My Big Read

In April 2003 the BBC’s Big Read began the search for the nation’s best-loved novel. A recent blog meme has asked how many you’ve read and how many you want to read. I’ve reverted to the original list. Green have been read, italic orange are either on my selves to read or I’d like to read. Once I have finished them I may move on to the others.

  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
  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

A good Year – Peter Mayle

After reading Chasing Cézanne I felt Peter Mayle was a good enough writer to follow up with A Good Year.

Previous visits to Provence have given me an affinity with the locations discussed in these books and some small understanding of the French/English/American interaction.

The writing in this book is gentle; smooth like a beautiful red wine, with humorous overtones. There was intrigue hiding within the pages but I expected more from this. There was no build up or crescendo; the plot simply teetered off to a quite end; soft and pleasing but a slight disappointment.

I’ll give it time before I decide whether this has put me off the writer.

Savage Garden by Mark Mills

Last year I was buying books for my mother-in-law to read whilst she was recovering from a stroke. As I perused the book shelves I saw Savage Garden by Mark Mills and was attracted by both the front and back cover. I’m not sure if I bought the book at the time (I must ask) but in the year since I have spied the book repeatedly on book shelves and in shop windows. It seemed that the book was calling to me, reminding me that it had piqued my interest all those months ago.

On a roam through Waterston’s last month I felt the pull again with a 3 for 2 offer on at the time, I felt at last that I should take the plunge and buy the book.

After such a long time I felt no need to start the book immediately. I’m sure there was some reason why the book was placed on the shelf until another time (probably the other 2 books in the offer) but a few weeks ago I finally picked it up, and I’m glad to have done so.

Within the first few pages I felt an attraction to the characters laid out before me. References to art, literature and history seem to lay a foundation on which multiple mysteries from differing times have been woven. Beautifully written, this book kept my interest throughout and as I lay the book down I felt satisfied.

Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

I heard a quote in a TV program the other day, said by one of my favourite actors. It was a quote from Far from the Madding Crowd, a copy of which I have owned from some 15 years but have never read. There are so many books to read out there that it’s difficult to know how to choose which one to pick up next. Hearing such a quote seems as good a reason as any to me, so I pulled the book down from the shelf and began to read.

This is the first book of Thomas Hardy that I have read and one of the few ‘classic’ books that I have attempted (a situation I now intend to rectify). This meant that the language being used hindered my reading at the start of the book. Within the first five pages I have probably noted at least ten words that I was not quite sure of. This did not bode well for an easy read, but after the first chapter I found that my mind had become accustomed to the language and began to relish in the descriptive nature of Hardy’s writing. I loved how he described the wind blowing over and through the forest, as if both were alive and interacting with each other; the vivid way in which the characters were illustrated truly helped me visualise the personalities and their temperament.

I laughed at times and I cried at others. At one point I even shouted at one character in the book – out loud!

Descriptive, moving, humorous, beautiful. When I put this book down I didn’t wish to speak.

My Reading

I’m not reading more at the moment; I’m simply reading a larger range of books. It is helping me broaden my language, my knowledge and my outlook.

I’ll write some reviews of the books I read and probably the reason behind my choice.

I don’t like to read book reviews before I approach a book as I am easily swayed and on some occasions wouldn’t pick up a book if I’d heard a discouraging assessment. That is one of the reasons why my reviews will be short, but also because they relate to my interaction with the book. Reading for me is quite a personal affair.

The excitment of it all!

Just got my Amazon order through. God am i excited. I want the world to stop turning so that I can sit and read for a week. Solid.

Not going to happen though is it. I’m mean, world stops turing and we all stop staying attracted to the earth and go flying off into outerspace. extreme – but you know what i mean.

Back to the books. my wish list has had the Zen of CSS book by Dave Shea and Molly e. Holzschlag on it since i heard it was about to be published in the UK. The website that started it all ( is fantastic and taught me not only how to use cascading style sheets but also that there is no limit to the creativity that can be appliad to a standards compliant website. It’s helped me up my game.

So the book came today, along with designing with web standards, Jeffrey Zeldman (see this book everywhere) and cascading sytle sheets 2.0 programmer’s reference, Eric Meyer (thank the lord for amazon and it’s add on selling!). So there’s four names that really are synonimous with webdesign now-a-days. I’m pretty sure these books are going to be fantastic. Flicking through them I really do believe they were the right combination to buy. Lets just hope I get the time to read them.

I’ll keep you posted.