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The BBC's Big Read project is an incentive to try and make the people of Britain more interested in reading books. The voting and publication of the list happened in 2003, which may explain the prevalence of Harry Potter books. As a part of the project, the BBC has created a list of the "top 100" books, as voted by the BBC radio listeners and TV viewers. IMHO, the list does not necessarily contain the BEST books around, but certainly books that are accessible to the average reader, and definitely to be worth reading if you don't know what book to pick up next.

Personally, I have read 41 of the books on this list, and have made it a target to read them all: If the other 59 books are as good as the 41 I have read, this is certainly a good list to use to guide me through the world of literature.

A few points worth noting: That the voting was done by the British public. As such, 62 of the writers featured in the list are british. Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, Terry Pratchett, Jaqueline Wilson and JK Rowling all have 4 or more books in the list.

The books are also split into categories by the BBC. The different categories are:

  • GB/GM: Great Book Great Movie? - "You've seen the movie, now read the book and compare."
  • DS: The Dark Side - "Tortured souls, inner demons and haunted corridors... These books travel to the darker reaches of the unconscious."
  • GE: The Great Escape - "Take a journey through time and place. Books for readers who enjoy intrigue and adventure."
  • OW: Other Worlds - "Let your imagination travel from far-flung galaxies to fantasy tea parties."
  • SW: Shattered Worlds - "When worlds are blown apart by war and catastrophe, how do you keep your sanity?"
  • GP: Grand Passions - "Explore the obsession that is born out of extreme passion. With a series of books in which emotions go unchecked..."
  • FA: Family Affairs - "Families - can't live with them, can't live without them.."
  • FF: Forever Friends - "Making friends and losing friends -the trials and tribulations of friendship."
  • GD: The Great Divice - "How do we overcome the divisions in society. In these books our heros and heroines cross the bridges that divide their worlds from others."
  • CA: Coming of Age - "Stories that deal with finding yourself and your place in the world."
  1. Adams, Douglas - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy GE
  2. Adams, Richard - Watership Down GB/GM
  3. Archer, Jeffrey - Kane and Abel GD
  4. Austen, Jane - Emma CA
  5. Austen, Jane - Persuasion GP
  6. Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice GP
  7. Blackman, Malorie - Noughts and Crosses GD
  8. Blyton, Enid - The Magic Faraway Tree GE
  9. Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre FA
  10. Bronte, Emily - Wuthering Heights GP
  11. Cabot, Meg - The Princess Diaries FA
  12. Carroll, Lewis - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland OW
  13. Coelho, Paul - The Alchemist GE
  14. Colfer, Eoin - Artemis Fowl DS
  15. Collins, Wilkie - The Woman in White DS
  16. Dahl, Roald - The BFG FF
  17. Dahl, Roald - Charlie & Chocolate Factory CA
  18. Dahl, Roald - Matilda CA
  19. Dahl, Roald - The Twits FA
  20. de Bernieres, Louis - Captain Corelli's Mandolin GB/GM
  21. Dickens, Charles - Bleak House DS
  22. Dickens, Charles - A Christmas Carol GD
  23. Dickens, Charles - David Copperfield FA
  24. Dickens, Charles - Great Expectations GD
  25. Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities SW
  26. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment DS
  27. du Maurier, Daphne - Rebecca GB/GM
  28. Dumas, Alexander - The Count of Monte Cristo GE
  29. E Feist, Raymond - Magician OW
  30. Elliot, George - Middlemarch GD
  31. Faulks, Sebastian - Birdsong SW
  32. Fielding, Helen - Bridget Jones' Diary GB/GM
  33. Follett, Ken - The Pillars of the Earth GP
  34. Fowles, John - The Magus DS
  35. Garcia Marquez, Gabriel - Love in the time of Cholera GP
  36. Garcia Marquez, Gabriel - One Hundred Years of Solitude FA
  37. Gibbons, Stella - Cold Comfort Farm FA
  38. Golden, Arthur - Memoirs of a Geisha OW
  39. Golding, William - Lord of the Flies GD
  40. Grahame, Kenneth - The Wind in the Willows FF
  41. Hardy, Thomas - Far From the Madding Crowd GD
  42. Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the D'Ubervilles DS
  43. Herbert, Frank - Dune GB/GM
  44. Hodgson Burnett, Frances - The Secret Garden GE
  45. Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World OW
  46. Irving, John - A Prayer for Owen Meaney FF
  47. Joyce, James - Ulysses FA
  48. Kerouac, Jack - On the Road GE
  49. King, Stephen - The Stand SW
  50. L Heller, Joseph - Catch 22 SW
  51. Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird GD
  52. Lewis, CS - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  53. Louis Stevenson, Robert - Treasure Island GE
  54. M Auel, Jean - The Clan of the Cave Bear CA
  55. Magorian, Michelle - Goodnight Mr Tom GE
  56. May Alcott, Louisa - Little Women CA
  57. McCollough, Colleen - The Thorn Birds SW
  58. Milne, AA - Winnie the Pooh FF
  59. Mitchell, Margaret - Gone with the Wind GB/GM
  60. Montgomery, LM - Anne of Green Gables
  61. Orwell, George - Animal Farm GD
  62. Orwell, George - 1984 GB/GM
  63. Peake, Mervyn - Gormenghast OW
  64. Pilcher, Rosamund - The Shell Seekers FA
  65. Pratchett & Gaiman - Good Omens DS
  66. Pratchett, Terry - The Colour of Magic OW
  67. Pratchett, Terry - Guards! Guards! OW
  68. Pratchett, Terry - Mort DS
  69. Pratchett, Terry - Nightwatch SW
  70. Pullman, Philip - His Dark Materials OW
  71. Puzo, Mario - The Godfather GB/GM
  72. Ransome, Arthur - Swallows and Amazons GE
  73. Rowling, JK - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  74. Rowling, JK - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire DS
  75. Rowling, JK - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone GB/GM
  76. Rowling, JK - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban FF
  77. Roy, Arundhati - The God of Small Things SW
  78. Rushdie, Salman - Midnight's Children CA
  79. Sacher, Louis - Holes GE
  80. Salinger, JD - The Catcher in the Rye CA
  81. Scott Fitzgerald, F - The Great Gatsby DS
  82. Seth, Vikram - A Suitable Boy FA
  83. Seton, Anya - Katherine GP
  84. Sewell, Anna - Black Beauty FF
  85. Shute, Nevil - A Town Like Alice SW
  86. Smith, Dodie - I Capture the Castle CA
  87. Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath SW
  88. Steinbeck, John - Of Mice and Men FF
  89. Suskind, Patrick - Perfume GP
  90. Tartt, Donna - The Secret History FF
  91. Tolkien, JRR - The Hobbit CA
  92. Tolkien, JRR - The Lord of the Rings GB/GM
  93. Tolstoy, Leo - Anna Karenina GP
  94. Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace SW
  95. Tressell, Robert - The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists GD
  96. Waugh, Evelyn - Brideshead Revisited GP
  97. Wilson, Jacqueline - Double Act FF
  98. Wilson, Jacqueline - Girls in Love GP
  99. Wilson, Jacqueline - The Story of Tracy Beaker FA
  100. Wilson, Jacqueline - Vicky Angel FF
More information? www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread

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