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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Rings is favourite for Big Read
Big Read bookworms
Books are competing for the accolade of nation's favourite
Lord of the Rings has emerged as a bookmaker's favourite to win the honour of being named Britain's best-loved book.

JRR Tolkien's work has odds of 8/11 with William Hill to top the BBC's The Big Read list.

During the next seven weeks TV viewers will vote for their favourite from a shortlist of 21 books.

They include classics by two of the Bronte sisters, six children's books and contemporary bestsellers.

The winner will be announced on 13 December following a series of BBC Two programmes hosted by Clive Anderson tracking the public's vote.

William Hill has offered odds of 5/1 on JK Rowling's fourth Harry Potter book, The Goblet of Fire, and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Charles Dickens' Great Expectations and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier are 12/1; CS Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is 14-1; while Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne is 22/1.

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