Books, Lifestyle

BBC Reads Top 100 List

I’ve been a lifelong bookworm and anyone who knows me knows I’ve always got a book on the go.

My excuse for owning so many books (we’re on to over 250 now) is that I’ll need something to fill my library when I eventually own one… (everyone’s got to have a dream right?)

So how on Earth had I completely missed the BBC Big Read’s list of Top 100 books?

I’ll admit, the list is a bit old.

Originally created in 2003, it’s the result of the search to find the nation’s favourite book. The 100 books that are listed, are the results based on nominations from the public.

So, when a colleague mentioned this to me last week, I thought I’d take a look.

In the top 10 are:

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  7. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
  8. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

As you can see, already it’s a real mix of the classics and the modern across both children’s and adult’s literature.

Interestingly, the BBC reckon most people will have read about 6.

My total?


To most, that will seem impressive. But to me, a diehard bookworm, it’s not enough.

Which is why I’ve decided to work my way through the list, ticking off books from the 1700s to the modern day.

Some of these titles I already own (a handful of these are in the image above) and have either been lovingly read, or left neglected and unopened on my bookshelves.

Other titles on the list sit on an iPhone note of books I want to read, or think I should read.

But there were also books I’d never heard of…


I’m lucky. Working in publishing and having done an English degree at University, I don’t often struggle to find my next read. But I often struggle to pick which one it should be.

Which is why I think the BBC list, despite being fifteen years old, is still worth looking at and working your way through.

If you love books and want to read widely, covering a mix of the greats (Dickens, Austen, Brontë, Hardy, Tolkien, Orwell) and a selection of contemporary classics (Rowling, Faulks, Magorian) then this should be your starting point.

So this is the challenge I’ve set myself.

I’ll begin to work my way through the list and at the end of the year, I’ll check my progress. And maybe mention a few of my own suggestions if the BBC were to create a new list…

Anyone else with me?

To check out the full Top 100 Reads, visit the page (now archived!) on the BBC website here.

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