The BBC Top 100 Books To Read Before You Die

The BBC first published this list of 100 books to read before you die in 2003 but I believe it has had a number of updates since then.  I would love to read every book on this list … here is the progress I’ve made so far!

{As mentioned in my 50 things to do before I’m 50 post, I am aiming to read 10 more books from this list before I turn 50 at the beginning on 2022 … the books I read to meet this challenge will be highlighted in pink}


  1. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien – read it, meh
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – read it, it was good
  3. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman – read it, loved it 
  4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams – read it, it was good
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling – read it, loved it
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – read
  7. Winne the Pooh by AA Milne – not read
  8. 1984 by George Orwell – owned but not read
  9. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis – read
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – read
  11. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – tried to read it, unlikely to try again!
  12. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – read
  13. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks – not read
  14. Rebecca by Daphne due Maurier – read
  15. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger – read
  16. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – not read (what?!)
  17. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – read
  18. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – read
  19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres – not read
  20. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – not read but owned
  21. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – not read
  22. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling – read
  23. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling – read
  24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  by JK Rowling – read
  25. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien – not read
  26. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy – read
  27. Middlemarch by George Eliot – think we read this in school but no lasting impression!
  28. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – not read
  29. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – not read
  30. Alices Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – not read (!)
  31. The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson – not read
  32. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – not read, would rather be boiled in oil
  33. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – not read
  34. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – not read
  35. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – not read (don’t @ me!)
  36. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – not read
  37. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute – read it, loved it
  38. Persuasion by Jane Austen – not read
  39. Dune by Frank Herbert – not read but owned, I think
  40. Emma by Jane Austen – not read
  41. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery – don’t think I’ve read it
  42. Watership Down by Richard Adams – not read
  43. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald – not read but owned (just read it, woman!)
  44. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – not read but owned
  45. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh – not read
  46. Animal Farm by George Orwell – read and enjoyed
  47. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – read and enjoyed
  48. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy – not read
  49. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian – not read
  50. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher – not read, I don’t think …
  51. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – not read
  52. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – read, it was good
  53. The Stand by Stephen King – not read but owned
  54. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – not read by owned
  55. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth – not read
  56. The BFG by Roald Dahl – not read
  57. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome – not read
  58. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – not read
  59. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – not read
  60. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – not read
  61. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman – not read
  62. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden – read and enjoyed
  63. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – not read but owned
  64. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCollough – think I read it as a teen …
  65. Mort by Terry Pratchett – not read
  66. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton – read as a child
  67. The Magus by John Fowles – not read
  68. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – not read
  69. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett – not read
  70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding – not read
  71. Perfume by Patrick Suskind – not read but owned
  72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell – not read
  73. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett – not read
  74. Matilda by Roald Dahl – not read
  75. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding – read, meh
  76. The Secret History by Donna Tarth – read, loved
  77. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – not read
  78. Ulysses by James Joyce, not read, highly unlikely to read!
  79. Bleak House by Charles Dickens – not read but owned
  80. Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson – not read
  81. The Twits by Roald Dahl – not read
  82. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith – not read
  83. Holes by Louis Sachar – read, it was good
  84. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake – not read
  85. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy – not read by owned, I think
  86. Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson
  87. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – read, meh
  88. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons – not read
  89. Magician by Raymond E Feist – not read
  90. On the Road by Jack Kerouac – read, enjoyed it
  91. The Godfather by Mario Puzo – not read
  92. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel – might’ve read as a teen …
  93. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett – not read
  94. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – not read
  95. Katherine by Anya Seton – not read
  96. Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer – read, enjoyed it
  97. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – not read
  98. Girls in Love by Jacqueline Wilson – not read
  99. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot – not read
  100. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie – not read

Current progress:  Read 29/100

Owned but not read:  10