Monday, 22 August 2011

Top 100 Books | Big Issue relaunches the list

Are these Britain’s most loved books?

     Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkein
     To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
     Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
     Lanark, Alasdair Gray
     Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
     His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
     Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke
     Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
     Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
     The Road, Cormac McCarthy

With over a million paperback sales in Britain alone, David Nicholls’ bittersweet romance One Day is one of the best-loved books of the moment. The film is out this week - which is why the book is appearing on the covers of magazines.
But what are the best-loved books of all?
The Big Issue is this week relaunching my off the cuff bid to compile a Top 100: the books you couldn’t live without.
I’ve been running the poll for the past few weeks right here. But now the magazine sold by the homeless is taking the idea to a national audience via its own websites  and
Together, we want you to list the ten books you think are the best you've ever read. The ones you believe are genuinely memorable and entertaining.
The responses I’ve received so far have been extraordinary: diverse, unusual and challenging.
But even with a small sample it was clear that a few titles were appearing again and again.
From these I have compiled a Top Ten – reproduced here. And it’s hardly a surprise that perennial favourites Lord of the Rings and To Kill A Mockingbird are neck and neck at the top.
But notice that there is no Dickens, JK Rowling or Agatha Christie – despite the fact they are the biggest selling authors of all time.
Instead, readers went for cultish books like Lanark, Gormenghast and the bleak American masterpiece The Road.
What makes the final list depends on you.
Email your top ten to
There are no boundaries. All genres should be considered - just vote for the books that mean the
Everyone who has voted so far will have their lists folded in to the new campaign. Over the next few days I'll break down the list of titles I have so far to give you some ideas, and to create talking points.
What has become obvious is that the more people who take part in this poll, the more meaningful the final list will be so please share this link with your friends on social media and encourage others to take part. We are all really looking forward to seeing what the final top 100 will look like.

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