BBC’s 100 Book List

I’d first like to thank Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way for posting the BBC book list. The BBC list was created in 2003 after a poll of their readers/listeners favorite books. The rumor circulated on Facebook was that the BBC believed that most Americans hadn’t read more than six of these titles.  After searching the BBC archives I couldn’t find mention of this rumor.   Here are my results:

Bolded = Read
Italisized = Read part

  1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  2. 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. 1984- George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women – Louisa May 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. The Moonstone -Wilkie Collins
  24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  26. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
  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 (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
  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
  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

My total?  28 full reads, 6 part reads.  Not too shabby.  I plan on reading more, there are several on the list that I have always wanted to read and haven’t gotten around to.

How did you do?


About Jodi

Jodi L. Milner is a writer, mandala enthusiast, and educator. Her epic fantasy novel, Stonebearer’s Betrayal, was published in November 2018 and rereleased in Jan 2020. She has been published in several anthologies. When not writing, she can be found folding children and feeding the laundry, occasionally in that order.
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16 Responses to BBC’s 100 Book List

  1. Jodi, with your schedule and busy life, might I consider acquiring the books on CD or as MP3 files? That way you could listen to them while doing other things… driving or painting the lawn or something. ))

    • tsuchigari says:

      I’ve given it lots of thought – my only issue is I need to hear what the kids are up to. If it’s quiet they have gotten into something naughty. However, I got to listen to two hours the other day when my daughter fell asleep on my shoulder for a rare nap!

  2. 17.5 full reads, 14 part reads.

    I gave myself 1.5 for reading The Little Prince in french (I had to read it AND the dictionary).

    This is a great list, full of classics!


  3. Michael Knudsen says:

    Wow, I can claim 31 full 6 part, and I have a degree in English Literature. I had to read many of those as assignments. I need to get back to the classics. I can add 7 more if you count seeing the movie ;}

  4. oldancestor says:


    9 full reads
    3 partial reads (though the half of War and Peace I read is longer than most of my full reads. It must have been a lot more interesting in Russian)

    I lose.

    In fairness to me, that list is understandably slanted toward classic (18th-19th century) British literature and fantasy, neither of which are my preferred “genres,” if you will. I didn’t see Vonnegut, Hemingway, or even Stephen King.

    I’m a bit surpised not to see Murder on the Orient Express or And Then There Were None on the list. I mean, Agatha Christie is only the best selling novelist in history!

    Perhpas you can find another list somewhere that’s tilted toward 20th century titles, so I can feel better about myself.

    • nrhatch says:

      There are other lists floating around. I know I saw King on one. Not sure that I saw Agatha Christie on any . . . that seems rather bizarre.

    • tsuchigari says:

      Yes the list is a bit slanted, remember it was the BBC that published it, by that very nature it would naturally lean that way. Say . . . if you find a list that is more contemporary send me the link and I will be more than happy to post it!

  5. Pingback: BBC’s top books list « salubrious dish

  6. jenniferneri says:

    32. well i surprise myself. A few of my favourites there…
    I;m Canadian though, what did they guess for canadians??
    great to see how off they were.

    • tsuchigari says:

      Way to go, you beat out Michael. If you want your figurative gold star you might have to peel it off of him. I’d be curious to see what the statistics are for different nationalities.

  7. Chazz Byron says:

    16 read out of this list.

    Why The Complete Works of Shakespeare and Hamlet in the one list?

    I prefer the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels or 1001 books to read before you die list

  8. Pingback: Time’s 100 Best Books List « My Literary Quest

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