The Novels That Shaped Our World

BBC made a new list of The Novels That Shaped Our World, as they called it. Harry Potter and Bridget Jones’s Diary are two of the most important English language novels. They are followed by Beloved, Pride and Prejudice and many more.

Novels That Shaped Our World Harry Potter and Bridget Jones’s Diary

The list of most important English novels is divided into several categories. It’s made by a panel of six British writers, curators and critics to kick-start the BBC’s year-long celebration of literature. The list of 100 novels, kicks off a year-long celebration of literature at the BBC. Two three-part series The Novels That Shaped Our World starts on Saturday 9th November, at 9 pm.

The Novels That Shaped Our World won’t end with this documentary. The idea is to bring people back into the libraries, have them talking about books, old and new. You can check out the full list below, pick your favorites from 10 categories and maybe join a book club.

Here are all the novels BBC picked out and divided into 10 categories:


Beloved by Toni Morrison
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Small Island by Andrea Levy
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Love, Sex & Romance

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding 
Forever by Judy Blume
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin 
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Riders by Jilly Cooper
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The Far Pavilions by M M Kaye 
The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak 
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton

Novels That Shaped Our World Harry Potter and Bridget Jones’s Diary


City of Bohane by Kevin Barry
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
Mr Standfast by John Buchan
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Jack Aubrey Novels by Patrick O’Brian
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J R R Tolkein

Life, Death & Other Worlds

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Astonishing the Gods by Ben Okri
Dune by Frank Herbert
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis
The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett
The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K Le Guin
The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman
The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Novels That Shaped Our World Harry Potter and Bridget Jones’s Diary

Politics, Power & Protest

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Strumpet City by James Plunkett
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
Unless by Carol Shields

Class & Society

A House for Mr Biswas by V S Naipaul
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
Disgrace by J M Coetzee
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Poor Cow by Nell Dunn
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Novels That Shaped Our World Harry Potter and Bridget Jones’s Diary

Coming of Age

Emily of New Moon by L M Montgomery
Golden Child by Claire Adam
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell
Swami and Friends by R K Narayan
The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien
The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
The Outsiders by S E Hinton
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend
The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer

Family & Friendship

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
The Shipping News by E Annie Proulx
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
The Witches by Roald Dahl

Conflict & Crime

American Tabloid by James Ellroy
American War by Omar El Akkad
Ice Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Regeneration by Pat Barker
The Children of Men by P D James
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
The Quiet American by Graham Greene

Rule Breakers

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
Habibi by Craig Thompson
How to be Both by Ali Smith
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Psmith, Journalist by P G Wodehouse
The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

We would add many books, novels that shaped our world. Just to add a few, since this is BBC, not Lushcrew list: High Fidelity, Trainspotting, Animal Farm, The Age of Innocence, and A Clockwork Orange. If you love music and want to know more about some of your favorite artists, Keith Richard’s Life, Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One, Patti Smith’s Just Kids or Miles: The Autobiography. Which novels shaped your world?

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