The BBC estimates that most people will only read 6 books out of the 100 listed below. Reblog this and bold the titles you’ve read.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 2 Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkein 3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte 4 Harry Potter series 5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 6 The Bible 7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte 8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell 9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman 10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens 11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott 12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy 13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare 15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier 16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien 17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks 18 Catcher in the Rye 19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffeneger 20 Middlemarch – George Eliot 21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell 22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald 23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens 24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy 25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams 26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh 27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky 28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck 29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll 30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame 31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy 32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens 33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis 34 Emma – Jane Austen 35 Persuasion – Jane Austen 36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis 37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini 38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres 39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden 40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne 41 Animal Farm – George Orwell 42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez 44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving 45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins 46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery 47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy 48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood 49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding 50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel 52 Dune – Frank Herbert 53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons 54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen 55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth 56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon 57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens 58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley 59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon 60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez 61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck 62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov 63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt 64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold 65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas 66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac 67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding 69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie 70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville 71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens 72 Dracula – Bram Stoker 73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett 74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson 75 Ulysses – James Joyce 76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath 77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome 78 Germinal – Emile Zola 79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray 80 Possession – AS Byatt 81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens 82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchel 83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker 84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro 85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert 86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry 87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White 88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton 91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad 92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery 93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks 94 Watership Down – Richard Adams 95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole 96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute 97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas 98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl 100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
“Sometimes I have the strangest feeling about you. Especially when you are near me as you are now. It feels as though I had a string tied here under my left rib where my heart is, tightly knotted to you in a similar fashion. And when you go, I am afraid that this cord will be snapped, and I shall bleed inwardly.”
- Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
The Literary-Inspired Webseries Awards Have Some Issues
Now, I’ve been reviewing a lot of series that are up for the LIWAs this year, and I encourage everyone to go nominate and vote for all of these amazing and talented people, because they deserve credit for their work.
However, I have a lot of issues with the awards themselves, and I know that other people share them (often to the point of refusing to participate).
The main issue is the categories themselves. Costume and set design are combined into one award. There’s no music award, no directing award, no cinematography award. Then there’s the gender issue. The genre is progressive enough about gender these days that we should be able to have labels other than “actor” and “actress,” right? As it currently stands, it’s basically impossible to nominate nonbinary or genderfluid actors playing nonbinary or genderfluid characters in any category other than “best chemistry.”
Then there’s the issue of the voting. I like the idea of audience nominations, and even of audience voting, but there’s a clear bias in favor of series with larger fandoms. I don’t want to see one series win eighty percent of the awards again this year, and it’s hard to know how to prevent that and make the voting process fairer while still also keeping it democratic.
To highlight the problems a little, let’s look at how many people are actually watching what:
Bright Summer Night was the most-viewed webseries of last year, with an average of 7-8,000 views per episode, sometimes many more (this is still way below The Candle Wasters other series, which is in itself an interesting phenomenon).
The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy Season Three, while not eligible for these LIWAs, is the other massive view winner, with similar numbers (so far nothing surpassing about 9,000 views, but it’s still happening in real time and it’s been a while since Season Two).
The Cate Morland Chronicles, one of the best series this year, appears to still have a viewership of fewer than 1500 people, despite being made by the creators of Lily Evans and the Eleventh hour. Nothing Like The Sun has very similar numbers.
The Adventures of Serena Berg, although the owner of a very active fandom, actually has very few viewers – about 200 individuals.
Project Green Gables, another fan favorite that deserves many awards, is currently averaging about 800 views per episode.
Twelfth Grade (or whatever) is a few months old now, so many episodes have massive numbers of views, but the number of individual viewers seems similar to those of The Cate Morland Chronicles and Nothing Like The Sun – around 1600.
Away From It All is being hailed as one of the best literary webseries ever, but it still only gets about 800 views per episode.
(Also, just realized I should mention Poe Party, which has about 40,000 views per episode but seems to belong to a different part of the internet despite clearly being an LIW and starring a lot of the cast of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.)
Why are the numbers so wildly different? Bright Summer Night and The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy have name recognition and budgets, which helps, and that’s where a lot of their views come from. The New Peter Wendy fandom is actually considerably less active than those for a lot of the smaller webseries because so many people from outside of the community are making up the viewers.
The Candle Wasters still dominate LIW fandom world, but BSN hasn’t gotten much fan attention, and it’s really hard to know how to nominate the actors when there are so many point-of-view characters and when some characters and actors don’t conform to the gender binary.
A lot of people don’t enjoy watching in real time, and so they’ll wait until a whole series is finished and then binge it. This is likely happening with Project Green Gables right now. The views will likely go up massively after the end of the season, just as they did after Nothing Like The Sun finished. The Emma Agenda will likely have a similar viewer situation.
There’s also the question of simply getting caught up – I only discovered The Adventures of Serena Berg three weeks ago, and then I spent several days binging before I could be caught up.
The third reason I think contributes to low viewership on good series is unfamiliarity with the source text. I haven’t watched Away From It All or Middlemarch, the Series yet because I haven’t read the books they’re based on, even though I know I’ll love both series when I do watch them. I suspect a lot of other people are doing the same thing with those two series, and possibly also with The Adventures of Serena Berg.
So what’s the solution? We can’t say that everyone who watches LIWs has to watch all of them, but perhaps voting in the LIWAs should be done by people who have seen all of the nominees, in order to ensure that voting happens on the basis of quality and not popularity. At this point in time, I’m not sure that’s possible – and I’m not sure it ever will be with the community as it stands now.
This series is one of the best LIWs I’ve ever seen. It has everything we all love about literary-inspired webseries, and then some. It also doesn’t have nearly enough subscribers yet, so I’m going to list some of these things in the hope that more people will go and watch this wonderful series.
1) High production values (for a webseries). Funding from Yale makes that sort of thing possible, and this show is very pleasing to look at.
2) Everyone has problems. All the characters are struggling with things, none of them are willing to admit their issues, and their struggles are all realistic and relatable. These are normal people with normal problems, and yet it somehow all feels so important.
3) A baking video gone wrong. Need I say more?
4) An angsty m/m ship whose obstacles to getting together have nothing whatsoever to do with either of them being closeted (huzzah!)
5) An adorable couple in which one person is female and the other is nonbinary. Did I mention they’re adorable?
6) Internship drama.
7) Conversations about art and the meaning of life and whether we should bother finding the meaning of life.
8) The most beautiful f/f ship I have ever laid my eyes on. Seriously, this ship is beautiful in every sense of the word.
9) They have actual merch for their fictional college and pizza place. How cool is that?
10) Interesting format (everything is being uploaded several months after it was filmed, with commentary from the characters looking back on things).
11) The catchphrase “Ladies, gentlemen, and otherwise,” which I freely admit to having stolen as the opening to my valedictorian address. Thanks for that :)
12) There’s just a lot of gay going on, and everyone is out, which is a nice change, though I still do think it’s important to show fictional characters coming out when that’s part of the story – it just doesn’t need to be part of every queer character’s arc.
13) Reuben Hudson’s singing in that one episode.
14) All the other music, which I will not list because I will forget people, but it’s all really good and really well-chosen. Sadly none of the characters sing, but the soundtrack makes up for it.
15) A relatable and highly flawed protagonist who we still root for even though she does all the wrong things. That is not easy to find.
There are more, but the bottom line is that MMTS is very well written, very well made, very well acted, and very, very gay. Go watch it if you enjoy any of these things (and I know all of you do).