Book Meme


I’ve seen this doing the rounds : “The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.” In fact the list is from The Guardian (with thanks to research from Pro-Science). Most people would be expected to have read more than 6 because it’s a list of popular books… they were voted for by readers who probably submitted 10 books at least. I’m still going to do the exercise though. No doubt the meme is so successful because it makes you feel good about just how much literature (though some books on the list aren’t classics) you’ve read over the years!

Meme Instructions:
• Copy this list.
• Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
• Italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
• Tag other book nerds.

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
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
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
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
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
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 Kerouak
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 (in original French)
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 (in original French)
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 29 and started or dipped into 3, and others I may have read bits of but don’t remember. How about you?

Image credit: Cindiann on Flickr


  1. I’ve read over half of them but there really should be another choice “had to read to pass the class.” 🙂

  2. fruey

    18/1/2011 at 5:33 pm

    Hi Jan

    Yes, many of them are on reading lists so maybe there should be a difference between books you’ve read for pleasure and books you were obliged to read at school/college 🙂


  3. I enjoyed seeing what you’ve read and not read. How did you manage to get through life without reading Tolkien?

  4. fruey

    21/1/2011 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Anji

    I think I started reading The Hobbit once, and I had trouble with it. Seen the films, I think that kind of complex fantasy world just doesn’t do it for me. Did quite like the Harry Potter books but it’s a world which is just parallel to real life.

    Maybe I should try again now.


  5. I’ve read well over half as well. Some were required reading for a class, but more were for pleasure. I was surprised to not see Infinite Jest and Atlas Shrugged on the list.

  6. fruey

    2/2/2011 at 11:01 am

    Hi Cube

    I think the list predates the popularity of those books, it comes from 2006-2007 originally. Infinite Jest came out late 2006 and I’ve heard a lot about Atlas Shrugged recently – though it came out in 1997 – perhaps it’s also more popular in the US whereas this list is UK biased.


  7. I (nostalgically) smiled at the books I recognised as required reading from our school years. Do you think the reason I identify with them so much is because we pored over them in order to receive great grades in the associated essays; or because they are genuinely fabulous pieces of literature? Discuss 😉

  8. fruey

    2/3/2011 at 11:24 am

    Hi Helen,

    School reading lists have (mostly) great books in them, as studying literature requires a good choice of literature. But ranking the books highly because we pored over them obviously means that some other great books that were not picked for political reasons may rank much worse. So there’s definitely a bias towards school reading list books, not only because big readers will rate them due to the detail in their reading but also because many other people probably don’t read much literature aside from their school books.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *