#24 – Read all the BBC Top 100 books: Progress update
When I last updated you on my progress with the reading list back in September, I had 30 months left and 18 books still to read. I seem to have got a bit of a spurt on in the last few months, as I’ve rattled through a further 11 books since then, meaning there’s now only seven books left on the list! Here’s a quick run down of the rather eclectic selection I’ve read in that time:
The BFG – Cute! I loved the made up words which were oh so expressive. I’m sad I never read this as a child as I think I would have enjoyed it even more.
On The Road – I wasn’t a fan. Two eminently dislikeable lads doing things they hadn’t thought through and essentially drifting through their lives achieving nothing. Allegedly the motif for a generation, I’m glad it wasn’t my generation.
The Princess Diaries – An everyday American girl who turns out to be a French princess… An improbable plot but since when did that get in the way of a good story? By the end she’d won me round but the books for the current generation are very different to those I read as a child. And I preferred mine.
The Grapes of Wrath – another tedious American road novel about going nowhere. I couldn’t really see the point of this book as nothing happened. Or maybe that was the point.
Anne of Green Gables – A really lovely story. In my view a proper children’s book. A bit of escapism and a lovely positive character with some underlying educational messages.
Dune – I don’t normally read sci-fi but I really enjoyed this. Less heavy on the techie stuff and more emotionally engaging with the characters. However, I was disappointed with the ending. It just didn’t give me what I wanted.
Double Act – The second of the four Jacqueline Wilson’s on the list and I didn’t really enjoy the last one I read. This one was a bit better but like the Princess Diaries, it’s still not of the Chalet School or Malory Towers canon that I loved. I preferred Anne of Green Gables.
Black Beauty – Another charming and educational story. If I had children I’d prefer them to read these older stories than the current Jacqueline Wilson types.
The Thorn Birds – a good read, especially because I’ve visited the Australian outback so could understand the setting of the book and how that environment shapes the characters’ lifestyles. Not for me the greatest love story ever written (as it is sometimes described) and slightly frustrating to see the women make the same mistakes over and over again, but nevertheless entertaining.
The Magic Faraway Tree – more escapism with less of the political incorrectness which apparently means Enid Blyton is not desirable reading these days. A fun way to teach children the importance of good manners and good behaviour.
The Stand – My heart sank when I found this on a charity shop shelf. It’s enormous. And I’ve not enjoyed the pervious Stephen King’s I’ve read. But it’s on the list so I had to read it. I was expecting it to be a horror story but it wasn’t. Not really. Friends have said the book terrified them but it didn’t have that effect on me. Timing was everything. Reading a book about the outbreak of a deadly plague which has the symptoms of the common cold and wipes out most of the world’s population during the winter, surrounded by people suffering colds and flu and with the news full of stories of an Ebola outbreak, there were times when I struggled to separate fact and fiction. The most scary thing about this book is the notion that it could actually happen. I didn’t expect to enjoy it but I did. King’s characters were likeable and engaging – once again I cared about them and wanted to know how their stories ended which to me is the measure of a good book.
So now there’s only seven books left and 25 months left to read them in. The quest is starting to look seriously achievable, even counting War and Peace and Ulysses! Even if it takes me a month each to read the other five (Brave New World, Winnie The Pooh, Holes, Katherine and Vicky Angel), that still leaves me 10 months for each of those two weighty tomes. And if it takes me 10 months to read them I’m sure I will lose the will to live…