BBC Book List

This is making the rounds on facebook but I thought I would share it here.  I enjoy reading and while I don’t have nearly as much time to read as I once did, it remains a favorite pastime and one for which I am indebted to my parents.  They made reading a regular activity from my earliest days and all through my childhood we went as a family to the public library every other Friday evening after dinner.


Have you read more than 6 of these books?  The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES.
Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety
Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt.

  1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen 
  2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien   
  3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (all)
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee 
  6. The Bible 
  7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte  
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials/The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens 
  11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller 
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
  15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier 
  16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien 
  17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
  18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger  
  19. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  20. Middlemarch – George Eliot  
  21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald 
  23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy 
  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams 
  26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky 
  28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck 
  29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis 
  34. Emma – Jane Austen 
  35. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
  37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  40. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne 
  41. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown 
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
  45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
  47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  50. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel 
  52. Dune – Frank Herbert
  53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
  54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens  
  58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
  65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  66. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
  67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
  68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
  69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville 
  71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  72. Dracula – Bram Stoker
  73. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  74. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
  75. Ulysses – James Joyce
  76. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
  78. Germinal – Emile Zola 
  79. Vanity Fair – William Make
  80. Possession – AS Byatt
  81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens 
  82. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell 
  83. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  84. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
  86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
  87. Charlotte’s Web – EB White
  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton 
  91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad 
  92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
  94. Watership Down – Richard Adams
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
  97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare  
  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

So, what about you?  What have you read?  What would you like to read?  What would you like to go back and read again?  There are many I would like to go back and read and others I would love to read again.


Waiting for Fridays

Much like some people are born in the wrong body, likewise some Thursdays are really meant to be Fridays.  Sadly, there is no “day reassignment surgery” option.  When we woke up Thursday morning, Tawn asked three times whether it was Friday.  Sadly for him, the answer didn’t change.

But despite Thursday having to stay a Thursday all day long, it went pretty well. 


Thai Lessons

For me, Tuesday and Thursday mornings are Thai classes with my tutor, Khru Kitiya.  We meet at Bitter Brown, a small coffee shop and restaurant near the Asoke BTS station.  Things are quiet there in the morning and we’ve been meeting there for the better part of two years – so long that the staff monitors my learning progress – so we usually have a comfortable space in which to study free from distraction.  Class ends around noon or shortly after, at whatever point that the din of the lunch crowd makes it difficult for me to hear the subtle final consonants of the Thai words.

Many Lives For the past several months, I’ve been using a well-known Thai book from the mid-1950s, Lai Chiwit (Many Lives), as my textbook.  Written by a former Prime Minister and prolific author, M.R. Kukrit Pramoj (1911-1995), the book is a collection of short stories that chronicle life in Thailand in that time.  Written in elegant prose, the stories not only give me a window into the past – a past which heavily influences modern Thai culture – but also give me the pleasure of exploring the beauty of the Thai language.

Right, the cover of the 1996 English language version of the book, translated by Meredith Borthwick and published by Silkworm Books.

Kukri Pramoj Thai really is a very elegant language in which to write, at once both graceful and playful.  Needless to say, I’m having a tough time wading through it since the more formal and prosaic language which Khun Kukrit used is more elegant to the ear than it is clear to the farang!  But Khru Kitiya is infinitely patient and while there are days (Thursday) where we manage to wade through only two paragraphs, there are many more days in which the progress is measured in pages, plural, rather than fractions of one.

Interesting trivia: Pictured left is Khun Kukrit, whose “M.R.” (Mom Ratchawong) designation indicates he was the son of a prince, was a technical advisor and played the role of the prime minister in the 1963 film, “The Ugly American” starring Marlon Brando. 


Unpretty Dinner

P1050453 When Tawn returned home from work he suggested that we eat somewhere nearby.  There is a local seafood restaurant on Thong Lor between sois 5 and 7 called Niyom Gotchana and it is the most unassuming place you’d imagine. 

The storefront is open air, floors and walls are finished in an antiseptic look of white tiles, and the lighting comes from dozens of “cool white” florescent tubes which give the place the sterile charm of a county examiner’s office.

Right: Easy Thai – can anyone guess what is said in the blue field of the sign?  Actually, if you know the English word, you should be able to work out what all of the Thai characters represent like a code-buster would.

That said, the seafood is fresh, of good quality, and inexpensive.  Out in front of the shop are two baskets covered with damp blankets, each containing live crabs.  A few had slipped out of one or the other of their bindings but, lacking the right evolutionary tools, could not undo their other binding and climb to freedom.  So they sat there snapping and awaiting their fate.  Ending up as a plate of curry or salt and pepper crab really is a pretty noble fate, if you ask me.


I was pretty punchy, having spent all afternoon staring at the computer screen, so after ordering the food I sat there making conversation with Tawn and playing with my utensils.  Tawn was kind of punchy, too.

P1050445  P1050438

The food at Niyom is tasty, but they just have no sense of presentation.  Each dish that came out looked quite “blah”, not helped by the icy blue cast of the lights.  Tawn’s expression above was the actual response to the flat look of the otherwise tasty stir-fry of tofu, bean sprouts and onion sprouts.  The dish was fine; it just looked lackluster.

Even our tod man goong, the fried shrimp cakes that were very fresh, moist, and not at all oily, looked kind of ho-hum.  Now, I’m not one to complain, because the prices were good and the food was tasty.  But I was hoping to bring back inspiring pictures that would make your mouths water.



We opted for fish instead of crab for the simple reason that neither of us wanted to do the work of picking apart a crab.  Instead, we smartly ordered crab fried rice, letting the kitchen do the work for us.  The fish was tasty, steamed and then served with soy sauce, ginger, scallions, and peppers.  But the fish’s mouth was, once again, not pretty.

I have no idea why we ordered so much food – maybe because we secretly still hoped it wasn’t Thursday evening but was in fact Friday.  After eating our fill the staff boxed up the leftovers and we walked back home, made the bed, and fell asleep waiting for the real Friday to arrive.