Honest, I just borrowed this post. I’ll give it back….


JustOneAnna posted the National Education Association’s Top 100 books, part of NEA’s “The Big Read” program. Responding to a suggestion from another blogger, she did the following: 

  • Look at the list and bold those we have read.
  • Italicize those we intend to read.
  • Underline the books we LOVE 

Several other bloggers have followed suit including Kestrel of Kestrels Aerie whom I swiped borrowed this idea from and Dammerung of Two and a half Orcs.

One thing I would like to know after doing this however is exactly who made the list? What were the criteria? I can think of several works that should be on this list that are not, and several that I don’t think should be. How do you for instance say that The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (which I loved) would have more to give the reader than the intracate multilayered plotting of Robert Jordans The Wheel of Time series? They are two totaly different styles of writing. I loved both but only one made the list, and honestly it surprised me which one.

So without further babbling here is my contribution to 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
6 The Bible
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 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 Traveler’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 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 (abriged)

7 Responses

  1. I got an interesting comment from The Game Dame on my original post where she attempted to reconcile a lot of what all of us are thinking – the “how did X make the list when Y did not?” – namely, that if this list gets us talking and reading, then it’s done its job, even if it’s redundant (I believe Hamlet is one of the Complete Works of Wild Bill S.) or overbalanced (surely we don’t need ALL those Jane Austen and Dickens books).

  2. A more interesting one, and one I might visit sometime after I come back from this weekends camping trip woud be seeing what I can come up with for my (insert number here, probably 10 or so) all time favorite books.

    Hmm, something to ponder while the mosquitoes drain me into a shriveled bump covered husk this weekend.

  3. I *was* an avid Robert Jordan reader (after I got past the 1st half of book 1… I was warned that it was bloody slow up until that point, but after that, I would just consume them, or they would consume me).

    But after, I can’t remember now, book 11, around the time of the “prequel”, I just got so tired of his writing, and I just stopped… swore I would never pick up another one of his books.

  4. @Gnomeaggdon I felt that way for a while as well, but I decided to go ahead and finish reading the series when the 12th and final book comes out.

    I don’t know how having another writer will effect the tempo of the story. He is apparently working off of extensive notes and interviews that he was party to before Mr. Jordan passed away.

  5. I think I want to read the Jordan series, but I’m scared … I tend to get swept up into the story and everything else in life is forgotten (the Orclette being an exception, but even she is left to play by herself). And there are 12 books. At least Harry Potter I can finish in 3-4 days ….

  6. it is an excellent series, but I am one who gets sucked in as well (that explains Wow). If you are thinking about it I would wait until the last book is in print.

    I read quickly and I was taking 3-4 days per book on these, particularly the longer ones that are a bit over 1000 pages.

  7. @ Rebecca, just remember the warning.. 1st 1/2 of the 1st book is soooo boring, you will be tearing your hair out. But be warned, turn one page too many, and you wont sleep for a week.. or at least until you read that Rand wishes Matt was about to explain love tactics, and Matt wishes Rand was about to explain love tactics.. and ohh I have to get off that topic…

    @ Be Nameless The other thing that got me in the end was I would buy the 1,000 pages, finish it that night, then wait 1.5-2 years for the next one.. rereading them all became a drag.

    I am trying to remember another series I read recently.. just locked myself out of the libraries online catalogue because I couldn’t remember my login… I will get back to you…

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