In an earlier blog post (Read: BBC Big Read Top 21), I talked about the Top 21 books from the BBC Big Read Survey that was conducted in 2003. The survey was created to determine what was the United Kingdom's most beloved novel of all time. And the winner was J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings". The books do not only hold appeal to just British readers but to other bookworms of different nationalities as well.
I think if the survey was conducted today in the 2010's, George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series would figure prominently on the list. Maybe one of the Young Adult writers like John Green or Rick Riordan will also feature prominently.
I was also lucky enough to get hold of a copy of The BBC Big Read Book of Books which showcased the Top 100. I happened to find one quite by accident in National Bookstore in Ayala. Ever since buying the book in the late 2000's, I've never seen another edition.
If you go through the list of 100 books, how many of the top books have you read? My own personal count is at 29 books (as of this writing). Since I learned about the list a few years ago, I was able to add to my initial count. I read in one article that on average, a person might have read 6 books from the Top 100 list.
The Top 100 books based on the BBC Big Read Survey made in 2003:
1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
And because I love Trivia, I gathered the following info:
- J.K. Rowling has her first 4 Harry Potter books in the Top 50.
- J.R.R. Tolkien has 2 books in the Top 25.
- 5 authors in the Top 100 were 30 or younger when their book was first published (Douglas Adams (27), F. Scott Fitzgerald (28), Donna Tartt (28), Emily Bronte (29), Stella Gibbons (30).
- Charles Dickens has 5 titles in the Top 100
- There are 75 authors in the Top 100.
- Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens are buried at Westminster Abbey.
- 8 books in the Top 100 were not originally written in English: The Alchemist (Portugese); Anna Karenina, War and Peace, and Crime and Punishment (Russian); The Count of Monte Cristo (French); Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude (Spanish); Perfume (German).
- Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is the oldest published book (1813).
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is the oldest children's book in the Top 100. It was published in 1865. The book also became the most expensive children's book ever sold in auction in 1998 for a rare first edition that had 10 original drawings by John Tenniel, 1.5 million dollars.
- 5 Authors were considered one-hit wonders since they only wrote one novel (Harper Lee, Emily Bronte, Margaret Mitchell, Anna Sewell and Robert Tressell).
- Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy is the longest book since it has 1,474 pages and it took the author 8 years to write (I thought it was Tolstoy's War and Peace).
- The shortest is Roald Dahl's The Twits at 87 pages (which in most part are covered in illustrations).
- The most popular decades for the top 100 are the 1980's and 1990's with 16 titles each.
- 30 of the Top 100 are books written for children.
- The biggest-selling novel of all-time in the list is J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which has sold more than 100 million copies at that time.
- 3 of the Top 100 authors won the Nobel Prize for Literature (William Golding, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and John Steinbeck.
- 2 of the Top 100 books won the Booker Prize (Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children and Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things).
In the BBC Big Read Book of Books, it also listed some Classic Putdowns made by authors:
- Truman Capote on ON THE ROAD - "That's not writing, it's just typing."
- Elizabeth Bowen on ALDOUS HUXLEY - "A stupid person's idea of a clever person."
- Norman Mailer on J.D. Salinger - "The greatest mind ever to stay in prep school."
- Tom Stoppard on JAMES JOYCE - " An essentially private man who wished his total indifference to public notice to be universally recognised."
- Henry James on WAR AND PEACE - "A loose, baggy monster."
There is more to a book than meets the eye. The lives of the authors or writers behind it are quite fascinating.
Interested to start reading or collecting?
Interested to start reading or collecting?