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Thread: BBC's Big Read

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    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    BBC's Big Read

    I am not sure those of you who live outside the UK are familiar with BBC's Big Read (http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/). Last year, they did a survey to find out nation's favorite books. After months of campaigning and voting, the 100 most popular books are:

    1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
    2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
    3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
    4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
    5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
    6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
    7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
    8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
    9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
    10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
    11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
    12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
    13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
    14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
    15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
    16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
    17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
    18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
    19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
    20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
    21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
    22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
    23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
    24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
    25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
    26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
    27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
    28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
    29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
    30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
    31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
    32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
    33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
    34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
    35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
    36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
    37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
    38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
    39. Dune, Frank Herbert
    40. Emma, Jane Austen
    41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
    42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
    43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
    44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
    45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
    46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
    47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
    48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
    49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
    50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
    51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
    52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
    53. The Stand, Stephen King
    54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
    55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
    56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
    57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
    58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
    59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
    60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
    62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
    63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
    64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
    65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
    66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
    67. The Magus, John Fowles
    68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
    69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
    70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
    71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
    72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
    73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
    74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
    75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
    76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
    77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
    78. Ulysses, James Joyce
    79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
    80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
    81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
    82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
    83. Holes, Louis Sachar
    84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
    85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
    86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
    87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
    88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
    89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
    90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
    91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
    92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
    93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
    94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
    95. Katherine, Anya Seton
    96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
    97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
    98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
    99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
    100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

    (The top 200 can be seen at http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/top200.shtml)

    I am hoping to read all of them sometime... and maybe the top 200 as well in time although I do not agree with certain choices or understand how and why they ended up in this list.

    What are your thoughts on this list?
    Last edited by Scheherazade; 01-12-2005 at 08:09 AM.
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    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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  2. #2
    precious... subterranean's Avatar
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    Gormenghast is on the list??? Wow, I think people in UK got a weird taste ..and The Princess Diaries??? Isn't that one of those chicklit stuffs? I think LOTR is at 1# more or less cause of the movie version factor.

    Some of my fav books are on the list: 1984, (8), Catch 22 (11), Animal Farm (46).

    I think Jude the Obscure is much better than Tess of D'Ubervilles.
    By the way Scher, can you give more info about who are the respondents/the crtieria of the samples (age/sex/occupation/location etc)?


    "there are people in the world so hungry that God can not appear to them except in the form of bread"

    Mahatma Gandhi

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    Thank you for providing the statistics, Scher. I love to see that many of the classics continue to persist as many people's favorites, including Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, J.D. Salinger, William Golding, John Steinbeck, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Alexander Dumas (among others).
    I had to read the list twice, however. I felt surprised reading it the first time to see that Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez made the list, but One-Hundred Years of Solitude did not; then I saw number 32.

  4. #4
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Here are the books in the next 100, which didn't make it to the top:

    101. Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
    102. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
    103. The Beach, Alex Garland
    104. Dracula, Bram Stoker
    105. Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz
    106. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
    107. Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz
    108. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
    109. The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
    110. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
    111. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy
    112. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾, Sue Townsend
    113. The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat
    114. Les Misérables, Victor Hugo
    115. The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
    116. The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson
    117. Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
    118. The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
    119. Shogun, James Clavell
    120. The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
    121. Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson
    122. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
    123. The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
    124. House Of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
    125. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
    126. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett
    127. Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
    128. The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
    129. Possession, A. S. Byatt
    130. The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
    131. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
    132. Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl
    133. East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
    134. George's Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
    135. Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett
    136. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
    137. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
    138. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
    139. Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson
    140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
    141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
    142. Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson
    143. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
    144. It, Stephen King
    145. James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
    146. The Green Mile, Stephen King
    147. Papillon, Henri Charriere
    148. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
    149. Master And Commander, Patrick O'Brian
    150. Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz
    151. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
    152. Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett
    153. The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett
    154. Atonement, Ian McEwan
    155. Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson
    156. The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier
    157. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
    158. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
    159. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
    160. Cross Stitch, Diana Gabaldon
    161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
    162. River God, Wilbur Smith
    163. Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
    164. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
    165. The World According To Garp, John Irving
    166. Lorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore
    167. Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson
    168. The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye
    169. The Witches, Roald Dahl
    170. Charlotte's Web, E. B. White
    171. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
    172. They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
    173. The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
    174. The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
    175. Sophie's World, Jostein Gaarder
    176. Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson
    177. Fantastic Mr Fox, Roald Dahl
    178. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
    179. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach
    180. The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery
    181. The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
    182. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
    183. The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay
    184. Silas Marner, George Eliot
    185. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
    186. The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Grossmith
    187. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
    188. Goosebumps, R. L. Stine
    189. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
    190. Sons And Lovers, D. H. LawrenceLife of Lawrence
    191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
    192. Man And Boy, Tony Parsons
    193. The Truth, Terry Pratchett
    194. The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells
    195. The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans
    196. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
    197. Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett
    198. The Once And Future King, T. H. White
    199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
    200. Flowers In The Attic, Virginia Andrews
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  5. #5
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subterranean
    By the way Scher, can you give more info about who are the respondents/the crtieria of the samples (age/sex/occupation/location etc)?
    It was almost a year long process... First people nominated their favorite books. Anyone who wanted to take place could either go online or phone. Then people voted for their favorite ones among the top 200 most nominated books. It was a big campaign, celebrities trying to get people vote for their favorites etc.

    Since anyone could vote online, kids voted for their favorites as well which explains the presence of all H.Potter books etc... However, it has been very good... Many people have started reading again or read some of the books they wouldn't normally.

    I agree with you that LOTR is popular because it coincided with the movie release...

    Who would you like to see at number 1?
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    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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    dancing before the storms baddad's Avatar
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    These are the books I have read that are on the BBC list.....a total of 55.


    #1-2-4-6-7-8-11-12-15-20(never finished) -25-29-30-36-39-42-44-46-47-52-53-58-60-70-87-91-92-103-104-105-109-119-120-128-141-144-146-147-153-157-158-161-164-165-170-171-173-179-182-183-187-191-194-195-200...

    Yes, # 200, Flowers in the Attic! Who would have thunk it? I must have been at the cottage and had nothing else to read that summer.....

    Favourite from the list?....... "The World According To Garp"...#165.

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    Johnny One Shot Basil's Avatar
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    By my count, there are NINE books by Roald Dahl on there, but not a single one by William Faulkner . . .
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  8. #8
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    The list reflects the tastes and choices of the British people today, which is why some American authors do not appear in the list. Or other eminent foreign authors;e.g. where is Camus, where is Kafka??

    *sighs* I guess people have spoken...

    Being a person of simple mind and tastes, I desperately wanted 'To Kill A Mockingbird' to top the list... I am still glad that it is in top 10.
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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    L'artiste est morte crisaor's Avatar
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    Thanks for the numbers, Scherezade. I'm astonished with the notable contrast between some of the top ten books. I'm guessing that's a matter of age, but nevertheless, it's still shocking. Even in the following ones, there doesn't seem to be a disctinct pattern, or at least, I don't see any.
    Ningún hombre llega a ser lo que es por lo que escribe, sino por lo que lee.
    - Jorge Luis Borges

  10. #10
    Johnny One Shot Basil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherazade
    where is Camus, where is Kafka??
    Yes, and where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?
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  11. #11
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basil
    Yes, and where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?
    Où sont les Neigedens d'antan?

    I hadn't read this at the time of the Big Read voting... Maybe I would like this one to be # 1 actually...

    *edit*

    Why are there are so many books and so little time to read??
    Last edited by Scheherazade; 01-14-2005 at 05:38 AM.
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    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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  12. #12
    precious... subterranean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherazade
    Why are there are so many books and so little time to read??

    Very true.
    And about the reading taste, perhaps you right. I mean I don't see how on earth that Gormenghast can be on the list.


    "there are people in the world so hungry that God can not appear to them except in the form of bread"

    Mahatma Gandhi

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    Cleric of Josh Bongitybongbong's Avatar
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    The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (4) is a good book. The only problem is you could read it in about 2 hours.
    currently in my world of insanity and randomism

  14. #14
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crisaor
    I'm guessing that's a matter of age, but nevertheless, it's still shocking.
    A matter of age??

    I think the list suggest a clash between 'popular culture' and 'classic' favorites... I don't see any other way to explain this for example:

    17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
    18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
    19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
    20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
    21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
    22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
    23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
    24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
    25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
    26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
    27. Middlemarch, George Eliot

    I am just happy that people are reading, no matter what.
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    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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  15. #15
    dancing before the storms baddad's Avatar
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    I disagree with the use of the world, 'clash' in the post above. I find it fascinating and gratifying and rational that a cross section of a society is reading a cross section of available literrature. Sure, I'm using the term 'literature' in its loosest sense, but readers interested in current writings (pop culture) are no less valid judges of what is pleasureable to read than those expounding the virtues of the 'classics'. And I'm not sure that a persons age has the final disposition on what to read. Many of us here have read an incredibly wide variety of writings, probably more so than the average reader because of our heightened interest in the written word. Many of us will read ANYTHING!... maybe even feel compelled to read, voraciously gobbling up typeface as quick as we can find it.

    And of course, scientifially, polls are a notoriously poor way to gather data, and so we can make of these lists anything we would like/dislike to see. But to echo Sher, it is good to see people reading. The list reflects the diversity of a society, and this is as it should be and seems perfectly normal.

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