8 September 2010

Best Book Ever?

(image courtesy of www.weheartit.com)

I've not read a book for ages.

Sure, I pick through magazines, the odd newspaper, reference books and, of course, blogs but I can't remember the last time I got lost in a novel.

I always had my nose in a book when I was younger.  I would find a writer whose style I really enjoyed and then devour anything and everything I could find that they had ever written.  I would read four or five books a week, every week.

When I was very young, I read every Enid Blyton book in existence.  The Enchanted Wood and The Magic Faraway Tree were favourites, along with the Mallory Towers series.

I then progressed to Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.  As for Laurie Lee's Cider With Rosie, well, it remains my favourite book of all time.  I remember sitting on a bus in near tearful meltdown as I read Watership Down.  Unfortunately, we had to drag our way through several of Chaucer's painful Canterbury Tales at A' Level which I think, with hindsight, put an end to any further interest in the classics.

When I had the children, my concentration levels took a bit of a nose dive so I turned to Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher.  Catherine Alliot, Cathy Kelly and Sophie Kinsella seemed the natural progression and then I don't know what happened really.  Perhaps I was all chick-litted out.

I miss reading but I think I've sort of gotten out of the habit.  Do you know what I mean?

As a starting point, I had a browse through the BBC Big Read's 100 Greatest Books Ever Written and rather fancy picking a couple ...

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
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
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
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 (does Homer's The Odyssey count?)
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
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
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

For a start, I can't believe Cider With Rosie isn't included!!!

Anyway, I've highlighted those that I have already read in pink.  Is your favourite book of all time in the list?  Have you just read a fabulous book you can recommend?  I know we each have different tastes but I'd love to know what you think.



  1. The magic Faraway tree was my fave as a child and I still have a copy on my bookcase now.
    Loved Malory towers, really must try getting hold of them again!
    Having the little man I only seem to get chance to read chick lit now but I know what you mean by being all chick litted out, I yearn for the day when I can pick up a 'real' book again!

    B xxx

  2. p.s I read little women over and over again xxx

  3. I can't believe that I've read 54 of those books! Lots of my favourites are on the list but mostly my favourites from when I was a child; Little Women, The Wind in the Willows, Swallows and Amazons etc. My favourite, favourite book of this year is The Legacy by Katherine Webb and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Can't wait to read about which books you choose, lovely Heather. Have fun! Lynda xxx

  4. I've got a few books I want to read but its just finding the spare time to sit down and read them!

  5. I loved the faraway tree, I used to read it to my younger brother too!
    I have to say I think Jane Eyre is one of my favourites!!

  6. Thanks for the comment on my blog, you did make me giggle with your comb over comment - glad someone else has tried it :-) Yeah it was 'the' dress - finally got it lined so I wasn't showing off too much :-)

  7. Many of my favourites there but many more missing. Try The Book Thief...made me weep with both sadness and joy or Bird Song, both beautifully written... such talent made me so jealous!!

  8. Just got myself off the floor....I hurt my head, I went down so fast.
    I surprised myself by how many I've read but to be honest some of those I wouldn't re-read and only did so in the first place because they are classics. Some were too much like hard work, catch 22 and war & peace for example. Since having children I find myself wanting to keep it light, I cannot deal with the same subjects and stories I used to like reading, nothing too heavy.
    Is it just me or shouldn't there be some Agatha Christie? Bit of a snooty list!!

  9. I loved Enid Blyton - mainly the Famous Five, but also St Clare's and Secret Seven. My favourite book of all time is To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. I'd recommend anything by Margaret Atwood too (except The Edible Woman - I hated it). Happy reading!

  10. I've seen that list before it seems to have been unduly influenced by a group of teenagers, mainly classics and children's books and little modern fiction

    I reccomend"falling Angels" Tracy Chevalier
    "The time travellers Wife" Audrey Niffenegger
    The Red Tent" Anita Diamant All top class women's fiction
    Have fun !
    Louise x

  11. What a super post! I have read at least half the books on the list. Some of my favourites are Watership Down (I cried too), Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, all the Harry Potters - too many to mention! I set myself a holiday task to read Wuthering Heights (never read it before) which I really enjoyed. Really loved The Time Traveler's Wife. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books are well worth a read and dare I mention the Twilight Saga - fantastic! Happy reading. M x

  12. Sounds like me as a child.. once I found an author I loved I read every book of theirs I could get hold of. Roald Dahl and Jacqueline Wilson were particular favourites back then. You've made me want to read again Heather! :) Hope you are well x

  13. Hi Heather, thanks for popping by my blog and joining the giveaway. The book list is amazing. I do have rather a great stash of books that I have read and enjoyed and keep them on shelves for when I retire by the sea to re-read lol. If you email me your address I would be very happy to send you a suprise book.
    Deb x


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