Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bizarre BBC Book List Meme 48

This has been going around Facebook; the list itself is rather odd. Heavily British slanted and heavily modern; it's clearly not supposed to be a canon of great books (Douglas Adams but no Chaucer). Even so, lists/memes make for interesting jumping off points in conversation, so here we go.
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Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. Come on, well-read friends, it's time to feel good about yourself.

Instructions:
1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read. [Ken note; I put a 'y' by those I have read in part but not in full. I put an 'xx' next to those I have read multiple times, though the number of x's is not equivalent to the number of reads. Some like Emma or The Bible I've read more times than twice.]
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.
5) Put in a note with your total in the subject
6) Cut and paste to notes and link me in too please...

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1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (x+)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (xx+)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte x
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling x
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee xx
6 The Bible xx+
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte x
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell x
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman x
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens x
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott y
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare yxx
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien xx
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger xx
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot xx+
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell *
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald xx
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy *
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams xx
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky x
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck x
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll y
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis xx
34 Emma- Jane Austen xx+
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen xx
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis xx
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne y
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown x
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood y
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding xx
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert xx+
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen x
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens x
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley x
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck x
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov xx+ (I love it and hate it both, but that's Nabokov).
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
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 xx+
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker xx
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson x
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens y
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker xx
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro xx+
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert x
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White xx
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle xx
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad xx
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams x
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare xx
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl xx
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo x (The unabridged version, too!)

3 comments:

scottorscottie said...

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (xx+)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling y
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee xx
6 The Bible xx
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hard
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller x
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare y
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien xx+
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger x
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger x
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald xx
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens x
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams xx+
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll xx
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy y
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis xx+
34 Emma- Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis xx+
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne x
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell xx
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding xx
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel x
52 Dune - Frank Herbert xx+
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens xx+
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley xx
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon x
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck x
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
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 y
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce x
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens x
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell x
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro x
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert x
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White x
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle y
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad xx
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks x
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams x
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare xx
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl xx
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

What a weird list. The Wasp Factory? Most of these are at least "good books" but that was just about a thoroughly unpleasant and exploitative as a book gets. Interesting mix of British canon classics (Dickens, Shakespeare, Austen, Hardy), continental canon classics (Dumas, Hugo, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky) with modern classics (To Kill a Mockingbird, Brave New World, Of Mice and Men, Great Gatsby, Ulysses), children's classics (Winnie the Pooh, Narnia, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and well-reviewed/awarded contemporary titles (Life of Pi, The Lovely Bones, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Remains of the Day). I believe I noticed only three books that come from non-Western cultures: a couple by Gabriel Marquez Garcia and The Kite Runner.

Well, I've read 33 from the list. I'm five times better than the average person!

Kenneth R. Morefield said...

Scott, that's as good a parsing of the logic of the list as I've heard, though my own tendency is just to chalk it up to the Brits being eccentric.

Kenneth R. Morefield said...

Incidentally, I wonder where that "six" came from? I haven't met anyone yet who purports to have read less than six items on the list, though, admittedly, that may have something to do with the circles in which I run.