BBC Top 100 Books, revisited

After really looking at the list of books as shown in Loth’s post and the original book list, I decided to do a comparison. Both lists share 58 of their 100 books. The other 42 differ significantly. The original list was the top 100 best-loved novels — seeing the Bible show up in the meme list amuses me to no end. I mean, *I* consider it to be a novel but I’m sure that wasn’t the intention of the person who decided to add it to the meme before passing it on. 😉

Books that only appear in the meme list:

  1. A Confederacy of Dunces
  2. A Fine Balance
  3. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  4. Atonement
  5. Charlotte’s Web
  6. Chronicles of Narnia
  7. Cloud Atlas
  8. Complete Works of Shakespeare
  9. Count of Monte Cristo
  10. Dracula
  11. Germinal
  12. Grapes of Wrath
  13. Hamlet
  14. Harry Potter series (appears as 4 separate books in the BBC list)
  15. Heart of Darkness
  16. Jude the Obscure
  17. Les Miserables
  18. Life of Pi
  19. Lolita
  20. Madame Bovary
  21. Moby Dick
  22. Notes From A Small Island
  23. Oliver Twist
  24. Possession
  25. Sense and Sensibility
  26. The Bell Jar
  27. The Bible
  28. The Color Purple
  29. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
  30. The Da Vinci Code
  31. The Faraway Tree Collection (appears as a single book in the BBC list)
  32. The Five People You Meet In Heaven
  33. The Handmaid’s Tale
  34. The Kite Runner
  35. The Little Prince
  36. The Lovely Bones
  37. The Remains of the Day
  38. The Shadow of the Wind
  39. The Three Musketeers
  40. The Time Traveller’s Wife
  41. The Wasp Factory
  42. Vanity Fair

Books that only appear in the real BBC list:

  1. Artemis Fowl
  2. Black Beauty
  3. Double Act
  4. Girls In Love
  5. Good Omens
  6. Goodnight Mister Tom
  7. Gormenghast
  8. Guards! Guards!
  9. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets  (appears as the series in a single entry in the meme list)
  10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire  (appears as the series in a single entry in the meme list)
  11. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone  (appears as the series in a single entry in the meme list)
  12. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban  (appears as the series in a single entry in the meme list)
  13. Holes
  14. I Capture The Castle
  15. Kane And Abel
  16. Katherine
  17. Magician
  18. Matilda
  19. Mort
  20. Night Watch
  21. Noughts And Crosses
  22. Perfume
  23. The Alchemist
  24. The BFG
  25. The Clan Of The Cave Bear
  26. The Colour Of Magic
  27. The Count Of Monte Cristo
  28. The God Of Small Things
  29. The Godfather
  30. The Grapes Of Wrath
  31. The Magic Faraway Tree (appears as the collection in the meme list)
  32. The Magus
  33. The Pillars Of The Earth
  34. The Princess Diaries
  35. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
  36. The Shell Seekers
  37. The Stand
  38. The Story Of Tracy Beaker
  39. The Thorn Birds
  40. The Twits
  41. Treasure Island
  42. Vicky Angel

My books read count would increase if I used the meme list. So, if you’ve done the meme list yourself, try checking the real BBC list and see how many of those books you’ve read.


BBC’s Top 100 Books

Via Loth (who I came to via her comment in XUP‘s blog), I came across the BBC’s top 100 books, a survey from April 2003 to determine the nation’s best-loved novel (the nation being the UK, of course). The initial survey resulted in a top 200 list, a top 100 list, a top 21 list, and a final single winner, The Lord of the Rings. A total of approximately 750,000 votes were received over the course of the search for the top book.  (Note: this survey is not to be mistaken for the Guardian’s Top 100 Books of All Time from 2002 or subsequent surveys by other groups.) 

The list below comes directly from the BBC page — some of the entries vary slightly from those in Loth’s post and the books are in a slightly different order, but otherwise are essentially the same. She says (quoting the post that inspired hers) that “The BBC say the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on their list.” but I haven’t yet come across a news article that actually says that. The original BBC page linked to above certainly doesn’t mention it and none of the people perpetuating this meme link to any source page. Unless otherwise corrected, I’m going to presume that the originator of the meme made up the statistic out of whole cloth, as it reads like your typical email meme. Continue reading “BBC’s Top 100 Books”

Writing a romance

Watching the BBC Time Shift episode “How to Write a Mills and Boon” (which chronicles author Stella Duffy‘s attempts to write a romance book for Mills and Boon, the UK arm of Harlequin/Silhouette) today reminded me of my days of reading romance novels.

I started reading romances when I was in my teens, nearly 30 years ago. A friend of the family had a pile of old books that she passed on to my mother and I. They were the stereotypical 70s romances: tall, dark, handsome, wealthy, and cynical (always cynical) man, sometimes a widower with a child, meets young, 18-19 year-old virgin who comes to work for him as a governess, nurse, or secretary. Not at all what I was looking for myself even back then but it was titillating reading for a teenager. Later, Silhouette in particular started publishing racier fiction that featured more experienced, stronger women and slightly less overbearing tall, dark, handsome, wealthy, and cynical heroes. At one point, my mother and I belonged to the monthly book club for several of their imprints, going through dozens of books a month. (Romances are light reading.) Some have stayed with me through the years.

I stopped reading romances years ago, when it became apparent that I was no longer in their target audience. I’m not interested in stories about estranged or separated married couples, single parents, babies, children, families, etc. That’s not my life nor is it my fantasy life. But that seemed to be most of what was being published.

I see now that Harlequin again has a number of imprints for fantasy-type story-lines. One of those imprints is Silhouette Nocturne, which specializes in paranormal fiction involving creatures like vampires and werewolves. Another is Luna, which features more fantastical, magical stories. I was quite surprised to see that Mercedes Lackey, one of my favourite fantasy writers, is actually writing a series for Luna called A Tale of Five Hundred Kingdoms.

I had always thought that my history of reading romances and my love for writing would make me a good romance writer myself. Maybe it’s time to consider that more seriously.