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The meme has it that the BBC put together a list of 100 'best books' (by popular vote) and assert that most people will only have read six of them. ...which strains the belief, because they put the first three Harry Potter books separately. Admittedly, I'm going off the 2004 list, which isn't the same as the one I've seen floating around, but the Beeb might have thought to adjust their numbers up based on the number of these classically assigned as school reading. My tally comes up at 7 I read for school (of 36 total, but I'm not the wide reader I always thought I'd be in my starry eyed youth.

For my purposes, if I've read the book, I'll enclose it in a STRONG tag, and if I've half read it, I'll EMPHASIZE it. Spoiler: none of these are half read. If I had the list floating around with the bible on it, things would be different, but. Furthermore, anything I had to read for school whether I liked it or not gets an asterisk (*) and anything I still adore and reread today gets an adorable heart character (♥). And the obligatory commentary.



1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen*♥: I'd read the thing five times before we got it as an assignment. Bless.
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë♥: Admittedly, on my rereads, I skip the abuse-porn beginning.
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë*: Or, as I like to call it, 'A young person's compendium of people to hit with a car'.
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame: Early and often. I'm a little surprised when people haven't.
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens*
18. Little Women, Louisa May 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, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien*♥: Oh, my little nerd self was OVERJOYED to get this in school.
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl: The Witches stuck with me more, though. Not sure what that says about me.
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert: Slow summer at my aunt's house. I did enjoy it, though.
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery+
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald*
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas♥: On the advice of my mother, who gave me my love of period pulp.
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, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett+♥: My young self preferred 'The Little Princess.' I should reread them both and see what my older self thinks.
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♥: It's been ages. I should go back.
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: Not actually for school. Picked it up out of curiousity when I was wee, much like 'Guests of the Sheik'. I should reread Guests, come to think of it.
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett: I like it, bless him, but I wouldn't have singled it out for inclusion.
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 Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl♥: I'll cop to liking the movie ending better. It was always a cheat that she couldn't keep her powers.
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
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: Mostly I was just so disappointed in the third act.
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley*: Age 13 or so: locked self in room and read it. Age god knows: reassigned for school, traumatized all over again.
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 M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie


Of thirty-six read, I really only loved twelve of these. Several I loathe with a passion or go fetal at the thought of rereading. Others just didn't leave an impression. Do I just have poor taste?

And why are so many children's classics missing? Dahl is great and I don't begrudge him his spot, but where's Dodie Smith's '101 Dalmations', misogynistic and racist little tale that it was. Where's 'The Wizard of Oz'? Aren't we feeding the youth mind-bending, mean-spirited fiction anymore? And 'Count of Monte Christo' but no 'Three Musketeers?' (Mind you I much prefer the Count to the Musketeers but as far as Dumas' work goes the one is much in depth than the other, and Pimpernel didn't even make the LIST of classic pulp, what is this?) It's a world gone mad, folks.

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sidhebeingbrand: Photo: Heraldic whale tattoo (Default)
New, a little stiff, tends to steal children.

May 2013

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