The Guardian’s List of 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read: The Ones That Got Away


I missed my daily book list when The Guardian’s week long series of 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read came to an end. But a week later there was a bonus – a list of books that readers had nominated as “ones that got away”.

That list is below. Isn’t it interesting that most of the nominations fell under the heading “love”?

The few books I have read are bold and the books that are in my TBR and the books that I know I want to read are starred.

And at the end I’ve added my list of the seven books – one for each category – that I would add to the lists.

Anyway, here come the books: –


Before She Met Me by Julian Barnes (1982)
The Bread of Those Early Years (Das Brot der frühen Jahre) by Heinrich Böll (1955)
La Regenta by Leopoldo Alas Clarin (1884-85)
Belle du Seigneur by Albert Cohen (1968)
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1849-50)*
The Siege by Helen Dunmore (2001)
Ask the Dust by John Fante (1939)
Senseless by Paul Golding (2004)
A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy (1873)
In Love by Alfred Hayes (1953)
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (1952)
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt (2003)*
The Cloud Sketcher by Richard Rayner (2000)
I Sent a Letter to My Love by Bernice Rubens (1975)
Fanny by Gaslight by Michael Sadleir (1940)
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (early 11th century), translated by Royall Tyler
Zoo, or Letters Not About Love by Viktor Shklovsky (1923)
Gordon by Edith Templeton (1966)
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (1911)
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (1927)
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières (1993) No!!!
Heart’s Journey in Winter by James Buchan (1995)
The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov (1955)
Aegypt by John Crowley (1989)
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donalson (1977-83)
Troubles by JG Farrell (1970)
Night Soldiers by Alan Furst (1988)
I, Claudius by Robert Graves (1934)*
See You in Yasukuni by Gerald Hanley (1969)
The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V Higgins (1972)
Phantom Lady by William Irish (1942)
March Violets by Philip Kerr (1989)
Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector (1990)
Khan Al-Kahlili by Naguib Mahfouz (2008)
A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin (1996-)
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor (2002)
The Spanish Farm trilogy by RH Mottram (1924-26)
Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake (1950)
The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers (2003)
Angel Pavement by JB Priestley (1930)


The Fashion in Shrouds by Margery Allingham (1938)
The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham (1952)

The Final Days by Alex Chance (2008)
Night and the City by Gerald Kersh (1938)
The Way Some People Die by Ross Macdonald (1951)
The Underground Man by Ross Macdonald (1971)
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
True Grit by Charles Portis (1968)
I Was Dora Suarez by Derek Raymond (1990)


The Caravaners by Elizabeth von Arnim (1909)*
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin by David Nobbs (1975-78)
Some Experiences of an Irish RM by Somerville and Ross (1899)
Trooper to the Southern Cross by Angela Thirkell (1934)*
Drowned Hopes by Donald Westlake (1990)


Pather Panchali by Bibhutibhishan Banerji (1929)
Parents and Children by Ivy Compton-Burnett (1941)*
Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar (1963)
Cards of Identity by Nigel Dennis (1955)
Death of an Ordinary Man by Glen Duncan (2004)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
The British Museum Is Falling Down by David Lodge (1965)
The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien (1960)
The Fortnight in September by RC Sherriff (1931)*
Riders in the Chariot by Patrick White (1961)
Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian (1990)
The Daisy Chain by Charlotte Mary Yonge (1856)*
L’Assommoir by Émile Zola (1877)


Havoc In Its Third Year by Ronan Bennett (2004)
A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (1722)
And Quiet Flows the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov (1934)
The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo (1958)
The Football Factory by John King (1996)
The Octopus by Frank Norris (1901)
Joseph Knight by James Robertson (2003)
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2003)
Downriver by Iain Sinclair (1991)
When Memory Dies by A Sivanandan (1997)
Fame Is the Spur by Howard Spring (1940)
Sostiene Pereira by Tabucchi (1994)


Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)
Little, Big; or, The Fairies’ Parliament by John Crowley (1981)
Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson (1999-)
Lost Horizon by James Hilton (1933)
Island by Aldous Huxley (1962)
Canopus in Argos by Doris Lessing (1979-83)
The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin (1976)
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by HP Lovecraft (1941)
The Wave Theory of Angels by Alison Macleod (2005)
The Confidence Man by Herman Melville (1857)
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (1958)
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny (1967)


Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006)*
Riceyman Steps by Arnold Bennett (1923)
A Good Place to Die by James Buchan (1999)
The March by EL Doctorow (2005)
Consul at Sunset by Gerald Hanley (1951)
Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson (2007)
The Middle Parts of Fortune by Frederick Manning (1929)
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (1974)
The Miracle Game by Josef Skvorecky (1972)


Air and Angels by Susan Hill (Love)
A Pin to See the Peepshow by F Tennyson Jesse (Crime)
Crazy Paving by Louise Doughty (Comedy)
Skallagrig by William Horwood (Family and Self)
The Village by Marghanita Laski (State of the Nation)
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (Science Fiction and Fantasy)
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters (War and Travel)

You can see all the lists plus some interesting extras here.

And Jennie at Biblio File is hosting a challenge to read 10 books from the list over the coming year. You can find the details here.
Now that’s definitely the end of this particular list. But I have more lists in reserve and I’ll share them very soon.

And I really must figure out where I’m going with the challenge …

3 responses

  1. I really enjoyed your “list” posts and now here is a new one. I like that you created your own list. I hope you sent them off to the Guardian. I’m still thinking about joining up with this challenge. I’m concerned that I already have too many challenges but I am going to think about it.

    Hope you are having a good day.

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