The Big Read (The BBC Top 100): Time for a Facelift?

Wallace Yovetich

Staff Writer

Wallace Yovetich grew up in a home where reading was preferred to TV, playing outside was actually fun, and she was thrilled when her older brothers weren’t home so she could have a turn on the Atari. Now-a-days she watches a bit more TV, and considers sitting on the porch swing (with her laptop) “playing outside”. She still thinks reading is preferable to most things, though she’d really like to find out where her mom put that old Atari (Frogger addicts die hard). She runs a series of Read-a-Longs throughout the year (as well as posting fun bookish tidbits throughout the week) on her blog, Unputdownables. After teaching for seven years, Wallace is now an aspiring writer. Blog: Unputdownables Twitter: @WallaceYovetich

Eight years ago (in 2003), BBC held a search for their nation’s most beloved books of all time. Once the reader-contributed titles were tabulated, they formed a Top 21, Top 100, and Top 200. Over the past (almost) decade, these lists have been republished, discussed and argued about on literary sites and blogs across the world. As far as the book world is concerned, it is still one of the most searched for lists in Google. After eight years!

Some would say that a list like this does not need to be updated frequently, especially when many of the books listed were more than 10 (or even 20) years old anyway. However, readers’ tastes change and grow as they do, and some of the huge publishing advances in the past eight years might effect a list like the the BBC’s.

Take a gander at the lists:

If we were making the list today*, what would you put on it? Would you keep it as is, or did they miss some important titles (either those written before or since the list was made)?

*By list I am referring to it in its entirety. The Top 21 and Top 100 were taken from the top of the entire list of 200 titles, though usually people just refer to the list as the BBC Top 100.