I apologize! I completely missed the one on One Hundred Years of Solitude. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction.
You will not have any trouble stomaching the content of “Lolita.”
Are you sure about that? 🙂
I am dead sure about that.
Sartre said something to the effect that we cannot rightfully comment on something unless we are actually in the process of experiencing it at the time. I’ve read some 75 of the books on your list but could read them again tomorrow and it would be like the first time (in fact sometimes do). I’ve just published my first book and am starting a blog in the hope of publicizing it. No idea what the hell I’m doing… Any tips welcome!
That’s so true. I have had completely different reactions to books the second time around. I really want to revisit The Good Earth and see if I still love it. Good luck with your blog! Centsational Girl had some great tips about starting up with blogging. You can check it out here: http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2012/07/10-tips-for-new-bloggers/
thanks for that — where you find the time to reply I just can’t imagine.
Hi Emily! Thanks for liking my post on the 100 Books Project! I felt really inspired after reading your post here! All this time, whenever I’ve had an urge to snuggle in a comfy little blanket and read all night long, I simply went to the public library and borrowed the first thing I touched (provided it was in the best-sellers section)! And though they were good, they never proved to be anywhere as fulfilling a read! 😀
You’re very welcome. I was intrigued that you had done some additional research and found that it wasn’t the BBC’s list. Go figure. 🙂 Folklore in action, and from Facebook no less! I am glad you are inspired and keep me updated on you progress.
Hahaha! The BBC did have their own top 100 must read list though! 🙂 Thanks! Yeah I will! 😀
I love what you’re doing! I’m sad to see in your comments that you hated the Lord of the Rings movies. They are my favorite story, and were the books that led me to love literature. When you do finally get around to reading them, it may help you to look past the plot and purely enjoy the writing. Remember that Tolkien was first and foremost a linguist. The entire world he created evolved out of his love for words, and how the history of worlds is reflected in the history of words. You may still not like the books, but hopefully coming at them like this will help you appreciate the intention.
Thank you! That is fantastic advice. I will keep that in mind.
I have the LotR series on audiobook if you ever want to borrow them. That is by far the best way to get through them. They are full of descriptive drivel, but I still like the story itself.
I do want to borrow them! My sister said the same thing about listening to them. I will come and get them when I get through the others I have on CD right now. Thanks!
I’ve read 22, I think. There were a couple where I couldn’t remember if I’d read them or not. Terrible, I know.
I’m glad that The Shadow of the Wind is on that list. It’s one of my favorite books. After I read it, I wanted to read everything that he’d ever written.
I think you will really enjoy it!
I am excited to read that one now! Thanks for the boost. It is sitting on my shelf.
I just love this list! I’ve only read 5 of the books, so I guess I have a lot of reading to do 🙂
Well, as some of my friends have told me, you don’t “have” to do anything, but if it makes you happy, go for it!
“No, no. We dont “have” to do it. We “have” to inhale ehough oxygen for metabolism, we “have” to take enough nutrition for growth, we “have” to expel waste from our body. Everything else is optional.” The Big Bang Theory 🙂
I love this quote. It is going to be my new mechanism for coping with anxiety!
It appears that ive read 16 of them. So yay for me. Oh and also, “suck on that BBC.” 🙂
Hurray! That is a respectable number.
29 for me! Wow, can’t wait to get going on more. Thanks for this list. I am actually reading Lolita right now. It’s sketchy at first, but after awhile not as much. Just a peek into the mind of a sardonic psychopath pedophile. Which is kind of interesting, but then twisted books always interest me the most. So….
Oooh, let me know if you “liked” Lolita. And 29 is a very good number! Read on!
I finished Lolita last night, and I loved it. I’m reading the Wiki entry on it right now so I can understand its importance better. It’s hard to say what I loved about it. Like I said, I am drawn to twisted books, and I LOVE sad books. But this has some surprising humor and wit. And a million references, some in French, that blew way over my head. I just thought the writing was incredible. I read a page of it tonight to Adam, the one page that made me weep … his response was, “That’s so sad… and weird.” It’s just a weird, sad book. And that’s the best synopsis I’ve got. That’s why I want you to read it so you can give it a proper review. 🙂
I am totally convinced now! I, too, love sad, weird books. I think I may end up liking it and now I have to find out. Thanks so much!
Wow, 70 is quite impressive! I am inspired by this list. Now I want to try to read them all. From the list I have only read 20 of em. So I still have a long ways to go, but it will be good adventure to read them and check em off. Especially since I discovered over the years that I am drawn to books that are sad. In fact, I had just finished reading Anna Karenina this break and I loved it! It was so profound, beautiful and heart wrenching on so many levels! It was moved to my number one Russian favorites so far. I have only read a few Russian novels, so feel free to suggest some other good Russian authors my way. 🙂 For me, War and Peace and Lolita are next on the list to check off!
We have that in common: liking sad books. I sometimes think it has to do with having a hard childhood, which I know is true for you as well. I see Lolita in my future soon, too, so we should chat about it when we both finish. Have you seen the new film of Anna Karenina? I want to.
You know what, speaking of the film I saw the preview for it over a month ago and it was what initially reminded me to read the book. I had the book laying around on my bookshelf for a few years and have been meaning to read it. It was one of the first books my husband suggested I read when I met him, so I bought it. I lay strict rules upon myself to always read a book before watching the film. Now that I have read Anna Karenina I am conflicted in deciding if I want to watch it. I am afraid that all it’s glory and impressions-the visual and emotional cultivated with Tolstoy will get tainted and lack depth with Hollywood’s notorious portrayals of most film adaptations. As in the past with so many film adaptations of books I love, the films often break my heart more than not. Also, as often times as the films break my heart I still end up watching the films anyways, more times than not. It is just exciting to see our beloved characters and world come to live on a screen (even if it is not as extraordinary or glorious as we envisioned,ha).In the end I am sure I will watch the film of Anna Karenina. Now that I think of it, if it is still showing in theaters, maybe we can watch it together. 🙂
Good idea! I checked a few weeks ago and it wasn’t showing in Davis County at all. I guess it takes place completely on a stage. Kind of strange! But I guess it could work.
Oh and yes, I’d love to chat with you about Lolita after were both done reading it.
A stage? Really? How so? Sorry, I am just trying to figure this out. Does sound interesting.
OMG!!!! I have only read just two books from that list! The ‘Les miserables’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ but many of them are already in my bookshelf, most of them in English and some of them in Greek. (I’m Greek!).
So, Emily i wish you good luck with the rest books of the list!! Keep up the good work!
Thank you! I really need to catch up on writing reviews for the ones I’ve already read. I wish you luck, too. It sounds like you have some great reading ahead of you. And how cool that you are Greek. 🙂
I’ve been really enjoying your blog and love that you are completing this list. It’s on my own to do list. But I felt a surge from my stomach when I read you might for go Lolita. It is one of my favourite books of all time. The prose is poetic and the content is not as bad as you might think and easily forgotten when put so eloquently. I think what shocks most people is how they forget such an important lesson. As all art worthwhile has a point then maybe that is the point of Lolita. Humanity is made with faults, like missing what is right before our eyes. Please do not judge until you’ve read it.
Thanks for the encouragement to read Lolita! I think I have already been convinced and I am planning on getting to it someday. I am glad you are here!
I’m going to read some of them, too, when I finished “dead poets society”. I got Madame bovary and Jane eyre and I’m looking forward to reading them soon.
Do you know Eva Luna by Isabel Allende? She’s one of my favourite authors.
But here’s nobody around with who I can talk about books because nobody in my age likes reading like I do.
I also love writing articles for the school newspaper. It’s great. I use my blog for writing articles about books, music etc. 😀
I haven’t read Eva Luna, but I have read some of Allende’s work. She is great! I am glad you are here. All we talk about are books!
I think books are important not just because you need them for school. You can learn everything from them. And they often make me think about everything. I just finished dead poets society. It’s a great book, I think I’ll start writing poems, too.
I’ve managed 16.5 but many more if you count the movies. But the movies don’t really count. The 0.5 by the way is Les Miserables where I didn’t get time (or motivation) to get beyond the first part – but I have to concede the musical is my absolute favourite! 🙂
I love the musical too. The book was hard for me to get through because of that, but I did it, eventually!
Love the post! I have only read 35 (have I just been reading a lot of garbage?) I will have to make a list and get to work!!
Thanks! I wouldn’t say you’ve been reading “garbage.” Not everything on this list is perfect either. 🙂 In fact, if I were to make my own list, some of these wouldn’t make it.
I might join you on this adventure! Hows it been so far?
It has been nice! I am never lacking for something to read or wondering what to read next.
Hats off to anyone who can read the whole of the Bible (and reading all of the complete works of Shakespeare is pretty good going too!)
Thank you! They are both quite intimidating.
I was thinking about this list two days ago. Sadly, I have only read 24. I need to step up my game. Good luck with this challenge. I am impressed by your 76. Did you find a favorite(s)?
24 is good! I only have so many because of this blog. Many of them I would not have read otherwise. I haven’t yet thought about a favorite or favorites, but when I finish, I may rank them or write down some overall thoughts.
With reference to the gentleman above who labelled Nabokov’s Lolita as garbage and advised against reading it for moral reasons, I have to say I’m really amazed at how the book is still misunderstood. The usual charges of obscenity, immorality, even pornography were thrown across the board at the time when Nabokov sent it to publishers in the United States without success (only an obscure publisher in France would publish it). I had thought this Victorian prudery was pretty much thing of the past and that our generation was able to see past the smokescreen. But I suppose attitudes linger on.
Lolita is nothing remotely like the charges that were, still are, laid against it. It’s an intensely emotional tale of a person who is recounting his story while in jail and, as he, as you will read, in the second half of the novel, condemns himself for “destroying” the young girl when he clearly sees through his emotional trauma that led to his wayward behaviour. Having said that, in parts of the narrative when the relationship between the protagonist and the “lolita” is developing, you will not find any explicit scenes/language characteristic of an obscene or prono novel, not even according to the standards of the time it was written in. It’s only the “idea” that is ‘horrifying’ to some.
In my opinion, therefore, it is great injustice to reject this novel as simply a piece of trash without evaluating it’s literary merit. In my opinion, in fact, Nabokov oeuvre is itself a great lesson in the English language and the art of intense, tempestuous storytelling whether we’re talking about Lolita or many other of his novels.
I have been meaning to review Lolita on my blog but lately I have been lazy. Now that I have been spurred to say something, I might as well take these words, make good use of them and write a full review lol
You have a great blog Emily 🙂
Thank you! I think that comment came as a reaction to what I had previously posted on this page, but I have now changed it since I read Lolita! I was hesitant to read it, and I proclaimed that I may read the whole list, except Lolita. I had no idea that it wasn’t explicit or pornographic or indulgent, but instead magical writing and beautiful prose and deep thought about language and the effect that we can have on other people. So yes, now I agree with your assessment of Lolita as well. Thanks for commenting, and I hope this helps give you some perspective on why so many people were weighing in on Lolita. It’s my fault! 🙂
Oh I am sorry I did not realise that you had already read the novel. It is good to know that you liked and enjoyed it. Even though I made a mental note to seek help from google translation for the French sentences that flew over my head but as I read it, I was so absorbed that I couldn’t bring myself to break the flow. Anyway I hope I did not miss much.
I’d also decided the same a couple of months ago but I, a victim of procrastination, could not hold on to my decision. Was waiting for a trigger..I hope..if it could be the one..I mean your post and commitment.
Do it! No more procrastination. 🙂
Hi Emily! Is there a way that we could get in touch in a “private” way? Like email or so? (On my blog there’s a contact form if you want to do it privately).
I’d like to ask you a couple of questions about literature.
Sure. Email me at januarypetersen at yahoo dot com.
yay I’ve read nine of them!! 😛 In your face BBC:P
You’ve made me want to read them now so I’ll probably have more on my list by then 😉 thnks so much !!
Enjoy reading! I have had a good time and it has forced me to read books I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.
Also,I’m planning on reading some books from this list,could I credit you for giving me the idea on my blog?
Yes! Please do. 🙂
I read 52 of them. That’s practically professional nerd status.
Totally! Welcome to the professional nerd club. 🙂
Hi Emily! I’m glad I found your blog. My blog is still brand new. This list sounds like fun. I’ve read 40 of these books, which is better than I thought.
Yay! 40 is impressive.
I applaud you for your effort. I’ve only read 18 of these, but those include the Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Les Miserables and the Bible. Actually I’ve read the Bible through several times so that ought to count for something, and the unabridge Les Miserables. The abridged and the movies miss so much. But my question is where do they come up with these lists. They leave off so many great writers and put so many on that should be on. Also they leave off so many great short story writers.
You make some great points, Don. I think it would be impossible to come up with the “perfect” or most comprehensive list. And such a list likely looks different to everybody. I think this so-called BBC list is somewhat folkloric and just for fun. I too wonder who actually compiled it. Thanks for the astute comment!
Just discovered your blog, and as soon as I found the list I counted the books I have read.
The number is only 10, but I think I’m just above average 🙂
But I have another 8 more in my library.
Anyways all the best for your effort and hope to see you complete the century soon.
Thank you! I hope to complete it someday! I am reading one right now and enjoying it. 10 is definitely above average. Do you plan to read any others, besides those on your shelves? I hope so.
Surely, I have been checking different lists, and the BBC list above is pretty logical I feel.
I used to select books very randomly, and I feel if we set any target, our effort will be more focused, right?
I think, I just found myself a new project 😉
Besides of the huge pile of unread books in my shelf ;D
LOL! But I love that reading is an unfinished project. We will never run out!
True – sometimes I get the impression, that some authors write faster than I read 😉
And as my native language is german, I have the handicap, that I’ve to wait until the german translations are published. Although I read lots of books in english.
Thank you for sharing this list! A lot of these are favorites I would love to revisit and some are books I’d love to discover!! Are the books without links ones you haven’t read yet? If so you have to read the great gatsby!!! Love it! And there are others you need to read! Get on it!! Lol
I’ve previously commented on this blog as theworldaccordingtodanielle
I’ve read all of the ones with the X next to them. The links are ones I’ve written about. I need to write about all those I’ve read. And yes, I love The Great Gatsby! That one has been read and reread. 🙂
84/100. This list is a great reminder of the ones I’ve missed 🙂 SD
Wow! That’s an impressive number.
I hadn’t seen this post before. I have read 73 of them in their entirety and parts of several, like the Complete Works of William Shakespeare and the Bible. And then there are a few I’ve never heard of, like The Wasp, which is what you just reviewed. That sounds like a very strange novel. I wonder what there is about it that would put it on the same list with some of these other books?
I’m surprised you haven’t already read all of them, Kay! You are a prolific reader. I thought the same thing you did. Why is The Wasp Factory on this list? The front cover of my version says something about it being a top 100 novel of the century, and as I started reading, I couldn’t figure out why. But by the end I got it. I think it was one of the first novels to be so chilling and have such a strange twist. I think it caught the attention of everybody when it was first published. Now, we have books like this all the time.
I will have to try it and make a note of this list to read the ones I haven’t read. Sometimes these lists are nonsense, though. I read one a few years ago from Time Magazine. I noticed that Philip Roth, who writes the same book over and over, was on it more than once, and it had hardly any books by women. Still, I like to look at them for suggestions.
Agreed! Arbitrary nonsense, but I still think they’re fun. 🙂
This is a great list! You are going to LOVE The Shadow of the Wind; it’s creepy and Gothic and romantic and makes you want to travel to Barcelona really, really badly. I have wanted to read James Joyce for a long time, but his books are so intimidating. However, I recently made a promise to one of my former students (who just took a class on James Joyce at Harvard last semester) that I would read Ulysses, so now I must. But it’s a daunting task: 8 sentences that take up 40 pages??? I think I will blog and journal my way through it for sanity’s sake.
I just finished The Shadow of the Wind and will post about it soon. What a fun book! And yes, I am not sure how I will make it through Ulysses…
I’ve read 12, and I have some more in my bookshelf waiting for me :3
Cool. Have fun reading the ones waiting for you!
I just looked at this list out of curiosity and to add some more books to my ‘to read’ list and I’ve actually read 16 of the books on this list! I feel so proud of myself for that lol. Usually, I’ve only read a couple books on a list. And if I count the different plays I’ve read of Shakespeare that would be even more books read. I love your blog and have written down many books to look into reading in the future. ^_^
Fantastic! I am glad you are here and happy reading!
Happy reading to you too! I’ve been looking through you’re other various posts and I keep writing down books to look into. lol. You have found some wonderful books!
I’ve read 53, I have a lot of the others in my neverending TBR pile 🙂
Wow! You have read a lot of them.
Well… looks like I have a lot to catching up to do! I’ve only read 15% of this list. Some of these were surprising (The Little Prince), and some I’d never heard of so this should be a fun new challenge.
I love it when book lists introduce me to new authors and novels. I hope you enjoy this one!
I’m sure I will. Thank you!
Love this article. I am a slacker. I have only read 31 from this list,but there are many that are on my “going to read list.”
Enjoy! I think 31 is pretty darn good, by the way. 🙂
Impressive; great goal! Shelley in NC
Thanks! I’ve slowed down a bit…
I know of only one other person who has read David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’. Did you enjoy it? (I read it, then re-read it a month later!)
I did enjoy it. My little sister read it in college and told me about it, so I tried it. I tend to like David Mitchell’s work. He writes quirky and interesting books.