Sunday, 10 August 2008

Of Books And Men

When I read this post, mentioned by 24 Hour Portly Person over at Occupied Country, I couldn't resist the challenge.

The BBC's Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books that emerged from their survey.

I don't know how you feel about that, but to my mind that's one scary statistic. It's an interesting mix of literature, dominated by the classics. I managed a reasonably-respectable 58%, and I know a lot of people who would probably score higher - which must mean that there are an awful lot of folk out there who've read less than the average 6, if my knowledge of maths is right.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8= Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
8= His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien,
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
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
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
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
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
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
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
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
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
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
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
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
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
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 Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
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
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

If you fancy having a go at it, here are the 'rules' ...

1) Look at the list and embolden 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 were forced to read at school and hated.
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.


Daddy Papersurfer said...

That is scary but not surprising of course.

I can't really be bothered to do the 'thang' but I have actually read 68 of those titles although some will have to be re-read as I can hardly remember them.

I'm surprised that John Fowles isn't on the list - I used to be addicted to the 'Magus'.

I'm also surprised that Atwood has been crossed out by the good Mr Blunt

70steen said...

I shall be doing this on my return to rain soddened England ... you crossed out Birdsong ~ what a fabulous book too. Love Seb Faulkes work so probably I am a bit bias :)

Gail said...

Some strange ones in there - Harry Potter and Enid Blyton? Although I did love the Faraway Tree when I was young (and also Little Women and Jayne Eyre). Glad to see several mentions of Thomas Hardy too.

Anonymous said...

well unlike you I haven't read the bible, except for the bits that catholicism rammed down my throat.

what have you got against The Secret History, Atonement and Confederacy of Dunces? I enjoyed all those....

Anonymous said...

I too am somewhat stunned, saddened if you will by such unwonted philistinery; you are wrong about Margaret Atwood sir. You are wrong.


Francis Cook said...

I'm with Mags on this, Blunters.
'The Handmaid's tale' is a genuine classic.
And Voyenni I Mir na Lev Tolsoi? Kak dela, zambuli? Pazhalashta!!

Bill Blunt said...

I have just realised, to my horror, that I emboldened Lord of The Rings. I have never read it, and it should have been crossed out!

The world is a diverse place. We can't all like the same things,and if we did it would be a poorer place for it. I quite like Margaret Attwood, but it would take a long, slow summer to make me want to read about a handmaiden.

Randompom aka AEIB said...

I have posted mine :-)

Enumerator said...

I've done mine, which was a very depressing experience. Apart from (most of) the Bible and Shakespeare, I have hardly read any "classics".

I've read about a quarter of the list - but of those can hardly remember that many that clearly.

Anonymous said...

I hope you've read the wonderful Madame Bovary by now!