Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BBC Book Challenge List

This list comes up every now and then and I ran across it on Facebook the other day, so thought I’d pass it along to anyone who hasn’t seen it:  The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

(Ummm…who are these hypothetical people?  Clearly not those who have made it through typical high school English classes where so many of these books are covered!)

Anyways, the rules are to: Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt.  Plus, I put stars next to those I highly recommend.

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 (all)* 
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman (all)*
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens 
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott*
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (still working on it)
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller 
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (still working on it)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier* 
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger*
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot (still working on it)
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 (the only book in all of high school I couldn’t make myself finish)
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (or okay, it could have been this one.  I am NOT a fan of Russian literature)
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 (all)
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 Berniere
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 (still working on it)
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 Albom  
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

That makes 43 completed, 9 partials.  Not too bad compared to BBC’s 6 but plenty left to read.  Makes me feel guilty for not finishing all those lengthy classics sitting half read on my nightstand…must get to those!  Hope this list inspired you….go get reading!


  1. You crushed me. I've only read 31 (started a lot of them, but didn't like them *cough* Catch-22 *cough*).

    I would like to comment that you must have accidentally forgotten to put an asterisk next to To Kill a Mockingbird. Because it is one of the best books of all time.


  2. I concur with Suzannah. Scout and Atticus are worth at least a star apiece! So are Captain Wentworth and Mr. Knightley, now that I'm looking over the list again ;)

    P.S. You have inspired me to start working on the BBC Classics challenge as of today! Have read 46 so far, and have partially read 11 others (also have an issue with Russian lit...although I actually finished Crime & Punishment Senior year instead of taking a trip to Vegas with my aunt hehe). Plan to read one a month. February's = The Little Prince. Wish me luck!


  3. Just saw your comment, Heather. Ooops!

    Glad you're going to try the challenge. I knew you'd be one of the only people to read around the same number as me. :-) Happy readin!

    And as for Vegas and Russian lit...I still think Vegas was a better choice. And I've read Anna Karenina since then, so it kind of makes up for it, right?