Thursday, March 15, 2007

Books You Cannot Live Without

The Guardian (UK) conducted a poll to mark World Book Day, which was on March 1 in the UK. 2,000 people took part and were asked to name the 10 titles they could not live without. I am not sure why I am randomly pulling this list up, but I am...

The following is the 100 books that people cannot live without. What do people think about the list? What are ten books that you cannot live without? Are there books on here that you think should totally not be? What about books that are missing?

If you are, just list the ten books you cannot live without on your blog and make sure to link it back to me by commenting on my blog. Advertise on your blog if you would be so nice to, and then in a months time (April 15th), I will collect all the books together and see what ones come up the most. Good idea, bad idea, thoughts? I doubt it will be 100 books, but you never know, word of mouth is a wonderful thing.

I decided that I am going to offer some opinions on the books. Feel free to do the same on your own blogs.

1 Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen (one of the few classics I truly have enjoyed reading)

2 The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien (what would fantasy be without this trilogy? I LOVE it, and I believe that without it, fantasy would be a very different thing.)

3 Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte (haven't read yet)

4 Harry Potter series JK Rowling (Oh, Harry Potter. I know so many people that love you, you encourage children to read, but you are not really great! There are better books, but they get overshadowed by this pop cultural series. I have some Harry Potter issues...)

5 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee (I REALLY need to read this)

6 The Bible (not going to go here)

7 Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte (yeah, haven't read this one yet either)

8 Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell (see above)

9 His Dark Materials Philip Pullman (Why? I could totally live without this trilogy. It's okay, but not essential! And even if I liked it, I would put it near the end of this list. There are better books!)

10 Great Expectations Charles Dickens (yay, number 10 is my favourite Dickens!)

11 Little Women Louisa M Alcott (I agree, I love this book and I grew up on both it and one of the old movie versions)

12 Tess of the d'Urbervilles Thomas Hardy (haven't read yet)

13 Catch-22 Joseph Heller (haven't read yet)

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare William Shakespeare (okay, I am going to have to leave this one alone unless everyone wants to have a rant post. I will say, how the heck did Philip Pullman beat William Shakespeare...)

15 Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier (haven't read yet)

16 The Hobbit JRR Tolkien (Another essential part of fantasy, my favourite genre)

17 Birdsong Sebastian Faulks (I own, but have not read)

18 Catcher in the Rye JD Salinger (omg, hated this book. I just found it so... dull)

19 The Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger (I have to admit that I liked this book)

20 Middlemarch George Eliot (yay, George Eliot, even if I have not read this book)

21 Gone With The Wind Margaret Mitchell (I liked the movie, but haven't done the book yet)

22 The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald (somehow I missed having to read this in school)

23 Bleak House Charles Dickens (haven't read this one yet)

24 War and Peace Leo Tolstoy (I am saving this one for when I have time to devote to it)

25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams (Science fiction at its best. Totally better than Pullman... and well, many of these books are better than Rowlings)

26 Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh (um, that is just a weird title. I have to admit, I have NEVER heard of this book before)

27 Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky (haven't read yet)

28 Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck (I love Steinbeck)

29 Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll (ugh, totally do not get the attraction with this book.)

30 The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame (one of my favourite books as a kid)

31 Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy (haven't got here yet)

32 David Copperfield Charles Dickens (haven't read this one either)

33 Chronicles of Narnia CS Lewis (I have loved this series forever. I was a little sad that it was mostly underappreciated for quite some time until a movie revived it. But, at least people have read and loved it)

34 Emma Jane Austen (haven't read yet)

35 Persuasion Jane Austen (see above)

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe CS Lewis (hm, would this not essentially be the same as 33...)

37 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini (Decent read. I did not like it as much as some, though. I just have issues with hyped books... that's why I really do not read that many classics)

38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin Louis de Bernières (never felt the need)

39 Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden (decent book. I am starting to notice a movie trend in this list, though... is it the books or the movies that have made them famous that is the case with this list...)

40 Winnie the Pooh AA Milne (who can live without Winnie the Pooh! And, he was a Canadian bear. What more can one say?)

41 Animal Farm George Orwell (interesting look at the Russian Revolution)

42 The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown (ugh. It was okay, but my god, it is not like the book to end all books...)

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I liked this book but it made me appreciate the variety of names in my daily life because the names in this book just confused me half the time)

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney John Irving (I'll get to it someday)

45 The Woman in White Wilkie Collins (someday)

46 Anne of Green Gables LM Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables is up there with Little Women. I love Montgomery. So happy to see her on this list)

47 Far From The Madding Crowd Thomas Hardy (hm, not a Hardy title I have heard of)

48 The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood (I'm sorry fellow Canadians, I am not a big Atwood fan. This book is okay, but it took me a few tries to get into it)

49 Lord of the Flies William Golding (I think this book is one of the worst things I have ever been subjected to)

50 Atonement Ian McEwan (I like this book, better than Amsterdam.)

51 Life of Pi Yann Martel (ahem, I have some issues with this book that I will save for a rainy day)

52 Dune Frank Herbert (another great classic in my favourite genre, but I haven't read it yet.)

53 Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons (this selection just... confuses me)

54 Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen (again with the Austen...)

55 A Suitable Boy Vikram Seth (haven't read yet)

56 The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon (I started this book...)

57 A Tale Of Two Cities Charles Dickens (Another Dickens I have not got to yet)

58 Brave New World Aldous Huxley (not read)

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon (okay book, but another one that I really don't understand why people cannot live without it)

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez (after all the names in his other book, I am on a Marquez break... should come off that soon)

61 Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck (my favourite Steinbeck)

62 Lolita Vladimir Nabokov (um, hm, I have read this book. I can't really say I can't without it)

63 The Secret History Donna Tartt (I own, not read)

64 The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold (This was okay... again, I could live without it)

65 Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas (I like Dumas, but I have not read this one)

66 On The Road Jack Kerouac (not sure if I know this book)

67 Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy (another Hardy I have never heard of. I am uncultured with Hardy's)

68 Bridget Jones's Diary Helen Fielding (You have GOT to be kidding me!)

69 Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie (this won the Booker)

70 Moby Dick Herman Melville (I don't mind this book)

71 Oliver Twist Charles Dickens (how did Bridget Jones beat this book?)

72 Dracula Bram Stoker (or this one as a matter of fact)

73 The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett (great book!)

74 Notes From A Small Island Bill Bryson (The lovely Bryson. I can tell this is UK, more Canadian authors than the US normally have)

75 Ulysses James Joyce (someday...)

76 The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath (not read)

77 Swallows and Amazons Arthur Ransome (no idea what this is)

78 Germinal Emile Zola (see above)

79 Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray (the movie ruined this for me)

80 Possession AS Byatt (I keep meaning to read this)

81 A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens (more Dickens! I really like Dickens. How did Bridget Jones beat Dickens?)

82 Cloud Atlas David Mitchell (I have heard iffy things about this book, so never sure if I would like it or not.)

83 The Color Purple Alice Walker (okay, how did Bridget Jones beat this book! I really really like this book!)

84 The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro (never read)

85 Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert (I have seen a movie version)

86 A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry (I meant to read this book last year)

87 Charlotte's Web EB White (I am really not sure how some of the above books beat this book....)

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven Mitch Albom (It's okay...)

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (A part of our culture. Who does not know who Sherlock Holmes is? Who wants to forget who Bridget Jones is?)

90 The Faraway Tree Collection Enid Blyton (no idea what this is)

91 Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad (hm.. I think I read part of this.)

92 The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupery (never read)

93 The Wasp Factory Iain Banks (This surprises me because I have heard of other books by him before this one)

94 Watership Down Richard Adams (Wow, surprised this book is so far down the list)

95 A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole (never read)

96 A Town Like Alice Nevil Shute (no idea)

97 The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas (I could cry. Bridget Jones and Harry Potter beat The Three Musketeers? )

98 Hamlet William Shakespeare (um, this would be in the collected works, wouldn't it..)

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl (okay, probably should not make any more Bridget Jones' cracks, huh)

100 Les Misérables Victor Hugo (Wow, this book surprises me to be at the end)

You can see the article by clicking here.


  1. I'm thinking a lot of this list had to do with movies too. And ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH! to Heart of Darkness. I hate that book and it's way over taught. I've had to read it 4 times while at college.

  2. It's a good idea, kailana. I'm going to give it some thought and post mine on the blog sometime soon.

    Samantha- I agree. I wasn't that impressed.

  3. Ok....this weekend, I'll put together my list. I'm quite sure it will all be Classics (except for maybe Stephen King's The Stand....because it's one of my all-time favorites and one of the only books I've ever Re-read!)

    I agree with you on most of your comments (except for maybe The Catcher in the Rye! I really liked it!)

  4. Here's my list.

    Although it didn't make my list, The Shadow of the Wind was the best book I read in 2006. Most of my titles are classics. It was really hard to pick 10 and I kept changing my mind.

  5. Thanks for participating Chris!

  6. What a fascinating list!! I'll participate in your list and get it posted over the weekend. It will be really interesting to see what you come up with.

    Although I've never read Bridget Jones Diary, given the other books on the list, I agree with you - how did that make it on the list???

  7. list is up!! You can find it Here:

  8. Hey! I was trying to find the list of those 100 can't-live-without books and you found it! =)

    I'm going to voice out my thoughts on the 100 books now.

  9. Hello! Excellent idea! I will be posting my list today and will happily link your blog to mine. Looking forward to seeing the definitive list in April.


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