My Top 100 Books


I was asked recently to list my top 100 books to date, and it was such a difficult thing to do that I decided to write it down and publish the finished article. I must ask that you forgive any philistinliness… philistinility… ignorance – I have not read everything, of course, but I still have my favourites and they are thus (and in no particular order, because that’s just too bloody difficult):

1. Midnight’s Children, Salmon Rushdie

 2. The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins

 3. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

 4. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

 5. The Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys

 6. House of Mirth, Edith Wharton

 7. 1984, George Orwell

 8. Dracula, Bram Stoker

 9. Women in Love, D H Lawrence

 10. Humboldt’s Gift, Saul Bellow

 11. The Women’s Room, Marilyn French

 12. The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing

 13. The Secret History, Donna Tart

 14. Darkmans, Nicola Barker

 15. Valley of the Dolls, Jaqueline Suzanne

 16. Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin

 17. War of the Worlds, H G Wells

 18. Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Jules Verne

 19. Catcher in the Rye, J D Salinger

 20. Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut

 21. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

 22. A Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

 23. Gaslight Sonatas, Fannie Hurst

 24. Decline and Fall, Evelyn Waugh

 25. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

 26. Howard’s End, E M Forster

 27. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie

 28. Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn

 29. Lord of the Rings, J R R Tolkein

 30. The Edible Woman, Margaret Atwood

 31. Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood (or The Handmaid’s Tale. Can’t make up mind)

 32. The Fifth Child, Doris Lessing

 33. Catch 22, Joseph Heller

 34. Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier

 35. Dune, Frank Herbert

 36. Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

 37. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald

 38. A Spy in the House of Love, Anais Nin

 39. What Happened to the Corbetts, Neville Shute

 40. Lord of the Flies, William Golding

 41. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving

 42. Ragtime, E L Doctorow

 43. The History of Danish Dreams, Peter Hoeg

 44. Beloved, Toni Morrison

 45. White Oleander, Janet Fitch

 46. Island, Jane Rogers

 47. The Virgin Blue, Tracy Chevlier

 48. Swimming Sweet Arrow, Maureen Gibbon

 49. The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury

 50. Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood

 51. Sabbath’s Theatre, Philip Roth

 52. Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami

 53. Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

 54. Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates

 55. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 56. The Belljar, Sylvia Plath

 57. The Remains of the Day, Kashuo Ishiguro

 58. Time’s Arrow, Martin Amis

 59. Miss Lonelyhearts, Nathanial West

 60. The Passion of New Eve, Angela Carter

 61. Trumpet, Jackie Kay

 62. A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters, Julian Barnes

 63. The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

 64. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

 65. Butcher Boy, Pat McCabe

 66. Fingersmith, Sarah Waters

 67. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

 68. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo

 69. Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding

 70. White Teeth, Zadie Smith

 71. The Rotters’ Club, Johnathan Coe

 72. Enduring Love, Ian McEwan

 73. The Wooden Overcoat, Pamela Branch

 74. Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K Jerome

 75. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov

 76. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

 77. Bear V. Shark, Chris Bachelder

 78. The Wrong Boy, Willy Russell

 79. Vurt, Jeff Noon

 80. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

 81. Ghostwritten, David Mitchell

 82. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

 83. The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon

 84. Disgrace, J M Coetzee

 85. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen

 86. Carter Beats the Devil, Glen David Gold

 87. Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford

 88. Anne Frank’s Diary

 89. Love and Darkness, Amos Oz

 90. Everything is Illuminated, Johnathan Saffran Foer

 91. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

 92. The Scarlett Letter, Nathanial Hawthorn

 93. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson

 94. The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory

 95. Northern Lights Trilogy, Philip Pullman

 96. Clock without Hands, Carson McCullers

 97. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons

 98. Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham

 99. Wicked, Gregory McGuire

 100. The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer

I had no idea how hard writing this list would be. I mean, what do I do with things like Someset Maugham’s The Magician and everything else that Margaret Atwood’s written? Oh, Alias Grace hasn’t made it to the list and yet it’s fantastic. Gormenghast and  I haven’t even mentioned Terry Pratchett, or PG Wodehouse!

And, what do I do about graphic novels? Daytrippers, Maus, Blue is the Warmest Colour. Jeeze – it’s a good job my life doesn’t depend on this list.

Feel free to point out any gaping holes and tell me your favourite reads – I’m always looking for a good book.

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