How Widely Read Am I?

This is a list of books that was put together by (I think) the BBC. Apparently the average person will only read about six of these in their lifetime. I decided to take up the challenge.

As a general comment, it doesn’t make sense to have The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on the list as a separate item from The Chronicles of Narnia. Nor does it make sense to have Hamlet listed separately from The Complete Works of Shakespeare. In fact, in general, including series on this list is kind of silly, particularly when the series are made of seven books (Narnia, Harry Potter) or 52 books (the Bible; arguably listable as a single book, though).

On this list, I’ve read 29 of the items and have nine more on my shelves waiting for me. Not bad, I’d say.

I’ve bolded books that I’ve read and used italics to denote books that I own and intend to read, but have not gotten around to reading yet. Here’s the list.


1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

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 Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’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 – C.S. 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 – A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

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 (I think I’ve read this)

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

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

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

76 The Inferno – Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

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 – E.B. 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

10 thoughts on “How Widely Read Am I?”

  1. 5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

    8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

    10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

    61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

    70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

    87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

    98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare

    And every one of them was for school.

  2. 1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

    2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

    3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

    5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

    6 The Bible

    8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

    10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

    16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

    18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

    19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

    25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

    29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

    30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

    33 Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis

    36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis

    37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

    40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

    41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

    42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

    46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

    49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

    50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

    51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel

    59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

    61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

    64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

    65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

    71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

    73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

    85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

    87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

    88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

    91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

    92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

    94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

    97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

    98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare

    99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

    100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

  3. Wow, 39? Pretty good. I have to work a bit harder to catch up.

    I've been noticing a couple since I posted this that I remember actually having read before, so my number has been going up a little bit.

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