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BBC Book Quiz – How Many have You Read?


a-fine-balance Via Elizaphanian. How many of these 100 books have you read? It’s an interesting mix of classics and modern bestsellers.

Mine marked below for 36, or just over a third. According to the BBC, the average is six. I have a hard time believing that. It’s a depressing notion.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (x)
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien (x)
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (x)
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (x)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (x)
6 The Bible – ()
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte ( )
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell (x)
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman ()
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens ()
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott (x)
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 (x)
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk ()le-petit-prince
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger (x )
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger (x)
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 (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 (x) to-kill-a-mockingbird
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (x )
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres (x)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden (x)
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne (x)
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell (X)
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 (x)
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 (x)
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 ( )
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon (x)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez ()
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (x)
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov ()
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt ()
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold (x)
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 (x)
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie () the-remains-of-the-day
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville ( )
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens ()
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker ()
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett (x)
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson ( )
75 Ulysses – James Joyce ()
76 The Inferno – Dante ( )
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 (x)
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker ()
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro (x)
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert ( )
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry (x)
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White (x)
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 () the-lovely-bones
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (x)
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 ()

What’s your count?

Of the above books I’ve read, my top five favourites would be:

5. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
4. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
3. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
2. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
1. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

time-travelers-wife
Also very good is Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, and I’m very excited to hear that she has a new one coming out called Her Fearful Symmetry (William Blake! Man, I love when I get a reference. Makes me feel so smart.), which according to Amazon.com is due out in October 2009.

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Beth Carswell

About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

39 Responses to “BBC Book Quiz – How Many have You Read?”

  1. virginia swanston August 20, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    of the one hundred ive read 53, most of them i read before my teens. I am a parent and when my son was born he already had a large collection of books, many i must say were second hand and havent ever been read by him. I dont think as many kids read for pleasure as they used to which when you consider how much stuff they have nowadays isnt surprising, im guilty of this as well so its my fault as well. kids should be encouraged to read more, its an amazing feeling to get to the end of a book and know that you have accomplished something.

  2. Beth Carswell

    That’s so true, Virginia. I feel immense satisfaction when I look at my bookshelves and consider that each book probably taught me at least one thing. It’s so relaxing, too!

  3. So far, at 22 years of age, 41 and I still think that’s not nearly enough! Missing a few gems on the list though.

  4. I’ve read 22. I win.

  5. of the 100 books listed here.. have read just 7 of them. Of 38 books I have read in my 4 years of active reading… have read just 7 of them. :(

  6. Beth Carswell

    Don’t feel bad, Iago! That’s 7 more than a lot of people, I bet – and now you have a list of 93 books waiting for you. Riches, man!

  7. So many books missing from this list:

    1 Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
    2 The Book of The Dun Cow – Walter Wangerin Jr.
    3 Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
    4 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
    5 The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton
    6 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke
    7 Anything by Edgar Allen Poe
    8 East of Eden – John Steinbeck
    9 The Odyssey – Homer
    10 Cyrano de Bergerac – Rostand
    11 The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich – William L. Shirer
    12 A Separate Peace – John Knowles
    13 The House of The Seven Gables – Nathaniel Hawthorn
    14 Up the Down Staircase – Bel Kaufman
    15 A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter Miller, Jr.
    16 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
    17 Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
    18 Foundation Trilogy – Isaac Asimov
    19 Charlie Chan – Earl Derr Biggers
    20 The Trial – Franz Kafka
    21 Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman – Richard Feynman
    22 The Gulag Archipelago – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
    23 Hiroshima – John Hersey
    24 The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells
    25 The Gormenghast Trilogy – Mervin Peake
    26 The Silmarillion – Tolkien
    27 The Space Trilogy – CS Lewis
    28 The Maltese Falcon – Dashell Hammett
    29 The Death of A President – William Manchester
    30 Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid – Douglas Hofstader
    31 The Bobbsey Twins – Laura Lee Hope
    32 The Cat In The Hat – -Dr. Seuss
    33 Tarzan of The Apes – Edgar Rice Burroughs
    34 Voltair – Candide
    35 Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
    36 The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman – Earnest Gaines
    37 The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
    38 The Ugly American – William Lederer and Eugene Burdick
    39 The War of The Worlds – HG Wells
    40 The Day of The Triffids – John Wyndham
    41 A Day No Pigs Would Die – Robert Newton Peck
    42 Goodbye Mr. Chips – James Hilton
    43 Fail-Safe – Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler
    44 Worlds In Collision – Immanuel Velikovsky
    45 When Worlds Collide – Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer
    46 Pygmalion – George Bernard Shaw
    47 The Hound of The Baskervills – A. Conan Doyle
    48 Evidence Not Seen – Rose
    49 One day in The Life of Ivan Denisovish – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
    50 The Call of The Wild – Jack London
    51 The Koran
    52 The Bhagavad Gita
    53 The Artists’s Way – Julia Cameron
    54 Tom Swift – Vistor Appleton
    55 The Trees – Conrad Richter
    56 Joan of Arc – Lucy Foster Madison
    57 The Bronze Bow – Elizabeth George Speare
    58 Treasure Island – Robert Lewis Stevenson
    59 Mere Christianity – CS Lewis
    60 The Screwtape Letters – CS Lewis
    61 Ben-Hur – Lew Wallace
    62 How Should We Then Live – Francis Scheaffer
    63 The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling
    64 The Dust of Death – Os Guiness
    65 The Joy of Cooking – Rumbauer
    66 One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
    67 Robert Frost
    68 Hind’s Feet in High Places – Hanna Hurnard
    69 The Day The Jackal – Fredreck Forsyth
    70 Oedipus The King – Sophocles
    71 The Republic – Plato
    72 Beowulf
    73 The Canterbury Tales – Geoffry Chaucer
    74 Utopia – Thomas Moore
    75 The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli
    76 Don Quixote – Cervantes
    77 Paradise Lost – John Milton
    78 The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyon
    79 Confessions – Rousseau
    80 Fauste – Goethe
    81 Emily Dickinson
    82 Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask) – David Reuben
    83 The Satanic Bible – Anton Szandor LaVey
    84 Mein Kampf – Adolf Hitler
    85 Walden – Henry David Thoreau
    86 The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire – Edward Gibbon
    87 The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx
    88 The Birds – Aristophanes
    89 No Exit – Jean Paul Sartre
    90 All Quiet on The Western Front – Eric Maria Remarque
    91 Beloved – Toni Morrison
    92 Cry, The Beloved Country – Alan Paton
    93 The Good Earth – Pearl S. Buck
    94 Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
    95 Just So Stories – Rudyard Kipling
    96 Native Son – Richard Wright
    97 Of Human Bondage – w. Somerset Maugham
    98 The Old Man and The Sea – Ernest Hemmingway
    99 The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
    100 Robinson Crusoe – Damiel Defoe
    101 Silas Marner – George Eliot
    102 The Sound and The Fury – William Faulkner
    103 The Stranger – Albert Camus
    104 No Footprints in The Bush – Aurther Upfield
    105 Born Free – Joy Adamson
    106 The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel – François Rabelais
    107 The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie

  8. I’ve read 81 of these books plus most of the Bible and most of the works of Shakespeare. There was also an abortive attempt to read Ulysses. Can you tell I’m an English teacher?!

  9. 58 books, several more than once. I would agree with Tomas about missing titles and have read many on his list as well, but then I am a passionate reader (at 68). I tried as well to inspire my children by reading to them every night…both of them still read for pleasure.

  10. While I’ve only read 14 of the 100 books listed, I’ve seen 40 movies…not including repeats (2 versions of Lord of the Flies, Charlie and Willie Wonka, etc.)
    When I hear people say, the movie was ok but the book was much better I say: “oh yeah, we’ll I just spend two hours instead of four days…and I didn’t even have to read!”
    But seriously folks…this is a brilliant idea and I’ve got several classics on my To Read list…thanks for this!

  11. Good thing I love Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen. An American list would be different of course.

  12. I have read 62 but can’t say I enjoyed them all. But then I have only read 36 of Tomas 107

  13. English Student December 7, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    48 books from the list some I feel should be added include:
    About a boy; Stuart: a life backwards; once in a house on fire; lassie; the jungle book; black beauty; treasure island;tarka the otter; mrs frisby and the rats of nimh; call of the wild; the dragonlance chronicles; firefox; the inheritance cycle; the origin of species; bambi; city in the stars; you are being lied to; everything you know is wrong; angels and demons; huntress; regeneration; northern lights etc; the diary of a young girl (Anne Frank); A view from the bridge; the dragons of pern; fever pitch; spirit; frankenstein (by mary shelley); Emily dickenson; The war of the worlds; the odyssey; daughters of darkness; the chosen.
    Many more fabulous books of course but these just fly of the tongue as it were ^_^

  14. At 17 i’m a bit ashamed that 25 of these books I haven’t even heard of and have only read 20 all the way through. Allot of them got read to me as a child though and although i’ve only read three i’ve seen the majority of shakespeare’s work (i started watching shakespeare before I started school although I can’t say I understood it). I am surprised that my favourite book, the canterbury tales and my favourite play the importance of being ernest didn’t get on the list

  15. I have read 18 out of the 100 and only 2 of tomos and I a 18 so much more reading time. Glad Tomos added homers odyssey… all time classic!! Do think if you are in to ancient authors that you should also either pick up Catullus, Ovid or Lucretius!

  16. I have read 17 and i am 19 years old. most i read before i even hit 13. i have another 10 of these books on my list. my favorit for sure was the courious insident with the dog in the night. recomended by my Math teacher. i read it in 2 days and i have read it another 3 times since :D

  17. I am 18 years old and I’ve managed to read 46 on the original list and only 5 on Tomas’ list (6 if I ever could manage to finish Pilgrim’s Progress!). There are some incredible titles here, which I’ve been putting off for so long and I really need to get on to! I thank my parents for getting me interested in reading so early through their constant encouragement of children’s classics and then later, real classics. My incredible English teacher stepped in to introduce me to more classics and gave constant recommendations of new, modern authors! Thank you to all for my life wouldn’t be as complete without the things I’ve gleaned from those books! :)

  18. I’ve read 52 of the books on the list and I’m only fifteen. Most were for school, but I love reading on my own time, too. But you absolutely have to read Rebecca! It’s a little slow at first but I loved it :)

  19. I have read 70 of this list, but there are SO many more classics that were not listed that I have also read. Hands up to being an English teacher.

  20. I am six, still learning to read and writebut I have almost learned by heart one of the books of the list: The Holy Bible.
    God Bless You All
    Jamy

  21. I’ve read 72 out of the 100 books on the list, but I used to teach English literature

  22. I read 43 out of the list, but there are several on the list that I will be reading shortly. I like the variety of the list.

  23. I’ve read 17 of those books. I’m happy with that considering my sixteen years of life.

    Good list. A wide selection.

  24. Read 26 books on the list. One book not on the list and one of my favorite – Guns,Gems and Steel The fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond.

  25. any idea whether i can put this on my profile list on facebook? something like a to-do list?

  26. Its pretty good that a seventeen year old has read 17 year old 18 of these and many others.

  27. i’m 15 and have read 29. ive watched or seen the play of 41 of them though but about 20 of them ive never even heard of. oops.

  28. i’ve read 34 all the way through and had abortive attempts at another 5-10… but i’m only 18 so there’s still time. i’ve put a lot of these on my things-to-read list, though.

  29. Woohooo I’ve read 80 and a half on the list, I gave up on Little Women half way through as I thought it was dire.

  30. I’ve read 38 books from the list and also a number of those mentioned by Tomos.
    Like Joanne, I’ve read much of the Bible and Shakespeare and also made an abortive attempt at reading Ulysses!
    I would find a place for Marlow’s Dr Faustus and Fielding’s Tom Jones and Tennyson’s Idylls of the King.

  31. OK everyone, there are no books “missing” from this list, the list is how it is supposed to be. It is just a list of varied books, and out of these books, the BBC is estimating how many the average person has read. So don’t get your knickers in a bunch, this is not a list for the best books of all time or anything.

  32. I have read 62 from the first list and 55 from Tomas’ list but my own list would be different still. Frankly I fail to see why the bible or the koran are even on this list since neither is well written or historically accurate or important as a fictional work. Including them for religious reasons only is simply wrong.

  33. I’m 15, but still have read 42 of these books, most of them in the past 2 years. Admittedly I read a lot compared to many people my age, but I think books are under rated in today’s society. Many of my favourite books are not on this list, though, which is disappointing. Frankenstein should have been on there.

  34. Why are The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Hamlet listed twice?
    Not that I don’t love them both, but it seems to me this is actually a list of 98.
    I mean, if you’ve read the complete works of Shakespeare it goes without saying you’ve read Hamlet.

  35. i have only read 30 of these titles
    but i have read most of those several times, dozens of times
    in Tomas’ list i had read 27 of them,
    again many times
    but then i pride myself on being an inveterate rereader of great works
    i have read the Bible straight through at least a dozen times
    and the Gospels a hundred times through or more
    i have read all of Shakespeare’s plays through and through many times
    i just started rereading them again (Histories, Comedies, Tragedies)
    and pride myself on being able to name all 37 plays when asked
    i have also read most of Shaw’s plays (first editions i have collected)
    many times, many, many times but i don’t have them all
    i have been reading and re-reading the Foundation Trilogy
    and the subsequent novels in the Foundation universe by Azimov
    since the 1960s
    i read the Ring trilogy first in the 1960s
    and then turned my son onto it when he was 13 years old
    and he is now an aficionado as much as i am
    i have reread Tale of Two Cities many times
    and consider it one of the greatest novels ever written
    Jules Verne’s novel “The Mysterious Island” has always been one of my
    favorites but it has slipped in recent years
    (that wasn’t on either of the two lists)
    the most recent novel i have read is Anita Diament’s “The Red Tent”
    (which also isn’t on the list)
    and for a Bible reader and re-reader it was magnificent
    in terms of adding to the bare Biblical narrative
    but enough of my garrulousness
    here are the two lists i have read:

    BBC list
    Lord of the Rings (at least 10 times)
    Pride and Prejudice
    Harry Potter (all seven 7 times)
    Winnie the Pooh (at least 50 times)
    1984 (three or four times)
    Jane Eyre
    Catch 22
    Wuthering Heights
    Catcher in the Rye
    Wind in the Willows
    Great Expectations
    War and Peace
    Harry Potter II
    Harry Potter III
    Harry Potter IV
    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
    Treasure Island (a dozen times or more)
    Dune (maybe three times)
    Watership Down
    Count of Monte Cristo (many times)
    Animal Farm
    A Christmas Carol (many times)
    Anna Karenina
    Black Beauty
    Crime and Punishment
    Tale of Two Cities (one of my favorites)
    Lord of the Flies (once or twice)
    Brave New World
    The Clan of the Cave Bear

    TOMAS’ LIST
    Frankenstein
    The Odyssey (and the Iliad)
    Cyrano de Bergerac
    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    The Foundation Trilogy (dozens of times)
    Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feinman!
    The Silmarillion
    Cat in the Hat
    Tarzan of the Apes (and all the rest of the Tarzan books)
    Candide
    The Jungle
    The Hound of the Baskervilles (and all the rest of Sherlock Holmes)
    Call of the Wild
    Bhagavad Gita
    Treasure Island(since childhood)
    The Jungle Book (since childhood)
    Robert Frost’s poems
    The Republic — Plato
    Canterbury Tales (both English and Middle English)
    Don Quixote (several times)
    Faust (Goethe)
    Walden
    The Birds
    Just So Stories (since childhood)
    Robinson Crusoe (since childhood)

  36. I had finished 93 of these before being conceived, and sped through the remaining 7 as a foetus. Personally I’m disgusted by the 6 year old still trying to memorise the Bible, and think that anybody over the age of 11 who hasn’t written at least 4 classic novels should take a long, hard look at themselves.

  37. I feel that a number of key works have been heinously omitted from both the BBC and the prestigious Tomas’ lists.

    http://www.abebooks.com/products/isbn/9780307589880/3174904102
    ‘Pets who want to Kill themselves’, Duncan Birmingham

    http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?bi=0&bx=off&ds=30&recentlyadded=all&sortby=17&sts=t&tn=Beyond+Leaf+Raking&x=0&y=0
    ‘Beyond Leaf Raking’, Peter Benson

    http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?bi=0&bx=off&ds=30&recentlyadded=all&sortby=17&sts=t&tn=Squids+Will+Be+Squids&x=0&y=0
    ‘Squids Will be Squids’, Jon Scieszka

    Thanks for your time, I would appreciate it if any accounts of personal reading achievements that follow would specify BBC, Tomas’, and Jaymee’s lists.

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