**Please don’t assume that you have to, nor would I ever expect you to, read any or all of these books. You don’t.**
Everyone, it seems, will publish what they call the top 100 books that you should read. Some are voted on, some belong to the opinion of the editor of the book review section of a newspaper, and, as you know, there are a lot of newspapers, a lot of editors, and a lot of opinions.
I’m not a newspaper, I’m not an editor, but I have a list, based on personal experience, and many, many years of reading.
It’s in no particular order.
21. Passage of Arms by Eric Ambler, I have to say I have read most of his novels and they are very good
22. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, a very powerful story of a courageous, independent woman
23. The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers, a 1903 secret service story, and a good example of an early espionage novel
24. The Father Brown stories by G. K. Chesterton, which features a Roman Catholic priest who is also an amateur detective
25. The Grantchester Mysteries by James Runcie, similar to the above, but featuring an Anglican vicar Sidney Chambers and set in the 1950s. Recently brought to life on television.
26. The High Commissioner by Jon Cleary, an Australian author, this novel introduces Sargeant Scobie Malone, in the first of many adventures
27. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, the first Dickens book I read, possibly because it was one of the shortest, and paved the way to reading all of his books. Who could forget Madame Defarge
28. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, another of those delightful but depressing stories of the 20s through to the 40s, perhaps for some, the golden age. What could be said, in the end, about the Flytes?
29. The Godfather by Mario Puzo, is the story of the Corleone mafia family, and for me, the most interesting part was that of the horse’s head, and of course, the death and mayhem
30. The Shipping News by Annie Prouix, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and a story about a man, Quoyle, who against all odds puts his life slowly back together
31. Detection Unlimited by Georgette Heyer, noted mostly for her Regency romances, she also wrote a series of detective novels. This was her last detective novel published in 1953
32. Poldark by Winston Graham, a series of stories about the Poldarks and Cornwall, and his arch-nemesis, George Warleggan
33. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene, one of many very interesting novels, this the first I read, followed by the Quiet American and Travels With My Aunt. Seeing movies of some didn’t enhance the reading experience.
34. The Mayor Of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, another of his interesting but sometimes hard to read novels of rural England. This led to Jude the Obscure and others in the ‘series’. It all started with Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
35. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, set during the Italian campaign of World War 1. He also wrote The Old Man of the Sea
36. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis, I don’t think he was all that lucky
37. Whiskey Galore by Compton MacKenzie, the story of the ‘resue’ of several hundred cases of whiskey and the locals’ efforts to hide it. Also famous for writing Monarch of the Glen, later a television series
38. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett, a collection of satirical observations of English life in the 1700s in spa towns and seaside resorts
39. Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope, part of the series known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire and features the unpopular Bishop Proudie and Mrs. Proudie
40. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie, Christie’s first book published in 1920, and introduced Poirot, Arthur Hastings, and Inspector Japp. Who knew so many books would follow
The list continues