The Big Read (whatever that is) reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you love.
4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or for whatever reason loathe.
5) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve only read 6 and force books upon them.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen And yes, though purists might hate it, I am loving Lost in Austen.
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien. Read and reread many times, not sure it counts as a loved but one I'm very fond of.
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte. Read and totally misunderstood aged ten, but was freaked out by the red room. Reread it last year and fell in love all over again.
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling Love love love them. Wish I'd been her editor (and I so nearly was, sigh...)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee . Still my no 1 read after all these years. Am just about to explain why on Normblog's Writer's Choice series. THIS is my seminal life changing book, which I read first aged 14 and have never ever stopped loving.
6 The Bible Well no one can have read the whole thing, can they? But with a catholic background I've read alot. But wouldn't go for the wishy washy modern version they foisted on us, The King James Version is the one to read. And Song of Songs is probably one of the most beautiful (and erotic) love poems ever written...
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte Not as much a fan of this as JE. Mad Twin and I have decided you go for one or the other. She's gone for the other...
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell. Not sure I could love such a dark book, but I think it's essential reading for anyone with a soul.
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman. Fell in love with this when I was at Scholastic. I was lucky enough to read an early version in ms form, and Spouse had to tell me to stop reading and come to bed I was so hooked. We all knew then it was a classic. Great, fabulous, brilliant read.The man's a genius.
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens. I pretty much love all of Dickens,, and this is no exception. Such a wonderful story, so gothic and scary. And ultimately a brilliant dissection of greed, and avarice and how it can all go awry.
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott We used to joke about this as children calling Mama, Marmalade for some reason. In honour of no1 having just discovered it, my WiiMii is called Marmalade. Little things etc..
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy. Completely ott as this book is (but then which Hardy isn't?) and much as I can't stand Angel Clare, Tess's tragedy is just so brilliantly conveyed, and the cruelty of the fate of so many women in 19th century England. I love it for its wonderful descriptions of English countryside, for the characterisation of Tess, and the starkness and brilliance of the lines, And she returned a maiden no more.
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller When I was a student, one of my lecturers told me that the staff had a joke about books you should have read and haven't. This is one of mine. Haven't seen the film either. Will do one day...
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - don't be daft no one's read ALL of them, have they? I just did a quick count and reckon I've probably read about 25. My favourites are Macbeth (read at the ridiculously precocious age of 8 simply because I liked the cover. I only understood and liked the witches then), Hamlet, Othello, Midsummer Night's Dream, A Merchant of Venice, and most of all Antony and Cleopatra. Just read Bill Bryson's brilliant book on Shakespeare as well. If you're a fan of the Bard, that's a must read too..
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier. Oh god yes, how I love this book. I write romantic fiction, what do you expect? The first line, Last night I dreamed of Manderley again... always sends shivers up my spine. It's gothic, scary, romantic, thrilling. She was a genius. I also love some of her lesser known stuff - The House on the Strand, a wonderfully spooky time slip still haunts me though I read it years ago. If I ever get to write my parallel universe story that will definitely have had an influence.
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien. Read a lot and enjoyed, but not sure I love it. And not sure why....
17 Birdsong Sebastian Faulks - er this is one I want to strike out but I can't quite work out how to do that. Have tried Mr Faulks and we don't get along. So have no desire to read this.
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - This is another of my embarrassments. Everyone's supposed to have read this in their teens, right? Wrong in my case. And I'm not quite sure why.
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger I absolutely adored this book. The pathos of Clare and Henry's situation, the bizarreness of it, the love story, the tragedy. And a time travelling hero to boot. It was always going to press my buttons and is the reason I got fired up by the idea of writing a parallel universe story of my very own. If I could create even a tenth of the reaction I had to this in anyone who is good enough to read any of my stuff, I'd be ecstatic.
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot This is a book I studied at uni. Final year at Liverpool went something like this. Here's a 700+pp book to read by next week, AND write a 5000 word essay on. It could have killed my interest stone dead, and I remember sitting up at night and really grappling with bonkers Dorothea and the insane self sacrificing impulse that leads her marry Casaubon,but oh by the end I was completely hooked in. The world of Middlemarch is so compelling and real, the social history aspects of the book alone make it worth reading. But Dorothea's journey of discovery, and Lydgate's fall from grace are brilliantly realised, while Eliot has the ability to engage our sympathies in the unlikeliest of places , I even feel sorry for Bulstrode at the end.
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell Seen and love the film, never got to this though. Don't really know why!
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald I came to Scott Fitzgerald quite late, and enjoyed this without loving it.
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens Fog on the river.... Oh the beginning of this book is sublime - the description of fog weaving its way to the heart of Chancery. Like a lot of nineteenth century fiction, this is concerned with the wisdom or otherwise of seeking to resolve disputes through the law - the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce destroying whole generations of a family as it remains unsolved. I loved the recent adaptation of this too, and though the characterisation of Esther is sometimes wincemakingly nauseous, the social conscience that drove Dickens is hear in full cry , particularly in the scene when Joe dies, and he berates his society for allowing such things to happen - as the poor are "dying thus around us every day". Always sends a shiver up my spine,t that...
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy. Eek. Another not read. Must be the size which puts me off. And the fact that my mother read it while I was in utero in the six weeks she was forced to have bedrest before I was born. I think it's had a subliminal effect.
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams Wish I could write like that.
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh Like I am sure many women of my age, BR first came to my mind as a result of the TV show which was entirely responsible for my misplaced desire to go to Oxford. It didn't help that my brother was actually at Christchurch at the time, so I completely fell in love with the place (and still am). Read the book after seeing the TV and still love it. Am going to boycott the new film thoug, even though it's got Emma Thomson in it, because it looks as though they've mucked about with the story shockingly. And there is no bloody need to. They should have gone and watched the TV series again. Then they'd see perfection...
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky Read this and struggled. So I can't say I love it.
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck Not a huge Steinbeck fan, but did enjoy this.
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll was part of the fabric of my childhood. Definite love here.
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame Ditto. Can still remember my mother reading it to me. Her voice was so soothing I didn't realise till I was ever so old how deeply scary and unsavoury the Wild Wood was.
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy Eek another non read. Must be the length again. And I'm sure I'll love it.
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens - Saw this first on TV as a kid and was totally hooked, though I never got the tragedy of Emily till much later.
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis What do you think? Course I love this. And yes, I was disappointed not to find Narnia in my cupboard too. Still am actually...
34 Emma - Jane Austen I love this for the journey that Emma takes, for Mr Knightley being so damned Mr Knightleyish and for the wonderful and sometimes wickedly accurate characterisations. The great thing about Austen is her characters still exist today.
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen Not my favourite Austen, though I have to say Rupert Penry Jones in the TV adaptation last year certainly helped.
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis My favourite by a long chalk.
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini Not sure that love is the right word to apply to this book, it is so brutal in places and utterly heartbreaking. But I was completely swept away with it and loved especially the scenes when the boys were young and kite running. The betrayal of Hassan by Amir is too much to take at times, but ultimately this is a book about redemption and I found the end incredibly uplifting.
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden Strike out too. Don't know why but it doesn't interest me at all.
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne Ah how can you not?
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell Another must read. When I first read this aged 12, the fate of Boxer had me sobbing into my pillow. A brilliant briliant expose of dictatorship and totalitarian government.
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown otherwise known as the biggest literary con trick of the last decade. Great page turner I grant, and I did enjoy it, but oh dear. What a lot of piffle... And if you try any of his other stuff, he really does write the same book over and over.
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez Another book I should have read, and somehow have never got round to.
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving Not always a fan of John Irving, but dear god do I love this book (Mad Twin loves it so much she gave it to me twice). It is also the most real and true depiction of coming to terms with bereavment I have ever read. "we don't lose people all at once, we lose them in bits and pieces" - I think that is utterly brilliant. As is the character of Owen Meany himself, who somehow shouldn't be likeable and yet is.
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins - otherwise known as the first detective novel in the language. This book is probably single handedly responsible for making me love crime and horror fiction - especially gothic horror.
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery As a ten year old I couldn't get enough of this book. Unlike her fictional contemporary Pollyanna ('I'm so glad, glad, glad to be here' - yuk), Anne is a great character to love for children, far from perfect, always in trouble. Boy I could relate. (Much like Katy in What Katy Did). I read all of the books and was cheering when she eventually married her childhood sweetheart. Maybe she's responsbile for my career...
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy I love this book, for the images of sunshine and haymaking, the pictures of an English summer, for Bathsheba's wilfulness and Gabriel's steadfastedness. It is not entirely unrelated that my current hero is a shepherd named Gabriel...
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood A bleak dark dystopic vision of the future. Margaret Atwood is my favourite living author (along with Terry Pratchett). This book is harrowing in the extreme, but like 1984, everyone should read it.
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding I was introduced to this book by a very brilliant English teacher. I had never read anything like it, and was distraught when Piggy died. No 1 has just read it too and reported the same reaction.
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel Not read and not sure why. Must do better.
52 Dune - Frank Herbert Oh god I loved this book when I first read it. All that stuff about the sandworms and prophecies and the evil Bene Gesserat or whatever they were called. Later books lost there way, but Dune is fabulous.
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons Never read this. Probably should
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen I love this for Elinor's stoicism, and Marianne's totally ott reactions to everything.
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon Never heard of it.
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens Oh I love this - "Tis a far better thing etc" - that kind of noble talk (especially from a previous ignoble character) is always going to get me...
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley LIke 1984 not sure I could say I love it, but a must read certainly, and so incredibly prescient.
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon Like Northern Lights, this was edited by my ex boss, and I absolutely love it. Apart from anything it was a bold move to put a child with learning difficulties at the centre of a novel and depict his take on the world so brilliantly.
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez Nope but I should
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck Yes but not a huge Steinbeck fan, so probably wouldn't again.
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov Love the original version of the film should read it.
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt This blew my mind when I read it. Was totally gripped by the story and shocked and disturbed by turns. Her follow up book The Little Friend wasn#t nearly as good.
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold Despite the bleak subject matter, I found this an incredibly uplifting and wise book. I loved it.
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas No I should. I know I'd like it.
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac. Tried and failed. Too self indulgent for me.
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy My least favourite Hardy. Such unredeeming awful gloom. How can he treat his characters so badly? No wonder he gave up writing novels after this one...
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding The book that launched chick lit. Of course I love it.
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie I love Rushdie when he binds myth and reality and for his lyrical style. Much much better then a lot of his later stuff.
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens. It's Dickens. It's brutal. It's got Fagin and the Artful Dodger. What more do you want?
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker Another reason for liking gothic horror. I certainly got my liking of all things vampiric from this book. The scenes in Whitby are still hair-raising, as is the race to beat the sunset at the end.
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett Another favourite from childhood. I just loved the whole idea of a secret garden that no one knew about. It's a beautiful brilliant book, which captures the loneliness of childhood and the inability of some adults to communicate wtih children.
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson This book still makes me laugh out loud. I know he's a Yank, but Bill Bryson is fast becoming a National Treasure.
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath Whereas this will always make my top ten. Sylvia Plath is one of my literary heroines and this fictional account of dealing with madness and depression still has the power to shock. When I was a student I came across a little book by her flatmate at uni which described the real events that led to Plath writing The Bell Jar. It was quite hearbreaking and made the book resonate with me even more. It's not all doom and gloom though. I still think her description of men's genitalia being like " a turkey between two gizzards" one of the funniest things I've ever read (sorry boys).
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome Read but never got on with for some reason.
78 Germinal - Emile Zola Probably should read this sometime.
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray You can probably detect that I am a big fan of nineteenth century novels. I love this book so much on so many levels. Becky Sharp is possibly one of the greatest anti heroines ever, Rawdon Crawley become an unlikely hero, Dobbin is just bloody wonderful and Amelia is such a wussy wet she gets exactly what she deserves by the end.
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens Have you got a heart? Everyone has to love this don't they?
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell Enjoyed it as an interesting concept, but not sure I love it.
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker I do love this though, but haven't read it for years.
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro Oops another to go on the tbr pile.
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert And this.
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry Never heard of it.
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White I fell in love with the tale of Wilbur the pig who escapes the knacker's yard with the help of Charlotte the spider who saves him by writing messages in her web. I am still heartbroken when Charlotte dies. It's a great heartwarming tale and a very good way of teaching children about life and death.
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom I loved this. Quirky and unusual and very moving.
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Can't say I've read them all, but am a big fan.
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton Have never read this. My childen have made up for it though, they read it endlessly...
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad Read but don't like it as much as The Secret Agent. But amazing to think he wrote it in English.
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery Find it a bit nauseating to be honest. But was rather put of St Exupery doing Vol de Nuits for French A Level.
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks This is a book like marmite. You either love it or hate it. It is not possible to be indifferent. I love it, but can understand why others don't.
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams Possibly the most overrrated children's book of all time (is it really a children's book? Discuss). I hate it. Can't stand those bleeding rabbits.
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole I was leant this by a friend who reads this blog. Sorry, but I hated it. Couldn't get on with the narrator at all.
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute Probably should read this I suppose...
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas Again haven't read, but I know I'll like it. All that derring do.
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare Hamlet shouldn't be read, but seen. I only got it when I'd seen Mel Gibson play him. And soon I shall see David Tennant do the same. Be still my beating heart... (sorry Persephone)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl I can remember my brother being given this one Christmas and loving the descriptions of Charlie eating/smelling chocolate. So mouthwatering. Roald Dahl is still the best children's writer ever. No contest. Not even from JKR.
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo oops. Ended on one I should read. So many books, so little time...
Well that was really enjoyable. Not sure if I am supposed to tag people or not. But Mad Twin, do hop in and tell me where you diagree with me... I'm sure you do.
And anyone else - feel free to comment here or pick it up for your own blogs. It is after all, an irresistible meme...