Amazon’s UK 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list

A Fine BalanceLists are generally worth about as much as surveys; the trick to divining their value invariably lays in finding out what questions where asked and who answered them.

Nevertheless I remain a sucker for lists, whatever their provenance, and that includes Amazon’s new UK version of its 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, a wide-ranging reading list that manages to include The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Trainspotting and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Although it’s somewhat opaque in its ‘compiled by the Amazon Book Editors’ descriptor, it arrives just as I’m trying to work out what to read next having made one too many unwise-in-retrospect second-hand book choices. (It’s also, as usual, a chance to cross off the ones I’ve read – but that’s what lists are for … right?)

Just Begun: Children’s Books

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
Winnie-the-Pooh by AA Milne
The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson
Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

Moving On: Older Children and Young Adults

Watership Down by Richard Adams
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Approachable Classics

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Something More Modern

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for His Hat by Oliver Sacks
The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
The Commitments by Roddy Doyle
Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

Classics: Nineteenth Century and Earlier

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Mill on the Floss by George Elliot
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Explore Alternative Worlds

The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Stand by Stephen King
The Time Machine by HG Wells
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick
A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

Contemporary Fiction

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Atonement by Ian McEwan
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Last Orders by Graham Swift
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Dissolution by CJ Sansom
London Fields by Martin Amis

Twentieth Century Classics

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
My Man Jeeves by PG Wodehouse

Nonfiction Essentials

Freakonomics by Steven D Levitt
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawkins
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Wild Swans by Jung Chang
London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd
Venice by Jan Morris
Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil Macgregor
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

2 responses to “Amazon’s UK 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list

  1. This is such an unusual list!What was your favorite so far? I read Catch 22 last week, didn’t like it whatsoever. I like how this list is so ranging. Schindler Ark is also a difficult enough read aswell

  2. tangleofwires

    There are some great books there that I’d like to re-read – Norwegian Wood, Trainspotting, White Teeth, Crime and Punishment – and some I didn’t like the first time around – London Fields, To the Lighthouse and, though I love Brett Easton Ellis’ first two books and short story collection, American Psycho.

    Many of them are on my ‘to read’ list – including Schindler’s Ark.

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