BBC Reading List

Another great Jon Beckett blog inspiration: a list of books (which is, let’s face it, somewhat a product of its time of around six years ago) compiled by the grand old BBC.  Of the books on this list, the Beeb reckons the average person will have read six.  Let’s see how we stack up, shall we?

If it’s bold I’ve read it.

  1. The Lord of the Rings – J R R Tolkien
  2. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  3. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
  4. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J K Rowling
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  7. Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
  9. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
  10. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (but only because school made me – I hate this book).
  11. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  12. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  13. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
  14. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
  15. The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
  16. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  17. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  18. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
  19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
  20. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  22. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J K Rowling
  23. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J K Rowling
  24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J K Rowling
  25. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
  26. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  27. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  28. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
  29. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  30. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  31. The Story of Tracey Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson
  32. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  33. The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  34. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  35. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  36. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
  37. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
  38. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  39. Dune – Frank Herbert
  40. Emma -Jane Austen
  41. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
  42. Watership Down – Richard Adams
  43. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
  44. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  45. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  46. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  47. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  48. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  49. Goodnight Mister Tom – Michelle Magorian
  50. The Shell Seekers – Rosamund Pilcher
  51. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  52. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  53. The Stand – Stephen King
  54. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  56. The BFG – Roald Dahl
  57. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
  58. Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
  59. Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
  60. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  61. Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
  62. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  63. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  64. The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCollough
  65. Mort – Terry Pratchett
  66. The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton
  67. The Magus – John Fowles
  68. Good Omens- Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  69. Guards! Guards! – Terry Pratchett
  70. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  71. Perfume – Patrick Suskind
  72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – Robert Tressell
  73. Nightwatch – Terry Pratchett
  74. Matilda – Roald Dahl
  75. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
  76. The Secret History – Donna Tart
  77. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  78. Ulysses – James Joyce
  79. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  80. Double Act – Jacqueline Wilson
  81. The Twits – Roald Dahl
  82. I Capture The Castle – Dodie Smith
  83. Holes – Louis Sachar
  84. Gormenghast – Mervyn Peake
  85. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  86. Vicky Angel – Jacqueline Wilson
  87. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  88. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
  89. Magician – Raymond E Feist
  90. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
  91. The Godfather – Mario Puzo
  92. The Clan of the Cave Bear – Jean Auel
  93. The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett
  94. The Alchemist – Paolo Coehlo
  95. Katherine – Anya Seton
  96. Kane and Abel – Jeffrey Archer (to my eternal shame.  What a dreadful book!)
  97. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  98. Girls in Love – Jacqueline Wilson
  99. The Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot
  100. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie (I’ve read half of it)

I make that 50 and a half out of 100.  I’m always a little bit dubious of approved ‘top 100’ anything but it’s nice to know that according to this list I’m reasonably well-read.

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7 Responses to “BBC Reading List”


  1. 2 unmitigated me (m.a.w.) November 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I did this one a bit back. I notice you’ve read lots of young adult literature. I would recommend Louis Sachar’s Holes. Very cleverly written, and much more to it than the typical kid would get.

  2. 3 Jen on the Edge November 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    73, most of them at least twice, including the somewhat obscure “Katherine” by Anya Seton.

  3. 4 Jenn @ Juggling Life November 25, 2010 at 1:55 am

    I’d put Great Gatsby on your must-read list. Or maybe it’s just a great novel if you’re an American–it would be interesting to know.

    I think this is a little different than the list I did–I have 48 on this one and I think I had 56 on the other one. I’m sadly lacking in Harry Potter–I just couldn’t get into it.

  4. 5 cora November 25, 2010 at 7:24 am

    I’ve read only 35.
    I considered myself quite well-read :(
    at least I now have an excuse to spend the holidays reading :)

  5. 6 Nic November 25, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    @ Jenn: the Great Gatsby is a book I plucked off the shelf in the shop a couple of days ago. Then, I put it back. I will definitely read it, I just want to get it from the library rather than pay what the shop wanted for it.

    I went through a phase of reading great American literature a while ago – I stormed through Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, In Cold Blood, and The Grapes of Wrath.

    @ Cora: look at it this way – 35 is almost six times the ‘average’. Plus, this list is a bit weird. I mean, I like Harry Potter and all that but I’d hardly class it as great literature. Or list them separately but keep Lord of the Rings as one ‘book’. Bah.

  6. 7 Ann in NJ November 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    You have to read the Terry Pratchett books. They’re fabulous social commentary disguised as fantasy/adventure/comedy books. Start with any, really, but “The Colour of Magic” is the first, and “Guards, Guards” introduces many recurring characters. They’re all quick reads, but oh so enjoyable and full of subtle and not so subtle digs at things we take for granted.


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