Dymocks' New Top 101 Books List - What do you think? How many have you read? | Kylie Purtell - Capturing Life

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Dymocks' New Top 101 Books List - What do you think? How many have you read?

Back when I worked for the chain bookstore, which I will now forever-more refer to as A&R due to their demise (which, for anyone that had ever dealt with them was not unexpected at all! You can't run a business the way they did and expect to survive. They gave new meaning to the term 'run in to the ground'!) there was an initiative started called The Top 100. The first year it started, everyone that worked for A&R was asked to vote for their top 5 favourite books and then the Top 100 list was compiled from that. Each year afterwards the voting was opened up to the public and a new list was generated.

Not long after A&R started their Top 100 favourites, Dymocks started their Top 101 books list, and has been doing it ever since. I love these kinds of lists, not only because I like to vote in them and get a chance to win every book that makes the list, but because its always interesting to see what books make the grade and how many I have read.
If this happens then my job as a mother will be done!
There are always the inevitable classics, The Bible makes the list every single year, and Harry Potter is almost always in the Top 3, along with Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. And there are always books that make the list based purely on the fact that they are fairly recent releases (or their movies were recently released) and so they stick in the minds of the people who are voting and so make the list, whether you think they are worthy or not.

The first year that A&R had their Top 100 list Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code was number one. Something I must admit I was a little surprised at. I would expect the broader book buying public to vote for something like that, but not booksellers, who generally have more opportunity to read a wider range of books. Don't get me wrong, I've read The DaVinci Code, and its not a bad book, but personally I don't think its worthy of the Top spot. But that's just my opinion. Obviously many people love it.

And that brings me to my only issue with the Top 101 and the way people debate what should or should not be on the list like its a matter of life and death! If you have a look at the Dymocks facebook page, you can see robust 'discussion' going on about why one book is better than another, or why this book should have been included and that book should never have even been considered. My issue, is like with anything even remotely artistic, the worthiness of a work to be voted in a Top 100 list always comes down to personal preference.

We humans are all so different and unique. And as such, the type of book that one person loves is the type of book that another hates and classes as the worst written piece of drivel in history. To them. Its why some people don't like Harry Potter (crazy I know!) but think a book like The Slap is literary gold (couldn't even finish it, I hate it so much). I'm smart enough to know that what floats my boat, and what I think is a fantastic read, is not always gonna be someone else's cup of tea.

So I don't get worked up about it. Sure there are definitely books that are better written than others, books that make it obvious the author (or their editor) have a strong grasp of grammar, spelling and the English language, and there are other books that, despite their popularity, are clearly not well-written, and even their fans can see that. But the reason they are popular is because, if you relate to the 'story' enough, then you will forgive shoddy writing and use of language (I'm looking at you Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. Disclaimer: I've read Twilight but not 50 Shades).
{Image found here}
The whole point of fiction is to tell a story and to transport us to worlds outside of our own, to encourage us to use our imaginations and see life through the eyes of another, to give us different perspectives. Sometimes you'll love that perspective, it will touch you and have you thinking about it long after the final page has been read. Other times you'll hate it so much that you can't even get to the end of the book and you'll wonder why anyone would read such drivel.

And its because of this that I love these types of lists, where people vote for their favourite books. And that's the key word, 'favourite'. It's not about great literary works of art but about the stories that have touched people and that stand out in their mind.

The new Dymocks Top 101 list is out and I've listed them below for you. I've bolded the ones I've read (and included links to the ones I've reviewed on the blog) and the total comes to 31.

1. The Harry Potter Series - J.K Rowling
2. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
3. The Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins
4. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
7. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
8. A Song of Ice and Fire Series - George R.R Martin
9. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
10. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
11. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
12. The Fault In Our Stars - John Green
13. Cloudstreet - Tim Winton
14. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
15. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
16. The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
17. Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
18. Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
19.The Bronze Horseman - Paullina Simons
20. The Power of One - Bryce Courtenay
21. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
22. Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L James
23. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
24. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
25. Anne Of Green Gables - L.M Montgomery
26. The Golden Land - Di Morrissey
27. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
28. Cross Stitch - Diana Gabaldon
29. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer
30. Magician - Raymond E. Feist
31. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
32. Persuasion - Jane Austen
33. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
34. We Need to Talk about Kevin - Lionel Shriver
35. The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
36. Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
37. The Mortal Instruments Series - Cassandra Clare
38. Jasper Jones - Craig Silvey
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde
41. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
42. All That I Am - Anna Funder
43. April Fool's Day - Bryce Courtenay
44. Divergent - Veronica Roth
45. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
46. Mao's Last Dancer - Li Cunxin
47. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
48. A Fortunate Life - A.B Facey
49. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
50. Bared to You - Sylvia Day
51. Looking For Alaska - John Green
52. Shantaram - David Gregory Roberts
53. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
54. The Bible
55. The Casual Vacancy - J .K. Rowling
56. Animal Farm - George Orwell
57. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
58. My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
59. QF32 - Richard de Crespigny
60. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
61. The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
62. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
63. Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
64. The Magic Faraway Tree - Enid Blyton
65. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
66. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
67. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
68. Atonement - Ian McEwan
69. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
70. Dirt Music - Tim Winton
71. Eragon - Christopher Paolini
72. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
73. Graceling - Kristin Cashore
74. Jack of Diamonds - Bryce Courtenay
75. The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
76. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
77. The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton
78. Tomorrow, When the War Began - John Marsden
79. The Infernal Devices series - Cassandra Clare
80. Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel
81. Jessica - Bryce Courtenay
82. People of the Book  - Geraldine Brooks
83. The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton
84. The Happiest Refugee - Anh Do
85. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S Lewis
86. The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
87. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
88. The Stand - Stephen King
89. Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel
90. Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks
91. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
92. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
93. Dune - Frank Herbert
94. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
94. Ender's Game - Scott Orson Card
96. The Host - Stephenie Meyer
97. Seven Ancient Wonders - Matthew Reilly
98. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
99. On the Road - Jack Kerouac
100. Killing Floor - Lee Child
101. My Brilliant Career - Miles Franklin

Have you read many on the list? What would make your number 1 spot?

A few years ago I had a series of guest posts from readers telling me their Top 5 favourite books of all time. I would love to open that up again and have a few of you share with me and everyone else your top 5 fave books. If you're interested in contributing a post then let me know in the comments and I'll get in touch with you soon, or shoot me an email to kylie(@)kyliepurtell(.)com.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post for Dymocks, I'm just a book nerd of the highest order!

You can check out the 2014 & 2015 Top 101 Books lists by clicking the images below...

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56 comments:

  1. I've read most of the list. My #1 would be a toss up between Gone With the Wind and The Stand. Found you through Essentially Jess and I;m a new follower http://georgielee.blogspot.com

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  2. I've read 22, including 4 of the top 5 ( am half way thru the ' Song of Ice and Fire ' series, so it counts! ). And I agree with you about personal preference being the deciding factor - I don't mind a but of the fantasy genre, like ' Song of Ice and Fire ' or anything by Neil Gaiman, but lots of other people wouldn't even consider picking those books up..

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  3. I love books, fostering a love of reading in my kids has been a big priority for me (with mixed results). I've read a few on the list there's a couple I'll never read (don't get me started on 50 shades unless you want a rant). I made a point of reading a ton of books on our honeymoon mostly classics like 1984 that had always been on my should read list, I think I need to do that again.

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  4. I've read about 49 though there are quite a few I'd not read. Feel about three decades too old for the Twilight series and I can't see myself becoming a 50 shades gal either. ;- ) Off this list my number one would be a tie between Life of Pi and the Kite Runner but choosing an actual favourite book to me would be like choosing a favourite child. It can't be done. They're all so precious and all so different! :-)

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  5. I've read about half ... but DON'T read 50 Shades ... that's a few hours I'll never get back :)

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  6. I've read 34 of the books - thinking I should get to library and grab quite afew more! My favourite book of all time is definitely The Book Thief, but going through that list I kept thinking, "Oh, I loved that book!" about almost every one i'd read :-) The power ofa good book is a wonderful thing.

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  7. Some fantastic books on that list. You are right, we are all so different and so are our choices in books. If we were all the same it would be a pretty boring place and a tougher place for authors!

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  8. To kill a Mocking Bird would make my number 1 spot. Hands down! I'm sad to see 50 Shades of Grey on there. Just because I'm a literary snob. The Catcher in The Rye, Mao's Dancer, The Kite Runner and Jane Eyre are also some of my faves!

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  9. The sad thing is I actually have a lot of books in that list, but have yet to read them!

    Some of my faves are To Kill a Mockingbird (I want to name my son Atticus!), Pride and Prejudice, and Lil Women. I feel like reading the Little Prince again now.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

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  10. I have read 27 of them and 2 of my faves are on the list (bronze horseman and book thief) one I am surprised isn't on there is walls lamb (either she's come undone or tully)

    I wrote about my favourite books for my recent list mania post and would love to share my top 5 here!

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  11. I've read about 29 of them, but that list has just given me so many ideas for new ones to get on my kindle! :) I have big trouble picking a favourite book though! That's like picking a favourite child for me :)

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  12. I've only read 32! But totally going to go back and read Time Traveller's Wife again - LOVE IT - even the movie makes the cut! I think top books are so individual - it's like movie reviews, it's written by someone using their POV. The Alchemist is pretty powerful as is The Kite Runner! Book nerds rock! Although I'm more of a non-fiction girl now, can't get enough of the real world :) Em x

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  13. I forgot to count! I've missed Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings and the Twilight stuff - although some of my adult friends have enjoyed them. Nowdays, I 'read' most of my novels via audiobooks and let someone read them to me while I do the dishes or hang out the clothes. :)

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  14. i've uhhh, ummmm, read ummmm.. *ahem* 5 *ahem* more if you count seeing the movie *whistles innocently* So I'm not a big reader! The last books I've read have all been YA and less than $3.99 on amazon kindle app! :) x Aroha

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  15. I've read 16.
    Boy thats bad, and I've read some of the random ones, like stephanie meyers 'host'. Read both Jane Austen, haven't read some but they are on my shelf or on my kindle for me to start reading soon. Can I borrow The Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, I've never read it!

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  16. I've read quite a few, but mummy brain has left most of them as a hazy memory in my brain - surprised to see JK Rowling's new one in there - interesting indeed - maybe from this list Gone With the Wind is my number 1 :) Would love to be part of your top 5 fave books of all time - if you need an extra someone xx

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  17. I think I've read about 13 of these. A couple more that I've attempted but just couldn't get into were the "Time Traveller's Wife" (I loved the movie when I eventually saw it.) & "Eat Pray Love".

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  18. I thoroughly rate your book-nerdness and have benefited from it in the past. I was hoping you would give your top 5, or top 10 or top 5 books that really surprised you (just an idea)

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  19. Ah! My fave books of 2012 are at 80 and 89 - ridiculous!!

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  20. Glad to see Cross Stitch up there. That was an amazing book and series, and one I come back to all the time.
    Boatman and I were having a conversation about tastes just yesterday, in terms of blogging. And why do some blogs which are so beautifully written, get such little credit, whereas others are so popular. I guess it all comes down to peoples preferences

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  21. She's Come Undone is one of my all time favourite books too! I also loved Wally Lamb's book I Know This Much Is True. Tully is another one of Paulina Simmons' books. A friend of mine absolutely loved Bronze Horseman and got me to read it although I never made it to the end.

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  22. I've only read 13 of these! I used to be such a big reader. I never give myself time to read now. I stay up too late in front of the laptop these days and I don't have big commutes which is where I used to read pre child. I'm disappointed Cloud Atlas isn't up there. Nick Hornby's High Fidelity is another one of my favourites not there. As mentioned below Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone is amazing.


    This post makes me want to hole up somewhere and spend the next month reading!

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  23. I have read 28 of those...mainly from the top 50. I am a complete book snob. If I don't love it in the first few pages, I ditch it. I can't waste a minute of my precious life reading crap books. I have lots of favourites...including: Kite Runner, The Book Thief, Anna Karenina, The Anatomy of Wings, Girl With The Pearl Earring, Breathe, God of Small Things...I am sure there are many more.

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  24. Oh I do love The Magic of the Faraway Tree! I am reading it to Miss at the moment, such a classic. Suprisingly I have read 11 of those books. I went reading novels for a while when I was studying and working in a high level job. Now I am back reading and loving new books.

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  25. Hi Georgie, thanks for stopping by! I've read The Stand but not Gone with the Wind, its just never piqued my interest.

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  26. I really want to read the Song of Ice and Fire series. I think my MIL might have it so something to remember for when I'm not working again.

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  27. I too have been trying to foster a love of reading with my daughter, I think its so important. I don't think I'll ever read 50 Shades either, for various reasons.


    I have a 'To Read' list that is as long as me! There just isn't enough hours in the day!

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  28. 49 is a very good effort indeed!


    I know what you mean about choosing a favourite, its is definitely an exceptionally hard thing to do!

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  29. Yeah, I don't think I'll ever bother with 50 Shades, based on everything I've heard and read about it. I have enough things to do without wasting time on that!

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  30. I loved the Book Thief too, it was one of those books I was totally riveted by. The power of a good book is most certainly a wonderful thing indeed!

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  31. I am so glad that the list is (for me) varied, as I often use things like this to find new titles to read that perhaps ma not have crossed my radar otherwise.


    I can't imagine how hard it must be for authors to get their books out there, its not a task I envy!

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  32. I really want to read Mao's Last Dancer, I have had it sitting on my shelf for years but never got around to reading it. I think I need to put it beside my bed so I actually get around to it!

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  33. I'm the same Ai, there just aren't enough hours in the day to get around to reading them!

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  34. Hi Debra, I would love to have you share your top 5. I'll send you a message on facebook with the details as there are a couple of questions I love to hear people's answers to as well as their top 5 (nothing too hard I promise!).

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  35. I know the feeling! When I sat down to write my top 10 it took me soooo long and there were about 3 that I wanted to have as number one!

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  36. I haven't seen the Time Traveller's Wife movie, the book is my number one fave and I've always been worried that watching it will taint the vision I have in my head of it!

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  37. My Mum mostly 'reads' audiobooks too and its something I need to get on to as well, can you download them to an iPod?

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  38. Nothing wrong with the cheapies on Kindle, I have stacks of them, just waiting for me to read them They are also a great way to find more books to read when you discover a new author. And YA is great as it takes less time but you still get a quality story.

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  39. That's not bad Kate! You'd have to check with Mum if she still has the hitchhikers guide, it was her old copy that I borrowed and it was years ago, when I was in high school, so she may not have it anymore.

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  40. I know what you mean about the haze, it has to be an exceptionally good book to stick in my mind these days.


    I would love to have you share your Top 5, I'll send you an email.

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  41. I absolutely loved The Time Traveller's Wife, its actually my number one fave, but I know heaps of people that just couldn't get in to it. I haven't seen the movie though, I'm too scared it will ruin the book for me!

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  42. Hmmm, top 5 that really surprised me? Now that is a good idea for a blog post. I will most certainly work on that, thanks Kev!

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  43. 54! That's a great number. We Need to Talk About Kevin is pretty high up on my To Read list, ever since it was released and I was putting it away on bookshelves I've been interested but just never got around to it for some reason.

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  44. I love the Hilary Mantel books too. It's a shame they don't feature higher, especially seeing the prestige that Wolf Hall has garnered.

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  45. I haven't read Cross Stitch but I've seen it often and thought I should grab it.


    It really does come down to personal preference. I've actually just written a ranty post about the whole personal preference when it comes to blogging thing but I'm struggling to get it right without doing the exact thing that I am ranting about! Stay tuned for next Tuesday, hopefully I'll have refined it by then!

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  46. I know what you mean V, I have to make myself make time for reading these days, otherwise it just doesn't happen. Now that Dave has predictable shifts I've decided that one of his night shifts is my night to read, no matter what. I'm hoping that way I'll at least get a bit of reading in once a week!


    I loved High Fidelity, excellent book. Did you see the movie? I was disappointed by it I have to say.

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  47. I used to make myself finish books, I felt it was a travesty not to finish it once I'd started it. But now that I have such limited time and so many things that I want to do in that time, I don't finish every book I start. It's not worth wasting that precious time on books I'm not enjoying.

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  48. I can't wait to read The Faraway Tree books to Punky, they were some of my favourites as a child and I hope she'll love them too.

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  49. Time Traveller's Wife is probably my all time favourite as well. Refused to see the film for the same reason!

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  50. I was disappointed by the movie when I first watched it but I watched it again recently and I liked it. Having that distance between reading the book and seeing it interpreted on screen allowed me to take the movie for what it was. I love John Cusack too. Love him.


    The same happened for Game of Thrones. I watched the first series in one day. That's right 10 hours in one day. Then I read the first three books and when season 2 came around I didn't like it so much because it is different from the books. It has to be. The books are 1000 pages each on average. I stopped at episode 1 and waited six months to put distance between the book and the tv show and then I was able to enjoy the show more.

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  51. You HAVE to read it! I have not been this into a series of books....umm.... Ever?!

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  52. You've read more on that list than I have! There's many on that list that I've had on my 'to read' list for years. Not finding much time to read since having children. I do love the Life of Pi. And To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic. It's so hard to pick a number 1 spot!

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  53. I was so excited when I saw this list cause I really want to get back to sitting up at night in my warm comfy bed and reading.


    And then I saw Twillight on the list and I had a tantrum.

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  54. I generally don't get worked up over lists such as these, and pretty much adopt a "to each their own" attitude when it comes to personal taste. Though I've read (and liked) some of the books on this list, my tastes lean away from the mainstream. My preferred genre is fantasy, but it hardly ever gets any love on favored lists. How this is possible when the works of Mr. Terry Pratchett are so full of life and chaos that they practically leap off the bookshelves is beyond me, but again, to each their own. But based on that list, I'd have to enthusiastically give top honors to Douglas Adams and his "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

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  55. Thanks for the list Kyles, I just googled it cos I missed it last year and your blog came up! I don't much like this list. There are only 19 on it that I have not read, and 90% of the 81 I have read were terrible (Twilight, Cassandra Clare, 50 Shades - best books ever? FFS read something better, people!!)
    Cloudstreet, War and Peace, Catch-22, Middlesex, Great Expectations, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, House of Leaves, Time Traveler's Wife, One Day, Shadow of the Wind. There's a rough top 10 for you :) xx

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