105 Ways to Give a Book

The 100 Books List

I’ve seen this 100 Books List coming around again, so it seemed time to see where I stood. I did a little investigating to find the original source of the list, as I was particularly concerned with some of the odd things about it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to go too far before I found a blog that did the work for me. Whew.

The Rabid Paladin found an article in The Guardian describing how the list was compiled from a poll where 2,000 people responded naming the ten books they couldn’t live without, and the list matches the meme list. Oh, and the numbers are the ranks of the books. The common phrase associated with this meme, “According to The Big Read, the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on this list,” doesn’t appear to have any basis in fact.

But all that research doesn’t make the meme any less fun, so here it is for me with these instructions:
  • Boldface those you have read.
  • Italicize those you intend to read. (For me, only those on my to-read list.)
  • Put an asterisk by the books you LOVE. (It was originally “underline,” but I’m going with mine.)

  1. Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings — J.R.R. Tolkien**
  3. Jane Eyre — Charlotte Bronte
  4. Harry Potter series — J.K. Rowling**
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird — Harper Lee**
  6. The Bible
  7. Wuthering Heights — Emily Bronte**
  8. 1984 — George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials — Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations — Charles Dickens
  1. Little Women — Louisa May Alcott**
  2. Tess of the D’Urbervilles — Thomas Hardy
  3. Catch 22 — Joseph Heller
  4. The Complete Works of Shakespeare [The complete works? On one line?]
  5. Rebecca — Daphne Du Maurier**
  6. The Hobbit — J.R.R. Tolkien*****
  7. Birdsong — Sebastian Faulks
  8. Catcher in the Rye — J.D. Salinger
  9. The Time Traveller’s Wife — Audrey Niffenegger
  10. Middlemarch — George Eliot
  1. Gone With The Wind — Margaret Mitchell**
  2. The Great Gatsby — F. Scott Fitzgerald**
  3. Bleak House — Charles Dickens
  4. War and Peace — Leo Tolstoy
  5. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Douglas Adams**
  6. Brideshead Revisited — Evelyn Waugh
  7. Crime and Punishment — Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  8. Grapes of Wrath — John Steinbeck
  9. Alice in Wonderland — Lewis Carroll**
  10. The Wind in the Willows — Kenneth Grahame**
  1. Anna Karenina — Leo Tolstoy
  2. David Copperfield — Charles Dickens
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia — C.S. Lewis
  4. Emma — Jane Austen
  5. Persuasion — Jane Austen
  6. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe — C.S. Lewis [Okay, part of “The Chronicles of Narnia”?]
  7. The Kite Runner — Khaled Hosseini
  8. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin — Louis De Bernieres
  9. Memoirs of a Geisha — Arthur Golden**
  10. Winnie the Pooh — A.A. Milne****
  1. Animal Farm — George Orwell
  2. The Da Vinci Code — Dan Brown
  3. One Hundred Years of Solitude — Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  4. A Prayer for Owen Meaney — John Irving
  5. The Woman in White — Wilkie Collins
  6. Anne of Green Gables — L.M. Montgomery**
  7. Far From The Madding Crowd — Thomas Hardy
  8. The Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood**
  9. Lord of the Flies — William Golding
  10. Atonement — Ian McEwan
  1. Life of Pi — Yann Martel
  2. Dune — Frank Herbert
  3. Cold Comfort Farm — Stella Gibbons
  4. Sense and Sensibility — Jane Austen
  5. A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth
  6. The Shadow of the Wind — Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  7. A Tale Of Two Cities — Charles Dickens
  8. Brave New World — Aldous Huxley
  9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time — Mark Haddon**
  10. Love In The Time Of Cholera — Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  1. Of Mice and Men — John Steinbeck
  2. Lolita — Vladimir Nabokov
  3. The Secret History — Donna Tartt
  4. The Lovely Bones — Alice Sebold
  5. The Count of Monte Cristo — Alexandre Dumas
  6. On The Road — Jack Kerouac
  7. Jude the Obscure — Thomas Hardy
  8. Bridget Jones’ Diary — Helen Fielding****
  9. Midnight’s Children — Salman Rushdie
  10. Moby Dick — Herman Melville
  1. Oliver Twist — Charles Dickens
  2. Dracula — Bram Stoker
  3. The Secret Garden — Frances Hodgson Burnett
  4. Notes From A Small Island — Bill Bryson
  5. Ulysses — James Joyce
  6. The Bell Jar — Sylvia Plath
  7. Swallows and Amazons — Arthur Ransome
  8. Germinal — Emile Zola
  9. Vanity Fair — William Makepeace Thackeray
  10. Possession — A.S. Byatt
  1. A Christmas Carol — Charles Dickens
  2. Cloud Atlas — David Mitchell
  3. The Color Purple — Alice Walker
  4. The Remains of the Day — Kazuo Ishiguro
  5. Madame Bovary — Gustave Flaubert
  6. A Fine Balance — Rohinton Mistry
  7. Charlotte’s Web — E.B. White
  8. The Five People You Meet In Heaven — Mitch Albom
  9. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  10. The Faraway Tree Collection — Enid Blyton
  1. Heart of Darkness — Joseph Conrad
  2. The Little Prince — Antoine De Saint-Exupery**
  3. The Wasp Factory — Iain Banks
  4. Watership Down — Richard Adams
  5. A Confederacy of Dunces — John Kennedy Toole
  6. A Town Like Alice — Nevil Shute
  7. The Three Musketeers — Alexandre Dumas
  8. Hamlet — William Shakespeare [Um, covered in “Complete works of Shakespeare”?]
  9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — Roald Dahl
  10. Les Misérables — Victor Hugo

So, 45. Though I think if I can get a whole book credit for The Little Prince, getting only one for the complete works of Shakepeare kind of sucks. Okay, and I’ve just decided this minute that since two titles were repeated — “Shakepeare”/Hamlet and “Narnia”/The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — I can put in two titles of my choosing from children’s literature. Hmmm. I’m going with Tom Sawyer/The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, for number 98... and how about Holes, by Louis Sachar, for number 36. Great, now I’m up to 47.

So if I take out Heart of Darkness and replace it with Poisonwood Bible — both Africa — and change Cloud Atlas to Atlas Shrugged — both with “Atlas” — I’m at 49. And to make it halfway through the list, we need only change The Bell Jar to Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? All right, 50 it is!


Mary Lee said...

So far, with creative adjustments, I can only make it to 40. At one time in my life, that might have made me feel inferior. Now I just question the validity of the list!

TadMack said...

Smart girl, Mary Lee! Because Tess of the D'Urbervilles? Seriously?
And there's hardly any funny stuff (not even Dante's Divine Comedy), no Edith Wharton, Harry Potter doesn't show up, and though I've read 60, I can't possibly feel I'm a smarter person for having read Heart of Darkness as an ASSIGNMENT Freshman year in college!

And those books I haven't read? Many I don't want to read. That never seems to be taken into account

Aerin said...

Thanks for doing the research about the origin of this list. I remember a debate somewhere else about why these books were put together.

I'm at 42 - but what's with grouping all of the Harry Potter books together, the Narnia books, Shakespeare - and then having multiple Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy titles?

And, seriously, more people have read "The Faraway Tree Collection" than - say, Wuthering Heights? Er, excuse me while I stop being snarky....*sigh*

I'd definitely put your count at 50 - good on ya!

tim b said...

Drop whatever you're doing this instant and read Persuasion. People get into fights with me about its not being as good as Emma. They always - always - lose.

And don't waste your time on His Dark Materials. Pretentious twaddle.

Phyllis Sommer said...

I'm with aerin - I'm at 41, but I don't get the groupings or the choices on the list. There must be a better list, I bet we could write one ha ha....

RM1(SS) (ret) said...

Harry Potter doesn't show up

Um - actually, he's nr 4 on the list....

I've read 18. Can I add the three or four others where I've read the Classics Illustrated comic book?

PeterinScotland said...

About 18 read