The Big Read is an NEA program designed to encourage community reading initiatives. They’ve come up with this list of the top 100 books, using criteria they don’t explain, and they estimate that the average adult has only read 6 of these. So, we are encouraged to:

1) Look at the list and bold those we have read.
2) Italicize those we intend to read.
3) Underline the books we LOVE (I’ve used an asterisk)
4) Reprint this list in our own blogs

Here goes…What about you?

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

I’ve been thinking about the classic books lately (I’m reading this, about a middle aged guy retracing the Odyssey and we went through boxes and boxes of books last week while organizing our basement.) This list makes me feel like there’s a whole lot I’ve read and there’s a whole lot I haven’t read. Maybe I should stop trying to find the perfect new book at the library and just hit the oldies for awhile!

4 Responses to “”

  1. Teri Says:

    how is it possible that the average adult has only read 6 of these when at least half are on high school required reading lists? Bizarre.

    I’ll post it to my blog in a couple days, when I have a few more free minutes. :-) Thanks!

  2. Erik Says:

    What’s up with The Chronicles of Narnia (NOT a book) being on there–especially when The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe is?! Maybe I’ll find time to do this on my end, too, though I have to wonder about a list that has His Dark Materials and The DaVinci Code on it.

  3. jayme Says:

    Hey Erica,
    Thanks for the list. Viv has us all checking your blog for Zora photos and animal impressions. This should keep Cahoots book club going well into our dotage–which by the way is just around the corner.
    Jayme

  4. Viv Says:

    The Marquette City read for this fall is on this list. “Shadow of the Wind” Which Cahoots read and I thoroughly enjoyed. Cahoots is reading several books that are set in the UP of Michigan for this fall then we’re talking classics for winter …so jayme is printing this list for all of us. Thanks!

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