‘Literacy’ List

Also from Facebook (h/t HEM)…

BBC Book List

Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.
Instructions:
1) Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read.
2) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien X
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee X
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell X+
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman X+
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens X
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
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 X
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy *
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams X+
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 X
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini *
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden *
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne X
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell *
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez X
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 X
52 Dune – Frank Herbert X
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 X
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 X+
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 Alborn
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 X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl X+
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Total read: 21

Total I want to read: 19

There are only 40 books on the list that even interest me.  What does this say about my perception of literary canon as defined by the BBC?

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10 Comments on “‘Literacy’ List”

  1. Jen Says:

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – walk away from the nonfiction, D! You read enough of it every day on the interwebs. And you are suspiciously missing many amazing female authors… someone needs to come browse my shelves… and then get 3 months vacation… That kind of sounds fabulous, actually. But The Handmaids Tale at the top of your list, alongside The Time-Travelers Wife.

    I was however interested to see how few of these authors were non-white… no Chinua Achebe? Zora Neale Hurston? Toni Morrison? Isabel Allende? Gus Lee?

  2. Dennis Says:

    I do read fiction… it’s just mostly sci-fi and Neil Gaiman at this point =)

    Toni Morrison on my list, as is Chinua Achebe. I have an Allende on my shelf that I haven’t read yet, as well as a Murakami. Atwood is also on my list, but I’ve not heard of The Time-Traveler’s Wife. Bring it next time you’re down?

    Up next, though, is Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, which should arrive tomorrow. Or more Sandman, or maybe The Graveyard Book.

    Also: Vacation? What? When? And frankly, I’d not want to read with all that time off, but travel.

  3. Miss Marjie Says:

    I was responding to OWLs, but now I’m counting books. Blog forthcoming. What distraction!

  4. Dennis Says:

    Jen: Yeah, let’s just say I have moderate-to-little use for canon as defined by something like the BBC.

  5. Bill the reader Says:

    Here is my shot out of the Canon!!!

    1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien X+
    3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
    4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling X
    5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
    6 The Bible X
    7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
    8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell X+
    9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
    10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens X
    11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
    12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
    13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller X+
    14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
    15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
    16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien X+
    17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
    18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger X
    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 X
    23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
    24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy X
    25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams X+
    26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
    27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
    29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll X+
    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 Berniere
    39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
    40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne X
    41 Animal Farm – George Orwell X+
    42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown X
    43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez X+
    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 X
    50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
    51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
    52 Dune – Frank Herbert X+++
    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 X
    58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley X++
    59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
    60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez X+
    61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck X
    62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov X
    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 X+
    67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
    68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
    69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
    70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville X
    71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens X
    72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
    73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
    74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
    75 Ulysses – James Joyce X-
    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 X+++
    88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Alborn
    89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X
    90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
    91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad X+
    92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
    93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
    94 Watership Down – Richard Adams X
    95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole X-
    96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
    97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
    98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare X
    99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl X
    100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo X

    Perhaps you can count up for me- it is hard to see in the little box for comments. For me, so much of reading is about time and place. Who were you when you read X? Charlotte’s Web means so much to me due to the timing when I read it, and when my wife and I read it to my young (no longer so) daughter. And me listening to her cry herself to sleep. Great literature is not simply ‘timeless’ it is about time and space and personal readiness, openness, need for that particular journey. This is one reason I am hesitant to reread Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf. It was so powerful to me in my twenties, yet it is about a middle aged man, a mid life crisis. Would it have the same effect now, in middle age?

    Anyhow, I reject the Canon as taught in schools- however Cultural Literacy does deserve a place… just not The Place.

  6. Dennis Says:

    Bill, I count 35 read. And I like your distinction between A Place and The Place.

    One question we might ask about the phrase ‘cultural literacy’: Whose culture?


  7. […] read every canonical text there is, even after I explain that I study rhetoric and composition. Via Dennis, here’s a Facebook (now blogging — perhaps it was blogging first?) […]

  8. Lani Says:

    No Arthur Conan Doyle or did I just miss him. And, I agree that there is a dearth of women. If you count Jane Austen once, there are less than 15 out of 100. What does that mean?

  9. Dennis Says:

    Doyle was #89. And I’d venture you have a guess or two regarding what it might mean.


  10. […] Dennis and others. Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read six of the 100 books […]


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