Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Well Read MEME

Found this from the pages of Memoirs of a Word Nerd, who started it with "Legend has it that the BBC have asserted that the following list will make you ‘well read’, but that the average person will only have read six – six! – of these novels."

The instructions are:

1) Copy this list
2) Bold the books you’ve read in their entirety. (As in, all the way through.)
3) Italicise those you’ve started but didn’t finish, or have only read an excerpt of.
4) Tag other book nerds.
5) Highlight any books from the list you own, but haven’t read.

I don't normally do this, but I can always make an exception for books. Here's my result:

The Books
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling                             (5 out of 7!)
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman
Great Expectations– Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy 
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma -Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

30 read
16 half read
4 unread on the shelf

While I have many more unread books on the shelf, I am slightly disturbed only 4 are on the list.  I seem to need some help picking out better books. Hm.

Like Emma, from whose blog I copied this, I seem to have a commitment issue.  My excuse is about half of this list I did read at one point when I was fairly young from a translated version, so I don't want to count them as "fully read" until I can go back and complete the English version, which may not ever happen seeing I've already learned the plot and the ending.  I do intend to go back to quite a few of them, such as the Great Gatsby,  which is open midway on my nightstand right now. 

All in all, this is a lovely idea, and I enjoyed going through it, albeit a bit nervous seeing so many titles about which I don't have the faintest idea.  Others though looked truly interesting and will be on my Christmas list.  I was very tempted to mark them off if the list weren't so long and the thought of going through it again so...


  1. Interesting! Looks like you've done quite a bit of reading though! Going through the list quickly, I think I've read about 15, and half read maybe 3 or so. There are definitely a few on there though I've always wanted to read. I'm an English major, so like you, I get into this stuff!

  2. this list is though quite long, not comprehensive should have also included the god of small things by arundhati roy among many others.
    i ve read 20 of them completely and half read 9.

  3. I was just as surprised how many I have on the list, which is almost a sure sign that it is of questionable authority. The range of the book is really wide I suppose. An English major, I've always wanted to be one. Curious as a cat as to what your day is like, a good subject for a post?

  4. Runawaybride - our comments must have collided in the cyberspace, as when I was posting the response to Christine, I hadn't seen yours. (In reality time stamps are proving me wrong but I guess refresh may had something to do with it)

    I can't agree with you more on the mysterious absence of some of my favorites that actually ranks on the best sellers list such as:

    The Help
    The Glass Castle
    Water For Elephant
    The Poisonwood Bible

    Oh I should put these on my profile to save some time!

    And as authors go, Hemingway is strangely omitted - one of my favorite authors of all times; while Dickens, Austin, Bronte, and Shakespeare (all brilliant of course) are listed repeatedly. This may prove it true that it is indeed a BBC (or at least British) list.

  5. Fun! But how have you only read five of the seven Harry Potter novels?!?

    Thanks for the follow btw!

  6. Meredith - good question. I lost steam as I read them all in a role very quickly, a long while ago when the books first came out, so not yet 6 and 7. They took so long to come out I'd gotten into many other reads and felt out of it by then.

  7. Thanks for providing such a great list. I have read about 15 of them cover to cover. 5 half way through. My problem is I get bored too easily, so if the book doesn't captivate me I will lose interest. I have to admit that I used to read a lot more in my teenage years. I really need to get back in the habit of finding time to read a lot more than I do now.

  8. nicole - thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I have the same issue, but more time definitely help. I started reading "Catch-22" from this list and is really enjoying it (of course that's putting a damper on the plan to finish The Great Gatsby quicker).

  9. So many books, so little time. I love these lists: I'm always reminded, though, of the staggering number of incredible authors, and how impossible it is to take them all in. One of these days I'll get to Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
    By the way, it looks like you've reformatted your page a bit (or maybe that's my old eyes). It looks nice.

  10. Great list! I love it! I want them all in Kindle form. lol. I do love Hedlund's blog and can't wait to read her book. Thanks for coming by my blog. I look forward to following your journey!

  11. Jayne -

    Can't agree with you more on books. I did rearrange a little bit, so now no one (including myself) can find anything. It's a work in progress I guess.

    Bonnie -

    I found quit a few on my kindle. Agree on Hedlund. Thanks for stopping by please do pop back in once a while.




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