That book thing is making the rounds again. You know, the one where the BBC thinks you haven’t read very many books. There’s a list of 100 books the BBC thinks you haven’t read. The game is to mark off the ones you have read and prove them wrong. I did it a couple of years ago. Lots of people did. It faded away for a time, but now it is back.
For some reason I had in mind that I had read 80 books on this list. I suppose that depends on your definition of read. I’ve identified 34 books of the 100 that I haven’t read if your definition of read does not include watching the movie, reading bits and pieces, and/or taking a test on the book. That would mean I have read 66, but that too depends on how generous your definition is.
I’m claiming to have read The Bible, for example. I won’t swear I’ve read every word, but some of the words I’ve read enough times to add up to the whole thing several times over, so I’m counting it. Likewise, The Complete Works of Shakespeare.
So it seems I’ve probably read somewhere between 50 and 80 of these books if we are willing to count the ones I’ve only read pieces of. I’m willing. I’m too tired right now to be all that strict with myself.
Here are the ones I either haven’t read or haven’t read lately enough or closely enough to really count. Some I’m embarrassed to admit to. Some I’m working on right now. Some I’m hoping to get to soon so that the next time this list makes the rounds I’ll be better prepared.
12 Tess of the Dâ€™Urbervilles â€“ Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 â€“ Joseph Heller
17 Birdsong â€“ Sebastian Faulks
21 Gone With The Wind â€“ Margaret Mitchell
23 Bleak House â€“ Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace â€“ Leo Tolstoy
27 Crime and Punishment â€“ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
32 David Copperfield â€“ Charles Dickens
38 Captain Corelliâ€™s Mandolin â€“ Louis De Berniere
39 Memoirs of a Geisha â€“ Arthur Golden
45 The Woman in White â€“ Wilkie Collins
48 The Handmaidâ€™s Tale â€“ Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies â€“ William Golding
53 Cold Comfort Farm â€“ Stella Gibbons
55 A Suitable Boy â€“ Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind â€“ Carlos Ruiz Zafon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera â€“ Gabriel Garcia Marquez
63 The Secret History â€“ Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones â€“ Alice Sebold
69 Midnightâ€™s Children â€“ Salman Rushdie
74 Notes From A Small Island â€“ Bill Bryson
77 Swallows and Amazons â€“ Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal â€“ Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair â€“ William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession â€“ AS Byatt
82 Cloud Atlas â€“ David Mitchell
86 A Fine Balance â€“ Rohinton Mistry
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven â€“ Mitch Albom
90 The Faraway Tree Collection â€“ Enid Blyton
92 The Little Prince â€“ Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory â€“ Iain Banks
94 Watership Down â€“ Richard Adams
96 A Town Like Alice â€“ Nevil Shute
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory â€“ Roald Dahl
See the list in its entirety if you are wondering what I have read: