The “Sunday Times 100 Books to Love” list

Another British list, compiled by the Sunday Times and faithfully recorded on Good Reads at the end of 2013. Curiosity killed the proverbial cat, though – by whom was it compiled?? – thoughts at end of the hundred-strong list.


  1. “Lucky Jim” by Kingsley Amis
  2. “The Code of the Woosters” by P.G. Wodehouse
  3. “Black Mischief” by Evelyn Waugh
  4. “Changing Places” by David Lodge
  5. “Portnoy’s Complaint” by Philip Roth
  6. “Molesworth” by many
  7. “How to Be a Woman” by Caitlin Moran
  8. “Hope: A Tragedy” by Shalom Auslander
  9. A Visit from the Good Squad” by Jennifer Egan – read, 10/10
  10. “Heartburn” by Nora Ephron – read, 5/10
  11. “Get Shorty” by Elmore Leonard
  12. “The Ask” by Sam Lipsyte
  13. “Dear Lupin” by Roger & Charlie Mortimer – read, 8/10
  14. “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Cedaris – read, 8/10
  15. “Absurdistan” by Gary Shteyngart
  16. “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion – read, 6/10
  17. “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis de Bernières – read, 10/10
  18. “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe – read, 10/10
  19. “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath – read, 8/10
  20. “Everything is Illuminated” by Jonathan Safran Foer – read, 6/10
  21. “Norwegian Wood” by Haruki Murakami – read, 6/10
  22. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon – read, 10/10
  23. “A Thousand Acres” by Jane Smiley
  24. “Sour Sweet” by Timothy Mo
  25. “Good Behaviour” by Molly Keane
  26. “Last Orders” by Graham Swift – read, 5/10
  27. Breathing Lessons” by Anne Tyler – read, 9/10
  28. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison – read, 5/10
  29. “What I loved” by Siri Hustvedt
  30. “A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry – read, 10/10
  31. “If This is a Man” by Primo Levi
  32. “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James – read, 7/10
  33. “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote
  34. “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt – read, 7/10
  35. “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy – read, 10/10
  36. We Need to Talk about Kevin” by Lionel Shriver – read, 10/10
  37. “Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris – read, 10/10
  38. “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell – read, 10/10
  39. “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins
  40. “Fatherland” by Robert Harris – read, 8/10
  41. “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” by John Le Carré
  42. “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler
  43. “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” by Simon Armitage
  44. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald – read, 10/10
  45. “Jesus’ Son” by Denis Johnson
  46. “Slaughterhouse” by Kurt Vonnegut
  47. “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy
  48. “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad
  49. “Close Range” by Annie Proulx
  50. “Momento Mori” by Muriel Spark
  51. “Good Morning Midnight” by Jean Rhys
  52. “The Leopard” by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
  53. “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway – read, 8/10
  54. “The Outsider” / “L’Étranger” by Albert Camus – read, 10/10
  55. “Never Mind” by Edward St. Aubyn – read, 8/10
  56. “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga – read, 6/10
  57. “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf
  58. “Just Kids” by Patti Smith
  59. “Experience” by Martin Amis
  60. “Goodbye to All That” by Robert Graves
  61. “Nickel & Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich
  62. “Instead of a Book” by Diana Athill
  63. Persepolis I & II” by Marjane Satrapi – read 10/10
  64. “The Naked Civil Servant” by Quentin Crisp
  65. “Stuart” by Alexander Masters
  66. “Bad Blood” by Lorna Sage
  67. “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” by Dave Eggers
  68. “Oranges are Not the Only Fruit” by Jeanette Winterson – read, 7/10
  69. “The Hare with Amber Eyes” by Edmund de Waal – read, 9/10
  70. “The Silent Woman” by Edward Marston
  71. “Kim” by Rudyard Kipling
  72. “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” by Alexandra Fuller
  73. “The Flaneur” / “Le Flâneur” by Edmund White – read, 6/10
  74. Life of Pi” by Yann Martel – read, 10/10
  75. “A Bend in the River” by V.S. Naipaul
  76. “Naples ‘44” by Norman Lewis
  77. “Midnight in Sicily” by Peter Robb
  78. “Mountains of the Mind” by Robert Macfarlane
  79. “The Portrait of a Lady” by Henry James – read, 10/10
  80. “Vanity Fair” by William Makepeace Thackeray
  81. “The Old Wives’ Tale” by Arnold Bennett
  82. The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton – read, 10/10
  83. War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy – read, 10/10
  84. “The Eagle of the Ninth” by Rosemary Sutcliff
  85. “The Annotated Alice” by Lewis Carroll
  86. “Persuasion” by Jane Austen – read, 8/10
  87. “The Little Prince” / “Le Petit Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – read, 10/10
  88. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee – read, 10/10
  89. “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith – read, 8/10
  90. “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel – read, 7/10
  91. Middlemarch” by George Eliot – now read, 10/10, VERY FAVOURITE READ
  92. “Freedom” by Jonathon Franzen – read, 9/10
  93. “Life” / “La Vie Mode d’Emploi” by Georges Perec
  94. “A Sentimental Education” / “Une Éducation Sentimentale” by Gustave Flaubert – read, 7/10
  95. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – read, 3/10
  96. “The Magus” by John Fowles – read, 10/10
  97. “Midnight’s Children” by Salman Rushdie
  98. “A Heart So White” by Javier Marias
  99. Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann – read, 10/10
  100. “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens – read, 10/10

Ooer, have read (and not always loved or adored) but 40-odd of these Sunday Times winners, and there seems to be quite a wide gulf between the things that make me tick and the books that are held up as exemplary by the echelons of good taste. A mere 30% of these works were penned by a female, I casually notice, SOOO, would it be heinously outrageous to wonder if the persons compiling this Love In list were of a more masculine disposition? Would be intrigued to know, purely for statistical reasons…

Images taken from here and here and here.
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14 Responses to The “Sunday Times 100 Books to Love” list

  1. TimPa59 says:

    Interested to see ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ only scored 3/10… I thought its originality was great… but maybe the tone a touch too masculine? I’ve nearly finished ‘Harvest’…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mr P, have tried valiantly with 100 years over the years and had to keep putting it down. Finally read it last year after the Love & Cholera, which I did love – but have to conclude that it’s just not for me. Have a friend whose husband names 100 as his Number One All Time read. Need to check the female population to bear out the possible theory… surely won’t bear scrutiny.
      By the by, did you tot up how many you have read from the list?
      V keen to know how “Harvest” rates when you have finished it, bien sûr. Nxx


  2. TimPa59 says:

    Surely you should read ‘Middlemarch’? It’s realist writing, but a must! I once thought it was the greatest novel of all time… although at that stage it was about the third proper novel that I’d ever read.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have lifted “Middlemarch” out and put it firmly on the top of the pile. The time has come.
    It’s the one book that is pretty well guaranteed to be on any list going, so going to buckle down and get on it with. You are right! Nx


  4. That’s v funny because I was just flicking my eyes down all these different lists and unread books from previous posts and they are mounting up. I almost need a list of my own of ‘duty bound’, morally committed reads!! But “Middlemarch” reappears systematically, so can’t wait to settle down to it. We’ve got the BBC series too, so suspect a dose of overload coming on shortly. The DVD promises me ‘love, politics and frustrated passion’ as the prize for finishing the book, so that’s a carrot if ever there was one, don’t you think?


  5. alison41 says:

    I love lists! My score is 31 – its a nice ecclectic list. Have to admit I had a recent epic fail with my first (& last) Javier Marais – but hey! you can’t win them all.
    Do you really think a man would read Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to be a Woman’ ? and if he did try it, would he get beyond the first few pages I wonder? Maybe … anything is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Alison, yes I think you are probably right – these lists are always intriguing and this one just seemed to be me to be a bit skewed, but there are still a lot of great titles on it – including many more I hope to read in due course. Am intrigued by your comment on Javier M – had seen this review and was wondering if I should try a book by him – would you discourage me?


  7. Lucy says:

    Oooohhh…I do love a list. Ticking things off plays right into my gold-star-sticker mentality. The Guardian’s 100 greatest novels is currently forcing me to read a few books I’d never heard of and few others that are so large they are doing wonders for my biceps, but one day that list will be done, and then I’m going to start right on this one. A fair chunk of them I’ve done already 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Lucy, what are you attacking next now that you have finished Moby Dick? Full admiration on that score – not one I feel I would be ready to tackle I must confess. Think we will have some challenging reads in common over forthcoming months! Nx


  9. tomthesnail says:

    Hmm maybe the “person” who wrote the list hadn’t taken the time to read the 100 books and/or is more concerned with following a trend than setting one 😀 maybe they should read The Emperor’s New Clothes” ? TTS

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: The Guardian’s 100 Best Novels by Robert McCrum, August 2015: two years in the making, 400 years in the writing… | Literary ramblings etc

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