A little while ago on Facebook (the source of many interesting surveys), I was tagged in a ‘have you read these books’ note by my sister-in-law.  It’s a list of 100 books that most people ‘should have’ read.  She scored 43 out of the hundred.  I managed 13 which is just over twice the six that the BBC suggests that most people have read.  It’s going to be a two-parter post because it’s kind of a lot to read and my opinions are only slightly interesting even to me.  There are a couple of spoilers ahead so be forewarned!Here’s my list and some commentary:

Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen — I read this at Luke’s recommendation.  I was surprised at how good a story it was.  I’m not big into period romance but I genuinely enjoyed this and will probably re-read it at some point.

The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien — It took me ages to read this.  It was probably 4 years between reading the first and second halves of the second book.  I just straight up did not care what happened to Sam and Frodo.  I knew they were going to make it, I just didn’t care how it played out.  I’ve read the first and third books a couple of times but the second (like Empire Strikes Back) is just linking material and is so difficult to even care about.  I read Bored of the Rings by The Harvard Lampoon so I was broadly familiar with the story before I picked up the first book.

Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling — Once again, took me ages (and not because it took the books a long time to be released).  I was definitely not in the target demographic for this one at any time.  The first three books were not too bad.  Fairly short and light.  After that they get into Tom Clancy type length and the characters are very irritating.  I knew the ending of the sixth book months before I read it and I didn’t read the seventh book until over a year after its release.  Unlikely to re-read.

1984 – George Orwell — I actually read this one fairly recently (got at the library, I think).  I am a big fan of dystopian future type novels so I figured I should read one of the big ones.  It was alright, I suppose.  I think the ending was a bit odd.  Nobody seemed to learn anything at all which may have been the moral of the story.  Unlikely to re-read.  I prefer William Gibson’s version of the future.

The Hobbit – I’m sure I read this as a child at some point (or possibly it was read to me) but I recently re-read it aloud to Amy.  There were huge swathes of it that I didn’t remember at all.  I think I prefer Bilbo to Frodo.  Probably will re-read.

The Hitch Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams — I think this was probably the first book (or rather, series of books) from the list that I had read in its entirety.  I distinctly recall being told to be quiet and stop laughing late at night the first or second time I read it.  I think this series figured into my love of science fiction fairly early on.  It’s just so cleverly done.  Might actually start re-reading it tonight.

Chronicles of Narnia/The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis — Dad read these to us when we were pretty little and also read them onto tapes so we could listen to them in the car on trips.  He’s just finished doing them onto CD/MP3s and I’ve converted it to audiobooks for use in my iPod.  They are so good and if you haven’t read them you really ought to do so.  They’re listed separately in the BBC list so I think I counted them as two of my 13.

i relished the fray