Saturday, August 05, 2006

Reading Lists

Someone asked me the other day how many of the BBC's Top 100 books I've read. So, I sat down and made a list:

2. Pride and Prejudice
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
6. To Kill a Mockingbird
7. Winnie the Pooh
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four
9. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
10. Jane Eyre
12. Wuthering Heights
17. Great Expectations
18. Little Women
21. Gone With the Wind
22. Henry Potter and the (Sorcerer's) Stone
23. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
30. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
33. The Pillars of the Earth
36. Treasure Island
38. Persuasion
40. Emma
41. Anne of Green Gables
43. The Great Gatsby
46. Animal Farm
47. A Christmas Carol
51. The Secret Garden
62. Memoirs of a Geisha
63. A Tale of Two Cities
70. Lord of the Flies
74. Matilda
75. Bridget Jones's Diary
82. I Capture the Castle
95. Katherine

That's 31, in case you were counting. A piddly 31 percent. And this is a reader poll, based on a survey the BBC took in April 2003. If you post an"expert's" list of 100 great books, I fare even worse:

2. The Great Gatsby
13. 1984 (Do the Brits spell out the title while Americans don't?)
18. Slaughterhouse Five
24. Winesburg, Ohio
31. Animal Farm
41. Lord of the Flies
74. A Farewell to Arms
86. Ragtime
88. The Call of the Wild

Uh, that would be nine. And most of them I didn't even like all that well. It seems just as heavy on old, white dudes as the first list was on Harry Potter. And The Modern Library's "reader list" seems to have been highjacked by Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard fans. I didn't do a whole lot better on that one:

2. The Fountainhead
5. To Kill a Mockingbird (the "experts" didn't pick this one??? What???)
6. 1984
13. The Great Gatsby
20. Animal Farm
23. Slaughterhouse Five
24. Gone With the Wind
25. Lord of the Flies
53. The Handmaid's Tale
75. The Call of the Wild
77. Farenheit 451
81. The Hunt for Red October (but the movie's better *g*)
91. A Farewell to Arms

I can't believe what books weren't on any of these lists. Where was Pearl S. Buck's "The Good Earth"? Chaim Potok's "The Chosen"? Alex Haley's "Roots"? Heck, if "Gone With the Wind" made the lists than "Outlander" should have too!

Maybe one of these days, I'll have to come up with the definitive "Poohba's Top 100."

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