LotR and the BBCs Big Read

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Dec 18 06:22:26 EST 2003


Jon gace us:

>With the results of the BBC's big read in, perhaps
>JRRT did achieve myth. LOTR has been voted the most
>popular book in Britain.

I don't think he can really be called a myth: surely
what he's achieved is to become legendary?  :-)

>http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/
>
>The list of the final 21 in order makes interesting
>reading

I'd be far more interested to know the criteria on
which people based their votes!  What was the exact
question?  "All time favourite"?  "Best ever?"

>1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
>2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
>3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
>4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
>5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
>6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
>7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
>8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
>9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
>10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte BrontÎ
>11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
>12. Wuthering Heights, Emily BrontÎ
>13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
>14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
>15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
>16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
>17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
>18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
>19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
>20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
>21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
>
>Only two books with no fantasy or sf elements in the
>top 9 (although my wife would argue that the sight of
>Colin Firth in a wet shirt in the BBC version of P&P
>is a very major fantasy element). I can't help
>wondering if this bias reflects the tastes of the
>sorts of people who would vote for this rather than
>the popluation as a whole.

I'd hazard a guess that at least two of those titles
are there because people actually, actively and in
large numbers really truly enjoy reading them, and
at least two are there because people felt, obscurely
but somehow in a very real way, that they "ought" to
vote for something that was a "classic", whether it
is really the book they would pick up first of all
others ever written to turn to and re-read for
pleasure or solace or instruction.

I am *not* going to say which I would put in which
category!  I do notice that there is a definite bias
towards recent-headline books (or long-term best-
sellers) and old-respectable, with a smattering of
"I loved it as a child" entries.  That's as well as
the fantasy element, which I agree is remarkable.

Would LotR have been top there before the films were
made, d'you suppose?

Minnow



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