Bil Browning

The 100 Best Books

Filed By Bil Browning | July 08, 2008 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: book meme

One thing I noticed right away (I'm a geek like this) is that #51 is missing! So I got 54 out of 99. How many would you get?

And what should #51 be?

Full list after the jump.

(Thanks to Steph for pointing this list out and the information about The Big Read.)

Here's what you do:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list on your own blog.

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 *I've started it several times. I hate it.
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 *See "Catch 22." I hate this one even more. I've never been able to finish it.
19 The Time Traveller'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 Hitchhiker'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's Adventures 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
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
52 Dune - Frank Herbert *Another one I just can't get into no matter how hard I try.
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 - A. S. 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 **Perhaps the best book on the list.
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


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I like how "The Complete Works of Shakespeare" is all compiled into one. You know... all of Shakespeare... just together, one thing. Arguably the greatest playwright in the English speaking world and all of his intensely variable works are nicely summed up in one tome... while Jane Austen gets FOUR individual nods?!

No offense to Jane Austen. Pride & Prejudice is definitely a good read... but The Bard = 1; Austen = 4?!

I vote to condense it to "the complete works of Jane Austen." Austen's books are even less variable than Shakespeare's comedies.

Actually, Fannie, it must not be the complete works of Shakespeare... #98 is Hamlet.

The other thing that bothers me about this list is the skew towards books that have come out in the past two decades... Is Bridget Jones' Diary, for example, destined to be a classic? I personally doubt it, even though I'd be rooting for Rowling and Pullman to win eternal fame.

There's also a shocking lack of Science Fiction. No Bradbury or, my favorite, Connie Willis.

By the way, Bil, I highly recommend Marquez and Byatt. Wonderful books!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 9, 2008 1:30 AM

I like this list, but it is not thin on biographies of great and accomplished people?

I would certainly add Bryson's book "A Short History of Almost Everything" to any list of must read.

Yawn! Maybe I should read this list before bed...

Lists are so subjective, aren't they? If you asked me, Atonement - while a good book - isn't even McEwan's best book. Although I think the Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy should be higher. (And no Haruki Murakami on the list?! That's just wrong. Also, where's In Cold Blood?)

And for the record, I've read several of these books, but I'm not sure I remember them all. :D

I would have pegged you for a Catcher in the Rye lover, Bil. Gawsh, you're such a phoney!

I find it quite funny that all the books you put asterisks next to I absolutely love, and a lot of the ones you underlined I've read but am kind of eh... about. Just shows how varying peoples tastes are in books are, and why everyone has to 'add' 'subtract' from other people's lists.

I personally like this format of the list though, because you can know so much more from the 'I plan on reading' and 'I loved' criteria

:)