Who wants to see the BBC Big Read back in 2013?

TalkBook talk

Join LibraryThing to post.

Who wants to see the BBC Big Read back in 2013?

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Nov 18, 2011, 5:37 pm

Ten years on, it would be nice to see how that list has changed.

Nov 18, 2011, 5:42 pm

Perhaps with Stephen Fry hosting it?

Nov 18, 2011, 5:44 pm

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
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

Nov 18, 2011, 5:45 pm


O tempora o mores

Nov 18, 2011, 7:15 pm

Has anyone read the list?

Edited: Nov 18, 2011, 7:30 pm

Oooh yes!

It would be good to see how it has changed...if only to see where #5,22,23 etc now fall, and if #1 is still #1. Heeee

I love lists like this.

ETA: I've read 59 of those and have another 31 on my shelves to read... (at a quick count).
It would be interesting to see how that has changed too.

Nov 18, 2011, 7:22 pm

I've read 21... so that's just VERY slightly over 10% . . and seeing as I'm only 26 I don't think that's too bad.

Nov 18, 2011, 7:28 pm

I have read


I think that's 44 in total.

Nov 18, 2011, 7:31 pm

Well; some of them I am never going to read, even if they appear on a gazillion lists.

I think that is good 'going' for all of us.

Nov 18, 2011, 7:31 pm

I've read 53 ... surprised myself!

Nov 18, 2011, 7:35 pm

Nov 18, 2011, 7:49 pm

> 9


It would be good to see the whole project done again a decade later.... just to see....

Nov 18, 2011, 7:54 pm

36. Meh.

Nov 18, 2011, 8:07 pm

Only 24 for me but my English major wife read 56 including the Harry Potters.

Nov 18, 2011, 8:08 pm

> 13

And what a fantastic book too!

The tragedy of this list, is though, that Kidnapped is not on there.

Nov 18, 2011, 8:10 pm

I actually took it as a matter of pride that I hadn't read the Harry Potter books.

Nov 18, 2011, 8:43 pm

> 16

I see - like perhaps a badge? "I haven't read the Potter books".."I don't own a mobile phone" wtc

Nov 18, 2011, 8:47 pm

Hmmm .... proud to NOT have read a book? Perhaps there's a separate list somewhere ...

Nov 18, 2011, 9:07 pm

>18 NarratorLady:

Listmania - I'm sure there will be.

Nov 18, 2011, 9:08 pm

In fact is there anyone on LT who hasn't read any of the BBC Big Read 200? (or less than 5?)

Nov 18, 2011, 9:57 pm

I've read at least 55 of them, although I don't remember anything about some of the ones I read besides that I read them. I may have read more, but I can't be sure of some of the titles. I actually started to count because I was hopeful of having read fewer than five.


Edited: Nov 19, 2011, 2:15 am

> 21

That's funny.

161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville v 99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot

Goodness gracious.

Nov 19, 2011, 3:24 am

#20 Not me. I've read about 55 and will have read a couple more once I'm through my TBR pile.

Edited: Nov 19, 2011, 3:55 am

> 23

Just realised by revisiting this list, how many I've been meaning to read but have not yet, such as David Copperfield

Nov 19, 2011, 4:20 am

100 and I have a few of the others on my TBR shelves:)

This total was helped by all the Pratchett's on the list, being British and of a certain age and studying English Literature to "A" level while at school.

Nov 19, 2011, 4:57 am

#25 I understand the feeling. ^-^ My list of books would be paltry if I excluded most of the Pratchetts and the books I had to read for my lit courses.

Nov 19, 2011, 5:21 am

> 25, 26

I've never read a Pratchett. Funny, I was going to buy one recently because it was reduced on amazon. Snuff.

Nov 19, 2011, 5:30 am

LesMiserables I haven't read Snuff, yet, though I have a copy and it is next up on the TBR list.

I wouldn't recommend starting there though as it is the eighth in the Guards sub-series.

Edited: Nov 19, 2011, 7:08 am

I thought this was a great list and would love to see it done again ten years later. When the list came out I'd read around 100 of the books and used it as a wishlist for some while. I finally got up to 123 books read and still have two on Mount TBR crying for my attention. I think that's going to be it; the ones I haven't read I don't think I'm going to want to and a lot of these are children's books that I was too old for when they were first published and that also somehow missed my children (not that I have anything against children's books - I discovered some great ones through the list (Holes, The Silver Sword etc) but I've probably had my fill of those on the list).

I'd love to see a place for The Crimson Petal and the White this time around - as I recall it was published just too late for inclusion in the original list the first time - and I'd be very pleased to see a considerable drop in the position of the Harry Potter books (not to mention a big fat blank where the Jeffrey Archer ones were) but I fear those places might now find themselves taken by books about glittery vampires instead.

Perhaps we should petition the Beeb to get an updated list under way?

Nov 19, 2011, 8:59 am

#27, I'd definitely agree with calm that Snuff isn't the best place to start exploring Pratchett, LesMiserables. You can read it as a stand-alone, but I wouldn't recommend it. (Pratchett is very much a "Follow along and figure it out yourself or drown" kind of writer. It's wonderfully refreshing to see a writer trust in reader intelligence like that, but when some of those clues are things that build up over several books and/or are comments that refer back to events in previous books you end up reading over a lot of the subtleties and richness because that's all information that you don't have and can't bring into the read.)

Nov 19, 2011, 4:59 pm

> 30

Thanks, I'll bear that in mind.

> 29

It would be interesting of course, to be on a certain number of read BBC200 books and then see how that list stood after a new 'The Nation Speaks' revisit to the list a decade on.

Nov 19, 2011, 5:02 pm

Also, being a long time Tolkien fan (say over 35 years) I would be curious to know if it gets bumped off the top spot. I would be also interested to see what happens to the Potter Books: I have not read any myself, yet their popularity is impressive.

Nov 20, 2011, 2:06 am

> 28, 30

What is the order of the Pratchett books?

Er, what is the first?

Nov 20, 2011, 4:49 am

#33 That... depends entirely on where you want to start and how you want to read. L-Space has a reading order guide that shows you which books go in which subseries and in which internal chronological order they go in each series.

Most recommendations seem to boil down to "Pick the book that sounds interesting for you and don't worry too much about the order", though. It's just a bit harder to jump straight into the later books. I tried to read Thud! right after Guards! Guards! and just got hopelessly confused at points because I hadn't read books 2-6 yet. (Well, partially because of that anyway.)

Those recommendations that don't tailor to people's tastes seem to stick to the Watch and Death subseries for a starting point, though. I'd recommend Guards! Guards!, which is the start of the Watch books, over anything else, especially since Snuff seems to have caught your interest and because it's a good introduction to Pratchett's style.

I hope that helps somewhat!

Nov 20, 2011, 5:07 am

> 34

Thanks for what is a most comprehensive answer.
I had a look at that jpeg and I had an immediate attack of brainfog! :-)

Nov 20, 2011, 5:52 am

#35 Glad it was helpful! And the amount of Discworld books is pretty daunting, definitely! It's one of the reasons I opted to read them subseries by subseries rather than in publication order. Having them divided into smaller series is far, far less daunting to me than looking at the lot of them all at once.

Edited: Nov 20, 2011, 11:58 pm

> 36

You've read them all: impressive!

I've just realised that Pratchett alone makes up for 7.5% of the wholle BBC 200 list! That is 15 in total, which is amazing.

Nov 21, 2011, 4:09 am

#37. Not yet, I'm afraid. I've just read most of them. I have... nine books to go before I've read all the Discworld books currently published? Maybe ten.

And yes. It's really amazing that he makes up such a large portion of the list. ^-^ He's on the list most often, I think. Mmm. I'm curious now...

*gets to CS Lewis* Nope. Even if I don't count all the Pratchett books I've read separately and leave out the books I read for classes, I still don't make it below the 5 books you were wondering about in #20. Darn! ^-~

Nov 21, 2011, 11:36 pm

116 if I had not missed some.

But that is easily explainable by the fact that a lot of these are the classics (which mean being translated in Bulgarian before 1989 and available from the local libraries during the changes (and I could not afford buying at that time, the libraries did not have newer books so it was a given to read all the classics)) and then a good number of the newer ones are from authors I actually like and/or from authors that were translated back home. :) And I read Charlotte's Web earlier this year...

>33 LesMiserables:
Guards!Guards! is a great way to get into the world. As is the Colour of Magic. Or Equal Rites - although I do not think that the witches sequence is the best one to start with. Or the Death sequence (so I won't recommend Mort for a start). Back in the days I started with the guards -- and then switched to Rincewind (Colour of Magic). Another way is to start with something a bit more standalone (yeah, right) such as Pyramids although I am not sure how good the style feels without knowing how he writes. :) If you want a 1 book recommendation - go for Guards!Guards!

Nov 21, 2011, 11:41 pm

> 39

Very impressed AnnieMod :-)

Nov 22, 2011, 4:26 am

I think I come to 115, but have to confess to growing up in the UK, which makes for more overlap with BBC-taste.

I missed out on both Roald Dahl and Jacqueline Wilson/Anthony Horowitz through being the wrong age, but I had a phase of buying Pratchett to read on aeroplanes (they are just the right length for a typical short flight plus waiting around and train home) so I've read most of those, but I don't think I'd bother to re-read many of them. The jokes are very funny the first time around, but I don't think they survive much longer than that. The Guards ones probably have the most subtle characterisation.

Given how many I've read, I'm surprised how many writers there are on the list I've never even heard of: Virginia Andrews, Malorie Blackman, Eoin Colfer (is that an anagram of something?), Bryce Courtenay, Mark Z. Danielewski, Raymond E Feist, Michelle Magorian, Tony Parsons, Louise Rennison, Louis Sachar, Ian Serraillier, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams. Quite a few of the others are names I only know through seeing their books set out on the bestseller tables. I should get out more, evidently.

Edited: Nov 22, 2011, 4:33 am

Eoin Colfer (is that an anagram of something?)

No, it's Irish.

ETA: Or at least the author is. I'm actually not 100% on the name origin. (Hence the edit.)

Nov 22, 2011, 4:33 am

I might have to just buy a Pratchett, you know, just one...

Nov 22, 2011, 4:37 am


Not heard of Terry Venables? Football manager of Barcelona, Spurs and England (and others). He co-wrote four novels with Williams. He was apparently also the co-creator of the TV detective programme Hazell.

Malorie Blackman is a children's author. As is Eoin Colfer (no it isn't an anagram it is his name - he is Irish). Raymond Feist is a fantasy author. Tony Parsons is a journo who has written a few books Man And Boy being his big success. Louise Rennison writes teen fiction aimed at girls (one of which has been made into a film).

Of those I've read Eoin Colfer (who also wrote the last H2G2 book) and Raymond Fiest.

Nov 22, 2011, 5:47 am

>44 andyl:
Thanks - that's evidently what happens when you (a) only read the British papers very sporadically for 25 years and (b) know nothing and care less about football. On further reflection, I think I have seen Man and boy somewhere - probably on my sister's shelves.

So, roughly half the 200 books are children's or teen titles from the last 25 years or so, by the look of it. I wonder if that means that British people generally stop reading when they leave school, or that people born in the 80s and 90s read more than those born in the 60s or 70s? Or that the best writers are writing for young people?

Nov 22, 2011, 5:54 am

> 45

Or it was mainly the saplings that voted?

Nov 22, 2011, 6:21 am

thorold - you've never heard of Virginia Andrews? Oh lucky man!

Nov 22, 2011, 6:42 am

87 for me.

Nov 22, 2011, 6:56 am

>46 LesMiserables:
Ah, that's true - it was a BBC poll. Probably involved expensive phone calls or that information-superhighway thingy everyone's talking about...

Nov 22, 2011, 7:05 am

> 49

ergo no oldies to vote for the oldies

Nov 22, 2011, 7:39 am

22 for me...

Nov 22, 2011, 11:34 am

>45 thorold:
I suspect that there is also something else playing here -- people from the late 70s and the 80s keep reading YA and children fiction way after they are supposed to have stopped. And fantasy (including Pratchett) is not exactly YA for the most part-- the themes and the style is mostly wrong on a lot of them.

PS: Colfer also did the new Hitchhiker novel so he is getting away from being just a children author. How successfully is another story.

Nov 22, 2011, 11:47 am


Colfer's last book was Plugged which is an adult crime novel. I haven't read it so can't comment on how well he has transitioned to adult novels.

Nov 22, 2011, 11:48 am

I suspect the situation isn't as bad as it looks. At a (very) quick count-up it appears that of the 123 books I have read from the list, 95 are for adults. That's not such bad going when you consider how many people of all ages have a strong emotional attachment to books they read as a child or even ones they shared with their own children. It also depends, of course, on where you draw the line between children's and adults' fiction: I imagine most of us would agree that Heidi, fpr example, ot the Harry Potter books are aimed more or less sxclusively at children and young readers but there might be some disagreement about books like His Dark Materials, Lord of the Flies or the Adrian Mole books that can be enjoyed equally by both adults and teens.

Edited: Nov 22, 2011, 1:39 pm

>people from the late 70s and the 80s keep reading YA and children fiction way after they are supposed to have stopped.

Says who? And I'm from the 60s. Sometimes I read them for sentimental reasons, other times because they are a classic that I never got a chance to read. And sometimes because I need something very light and quick.

Nov 22, 2011, 1:51 pm

>55 Morphidae:

Says what? That they are supposed to have stopped? The non-reading part of the population :)

My point was that the YA fiction is not read only from YA - I still like my Karl May/Indians stories and the similar but they were a lot more likely to grow out of than what is currently called YA.(not to mention that the last Harry Potter would give nightmares to almost any child... it is not exactly children literature at that point).

Nov 22, 2011, 3:29 pm

>Says what? That they are supposed to have stopped? The non-reading part of the population :)

HA! Okay, I get it.

Nov 22, 2011, 4:35 pm

I have highlighted mine here.


Sorry, yes it's a trifle pathetic; I like lists you see.

Nov 22, 2011, 4:36 pm

How to get mad. Juxtapose neighbours.

140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque

Nov 22, 2011, 4:40 pm

Interesting. I've just 'wordled' the list.


Pratchett! (and......) sob

Nov 22, 2011, 4:45 pm

But when I look at the top 21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/vote/ it doesn't seem so bad after all. No Tracey Beaker.

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

Nov 22, 2011, 4:52 pm

>58 LesMiserables:

Mine's in a database with 90 other lists. I filtered by code (BBCB and BBC2) to get my number.

Nov 22, 2011, 10:03 pm

> 62


Edited: Nov 23, 2011, 5:32 am

Does anyone have a link to the BBC Big Read clips? I would like to see the Ray Mears ones again.

Nov 23, 2011, 11:08 am

Nov 23, 2011, 4:43 pm

> 65

Yes, I looked at those and the those are the micro clips showing the bookworms talking. Although these ones I could not get to work.
The ones I was referring to were the ones that filmed the actual book champions talking. I vaguely remember Ray Mears on one of his hikes and discussing the meandering dales and pastures of the English countryside and how this paralleled 'The Shire'.

Dec 2, 2011, 9:55 pm

>41 thorold:, I've reread some of the Discworld books dozens of times. I still laugh out loud while reading them.

I've read 65 of them, and would definitely love to see what's changed.

It seems silly to talk about children's and YA (an idiotic designation) books in that way. A really good book is good at any age. There are some books that are only good while you're a teenager, because even smart teenagers are idiots in a lot of ways, but I think that's the only time when that's true.

Dec 2, 2011, 10:12 pm

>67 mabith: because even smart teenagers are idiots in a lot of ways

aka - because even smart teenagers will be teenagers

Dec 3, 2011, 6:41 am

#67 I'd have to disagree. Children's books can be excellent books and yet still not hold much appeal for adults. Taking the argument to its extreme, how many adults really read the Janet and John books for pleasure? yet they did a great job of teahing us literacy (I think they're called something else in the US). Likewise there are many books aimed at adults that would simply be beyond the understanding of children. Of course, it's impossible to draw a line to say exactly where the limits are - many 13 year olds are very comfortable with Dickens and Austen, while others are barely able to understand the titles, but it's not unreasonable to have some guide of the age-group the authors and publishers have in mind for the readership. Of course, there are also lots of wonderful cross-over books but while Heidi, for example, may be a great book for all ages to read, surely there's no denying that if it had been written specifically for adults, the language and terminology would have been very different. Adults reading children's and YA books and vice versa is fine but they are not the same thing.

Dec 3, 2011, 8:49 am

>67 mabith:

There are books that work as a charm when you are at a certain age... and then sound way too naive when you get more experienced. But then there are people in their 40s that would not be able to catch a subtle poke at something in their books... and 15 years olds that will catch it immediately. Ages don't always show the level of your reading comprehension :)

As for the YA designation -- it is not that idiotic. It is there to tell teenagers (and parents) that the book is free from really adult scenes... it is another story that most of those simplify a lot of the real life choices (in a lot of cases, the protagonist does not need to make all the hard choices - the correct people die in the correct moments).

Dec 3, 2011, 12:20 pm

My point is that there's a difference between a really good, well-written children's book and books we enjoyed as children. I liked reading Berenstein Bears books when I was 7 but they're not really good books (in my informed adult opinion). Whereas I can read Ballet Shoes as an adult and understand immediately what a good book it is in terms of the way it's written, the way the lessons are learned, etc... and truly enjoy it because it's well-written, smart, and interesting.

Not all books labeled YA are free from really adult scenes though, at least not according to every parent. What I mean is that plenty of books written for adults are no more 'adult' than books in the YA sections. Lots of summer reading choices for high school students are books normally shelved in the adult section of libraries and bookstores. Yet when I managed a bookstore some parents would look a bit shocked when I recommended a book for their teenager from the adult section. It can create an unnecessary barrier people's minds.

It creates a barrier in the mind and an idea of what kids and teenagers are 'supposed' to be reading. My dad's been a librarian for over 25 years. Neither he nor any librarian (especially children's librarians) ever have anything good to say about the YA designation (and certainly we didn't always have that, yet young adults still read books).

Dec 3, 2011, 11:08 pm

They kicked me into the Adults' section of the local library when I was 11 because I had nothing left to read in the children's section. And the rules back then were than I could not carry adults section card until I have a passport (which meant 16 years old) or a teacher sends a note that you can read them. So it depends on the kid I guess.

Technically speaking YA are not children - so some mature topics are more than expected. Back in the days there was a different designation (at least in Bulgaria) for books which were not for children but were relatively safe for young minds (no excessive sex or 3 pages long descriptions of bloody battles). What they call YA now is very similar to these books -- or that is what the idea is. How well it works is a different story - publishers will use any designation they want so the book sell (the biggest example being paranormal romances and urban fantasy -- they should not really mingle as much as they do but publishers keep using the wrong labels now and then - whatever they believe will sell).

PS: I love Children books. Having grown up outside of the English cannon and in a country where most of the Western children cannon was never published, I am experiencing a lot of those books for the first time. :)

Dec 4, 2011, 3:43 am

They kicked me into the Adults' section of the local library when I was 11 because I had nothing left to read in the children's section. And the rules back then were than I could not carry adults section card until I have a passport (which meant 16 years old) or a teacher sends a note that you can read them. So it depends on the kid I guess.

Oh, how familiar this sounds...

Dec 5, 2011, 6:43 am

>72 AnnieMod:,73
As I remember it, the children's section in our public library was aimed at primary-school age and below, but I don't think that was enforced in any way. I think we all had the same colour of tickets (maybe adults got more tickets??). I don't remember any intermediate section - it's easy enough to imagine that less-determined teenagers might have given up reading when confronted with the huge assortment of books in the main library. At school we did have a "middle-school library" (11-16, dominated by alluvial deposits of Conan Doyle, G.A. Henty, Percy F. Westerman, Frank Richards, Kipling and H.G. Wells) and a "senior fiction library" (16+, D.H. Lawrence, Penguin Modern Classics), both separate from the "proper" non-fiction library.

I don't think anyone was concerned about "safe for young minds" - if you were quiet and didn't disturb the 6th-formers doing the Times crossword, you were welcome to sit in the library and read Mein Kampf, Das Kapital or Wisden, according to taste...

Dec 19, 2011, 4:50 pm

I'm now up to 45/200 with my completion, last night, of 161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville

Dec 25, 2011, 4:24 am

Finally succumbed and bought, what I think is quite a bargain, a small collection of the Discworld novels - the 'Guards' books.

Not bad for a tenner!


Dec 28, 2011, 6:12 am

Well I tried....


Reference CAS-1212399-11VZ8Q

Thanks for contacting the BBC with your enquiry.

I understand that you wish to request that we do another ‘The Big Read’ programme in 2013 or at any other date.

I am not currently aware of any plans for this and all that I can advise you at the moment is that your request has been registered on our log and will be used in feedback reports which go to Senior BBC Management in addition to programme makers.

The logs are seen as important documents whereby our audience can help shape decisions about the future of our programming and content.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to us.

Kind Regards


BBC Audience Services

Dec 29, 2011, 3:11 am

>76 LesMiserables:

Not at all. Happy reading :)

Dec 29, 2011, 5:48 am

I surprised myself by having read 61 but a lot of those were a long time ago.

Dec 29, 2011, 5:49 am

> 79

They all count!

Edited: Dec 29, 2011, 12:53 pm


and more in my mountain range of TBR piles, and more added to my "To Buy" list. Much appreciated.

Jul 17, 2012, 6:08 am

Just finished Far from the Madding Crowd by Hardy. Almost a quarter of a way through the 200!


On another note, this thread has turned my son into a Pratchett nut!

Jul 6, 2015, 4:35 am

Ok, three years on, but who's counting?

Would love to see this resurrected?

My bet would still be on JRRT

Oct 12, 2016, 4:26 am

I have just realised! I HAVE JUST REALISED!!!
That Don Quixote did not make it onto the list. Good grief.

Apr 21, 2019, 10:06 pm

I feel the stirrings of another Lord of the Rings read in the air.


Apr 21, 2019, 10:17 pm

Oh, I'm now at 60, having read 14 of them since this this thread was started back in late 2011.