All readers know that stories have the power to change us and shape who we are, and this month the BBC has collated a list of 100 novels that shaped our world.
The list is made up of English language novels only, and was chosen by a panel of leading writers, curators, and critics to select one hundred genre-busting novels that have had an impact on their lives. The books range from children’s classic to popular new releases, and the list is organised into ten themes.
The panel is made up of several BBC figures, Radio 4 Front Row presenter and Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell, broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, authors Juno Dawson, Kit de Waal and Alexander McCall Smith, and Bradford Festival Literary Director Syima Aslam
We’re going to feature the list in ten blogs, each one marking a different theme, today the theme is Adventure and we’re into the third blog of the series now. Links to the previous categories at the bottom.
City of Bohane -Kevin Barry
Forty or so years in the future. The once-great city of Bohane on the west coast of Ireland is on its knees, infested by vice and split along tribal lines. There are the posh parts of town, but it is in the slums and backstreets of Smoketown, the tower blocks of the North Rises, and the eerie bogs of the Big Nothin’ that the city really lives.
Eye of the Needle – Ken Follet
His code name was “The Needle.” He was a German aristocrat of extraordinary intelligence—a master spy with a legacy of violence in his blood, and the object of the most desperate manhunt in history. . . But his fate lay in the hands of a young and vulnerable English woman, whose loyalty, if swayed, would assure his freedom—and win the war for the Nazis. . .
For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
In 1937, Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from “the good fight”, For Whom the Bell Tolls.
The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal.
His Dark Materials Trilogy – Philip Pullman
These thrilling adventures tell the story of Lyra and Will—two ordinary children on a perilous journey through shimmering haunted otherworlds. They will meet witches and armored bears, fallen angels and soul-eating specters. And in the end, the fate of both the living—and the dead—will rely on them.
Mr Steadfast – John Buchan
Recalled from active service on the Western Front, Richard Hannay is sent undercover on a crucial secret mission to find a dangerous German agent at large in Britain. Disguised as a pacifist, Hannay travels from London to Glasgow to the Scottish Highlands and Islands in his search, which eventually ends in a spectacular climax above the battlefields of Europe.
The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
A dying millionaire hires private eye Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, and Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV.
Jack Aubrey Novels – Patrick O’Brian
Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O’Brian’s now famous Aubrey/Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written. It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship’s surgeon and an intelligence agent.
The BBC list is 100 books long and split into ten categories, we’ll bring you the next category, Life, Death, and Other Worlds very soon and if you missed the previous lists, links are below.
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