The BBC’s List of the 100 Most Inspiring Novels of All Time 

We all love browsing through the best book lists and seeing which books were chosen and which weren’t. But not every book list is equal. When a big and respectable organization like the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) makes a list of the 100 most inspiring novels of all time, it holds a lot more weight. 

In 2019, the BBC did just that and released its list. And just like any list, it angered many people for not including certain books. No list is going to be perfect and people tend to be too focused on books that didn’t make the list instead of celebrating the books that did. So what if Moby Dick wasn’t selected. Are you going to enjoy it less because of that reason? 

The BBC’s list of the 100 most inspiring books of all time!

These lists are a great way to find new books to read. and broaden your horizons. It is just another list at the end of the day. More will be released in the future and it will stir up more debate. You can check out the full list by the BBC below! 

BBC’s List of the 100 Most Inspiring Books of All Time

  1. Beloved by Toni Morrison 
  2. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry 
  3. Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels 
  4. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
  5. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 
  6. Small Island by Andrea Levy 
  7. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath 
  8. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy 
  9. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe 
  10. White Teeth by Zadie Smith 
  11. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding 
  12. Forever… by Judy Blume 
  13. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin 
  14. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 
  15. Riders by Jilly Cooper   
  16. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston 
  17. The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye 
  18. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafa 
  19. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson 
  20. The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton 
  21. City of Bohane by Kevin Barry 
  22. Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett 
  23. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway 
  24. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman 
  25. Ivanhoe by Walter Scott  
  26. Mr Standfast by John Buchan 
  27. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler 
  28. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 
  29. The Jack Aubrey Novels by Patrick O’Brian 
  30. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien 
  31. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, 1996 
  32. Astonishing the Gods by Ben Okri 
  33. Dune by Frank Herbert 
  34. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley by  
  35. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson  
  36. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis 
  37. The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett 
  38. The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin 
  39. The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman 
  40. The Road by Cormac McCarthy 
  41. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini 
  42. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 
  43. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie 
  44. Lord of the Flies by William Golding 
  45. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman 
  46. Strumpet City by James Plunkett 
  47. The Color Purple by Alice Walker 
  48. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
  49. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore 
  50. Unless by Carol Shields 
  51. A House for Mr Biswas by V. S. Naipaul 
  52. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck 
  53. Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee, 1999 
  54. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens 
  55. Poor Cow by Nell Dunn 
  56. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe 
  57. The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore 
  58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark 
  59. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro 
  60. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys 
  61. Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery 
  62. Golden Child by Claire Adam 
  63. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood 
  64. So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell 
  65. Swami and Friends by R. K. Narayan 
  66. The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien 
  67. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling 
  68. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton 
  69. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend 
  70. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer 
  71. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth 
  72. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild 
  73. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton 
  74. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons 
  75. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith 
  76. Middlemarch by George Eliot 
  77. Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin 
  78. The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx 
  79. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë 
  80. The Witches Roald Dahl 
  81. American Tabloid by James Ellroy 
  82. American War by Omar El Akkad 
  83. Ice Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa 
  84. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier 
  85. Regeneration by Pat Barker 
  86. The Children of Men by P.D. James 
  87. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle 
  88. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid 
  89. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith 
  90. The Quiet American by Graham Greene 
  91. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole 
  92. Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville 
  93. Habib by Craig Thompson 
  94. How to Be Both by Ali Smith 
  95. Orlando by Virginia Woolf 
  96. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter 
  97. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell 
  98. Psmith, Journalist by P. G. Wodehouse 
  99. The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie 
  100. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde 

A Great Mix of Popular Titles and Lesser-Known Books 

Starting off any list with Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a good sign. What I love about this list the most is that it chooses books that are critically acclaimed that aren’t read by millions of people. I am not the only one that has never come across some of these books.  

As someone who tries to read books that get a lot of positive reviews, I am glad to see a lot of books that I have read on the list. Books like Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, and The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.  

Recently, I have been choosing books from lists that I have been curating and I haven’t come across a book that I haven’t enjoyed. That goes to show you that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of authors out there that we would be a fan of.  


What did you think of the BBC’s list of the 100 most inspiring novels of all time? What books that didn’t make the list should have made it? Were you happy with the overall list? Let us know in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading! 

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20 thoughts on “The BBC’s List of the 100 Most Inspiring Novels of All Time 

  1. Mike Kantey says:

    Julian Barnes, sebastian faulks, thomas pynchon, saul bellow, dom de lillo, douglas adams, gerald and lawrence durrell, john fowles, lindsay clarke, bruce chatwin … mark twain

  2. Kerry Heubel says:

    Naguib Mahfouz, Jose Saramago, Orhan Pamuk, Barbara Kingsolver, Shirley Hazzard, Patrick White, Christina Stead, Kathrine Susannah Pritchard, Amin Maalouf, Gabriel Garcia Marques, Demetrio Aguilar Malta, Jorge Borges


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