Literary experts put together the 100 ESSENTIAL books for British readers

March 21, 2013 | by | 2 Comments
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the book most people will have on their shelves

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the book most people will have on their shelves

Literary experts today published a list of 100 ‘essential’ books – at least one of which can be found on every bookcase in Britain.

The catalogue of classics includes a diverse mix of literary genres including everything from Harry Potter to Jane Eyre to the saucy novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

Other titles featured include Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights and The Man Who Thought Different, the late Steve Jobs’ biography.

Autobiographies from the likes of Frank Skinner, David Walliams, Miranda Hart and even Katie Price also feature on Britain’s bookshelves.

The research was commissioned by Bookmarkyourlibrary.org.uk, who trawled literary forums and websites to compile a the list of the best-loved books in Britain.

The book most people are likely to have gathering dust on the shelf is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling, followed by J R R Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Elisabeth Robinson, spokesperson for Bookmarkyourlibrary.org.uk said: ”Bearing in mind the first Harry Potter book was released just 15 years ago, it’s incredible that two of them are in the top ten books that appear on Briton’s bookshelves and it’s a fantastic feat to beat classics like Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice.

”It’s refreshing to see how varied the genres on the list are, going from classics like Little Women to Bradley Wiggins autobiography.

”It also goes to show that a good book, however old, will always find a new audience.”

”No doubt literary aficionados will object to the likes of titles by Katie Price and Russell Brand appearing in the list, but our view is that as long as people are picking up books and reading that has to be a positive thing.

”Our aim is to drive people back in to Britain’s libraries whether they are reading chick-lit, science fiction or a celebrity autobiography.”

Other authors that feature in homes were Helen Fielding who penned Bridget Jones’ Diary and unsurprisingly Enid Blyton.

The poll also found that more than one in ten Brits have lied about reading certain books.

Of those a third said they pretend to have read certain titles to make themselves appear more intelligent than they actually are.

And a quarter said they pretend to be more well-read than they actually are.

The survey also revealed that more than one in ten said they would never read the same book twice and one in twenty said they throw books away.

Of the 2000 adults polled 18 per cent said they regularly re-read books on their shelves, but 13 per cent said they hang on to books as they like seeing them lined up on the bookshelf.

And over half of Brits just leave books to gather dust on their shelves, 16 per cent take them to a charity shop and 15 pass finished books on to a friend when they are done with them.

Elisabeth Robinson added: ”Nobody likes to see a good book go to waste and libraries have been Britain’s bookshelves for centuries giving people access to the greatest reads of all time without them gathering dust.

Bookmarkyourlibrary.org.uk is a free library resource which provides access to the various library services available across the country. Users can research books, find their local library and access the wealth of information available online or in their local library.”

THE TOP ONE HUNDRED MOST POPULAR BOOKS

1 – 49

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling
The Hobbit – J R R Tolkien
The Bible
The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling
The Official Highway Code – Department for Transport
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
Fifty Shades of Grey – E L James
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – JRR Tolkein
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – JRR Tolkein
Jamie’s 15 minute meals – Jamie Oliver
The BFG – Roald Dahl
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Animal Farm – George Orwell
1984 – George Orwell
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden -Frances Hodgson Burnett
George’s Marvellous Medicine – Roald Dahl
Time Travellers Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D Salinger
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
Emma – Jane Austen
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
The Story of Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson
The shining – Stephen King
Confessions of a shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella
Game of Thrones – George R R Martin
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton
Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
My Sisters keeper – Jodi Picoult
Is It Just Me? – Miranda Hart
Mort – Terry Pratchett
One Day – David Nicholls
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Moby Dick – Herman Neville
My Booky Wook – Russell Brand
The Godfather – Mario Puzo
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel

50 – 100

Brief history of time – Stephen Hawkin
Men are from Mars Women are from Venus – John Gray
Kane and Abel – Jeffrey Archer
America Psycho – Bret Easton-Ellis
Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
Diary of Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot
Life and Laughing – Michael McIntyre
Wonders of the Universe – Brian Cox
Call The Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950′s – Jennifer Worth
One The Road – Jack Kerouac
Being Jordan – Katie Price
Bradley Wiggins: An Autobiography – Bradley Wiggins
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
Secret diary of a call girl – Belle de Jour
How to be a Woman – Caitlin Moran
The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling
Riders – Jilly Cooper
The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follet
Blood of Dragons – Robin Hobb
David Walliams – Mr Stink
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
Frank Skinner – By Frank Skinner
World War Z – Max Brooks
A thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
12th of Never – James Patterson
We can remember it for you wholesale – Phillip K Dick
The Snail and the Whale – Julia Donaldson
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography – Walter Isaacson
Still Standing: The Savage Years – Paul O’Grady
Bring up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
The Inside – Piers Morgan
Football! Bloody Hell – Alex Ferguson
The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen
My Animals and Other Family – Clare Balding
The James Bond Archives – Paul Duncan
Entwined With You – Sylvia Day
Running My Life – Seb Coe
Ratburger – David Walliams
The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey
Over the Moon: My Autobiography – David Essex
Honest: My Story So Far – Tulisa Contostavlos
Looking for Alaska – John Green
The Autobiography of Jack the Ripper – James Carnac
Eloise – Judy Finnigan
The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance – Edmund de Waal

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Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I can highly recommend Street cat named Bob its a brilliant book and kept me enthralled right to the end.

  2. Animal lover says:

    I can highly recommend Street cat Named Bob kept me enthralled right to the end.

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