The Big Read: One Hundred Books Challenge

I’ve challenged myself to finish this list of books for 12 years, I’m still not done. But this challenge is worth the 12+ more years that it’s probably going to take me to complete it (especially if you love old classics).

Around 11 years old, my love for reading really grew. I was tired of chatting on MSN with my friends and the only thing we could say was “I’m so bored”.  I didn’t have any friends who lived close by, my sisters were too cool to play with me, so I had to find a way to entertain myself. I could only play Penguin Diner for so long (remember this game? Or was that just my weird obsession??).

I picked up a super old book with a little red-headed girl on the cover – Anne of Green Gables. I watched a cartoon about her and figured the book was probably good. I was wrong, the book was amazing. I loved it so much, I felt like I was Anne’s best friend, I couldn’t stop smiling. 

I always enjoyed reading, but I wouldn’t have called myself an avid reader. It was so hard for me to find a good book. I hated leaving books unfinished, so I would always force myself to read through a boring book, which didn’t make me want to pick up another. This was before during a time a time when I wouldn’t have thought to Google “Best books to read” and have thousands of blog posts come up with recommendations. 

Like any other younger sibling, I went to my older sisters and asked them to recommend another book for me to read. 

They both introduced me to two of my now all-time favourite authors, Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I read The House of Spirits and 100 Years of Solitude, both I consider to be must-reads, you won’t be able to put them down!! I wouldn’t stop talking about them!

My sister decided to keep me occupied and introduced me to “BBC’S The Big Read”. This was a list of 100 books that were most loved in the UK as of 2003. Sure enough, I had read a few titles on the list – maybe I’d like the rest of them too?? 

I became kind of obsessed and wanted to read all the books on that list, to be able to say I did it. I read some more, namely the Harry Potter books, and was convinced I’d like all the books on that list. I didn’t need to think anymore, I felt 100% sure that I would like any book on that list. Of course, I was wrong, there were bound to be a few outliers that I didn’t think were good. 

My love and obsession for the books on the list would come and go, depending how busy I became with school, but I always returned to the list. As of today (Oct 2, 2021), I’m 23, 12 years since I was first introduced to the list, and I haven’t even made it half-way through , LOL. 

Not to say I’ve read less than 50 books this past decade!! With this list though, I am relentless and I really want to say that I read through this list in my lifetime (hopefully it doesn’t take that long, haha).

If I haven’t lost you in the link already, below is the list of books. The coloured titles are the books I’ve already read, before today’s date:

  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
Read 29%

As of October 2021, I’m at 29/100 books read, a little over a quarter of the way. I found some good book deals, and I have purchased a few to be able to leisurely read at home:

  1. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
  2. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
  3. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
  4. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
  5. Persuasion, Jane Austen
  6. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel

After finishing these, I would have read 35 books on this list! The most I’ve moved in a couple of years, oops. Because I bought these books, I read their summaries to make sure I’d most likely enjoy reading them. I’ve been working on eliminating the annoying habit of feeling like I NEED to finish a book I’ve started. I remember reading somewhere that there are far too many good books in the world, to waste your time reading a boring one. I try to live by this now.

If you’ve already read some of the books on this list, you should join me and give some other books a try! However, don’t take this competitively and try to finish this list as fast as possible. Reading is about enjoying your time, and learning new things, don’t make it a chore or you’ll become miserable and completely miss the magic. 

Also, don’t limit yourself to only the books on this list, there are so many more great books, and even more published every day, indulge in whatever book is capturing your attention, and always know you have this list to fall back on during a lull. 

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