16 April

The Telegraph's list is closer to the Globe and Mail's in its decent coverage of Western literature, but also compares to the Guardian's in its inclusion of modern popular favorites. Some of those recent best sellers do not belong on a "great books" lists. Indeed, this list shows clearly the unfortunate side of publications getting into the business of collectively constructing lists of books: as with lists of music albums, an excess of recent entries distract from "all-time" coverage purportedly offered by the lists. 

The Telegraph's 110 entries include several series, thus the expanded total number of books. Arranged into categories as seen here, the introduction and the annotations for each entry are available at the link below.

At this point in the project, two difficulties in numbering the items bear some consideration. First, if a literary work deemed to be a novella (or, more rarely, a novelette)--that is, it has been published as a book itself--was originally published in a periodical, it is numbered. Such is the case with Kafka's Metamorphosis. The same rule applies if it was originally published as part of a short-story collection, such as John Updike's Rabbit Remembered. However, that work has not been published as a monograph, so it is not numbered, as seen below. Of course, a short-story collection can be numbered if it consists entirely, or almost entirely, of previously-unpublished stories; either way, this list only includes Rabbit Remembered, not the collection, Licks of Love, in which it was published.

Second, most books in a series of novels are numbered separately; the exceptions so far have been The Lord of the Rings, which apparently was published as three works for financial reasons. The others are His Dark Materials and The Book of the New Sun; the latter usually is referred to as a tetralogy of novels, which have been published as a single work, and also are said to form a series with another novel and an essay collection, while the former is often discussed as a single work. The Chronicles of Narnia, on the other hand, though several of the novels were written simultaneously, and it is often sold as a boxed set, is more often discussed as a series of works; more important for this project, the first novel of the series (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) is often included in "great books" lists as a distinct work--or, as we've seen in one peculiar case, alongside the series as a whole.

The Iliad and The Odyssey

The Barchester Chronicles
Anthony Trollope

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

Gulliver's Travels
Jonathan Swift

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Bront

War and Peace

David Copperfield
Charles Dickens

Vanity Fair
William Makepeace Thackeray

Madame Bovary
Gustave Flaubert

George Eliot


Divine Comedy

Canterbury Tales 

The Prelude
William Wordsworth

John Keats

The Waste Land
T S Eliot

Paradise Lost
John Milton

Songs of Innocence and Experience
William Blake

Collected Poems
W B Yeats

Collected Poems
Ted Hughes


The Portrait of a Lady
Henry James

À la Recherche du Temps Perd



James Joyce

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Ernest Hemingway

Sword of Honour trilogy
Evelyn Waugh

The Ballad of Peckham RyeMuriel Spark

Rabbit series
John Updike

One Hundred Years of SolitudeGabriel García Márquez


Toni Morrison

The Human Stain

Philip Roth


Daphne du Maurier

Le Morte d'Arthur
Thomas Malory

Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Choderlos de Laclos

I, Claudius

Robert Graves

Alexander Trilogy
Mary Renault

Master and Commander

Patrick O'Brian

Gone With the Wind

Margaret Mitchell

Dr Zhivago

Boris Pasternak

Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Thomas Hardy

The Plantagenet Saga
Jean Plaidy


Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

C S Lewis

The Lord of the Rings
J R R Tolkien

His Dark Materials

Philip Pullman


Jean de Brunhoff

The Railway Children

E Nesbit

A A Milne

Harry Potter

J K Rowling

The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame

Treasure Island
Robert Louis Stevenson


Mary Shelley

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Jules Verne

The Time Machine

H.G. Wells

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley


George Orwell

The Day of the Triffids
John Wyndham

Isaac Asimov

2001: A Space Odyssey

Arthur C. Clarke

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick

William Gibson


The Talented Mr. Ripley
Patricia Highsmith

The Maltese Falcon

Dashiell Hammett

The Complete Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Big Sleep
Raymond Chandler

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

John le Carré

Red Dragon

Thomas Harris

Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie

The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Edgar Allan Poe

The Woman in White
Wilkie Collins

Elmore Leonard


Das Kapital
Karl Marx

The Rights of Man
Thomas Paine

The Social Contract

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Democracy in America
Alexis de Tocqueville

On War
Carl von Clausewitz

The Prince
Niccolo Machiavelli

Thomas Hobbes

On the Interpretation of Dreams
Sigmund Freud

On the Origin of Species
Charles Darwin

Diderot, et al

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance [1974]
Robert M. Pirsig

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Richard Bach

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams

The Tipping Point
Malcolm Gladwell

The Beauty Myth
Naomi Wolf

How to Cook
Delia Smith

A Year in Provence
Peter Mayle

A Child Called 'It'
Dave Pelzer

Eats, Shoots and Leaves
Lynne Truss

Schott's Original Miscellany

Ben Schott

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Edward Gibbon

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
Winston Churchill

A History of the Crusades
Steven Runciman


The Histories

The History of the Peloponnesian War

Seven Pillars of Wisdom
T E Lawrence

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

A People's Tragedy
Orlando Figes

Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution
Simon Schama

The Origins of the Second World War
A J P Taylor

St. Augustine

Lives of the Caesars

Lives of the Artists
Giorgio Vasari

If This is a Man

Primo Levi

Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man
Siegfried Sassoon

Eminent Victorians
Lytton Strachey

A Life of Charlotte Brontë
Elizabeth Gaskell

Good-Bye to All That

Robert Graves

The Life of Dr Johnson


Alan Clark

110 Best Books: The Perfect Library