JJ Makes Another Book Meme Her Own

27 02 2009

Okay, I wanted to play nice but this recycled meme copied from some random blogs made me cross — it purportedly comes from “The BBC Booklist” so I marked up all 100 books ready to share, before I tracked this back to the original BBC list voted on by British readers in 2003, and found the thing’s been tinkered with, like a game of Gossip.
(On the Intertubes, imagine that!)

For example, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett which left me (and Oprah) awestruck, and which now has a satisfyingly fat sequel sitting in my bedside on-deck stack, belongs at #33 but was dropped completely off the list for meming purposes, what’s that about??

book-cover-pillars-of-the-earth
Jane Austen dominates the meme version, but the BBC’s real readers voted for plenty of Terry Pratchett and children’s book specialist Roald Dahl (but no Dr. Seuss??)

book-cover-roald-dalh-the-twits

while Jane Austen was put in (or out of?) her place! . . .OTOH, Shakespeare and Margaret Atwood aren’t on that original list, which is a loss imo and one reason to prefer blog-altered versions. No Ann Patchett on either list, hmmm, not even Bel Canto which should be required reading before registering to vote??. . .

So I could’ve meddled further, kept in and put in more of my own favorites, taken out titles on the real list that trip my gag reflex, like Clan of the Cave Bear [shudder] and certainly added the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

But I blog the virtues of my own best books without following any meme or popular vote, see “Choose Nine Books for Your Gift Box.” Or this, in which I demonstrate that to me, all holiday gift list memes should be book lists too:

Via BlogHer, where there’s lots more holiday fun and we’re encouraged to add our own custom-crafted gift lists, say for evolved homeschoolers or unschooling dads? . . .

All my lists for giving and getting turn into book lists — this year I found a couple of great word books for my pubescent nephews, but geez, “Word Books for Pubescent Nephews” might be a bit too esoteric a list, even for BlogHer? 😉

So instead, I redid my personal 100 using the real unadultered BBC list, not anyone’s bastardized meme momma version! Here ’tis, play along if you want:

“In April 2003 the BBC’s Big Read began the search for the nation’s best-loved novel, and we asked you to nominate your favourite books. Below and on the previous page are all the results from number 1 to 100. . .”

BBC Book List Meme
Instructions:
1) Bold those you have read.
2) *Star the ones you loved.
3) Italicise those you plan on reading.

*1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
*3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (see “Golden Compass Opens Today” and comments)
*4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
*5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling (the whole series of course, see more Harry Potter power of story hereand here, which also ties in CS Lewis and presciently, the current NYPost dead-chimp cartoon controversy! See end of list and/or click the link.)
*6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (hum the jingle with me: nobody doesn’t love Harper Lee!)
*7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
*8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
*9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis (read all eight of his Chronicles of Narnia, plus several books “about” them)
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 – I’ve read ALL the Irving I think, Garp of course and Cider House Rules and even the obscure ones like Water-Method Man. There is usually wrestling, oh, and bears.
*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 (also read sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator)
*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 (also read the authorized sequel by an FSU professor)
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel (tried to read the first one, HATED it and refused to continue)
*93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett (and Favorite Daughter has read every Pratchett, I think)
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

Oh, and here’s power of story as #5 teased above:

Speaking of apes, the Newsweek issue proclaiming Harry Potter to be more divine than demonic, actually has a huge black African gorilla on the cover, as art for power of story about “the world’s magnificent animals” facing “new threats of extinction.”
C.S. Lewis made an ape into an instrument of human estrangement from their own goodness in “The Last Battle.”

I think Rowling’s genius is to see humans as carrying both hope and fear, both good and evil, to see us as magnificent, and animals, and facing new threats of extinction — to realize our ancient songs and stories need to be understood in progressively evolving ways, for anyone to win anything worth living or dying for.

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23 responses

27 02 2009
JJ

This struck me as vaguely related:
“Read a Book, Get Out of Jail”:

They question moral responsibility: . . .should peer pressure be blamed for their impulse, or hormones, drink, sin? To which the man at the head of our table rejoins: “There’s a kind of complexity to human experience that isn’t always recognized. You try to figure out who’s right and who’s wrong, but sometimes both are wrong, right?”

. . .Changing Lives Through Literature looks less exotic when you remember how many probation sentences require attendance at 12-step programs. . . Traditionally, books have offered virtual escape from physical confinement. In alternative sentencing programs, though, books provide a more literal alternative to incarceration; and the authorities’ job is not to censor books, but to supply them.

As I say in the post, Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto should be required reading for everyone and ESPECIALLY would be good for criminals, I should think.

27 02 2009
JJ

Young Son is telling me that Terry Pratchett’s kid series “Johnny Maxwell” trilogy — Only You Can Save Mankind, Johnny and the Dead, Johnny and the Bomb — is great, too. Maybe even worthy of this list . . . guess he needs his own blog soon! 🙂

27 02 2009
Meg

hmm, Dahl but not Seuss, hits me as a bias for a British author over an American. But it’s nice to see the true list.

27 02 2009
JJ

Probably, though that doesn’t explain why they’d snub SHAKESPEARE! 😉

I was expecting at least one Agatha Christie too, Beatrix Potter maybe, I dunno. Still too many Jane Austens for me . . .

27 02 2009
JJ

Young Son was excited to see the collaboration between Pratchett and Gaiman, whose name he recognized from Coraline which he’d just finished before seeing the new movie (awesome 3-D!) So we’re scouring bookstores for “Good Omens” this weekend —

27 02 2009
writestuff444

I starred the ones I’ve read, I did this recently on my facebook page, but I agree with you, this is a different list, some the same, but a lot, not. 🙂

*1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
*2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
*3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (see “Golden Compass Opens Today” and comments)
*4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
*5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling (the whole series of course, see more Harry Potter power of story hereand here, which also ties in CS Lewis and presciently, the current NYPost dead-chimp cartoon controversy! See end of list and/or click the link.)
*6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (hum the jingle with me: nobody doesn’t love Harper Lee!)
*7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
*8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
*9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis (read all eight of his Chronicles of Narnia, plus several books “about” them)
*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 – I’ve read ALL the Irving I think, Garp of course and Cider House Rules and even the obscure ones like Water-Method Man. There is usually wrestling, oh, and bears.
*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 (also read sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator)
*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 (also read the authorized sequel by an FSU professor)
*92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel (tried to read the first one, HATED it and refused to continue)
*93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett (and Favorite Daughter has read every Pratchett, I think)
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 (Emily was mildly obsessed with these as a little girl, so I read the first one to see why.yuck..didn’t care for it)
*100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

27 02 2009
JJ

Aha, so like me you’ve read every one of the first dozen, interesting. Wonder if that’s some demarcation point then?

And jumping to the end, what did you think of Midnight’s Children? I have it on my to-read list, not because I know anything about it but mostly because Salman Rushdie was under fatwa and once was married to Padma of Top Chef fame . . . 🙂

28 02 2009
Mrs. C

My blog buddy Rita at the Jungle Hut added some classics to the list. I read more of those than the modern-day stuff. Never read Harry Potter and etc.

http://jungle-hut.blogspot.com/2009/02/better-reading-list.html

I thought it odd myself that the list seemed so… not English-y. I would add that I love Roald Dahl’s writing but don’t know that that would be stuff that should be listed in the Great Canon of English Lit Stuff. :p

1 03 2009
writestuff444

JJ: Loved it, love anything Rushdie writes. He has such wit, such humor and amazing way of stringing words together into fantasy and truth. He’s absolutely one of my favorite modern writers. You have to read it, it’s fantasy, truth and history and human spiritual truth. When he was being “hunted” persecuted for his writing, I was fascinated with the Muslim hatred of his work. He is a secular man in a very mixed up religious world, India..where the tensions between Muslim, Hindu and Christian is very similar to our tension between Christian, Jew and non believers..I wonder as the number of Muslims grow in our country how that will play out. It’s a great book, read it! You’ll love it.

To me he belongs on the list, but so does EB White with Charlotte’s Web..Some lists I’ve seen have him there with that book. Also, where was Twain on this list. So see, trying to decide what is “right” for someone to read..crazy. Can’t distill any list into a top 100 that is the to read list of all time. Everyone’s would be different. Haven’t we done this before JJ? Made up our own lists..?

1 03 2009
JJ

That does it, I’ll get Midnight’s CHildren today while we’re out seeking Good Omens for Young Son.

Literally yes, we sure have made our own book lists before, aren’t we lucky to be able to do that? I particularly like listing my favorite banned books. And hey, what is unschooling if not making up our own lists as we go, for everything? 🙂

1 03 2009
JJ

Here’s another good essay, about favorite kids’ books as “comfort food” for the adult head and heart. 🙂

For years, I read children’s books as my comfort activity without quite grasping that I was self-medicating through literature.. . .
These are books that I’ve re-read innumerable times, and that I love, and that have that special quality of atmosphere that children’s books have.

My favorite comfort-activity authors are Louia May Alcott, C. S. Lewis, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Madeleine L’Engle, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Edward Eager, Elizabeth Enright, and Noel Streatfield. Oh, and E. L. Konigsberg, L. Frank Baum, Judy Blume, Robert O’Brien, Betty MacDonald, and Susan Cooper. And of course J. K. Rowling.

Just thinking about these names gives me a delicious feeling of pleasure and reassurance.

1 03 2009
JJ

You don’t hear Edward Eager mentioned much, how nice! — I discovered his books for myself as a little kid, in one of those delicious Saturday afternoons alone at the public library (Half Magic, Seven Day Magic, Magic by the Lake) and Eager by crediting his own love of and debt to E. Nesbit (Enchanted Castle, Five Children and It) led me to her classics too . . .
Elizabeth Enright is another author less seen on such lists, who I found for myself and thought was my own secret writer. Oh, how many times I read The Saturdays about the four Melendy kids figuring out how to pool their allowance, so each could have a real adventure one Saturday a month! Come to think of it, this may have subconsciously laid the groundwork for me to love unschooling as an adult, hmmm. . .

1 03 2009
JJ

lol, sounds like I was just camped out by the “E” shelf and never moved, doesn’t it?

1 03 2009
Crimson Wife

I basically liked Memoirs of a Geisha but suspect that you might not. It was written by a man and his female characters aren’t very realistic at times. Often they seem like male fantasies rather than how women actually think & act. Also, I think you’d probably get annoyed by the “fairy tale” ending where the protagonist is rescued by her (much older, wealthy, and married) true love.

I had to read Anna Karenina in college and hated it. I found the characters very unsympathetic.

1 03 2009
writestuff444

So agree with CW on Anna Karenina..pathethic characters..so self centered and selfish..and odd. I wondered if it was a Russian culture difference?.along with the time period. I just found the whole book odd..

1 03 2009
JJ

So much for those two then — I am mentally undoing the italics and taking them OFF my to-read list!!

1 03 2009
JJ

We didn’t make it to the bookshop at all today; we’ve been out hunting for firewood and kindling, like characters in the forest of some fairy tale. 🙂 We burned through two cords and four boxes of heart pine this winter, used the last of it about a week ago. It’s freezing here already (midafternoon) and going to about 28F tonight. In Florida. In March. [pfffft]

2 03 2009
JJ

Thinking Parents may wish to join me in recognizing Dr. Seuss’ birthday today, even if he didn’t make the BBC list (see Google graphic in his honor, too.)

2 03 2009
Mrs. C

Thanks for the heads up, JJ!

31 07 2010
bobbie

I just stumbled across this list. I agreed with a lot of it although I cannot JD Salinger *ducks in case anybody is about to shoot at me*
I was happy to see Terry Pratchett cropping up numerous times 🙂 Eric was a strange choice – I haven’t read it in years but I don’t remember being hugely impressed – but Pratchett’s books are such a breath of fresh air! I read them when I was 15 and it was like nothing I’d ever come across before, or since.

Austen I am somewhat sick of, as “Pride and Prejudice” seems to be a book people drop in to make themselves seem smarter. The standard teenage facebook page (other than the ones that say ‘i dnt read’) says “Harry Potter, Twilight, Pride and Predgudice” and it drives me crazy. It’s far from my favourite Austen in any case (Persuasion, since you asked!)

I know this is from 2009 but I just stumbled across it 🙂

JJ, I hope you found Good Omens 🙂 I started reading it once but it was a library book and I couldn’t renew it – never got round to going back and checking it out again 😦

11 09 2010
More Than Muslims, Remember Real Threat Today « Cocking A Snook!

[…] The first book I loved enough to make me hate those who would burn it or ban it, was a bible as worth living by and dying for as any other, by god, the SOUTHERN bible — Gone With the Wind! […]

28 07 2011
JJ

I only just realized I made this comment years ago!
Young Son was excited to see the collaboration between Pratchett and Gaiman, whose name he recognized from Coraline which he’d just finished before seeing the new movie (awesome 3-D!) So we’re scouring bookstores for “Good Omens” this weekend

We never found it or other interests intervened, can’t recall. Then a couple of weeks ago, with no memory of this, he found this same book at a going-out-of-business Border’s, came straight home to start it and finished it in only a few days whereupon he demanded I read it next because I would love it! 🙂

I was finishing the new Ann Patchett — State of Wonder — so I got to Good Omens last night. The premise is pretty fun, sort of Screwtape Letters meet Jon Stewart so far, it seems to me. 🙂

28 07 2011
bpbproadrunner

Screwtape letters with Wormwood–*sigh*

I don’t have anything useful to add right now other than, I loved reading the commentary.

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