7 Apr 2011


A week or so ago Michael Gove - "Michael who?" I hear you ask.

Michael Gove, conservative MP, stated that .......

"Our children should be reading 50 books a year" - Graeme Paton, The Telegraph (22/03/2011) READ FULL ARTICLE

Hmm, the argument against?

There's lots but perhaps the most outspoken has been Children's Laureate, Anthony Browne, who replied by stating .........

"Asking children to meet a fixed quota would “force them to read quickly not well which could damage their interest in books in later life.” Morwenna Ferrier, The Telegraph (29/03/2011) READ FULL ARTICLE

Here, here Anthony I couldn't agree more.

What says you, as a child were you reading 50 books a year, as a parent do you expect your children to read such a number?

On a lighter note, Telegraph journalist, Iain Hollingshead offers the following literary advice to those grown-ups anxious to keep up with his NOT THE 50 BOOKS YOU MUST READ BEFORE YOU DIE.

  1. Ulysses by James Joyce.
  2. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.
  3. Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen.
  4. Emma by Jane Austen.
  5. Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence.
  6. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
  7. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald.
  8. Tender Is The Night by F Scott Fitzgerald.
  9. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
  10. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell.*
  11. One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
  12. The Outsider by Albert Camus.
  13. Candide by Voltaire.
  14. The Metamorphis by Franz Kafka.
  15. The Sorrows Of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
  16. Les Liasons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos.
  17. War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
  18. Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
  19. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
  20. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
  21. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
  22. Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth.
  23. Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson.
  24. Snobs by Julian Fellowes.
  25. A Brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawking.
  26. A Short History of Nearly everything by Bill Bryson.
  27. A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka.
  28. Polo by Julie Cooper. *
  29. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. *
  30. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
  31. Does Anything Eat Wasps? by the New Scientist.
  33. The Game by Neal Strauss.
  34. The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer.
  35. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
  36. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
  37.  The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry.
  38. Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton.
  39. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.
  40. A Journey by Tony Blair.
  41. Courage by Gordon Brown.
  42. Jordan: Pushed To The Limit by Katie Price.
  43. Saturday by Ian McEwan.
  44. Captain Correlli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres. *
  45. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
  46. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.
  47. Harry Potter by JK Rowling.
  48. One Day by David Nicholls.
  49. Scouting For Boys by Robert Baden-Powell.
  50. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.
Books I have read are highlighted in pink. Those with an asterisk beside them I did not enjoy.

How many on that list have you read, which did you enjoy/dislike? What would be on your list if someone asked you which books you would recommend they not read?

My list of books would have to include:

  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan.
  • Elvis by Albert Goldman.
  • Julius Caesar by  William Shakespeare (I read this for my English Literature O'Level and still have nightmares thinking about it)
  • Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom.


Misha said...

I don't think children should be forced to read a specific number of books. That'll will only turn them against books.
I've read thirteen from the list. I only agree with Gone with the Wind and Twilight. I am surprised at many of the books that Iain Hollingshead included. I hope he really was joking.

Vivienne said...

I would include To Kill A Mockingbird too.

GMR said...

Not certain how many I read in a year at that time...but I agree. You want quality reading, especially at that age...not quantity. Besides too many as a requirement can burn them out and make what should be a fun life long interest a chore.

LOL on the "NOT" list....let's see, I've read exactly TWO of those. I'll let you guess the two. ^_^ Have to disagree with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD....I really enjoyed that one...but to each their own. My list? I'll pass on sharing.

Arti said...

I dont think that I have ever read 50 books in a year till now!!
Well the list that you have given I have read Da Vinci Code and loved it. I started The Alchemist but could not understand what was going on so left it after a few pages, and I have not read Harry Potter but watched a couple of movies, not a big fan of it!!
My absolute must reads will include 'not a penny more not a penny less' by Jeffrey Archer, 'five point someone' by Chetan Bhagat, 'the great train robbery' by Michael Chricton and short stories by Premchand.
Have a lovely day:)

chitra said...

Hello PW,
Just peeped in to say hello. I was on a tour and missed all my blogger friends.tc

Kelly said...

I just read To Kill A Mockingbird in recent years and loved it! I've only read a few of the books on that first list, though I'm familiar with the majority.

There were periods in my youth that probably did read 50 books a year. I'm doing well if I do that now.

Dorte H said...

I think parents and teachers should encourage children to read a lot, but for some children 50 books a year is completely unrealistic. My younger daughter has probably read more than that since she was 7, and so have I, but for my older daughter and my son it varies a lot.

Suko said...

Petty, reading should be voluntary rather than mandatory. I understand why we might give children a reading goal, but it often detracts from the pleasure of reading, because assigned reading becomes WORK. I have read many on your list, and have, truthfully, not "liked" each and every one, precisely due to the fact that they were assignments.

I do think, though, that choice of reading material (for kids and adults) is important, and that reading classic literature (which is generally well written, and contains important themes and concepts) is a good idea, although we should never be forced to read anything. It is hard to determine what the best approach really is. Because sadly many kids would never pick up a book, unless they are forced to read at school, or unless they have good access to books and see their parents reading in the home or elsewhere.

You didn't like Tuesdays with Morrie? Was it too sad for you?

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I think finding books that the kids enjoy do more than a set quota. Plus, I don't read like that on a list. Those that should be read are those you enjoy and get something from. Not everyone's list would be the same. ;)

Betty Manousos@ CUT AND DRY said...

Parents should encourage children to read but not force them to do it.

Great list, I'm in awe of your knowledge; on every level.
You never fail to amaze me.
I've read several of those books on the first list.
I wish I could read 50 books a year!

Thanks so much for your sweet comments, it really means a lot.

Big hugs!
Betty xx

raji said...

oops !what a list!!I dontknow if I could be able to finish at least the number you mentioned with a '0'out of it.:))

Trac~ said...

Hello my friend! Wanted to stop by and say hello. Hope all is well your way! Great reading list! I also don't believe that kids should have to read 50 books a year. I wish I had the time to read more often than I do. Big hugs my friend!

MadPriest said...

Nineteen Eighty-Four *
Pride And Prejudice
Lady Chatterley's Lover
The Canterbury Tales *
One Hundred Years Of Solitude
The Metamorphis *
Crime And Punishment *
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo *
A Short History Of Nearly Everything

I enjoyed all of these books. The ones marked with an asterisk are embedded in my mind and part of who I am.

I would not recommend that anyone reads "Nostramo" by Joseph Conrad or "Kim" by Rudyard Kipling for the same reasons you have for not recommending "Julius Caesar." But, other than that I can't suggest anything because I'm not so stupid as to waste my time finishing a book I am not enjoying - even if I've paid good money for it.

Nick said...

Lucky if you can get kids to read 50 pages a year...

Denbeau said...

You must add Possession, by A. S. Byatt. The movie was OK, but the book is incredible. Howard's End, by E.M.Forester, would also be on my list, as well as several of Margaret Atwoods (The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood).

naida said...

Interesting topic! I think as long as children read, its a good thing. I wouldn't force them either.
I read The Da Vinci Code and really disliked it. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has gotten so much hype that I cant bring myself to pick it up.
I like the Telegraph article and how he discusses each book :)

MadPriest said...

"The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is a brilliant read. I think the author of the above list is just a failed writer with a huge chip on his shoulder. He is also very adolescent in the way that he thinks dissing stuff that is popular is cool. I went through that phase when I was a young punk rocker in the 1970s. Nowadays I'm just as likely to listen to Led Zep as The Sex Pistols and I'm so much happier.

Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiner's Book Blog) said...

On one hand, goals like that are good for some kids, and I agree we should encourage kids to read, but I'm not sure that would be the best way to do it.
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

dr.antony said...

Thanks for the wonderful list.
There are times when I have read fifty books a year, when reading was a passion.
I have read about fifteen in the list.I don't agree to Dan brown in the league of Jane Austin,Kafka and James Joyce.

themethatisme said...

It's a bit negative to reccomend books to miss out on in any terms never mind such an arbitrary thing as being fifty. Does that mean that your opinion ceses to be important at 50 so it doesn't matter what you read? Or if I do read them before I'm fifty will I become incapable of reading anyhting thereafter?
I've already read 20 of them and bits of another couple of them so I've only got 5 years lefy in whihc to defy the author.

Jenners said...

Inthink you need to encourage children to read...but I don't agree with the quota idea. And I love the idea of a list of books you do not have to read!

Boaz said...

The Great Gatsby. Tried many times, can't get past 50 pages. Da Vinci Code? Left me cold couldn't persists past chapter 4 or 5 from memory. Salman Rushdie? Can't read him The one with the three sisters set in India? Tediosity!

Anonymous said...

I thought the comments on the list were hysterical but I did disagree with him on several of the books. I couldn't disagree with him on Eat, Pray, Love, though. A total whinefest.

purplume said...

Oh wow, you didn't enjoy GONE WITH THE WIND?
I enjoyed that very much, after the first info laying part. That was the first long book I read.

StarTraci said...

I am not for a set number. I think they should just read. Read. Read. Read for the glory and joy of reading. If there is a set number, maybe they will see it as a chore or choose easier or shorter books to meet the quota. Also, when I was eight, I read Mary Poppins three time, The Wizard of Oz and The Little Princess twice and The Secret Garden six times. Do they count as once each or multiple books? Like I said, I just want my kids to read and to LOVE to read!