Friday, December 10, 2010

What's in a literary education?

I saw this on Quinn's blog and thought it would make a fun blog post:

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.


• Copy this list.
• Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety. 
• Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible I've certainly read all the interesting parts - but there are geneaology bits in there that just are no fun for anyone.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte I actually just started this one!
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare Dude, ALL of them? Not yet. I've read all the romantic comedies, Romeo and Juliet, and a Midsummer Night's Dream. Maybe someday...
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger 
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma - Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini I just bought this book at the thrift store last week, am looking forward to reading it soon...
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez I have this one out from the library right now.
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

So, I've read more than a few of those. More than six, anyway. The list seems a bit random to me, though.  Some classics, some contemporary, a disproportionate amount of Shakespeare, lots of Austen, a little chick lit, one or two novels that I think are, in fact, really bad, and some wonderful children's books.  There are also quite a few books I'd still like to read!

How many of the books on the BBC list have you read? And what books do you think should be on there?  I'm going to update later with part two - my top 100 books - and I'd love to know what you think everyone should read. Feel free to do the same if you'd like. I think it's interesting to see what we all think the most (important? interesting? relevant?) something books are we think everyone should try. :)


Summer Frey said...

I've read 47 of them, and I agree--such a strange list.

ChrisP said...

I've read 24 of them if I've counted right. They're missing John Milton and some other great English writers I can't remember at the moment, plus that Russian guy who wrote in English but couldn't speak it to be understood. He wrote about Africa. It must be thirty years since I've read him. There are a lot of good books out there. Oh, and don't forget Chesterton and Sayers.

Joshua Gordon said...

Yeah, I counted 26 that I've read... At least I'm above average!

- Josh

Old Kitty said...

I think I said I read 52/53 of these in another lovely blogger's blog. I love this list - only cos I could honestly say hand on my heart that I've read these much over the decades and given that I'm such a slow reader I pat myself on the back for this ever so small and subjective achievement for me! LOL!!!!

I'm so not contemporary at all so I think I'll fail miserably with anyone else's list!!

Take care

Lisa of In Pencil said...

I'm curious to know which two you thought were really bad?..There's one on the list that the rest of the world seems to love but I thought was horrible. I'm hoping you may be the first to ever agree with me on this matter.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I read 27 of them, though some of the others look good and are on my "I've been meaning to read them" list. :) I think anything by Steve Almond should be on there. I also think anything by Amy Tan should be on there too, especially The Kitchen God's Wife or The Joy Luck Club.

Rachelle said...

I'm totally going to do this on my blog--love the idea! I think you'll like The Kite Runner--it's a bit disturbing, but the impact it makes will stay with you for a long time. Also, I love anything by Mitch Albom, so I recommend you read that one. :)

Abby Minard said...

I think I had gotten around 37 of the list. And you're right- it kinda is all over the place.

Corrine said...

I've read 14 of these. I'm hoping to read more, but so far that's all. I absolutely hated Heart of Darkness but had to read in for my English OAC class back in the day. :)

Jessica Peter said...

I found this on Facebook, and hit 36, with a few partials. An average number, I would think. It's not that surprising, since I read a lot - but usually typically "genre" things (some of which are on this list, many of which are not).

Some weird things about this list: CS Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (part of the Chronicles of Narnia) is on there... and The Chronicles of Narnia are too. Same with Hamlet/The Complete Works of Shakespeare. If you've read them all in either case, you get a bonus point!

And if you're a Jane Austen fan - like I am - you're doing pretty well already.

Helena said...

I've read 53 of them, and started, but not finished, another 12. And 20 of those 53 I read between the ages of 10 and 15.

...Yeah. I'm not sure whether to be proud, or ashamed.

Elle said...

I've read 30, with a couple of partials - the whole works of Shakespeare though? Hell no.

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