Rank #1: Garrison Keillor - Lake Wobegon Days
Rank #2: Maya Angelou
Rank #3: JD Salinger - The Catcher In The Rye
(Photo: JD Salinger)
Rank #4: Neil Gaiman
Neil is a British writer, comic book author, a short-story writer, a science fiction and fantasy novelist, now living in the United States. And our chosen book American Gods tells the story of the gods brought by immigrants over the centuries, from Scandinavia, Ireland, Russia, Greece, Egypt, and what happens to them as the years pass and they get forgotten, and surpassed by the modern gods of technology – television, mobile phones and the media.
Join Harriett Gilbert, and an invited audience to hear Neil Gaiman talk about his book American Gods.
Rank #5: Barbara Kingsolver
Harriett Gilbert and readers talk to bestselling writer Barbara Kingsolver about her internationally acclaimed novel The Poisonwood Bible.
Having sold four million copies around the world, Kingsolver's most ambitious novel paints an intimate portrait of a crisis-ridden family amid the larger backdrop of an African nation in chaos.
In 1959 an overzealous Baptist minister Nathan Price drags his wife and four daughters deep into the heart of the Congo on a mission to save the unenlightened souls of Africa.
As his plans unravel in tandem with the country's dreams of becoming an independent democracy, the five women narrate the novel, each in their own inimitable voice.
Rank #6: Toni Morrison - Beloved
In 2009 Toni Morrison came to the South Bank Arts Centre beside the River Thames in London to talk to a packed audience about her Pulitzer Prize-winning, international bestseller Beloved.
Having lost none of its power to shock a quarter of a century on, Beloved stares unflinchingly into the abyss of racism and transforms history into a poetic chronicle of slavery and its terrible, unending aftermath.
(Image: Toni Morrison. Credit: Peter Devlin)
Rank #7: Maya Angelou - I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Rank #8: Kurt Vonnegut
Rank #9: Richard Dawkins
Rank #10: John Le Carre
Rank #11: Chigozie Obioma - The Fishermen
Rank #12: Umberto Eco
(Photo: Umberto Eco)
Rank #13: Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
It’s two hundred years this month since the publication of Pride and Prejudice and we’ve invited bestselling British novelist and Jane Austen aficionado PD James, along with Anglo-Pakistani writer Moni Mohsin, also a great Austen fan and from Australia Susannah Fullerton, President of the Australian Jane Austen Society, all here to share with us their passion for this much loved classic English novel.
We’ll also be hearing from other writers from around the world – AS Byatt, Colm Toibin, Nii Parkes, Kamila Shamsie, to name a few, why the razor-sharp wit of Elizabeth Bennet and the cool hauteur of the gorgeous Mr Darcy are still drawing in more readers than ever across the globe in the twenty-first century.
Susannah Fullerton is the author of Happily Ever After: Celebrating Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Image: Jane Austen, Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Rank #14: Stephen King
(Image: Stephen King speaking in 2009. Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters)
Rank #15: Agatha Christie
The programme visits the Bibliotheca Wittockiana to discuss one of the bestselling crime novels of all time: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie in which that shrewdest of detectives Hercule Poirot hunts for a killer aboard one of the world’s most luxurious passenger trains.
To help untangle this fiendish puzzleknot and discuss the enduring popularity of the Queen of Crime are acclaimed crime novelist Sophie Hannah who has brought the renowned sleuth back to life again with her sequels, and James Prichard, great grandson of Agatha herself.
(Picture: Agatha Christie at an event in 1967. Photo credit: BBC.)
Rank #16: Crime and Punishment
Consumed by the idea of his own special destiny, Rashkolnikov is drawn to commit a terrible crime. In the aftermath, he is dogged by madness, guilt and a calculating detective, and a feverish cat-and-mouse game unfolds.
Speaking on behalf of the novel are acclaimed Russian writer Boris Akunin and Russian scholar Dr Sarah Young who will be discussing this timeless Russian classic with the audience in the room at Pushkin House and around the world.
The three extracts of the book were taken from Oliver Ready’s translation by Penguin Books.
A special edition of World Book Club this month at London’s elegant Pushkin House, the UK capital’s Russian cultural hub.
This month, as part of the BBC’s Love to Read Campaign, presenter Harriett Gilbert is picking her favourite novel to discuss.
(Photo credit: Alexander Aksakov, Getty Images)
Rank #17: Charlotte Brontë - Jane Eyre
The novel traces the fortunes of a young orphaned girl searching for a sense of belonging and identity in a hostile world, plagued by both gender and social inequality.
Weaving together the sweeping romance between Jane and Mr Rochester, a social commentary on nineteenth century England and set against the eerie Gothic backdrop of imposing mansions and wild moorland, Brontë has produced one of the world’s most loved and timeless tales.
(Photo: Charlotte Bronte. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Rank #18: Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love
The memoir brings together humour, eccentricity and honesty as the author documents the trials and triumphs of her travels through Italy, India and Indonesia in search of pleasure, peace and personal growth.
With meditations on the culinary delights of Rome, spiritual development in an Indian ashram and passionate lovers in Bali, the enduring appeal of this bestselling memoir has drawn readers from all around the world as the author struggles to break free from the pressures of modern life and to find a deeper meaning and happiness.
(Photo: Elizabeth Gilbert)
Rank #19: Kazuo Ishiguro
(Photo: Kazuo Ishiguro. Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC)
Rank #20: Albert Camus - The Outsider
As well as questions from the audience in the bookshop and from our wider audience abroad World Book Club also hears from feted writers from around the world explaining why they think this most startling tale of sun, sea, sand and murder is still one of the great classic novels of our age.
To complement this edition of World Book Club you can listen to a BBC drama of The Outsider and also to The Insider, a new play imagining the story of the silent Algerian characters that appear in Camus’ novel.
Picture: Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Getty Images.