Sunday, November 21, 2010

How Many Have you Read?

Last year I read an article about the number of books that people have read.   This was a result of  a BBC survey.  I posted the article on Face Book and friends were appalled with the so-called findings. We then ran a questionnaire asking people how many of the mentioned books they had read.  Most of us had read more than 50%. of those on the list so we wanted to know who the people were that the BBC surveyed and what age group.   We also started a Book Nerds Unite Page where we posted books read and books we thought should have been included on the list.

Today a friend from the group re-posted and I tagged a different group of people.I came to realize that several of the books are English classics which are used in British English Literature classes and that is probably why I have read so many. Not all were read out of choice.  I could add well over a hundred more that I have read.

This is the 2009  BBC Survey and I have put  into bold, the ones that I have read.

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.

Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt.

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 (no because my daughter still doesn't have the 1st so am not starting)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible  ( including on Sundays, high days and holidays probably several times)
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 - not complete but feels like it - acted in several too).
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien 
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
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
 The second 50

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 (have just ordered it - trying to get it for months!)

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 Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt  (trying to read the sequel "Virgin in the Garden" at the moment!)
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

What about you?


  1. Bee, it dreads me to go through it. Guilty as charged!

  2. I have read 41 of the mentioned books.

    Everyone's taste is different and everyone has their own take on what is a classic, I suppose.

    I just hope people read. : )

  3. This is great! I have read 48 (ooh, I rhyme!, lol) I hope you dont mind if I 'borrow' and repost this. Oh, and thanks for visiting my site and leaving a comment.

  4. Bill Bryon? Well, I never! hahaha. As it is, I've read three of his books. Except for the swearing I did rather enjoy them. :)

    Ok, dera Bee, I have read 36 of the books listed, 8 out of 10 of the top section btw! :)

    I have read all of the Bible, Jane Austen's books and All of Shakespeare's plays of course! :)

    BTw, you may care to read my last journal entry. You are featured at teh end of it. :)

    Oh, and one more thing, I wasn't the bit surprised at how well read you yourself are too.

  5. correction! 42 in fact. I missed a whole section! LOL.

  6. I've read 56 of the books...great reading list!

  7. 48...not too bad, though I feel as an English Literature major in college I should have done better. Still, since my concentration was Renaissance, I read a lot that's not on this list (no Milton here, I see--shame on BBC LOL).

  8. a friend just sent me this on Facebook where o I redid and posted mine there too. I did not count but have read a good many and wondered at the number in her message, "most people will only have read 6." However when I consider that literature is not a required course for college anymore, it seems, here in the states, it is no wonder. Our 20 year old grand daughter, reportedly a communications major at a university in CA, in her Jr. year has never taken literature! I would not have chosen some of these to read either, but am richer all these years down the road for having done so. I linked over here from Magpie and had to comment on this.

  9. Thank you everyone for coming and letting me know your thoughts.

    I first posted this in July 2009 over on FB after reading the article in a British newspaper. The reason it came up again this year is because a friend on FB re-posted last week and I tagged different people this year,

    My post instigated much discussion and the sudden influx of messages. I also put it up on Multiply.

    One of the 'grouses' seemed to be the lack of American authors on the list. I pointed out several times, to several people that it seemed that the BBC had targeted a certain group and it would have been interesting to know the age group that was surveyed. It is also very clear that this is an English list of so-called English classics with the exception of a couple of authors.

    It seems to me that the point of the exercise was to establish that students do not read and books that are considered classics are no longer on the curriculum of the majority of British schools, State or Public. How people are missing out these days.

    Not all the books I read here were because I wanted to - rather as I was doing English they were a must and read under duress!!!!

    Thank you everyone again for your valuable input and welcome to those who have not visited before. I am so pleased to see you here.

    Mt T - thank you for using my last year's wardrobe as an example of what one may need for your upcoming tea party. The jet has been booked!

  10. I think that I've read about 75 or so. But then only enjoyed about half that. And I am a traditional reader from a school that read the 'classics' for every exam that I sat.

  11. Me too Madame - and for those I didn't sit too. In addition to who and what we were studying in English Lit we had to read three books a term and then present book reports. Holiday reading as well was compulsory! Those nuns worked us!

    I do remember (although I don't remember who was responsible - day bug probably!) that around 1961/62, we had a copy of " Lady Chatterley's Lover' covered in brown paper in my form room. It went from person to person and goodness only knows how it was never detected. That would have been instant expulsion!

  12. Wow! You've read a ton of these. I need to start reading, apparently.

  13. May-B - I'm very old!!! Some were read under duress.

    Thank you for visiting. You're very welcome anytime.

  14. Ive read 20 of them... i've seen a few of the 'movie' makes but i'm sure they don't do the books any justice :)

  15. Nine times out of ten I'm disappointed in the film after reading the book. It's always a disappointment when the screen writers change so much. I can thing of hundreds of examples! Wonder what they'll do with your book Dee!???

  16. Did not think I read much...but I have read 12 of them....Proud of myself.

  17. And so you should be Beverly. It's definitely a heavy list to say the least and unless one is actually reading English Lit as a subject, it's hardly likely that anyone would hit near 100.


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