Books: Have You Read These…?

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up? Hopefully better than that pathetic number claimed by the BBC. Although that estimation of the UK’s collective inteligence might explain some of their programming choices. [ahem]

Instructions: Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read. Let’s give it a go, shall we?

  1. Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the RingsJRR Tolkien [X]
  3. Jane Eyre — Charlotte Brontë
  4. The “Harry Potter” series — JK Rowling [X]
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird — Harper Lee [X]
  6. The Bible — Various [X]
  7. Wuthering Heights — Emily Brontë
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four — George Orwell [X]; when you graduate from high school in the title year, you find all sorts of assignments in English 12 making you read it whether you like it or not
  9. His Dark Materials — Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations — Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women — Louisa May Alcott
  12. Tess of the d’Urbervilles — Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch 22 — Joseph Heller; does reading the stage adaptation count?
  14. The Complete Works of Shakespeare” — William Shakespeare (reportedly) [X]; in fact we have three different editions in the house
  15. Rebecca — Daphne Du Maurier
  16. The HobbitJRR Tolkien [X]
  17. Birdsong — Sebastian Faulk
  18. Catcher in the RyeJD Salinger [X]
  19. The Time Traveller’s Wife — Audrey Niffenegger; …who?
  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 [X]; and the following four in the trilogy, plus the Dirk Gently ones
  26. Brideshead Revisited — Evelyn Waugh
  27. Crime and Punishment — Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  28. Grapes of Wrath — John Steinbeck [X]
  29. Alice in Wonderland — Lewis Carroll [X]; and the sequel as well
  30. The Wind in the Willows — Kenneth Grahame [X]
  31. Anna Karenina — Leo Tolstoy; Christ! I tried to read this, but found myself struggling to keep going after 45 pages — by which time the man character had been identified by five different names depending on the company he was in — and we hadn’t even got him home in Moscow yet I gave up and thought “no matter how great this book is, this is far too much effort to discover it
  32. David Copperfield — Charles Dickens
  33. The Chronicles of Narnia” — CS Lewis [X]; twice, I recall
  34. Emma — Jane Austen
  35. Persuasion — Jane Austen
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The WardrobeCS Lewis [X]; see above
  37. The Kite Runner — Khaled Hosseini
  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin — Louis De Bernieres; the thought of anything even vaguely associated with Ncolas Cage put me off it altogether
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha — Arthur Golden; no, but there’s a copy around and Jennifer thought it was grand and read it after we saw the film
  40. Winnie the PoohAA Milne [X]; no notion of how frequently
  41. Animal Farm — George Orwell; normally we would have studied this in English class contrasted with Lord of the Flies, but it was 1984, so…
  42. The Da Vinci Code — Dan Brown [X]; and I enjoyed it, but only as a nice bit of fluffy thriller and not as the amazing thing it was purported to be at the time (and one kept thinking “this would make a great film, it’s almost written like a screenplay”, as well as “all of these ‘facts’ were discussed in the 1990s, so why is everyone upset about them now?”)
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude — Gabriel Garcia Marquez; I hear he has a way with a sentence
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meany — John Irving
  45. The Woman in White — Wilkie Collins
  46. Anne of Green GablesLM Montgomery [X]; I’m Canadian, did I have a choice?
  47. Far from the Madding Crowd — Thomas Hardy
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood; I’m Canadian, but I’ve ot got to this one of hers yet.
  49. Lord of the Flies — William Golding; cƒ.: Animal Farm
  50. Atonement — Ian McEwan
  51. Life of Pi — Yann Martel [X]; loved it too
  52. Dune — Frank Herbert [X]; was going to read it, then was turned off after discussing it with a rabid fanatic for the series
  53. Cold Comfort Farm — Stella Gibbons; there’s a film adaptation isn’t there? Isn’t it about home grow-​ops or something?
  54. Sense and Sensibility — Jane Austen; but I’ve seen enough film versions… STOP, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, STOP MAKING THEM!
  55. A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth
  56. The Shadow of the Wind — Carlos Ruiz Zafon: but I have read Who Has Seen the Wind…
  57. A Tale of Two Cities — Charles Dickens; oddly no
  58. Brave New World — Aldous Huxley; somehow I avoided the contrasting piece to 1984’s English-12’s 1984
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-​Time — Mark Haddon; …eh?
  60. Love in the Time of Cholera — Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  61. Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck [X]; and seen a couple of movie adapatatons, and read the play, plus seen two incredible productions at the Vancouver Playhouse
  62. Lolita — Vladimir Nabokov
  63. The Secret History — Donna Tartt
  64. The Lovely Bones — Alice Sebold
  65. Count of Monte Cristo — Alexandre Dumas [X]; and loved it!
  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; an entire chapter about “the whiteness of the whale” and page after page about rope-​tying? No thanks, I’ll watch Wrath of Khan instead.
  71. Oliver Twist — Charles Dickens
  72. Dracula — Bram Stoker; yes, I’ve really not
  73. The Secret Garden — Frances Hodgson Burnett [X]; everyone’s allowed one “chick lit” title and this is mine, I suppose
  74. Notes from a Small Island — Bill Bryson
  75. Ulysses — James Joyce; but we have a bunch of his on the shelf when you want to read a 1½-​page sentence
  76. The Inferno — Dante; again, this is one I started, but gave-​up early-​on after making a fatal mistake: I started by reading the introduction by a Learned Scholar and was so off-​put it went back on the shelf with no reluctance
  77. Swallows and Amazons — Arthur Ransome
  78. Germinal — Emile Zola
  79. Vanity Fair — William Makepeace Thackeray
  80. PossessionAS Byatt
  81. A Christmas Carol — Charles Dickens [X]; we read this novella aloud every year on Christmas Eve
  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 WebEB White [X]; he’s thge same guy who made Style and Substance, you know (and yes, I’ve read that as well)
  88. The Five People You Meet in Heaven — Mitch Albom
  89. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [X]; several times
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection — Enid Blyton; I’ve read some of hers, but not this one (about three of the “Famous Five”, for instance)
  91. Heart of Darkness — Joseph Conrad
  92. The Little Prince — Antoine De Saint-​Exupery [X]; yup, and in the 1970s before it was ‘famous’
  93. The Wasp Factory — Iain Banks
  94. Watership Down — Richard Adams
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces — John Kennedy Toole; no but one ought to, probably
  96. A Town like Alice — Nevil Shute; my parents love this, and I keep meaning to
  97. The Three Musketeers — Alexandre Dumas
  98. Hamlet — William Shakespeare [X]; several times, plus viewing the play three times, plus three film adaptations, and at one point I had at least two copies of the play in addition to the instances in “The Complete Works…”, there was no conscious effort to accomplish that
  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — Roald Dahl [X]; and the follow-​up also
  100. Les Miserables — Victor Hugo; and I’ve not seen the musical nor do I wish to, please stop thrusting those tickets at me you heathens!

The Austen, Jane Eyre, Brontë and so on titles weren’t consumed due to them being “girl’s books” and… so there.

Grand total: 28.

Not as good as some have achieved, but far better than the BBC estimate.

How about you, oh reader of this blog?

Mood: lonely
Music: The Byrds’s “Chimes of Freedom” (1967, Columbia Records)
Book: Rhys Hughes’s The Crystal Cosmos (PS Publishing, 2007, ISBN: 9781905834556)

9 thoughts on “Books: Have You Read These…?

  1. Cotts

    Sadly only 13 for me. That might explain quite a lot and maybe cause the BBC to up their estimate of the norm.

    One would however think the something like the complete works of Shakespeare would count as more than one book though? I’m not counting that one myself as I have read quite a few of the plays, but certainly not the whole lot.

    I have noticed a lack of Fleming and many other contemporary authors, there does appear top be a degree of pretension in the list they have provided. I mean, where is The Imagineer or Deadbeats in that list?

  2. Helen Martin

    52 for me. Hadn’t realized how much Dickens I’ve read and how little great Spanish language (none). I wonder where they got their list, it’s rather odd. Of course I read the “girls’ books” but not the Kerouac or Lord of the Flies and where is the Hemingway? I figured War and Peace was enough of the classic Russians, but I did read “A Day in the Life…” and where is that? Anna Kerenina is on the shelf & will probably stay there. Atonement is sitting here waiting to be read — a Book Crossing book — didn’t know it was special.

  3. Sean

    Please, allow me to fill up your blog entry comment space (I’ve got a lot of electrons and intend to use them).

    1. Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austen (Although if you read one JA book, you’ve read them all.)
    2. The Lord of the Rings — JRR Tolkien
    3. Jane Eyre — Charlotte Brontë
    4. The “Harry Potter” series — JK Rowling
    5. The Bible — Various
    6. Wuthering Heights — Emily Brontë
    7. Nineteen Eighty Four — George Orwell
    8. His Dark Materials — Philip Pullman (Published as “The Golden Compass” in North America. Hardly made me an atheist – hell, the books are _?based_?on the fact there is a god. The dumb-?dumbs who want to ban it who have never read it should at least know it promotes heresy, not atheism.)
    9. Tess of the d’Urbervilles — Thomas Hardy (If not for Dickens, Hardy would be the worst in the literary universe)
    10. “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” — William Shakespeare
    11. The Hobbit — JRR Tolkien
    12. The Time Traveller’s Wife — Audrey Niffenegger; (An AWESOME book, so there, take that. Read it. Read It. READ IT!)
    13. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Douglas Adams
    14. John Steinbeck (every novel EXCEPT Grapes of Wrath)
    15. Memoirs of a Geisha — Arthur Golden
    16. Animal Farm — George Orwell
    17. One Hundred Years of Solitude — Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    18. Anne of Green Gables
    19. Far from the Madding Crowd — Thomas Hardy (Yuck)
    20. The Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood (Read this book immediately, you fool! Okay, have you read it now? No? WHY NOT?)
    21. Sense and Sensibility — Jane Austen (supra.)
    22. A Tale of Two Cities — Charles Dickens (Dickens is so awful, it’s what they’d use to torture me if I was in Guantánamo)
    23. Of Mice and Men– John Steinbeck
    24. Count of Monte Cristo — Alexandre Dumas (Don’t make the mistake of accidentally buying the abridged version the first time around)
    25. Moby Dick — Herman Melville; (Melville wins the contest for writing a book that sucks more than Hardy and Dickens combined. What a waste of paper, ink, time, etc).
    26. Notes from a Small Island — Bill Bryson
    27. The Inferno — Dante;
    28. A Christmas Carol — Charles Dickens
    29. Charlotte’s Web — EB White
    30. The Five People You Meet in Heaven — Mitch Albom (A whole bag of awesome)
    31. The Little Prince — Antoine De Saint-?Exupery
    32. Watership Down — Richard Adams
    33. A Town like Alice — Nevil Shute (plus practically every other Nevil Shute novel, although I have never managed to finish “On The Beach”, which I think is his least best book)
    34. Hamlet — William Shakespeare
    35. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — Roald Dahl
    36. Les Miserables — Victor Hugo (the FULL version, which starts when JVJ is but a boy, about 10,000 pages before the point in the story where the musical begins.

    So I guess I’ve got 36.

    There’s also a ton of good books that should have been on this list instead of crap like, oh, say, Moby Dick. My fave books are: The Bridge at Andau (Michener), The Razor’s Edge (Maugham), Good Omens (Pratchet/?Gaiman), The Stand (King) (yes, screw you), The Great Escape (Brickhill), The Chronicles of Amber (Zelazny) (really a compilation of 10 novels, the first 5 are best, the last five are akin to SW Eps I — III), Maus, The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas), pretty much most of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels, Stephen King’s short stories (uh, King), Deadly Lessons (Russell), The First Humdrumming Book of Horror Stories edited by Ian Alexander Martin Even Though It Contains No Mention of Me Unlike Another Book In This List.

  4. I.A.M. Post author

    I’m not entirely sure what the BBC used as a source of information for their list. Initially it seemed to be entirely Engish authors, but then I noticed Herman Mellville (USA), then Yan Martel, Rohinton Mistry and Margaret Atwood (CDN), Marquez… (Spanish? the Argentine?) I agree that there ought to be some more “entertainment fiction” like Fleming, as this is just as influential on the collective ‘culture’ as Mr. Dickens’s works (and how I’ve not read anything except his Christmas novella is beyond me).

    And yes, it’s true I’ve not read anything by Stephen King, save for the first half of The Shining. There are a large number of books one will never read because there’s only so many which can be got to before one dies. Perhaps some of my “To Be Read Shelf” will be got to soon, but in the meantime I’ll continue with Rhys’s book…

  5. Helen Martin

    I agree about The Time Traveller’s Wife, really great, but The Handmaid’s Tale was dated when it came out and sounded more like some sort of sex fantasy. Any of Tony Pratchett’s and this week his Moving Pictures would be excellent. I can’t believe I’ve never read The Razor’s Edge (or have I? Sometimes it all becomes a blur.)

  6. Helen Martin

    Rats! I hit submit too soon. Margaret Atwood’s near best is PenelopeiadThe Odyssey from Penelope’s view. It’s part of a myth series telling old tales from a new perspective and Alexander McCall Smith does one of the Celtic myths, but I haven’t read it yet. Now I’ll hit submit again.

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