Book Reviews

Top 50 reads – list mania

Over at Book Riot, they’ve posted their readers top 50 reads. I’m a sucker for lists like this and usually end up with a fairly respectable score. Not this time – I came in with a paltry 15 that I’ve read from the list of 50. Some of the others are on my TBR list but even if I get around to all of those I’m still not even at the half way mark. Some of the books I can’t ever see me wanting to read (Douglas Adams for example or Frank Herbert) and I’m astonished that some titles are even on the list (Gone with the Wind, Time Traveller’s Wife).
Better get reading…….
How would you fare with this list?
  1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  4. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (read the first only)
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien (not read even one of them)
  7. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  10. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  11. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  12. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  13. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  14. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  15. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  16. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  17. The Stand by Stephen King
  18. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (got no further than about page 50)
  19. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  20. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  21. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  22. The PIcture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  23. The Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  24. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
  25. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  26. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  27. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  28. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  29. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  30. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  31. 1984 by George Orwell
  32. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  33. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  34. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  35. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  36. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  37. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams (unlikely to ever read this)
  38. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  39. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  40. Ulysses by James Joyce
  41. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  42. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  43. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  44. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  45. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  46. Dune by Frank Herbert
  47. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  48. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  49. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  50. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver 


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

14 thoughts on “Top 50 reads – list mania

  • mine was 28…I am surprised to see The Night Circus on that list. I didn’t realize it was so popular.

  • its a shame that i never even gt to know abt it…bt the list looks quite updated in its own way..vat are u planning to read from the list??

    • Donna Tartt’s book has been on my bookshelf for about five years so I included it in my classics club list knowing that would push me to actually read it. The Toni Morrison one keeps cropping up on various book blogs so I might have a closer look.

  • 28/50..i haven’t even come across The poisonwood bible and hitchhijer’s guide is something which I would never lay my lands upon..though few in the list are predictable few like the grapes of wrath made to the list…this is making me to re read Lolita, its been a while….Though harry potter makes it to every top list my interest ebbed away from the fourth..But first one is undoubtedly my favourite of all..

    • Poisonwood Bible had a lot of exposure when it was published (1998) particularly because it was a selection from the Oprah Winfrey book club. It’s about a family of missionaries in the Belgian Congo. I didn’t get into it that much but its so long ago that I can’t remember why it didn’t interest me much.

  • I’ve read 14 of them, although does seem a bit unfair as a lot of them are series but the list only counts them as one.

    • I won’t tell if you double count the series titles!

    • Crumbs, that’s impressive WordsandPeace….

  • It’s an interesting list. Some of it strikes me as very American High School / college and pop culture. Often we get stuck on a “favorite” book because we read it in school or college with some wonderful teacher and the whole experience, rather than just the book, is remembered. I love The Scarlet Letter for this reason.
    Or a dear friend loves the book and passes it on and the book is loved for the aura of friendship it exudes.
    I have read many of them — but there are is one I have never heard of — Secret History of Donna Tartt..

    • interesting that neither you nor Angus have heard of The Secret History.It was published in the early 1990s I think. I’ve not read it myself so can’t comment on whether it should be on the list or not. She also wrote another one to great acclaim The Little Friend.

  • I’ve crossed out 21. 19 if you will not consider the ones I am still currently reading. Here’s my list:

    To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien (First book only.)
    Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
    The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (currently reading)
    1984 by George Orwell
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams (First book only..)
    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
    Ulysses by James Joyce (currently reading)
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

    • where there any surprises on this list for you Angus – titles that you wouldn’t have expected to see?   Karen Heenan-Davies


      • There are two that surprised me: The Secret History by Donna Tartt (because I haven’t heard of this) and The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (I didn’t realize that the author is popular enough to land a spot on the list.)


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