Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Big Read Survey

I saw this at Darren's place and thought I would have a go. It is a survey* that originated because “The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed."

So you have to see how many you have read in order to identify those amongst us who conform to their version of the average adult. But what a strange list it is. I suppose though that is what you get when you allow us plebs to vote on books. At least Lord of the Rings has been knocked off the top spot on the most recent poll of BBC viewers by a book worthy of the title Number One Best Book of All Time. (Although I know at least one person who may see this hates Jane Austen.)

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you love.
4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read at school and hated.
5) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve only read 6 and force books upon them
I would add that 'read' means read, not flicked through or given up half way to the end. It's cover to cover or nothing.

Editor's note.I don't know how to underline so the one's I love are in capital letters. Suggest anyone else trying this copies and pastes from Darren.

Here goes:


2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien.
3 JANE EYRE - Charlotte Bronte
6 The Bible (Grade A R.E. O Level I will have you know!
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
19 THE TIME TRAVELLER'S WIFE - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 EMMA - Jane Austen
35 PERSUASION - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (to my shame - what a load of crap!)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 ATONEMENT - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A TALE OF TWO CITIES - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce (Who the fuck voted for this??? Life is too short!)
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome (probably did when at school but have no memory of it.)
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 HAMLET - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So I have read, if I have counted correctly 52 of them, though I take no pleasure in admitting to The Da Vinci Code. And I haven't actually read all the Bible, though was red hot on the Synoptic Gospels in my day.

I think they should add another category of how many have you have never even heard of let alone read? Five in my case ....Number's 56, 78, 86, 88 and 92.

Darren didn't pass it on exactly but left it as an open invitation so I will happily follow his example except for naming Reidski because the genius that is TNR has only gone and fixed Reidski's computer so he can get back to blogging at last. But for what it's worth - I enjoyed doing it.

* Note use of word 'Survey' rather than 'meme'. Still not over what that arse who commented on the Fatalist's blog said about me when he did a 'meme' I sent him.


Darren said...

Noticed your recently read list on the sidebar.

Is Paula Spencer worth reading? I read The Woman Who Walked Into Doors' a few years back, and I'm trying to get back into the habit of reading. I say 'getting back into the habit of reading' but as my survey/meme indicates, it appears I never ever got into the habit of reading. ;-)

Anonymous said...

A strange list indeed. P and I are 'reading' Ulysses together. Actually, we are listening to it (complete version done, I think, by the BBC). We have been doing this for two years and finished the first chapter a few weeks ago. Well worth the effort, I would say ... Madame Bovary is the best book on that list ... or ever.

Gill said...

I never heard of a confederacy of dunces, what's it about? I think there should be a list for the ones you read that you think you should because they are on some list or other but you find they are a total yawn! For me that includes harry potter, jane austen and a hundred years of solitude. and what kind of person reads The COMPLETE works of Shakespeare, all the way through cover to cover?

Jay said...

I'll pop over and read the linked articles later - and take the survey too - but in the meantime, what about the books on that list which you started to read but failed to make it all the way through? Does that count as 'read' or 'unread'?

In the first ten I came across several of those. I (like most people) haven't read the Bible cover to cover, though I have read large chunks of it, and I started the Harry Potter series but haven't completed it, nor do I intend to. I think I've missed the last two books because it was beginning to bore me.

J.J said...

Hi Darren - yes, it's really good - quite up lifting in the end, especially if you already read The Woman Who Walked Into Doors.

P.S. Loved the photo of Kara.

Hi Messalina...funnily eough I am in the middle fo re-reading Madam Bovary. Still not convinced about Ulysees but listening has to be better than reading the thing.

Gill... it would worry me if I set out to read the complete works of W.S. I mean - all that stuff that 'may be' by him under another name...would one ever be able to truly say one had read the lot?

Jay - I think the 'I have started but I can not possibly finish' must count as unread...even when the intention was good.

Karen said...

I have added this to my blog! To my shame have only read 30 (not quite a third) but I guess that's not too bad as I am only 25!

Arthur Clewley said...

antoine st exupery has an airport named after him so that one must be worth a read, but then so has a scouse hippy and a bloke who nearly started world war 3 so perhaps they just get allocated by some kind of random celebrity airport name generator

J.J said...

Karen, I have very nearly 25 years on you - I am very sorry to say!

Arthur - your mind works in a mysterious way!

Bollinger Byrd said...

Well I'm not commenting on that list.... I read 6 books when I was on holiday and one since I got back a week ago. And I don't care if it's not high brow stuff, it's not shite either.I can tell the difference.
For me a book has to be about a world I can escape into for a while. And having read Chesil Beach recently (Ian McKewen) it had plenty of beautiful prose but no decent yarn. My life is too short for beautiful prose unless it's poetry. So there we have it I am a philistine and I enjoyed the De Vinci Code read it in one 6 hour sitting.
That'll be enough to remove me off your blog roll I should think!!!
Could suggest you come to my party instead next Saturday to prove I'm intelligent really

J.J said...

BB - I just read Chesil Beach too. It made me sad. Re the Da Vinci Code - yes, a ripping yarn but everyone on my side bar is a better writer than Dan Brown is. And your party sounds great and I would love to come - especially as it is the weekend my middle son turns 17, but I don't know if I would be at my most relaxed leaving my house unguarded at that particular point. BIG thank you though for asking me. xxxxx

Yorkshire Pudding said...

In all honesty, I have only read thirty two of them. Only two more than twenty five year old Karen. In Turkey I read "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter S. Thompson, "The House of Sleep" by Jonathan Coe and "Anthills of the Savannah" by Chinua Achebe - which now helps me to realise how ethnocentric that list is.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Can I make a shout for you to definitely read His Dark Materials? Lovely smart stuff.

J.J said...

Fear and Loathing is a great book YP. Welcome home btw.

Lisa - I will I promise. I do have them all waiting for my undivided attention.