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here we go again with book lists

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicise those you intend to read
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Strike out the ones you thought SUCKED didn't like.
Whazza "The Big Read" anyway? And really, only six? Did the average adult not complete high school? Many of these were required reading for high school, for me. I've noted them as such.

I didn't think any of them "SUCKED", but there were some I didn't much care for.

The List:

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 (required reading for HS)
6 The Bible (much of it, not absolutely everything)
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 (I know I started it but I can't remember if I ever finished)
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy (I've listened to The Return of the Native read by Alan Rickman. Oh man.)
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (I own one, but I haven't read everything in it)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (required reading for HS)
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot (Started, never finished)
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (required reading for HS)
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 (required reading for HS)
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (required reading for HS)
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice’s Adventures 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 (required reading for HS)
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis *(ahem, see #33, what is this doing on here twice?)*
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (I liked it up until the really annoying ending)
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 Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (Started, don't remember if I finished)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (required reading for HS)
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (required reading for HS)
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 (Yes, I'm striking it out without having read it.)
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (Have read bits of 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
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (started, can't remember if I finished)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce (started, didn't finish)
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 (required reading for HS)
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell (am reading right now)
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 Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (required reading for HS)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (I know, I know)
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 (required reading for HS)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Why is the author missing?)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 26th, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
Whazza "The Big Read" anyway?

From their website:

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. ...
The Big Read answers a big need. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 report by the National Endowment for the Arts, found that not only is literary reading in America declining rapidly among all groups, but that the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young. The concerned citizen in search of good news about American literary culture would study the pages of this report in vain.

I didn't find the list of 100 books on the site, though.
Jun. 26th, 2008 07:24 am (UTC)
jinian found the list in The Telegraph.
Jun. 26th, 2008 10:59 am (UTC)
Thanks! This is where it gets confusing. I did a little digging, and it turns out that in 2003, BBC did a Big Read TV show. This show had user (readers?) of the BBC website nominate a list of "the nation's best loves books" (the nation being the UK in this case), resulting in this list

Maybe inspired by this, Telehraph did another poll in 2007, which resulted in the list in your meme. Why they name that list "Big Read" I have no idea.

Also, I have been able to find repeats of the "Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books" on blogs everywhere", but I haven't found anything to back it up. I wonder where that comes from? Not that it matter much, except it's kinda interesting to see how these things work on the net.

Oh, and looks like I forgot to add the url to the NEA site in the previous post. It is here.

Edited at 2008-06-26 11:00 am (UTC)
Jun. 26th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks! OK, it's a poll...and one of those statistics that gets passed around stripped of any source it might once have had...that makes some sense.

When I went to publishing school in the early 80s they said that only 5% of Americans had ever been inside a bookstore. Assuming that was true, I suppose the percent must be higher now that so many bookstores have coffee shops in them...
Jun. 26th, 2008 11:59 am (UTC)
I suspect that a lot depends on what high school you went to. Also, the average adult may have figured out in high school how to pass classes without doing all, or even most, of the reading--and if you don't like the books, and aren't thinking of college, passing is good enough. (Methods include both bullshitting or talking about a minor aspect of the book in detail, and outright plagiarism and cheating on tests.)
Jun. 26th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
Also seeing the movie or finding a Cliff's Notes or Classics Illustrated version!
Jun. 26th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
I'm aware of those ways of not reading assigned books, but I still don't trust the statistic without knowing where it came from. (See other comments on this post.)
Jun. 26th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I've only read 35 of them
and some of them I might not have finished. I've heard of most of them. And I've seen movies or plays of several of them, too.

I even have one of them in the car on tape for my Oregon road trip. 3 Musketeers. However, I have 20 remaining hours (out of 27) of Antony and Cleopatra by Collen McCullough before I might get to it. I really enjoy McCullogh's Rome series. There are amazing parallels to our times.
Jul. 7th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
#98 is on there twice as well. Isn't Hamlet a work of William Shakespeare that should be included in the Complete Works of Shakespeare?
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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