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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 March, 2005, 14:27 GMT
Your top books revealed

To mark World Book Day, our hunt for the most popular book club book is over and voting is closed.

After nearly 13,000 votes, we can announce the winner is Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, followed by Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog... and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

A longlist of more than 50 was based on the suggestions from book clubs from across the UK who sent in their nominations to the Magazine last week.

It does not attempt to be a vote on the best book ever, just a longlist of some of those which people are actually reading, hence the heavy emphasis on recent novels, which are usually favoured by book clubs.


Best-selling author and Whitbread book prize judge Jenny Colgan gave her views on our top books.

She feels The Da Vinci Code is a "good plane read" which partly relied on word of mouth for its success, although some of its readers may only read one or two books a year.

If there is one book in this top 10 which you haven't read and want to, you have to pick Great Expectations
Jenny Colgan
Whitbread Prize judge
"It seems to have become the law now that you are not allowed to read anything else unless you have read it," she says.

Ms Colgan was more praiseworthy about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which made her cry endlessly when she finished it.

"I think it is an amazing book and you would be hard pushed to find people who it wouldn't appeal to. The way it shows how Christopher thinks is quite remarkable."

But her finest praise was for Great Expectations, which was in fourth place.

"It is an absolutely great book, such a good story and so exciting and quite frightening. If there is one book in this top 10 which you haven't read and want to, you have to pick Great Expectations. Forget about any bad school day experiences of it."

Ms Colgan said The Time Traveler's Wife By Audrey Niffenegger was a "really lovely story" and should have been in the top 10.


Here is a selection of comments made while voting:

Shocking that Da Vinci Code is top of this list; a book filled with stereotypes and predictable plot twists, that shouts out from every page "Movie Rights Available" (although I understand now the movie is on its way.) Of this list I would have given it to Oryx and Crake; although had McEwan's Atonement been on there it would have to have taken the honour; the finest work by arguably England's finest contemporary novelist.
Adam Cresswell, London

As good as many of the other books are, Great Expectations is simply in a class of its own. Will any of the other titles stand the test of the time? On this list, it's a giant among minnows!
Zoe O'Connor, Dublin, Ireland

I voted for Alice Sebold - 'The Lovely Bones' because I have never experienced so many emotions whilst reading a book!! A 'rollercoaster' of emotions and extremely well written.
Julie Neal, Lowestoft,England

My favourite writer is H. Kureishi, so I would have to vote one of his books, Buddha of Suburbia's great. White Teeth is fab, Girl with a Pearl Earring (I was reading it on my holidays in Delft, where it takes place!). Atonement by McEwan is far better in creating the suspense than his Enduring Love. With the amount of literature produced it's just so difficult to name a favourite book!
Cristina, Barcelona, Spain

Boudica, where are you? The Boudica series by Manda Scott have to be some of the most insightful novels that I have read for a long time. The element of historic fact combined with the compelling tale of the Boudica and her loved ones has to be on the list next year. If not, why not!
Gilli, Leicester

It's a shame there are less classics on the list than you'd expect - perhaps a by-product of them not being so widely read as before. All those who have acclaimed the books on the list as gripping and wonderfully written, should enjoy reading a little Tolstoy and some of the finest novels ever written. I particularly commend Anna Karenina, it was and remains my favourite novel of all time.
Phil, Oxford, UK

I voted for The Siege by Helen Dunmore, a lyrical and passionate writer, whose emotive use of language lends the bleak and often provocative nature of her work a transcendent and thought-provoking aspect.
Victoria Taylor, Bridgend, South Wales

Not much choice. I have read one of the books on the list and have two on my to read list but most of the rest I haven't heard of or have no desire to read. I admit to having a love for light hearted science fiction and the older crime books (Dorothy L Sayers, Margery Allingham etc) but there was nothing there I could say was a favourite book of mine.
Edith, Aberystwyth Wales

I voted for Andrea Levy's Small Island which is an astonishing masterpiece - a brilliant story, lively and amusing character study and thrilling page-turner, and that's before you even get to the historical social detail and racism theme. I have to laugh to see that so far the most popular choices are The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - the most over-rated book of the last two years, a sort of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha with pretensions - and The Da Vinci Code, the lunkish kitsch classic written by a man who can't write for people who can't read.
Alan Simpson, Belfast, NI

Love it or hate it, the Da Vinci Code has captured the imagination of the public and has gotten non-readers into books so I think it deserves to win.
RD, London

I have just finished reading Small Island & consider it a true work of art. Although I have read many of the other listed books, none have moved me in such a way. The writing is sublime.
Avis Kidd

Philip Pullman's Dark Materials! Why on earth isn't this classic on the list?
Milly Shaw, Newcastle

The Straw Men by Michael Marsh is an excellent book. It was released last year I think, and I can't believe it didn't make it on here. OK, it may be similar to Silence of the Lambs, but it is extremely well written.
Andy, Wakefield

Girl With A Pearl Earring. it is one of the most beautiful, insightful, perfectly written books I've ever read. It's a wonderful view into the life of Vermeer, and painting in general, and the characters seem utterly true and lifelike. It's a perfect book to get lost in for a few hours.
Michelle, London

There are only a few books on that list I've actually read. So my choice was necessarily limited. The list is really heavy on contemporary writers which is a shame a sit ignores so many great novels of the past. Without doubt the funniest book in the English language has to be 'England, their England'.
Christopher, London

Your list validates my decision to resist the temptation to join a book club. Had I communed with any of the literary collectives that contributed to your list, I would probably still be a stranger to two of the most poignant novels in my recent reading experience: The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini and A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry.
Douglas Herbert, Paris, France

I haven't read many of these, but Brick Lane got my vote because it was so vibrant and alive.
Steve, Bicester

I voted for Monica Ali's Brick Lane as our Reading Group has recently read it so fresh in my mind. This book really gave you a feeling of place. I felt I was living in the small world the protagonist was inhabiting. Monica Ali is a superb writer.
Julia Cooke, Walthamstow, London

I chose Lucy Gault ahead of the McEwan and Attwood books, mostly because it is such a haunting piece of writing, and has led me to read many other of Trevor's works since. I'm surprised the list omits anything by Angela Carter, Peter Carey or Martin Amis, but it still contains a lot of good titles. I shall make a copy of it.
Graham, York, UK

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd gets my vote!!
Jean, Randolph, Massachusetts, US

My vote has to go to Lovely Bones. The concept alone is brilliant and the reading of it had me late for work most mornings!
Liz Kirwan, London, London, England

I imagine that this vote will show which books have been read the most, rather than which books are the most enjoyable to read. My book group read The Da Vinci Code and it didn't go down too well, so I'll be disappointed if that wins. I was surprised at the lack of Salman Rushdie. The Moor's Last Sigh was my favourite book group book so far.
Meg, London

"The curious incident of the dog", does not follow conventional rules of story writing, and for that reason It has to be regarded as being in a class of its own. For that reason alone it deserves to head the rather disappointing list of titles.
G T Swain, Edgware

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a truly original book which explores new territory in human experience and challenges our ideas about what is "normal". It seems to appeal to a wide variety of readers of all ages and tastes; everyone in our book club had lent their copy to family and friends-even teenage children were impressed.
Pat, Saffron Walden

A list thankfully clear of Harry Potter.
Ali, Truro

I have read about a third of the books on the list although do not belong to a book club. Too many good books to pick one out but I chose Laurie Graham because I would read anything written by her....but Joanne Harris, Helen Dunmore..so many good writers, good books to choose...
Avril, Preston,UK

Why Donna Tartt's A Secret History isn't in the list is beyond me.
Alan Cliff, Stockport

I certainly miss a lot of really good (and recent) books on this list. Why Enduring love and not Atonement? Nothing by John Banville, nor Julian Barnes, Jonathan Coe or even Alexander MacCall Smith. and why so few classics? Does nobody read Thackeray anymore?
Ana, Lisbon

I voted for Amy Tan because it is through her books that I have learned about Chinese cultural heritage and how it affects modern Chinese Americans. A Hundred Secret Senses is my favourite among her books. Glaring Omissions: Many - None of John Irving's books are on the list; there are no Carol Shields books; there is nothing by Anita Brookner; no Ruth Rendell or P D James - to name but a few!
Tricia Neville, Carmarthen, Wales

I've only read a couple on the list. People rave about 'The Curious Incident..' but I didn't rate it. Where are Donna Tartt's offerings? I thought these would have been perfect book-club novels. As for the best book ever written? Well, that's easy. It's got to be Jeff Long's 'The Descent'
Matthew Dover, Bedford

I have only read a handful of these books, but I have to put my vote in for Close Range, as the short story art form is largely ignored in the world of the Book Club (and are well-nigh impossible for first time writers to get published). Annie Proulx is so succinct with her language and characterisation that she is a master at short stories, and this collection is mesmerising, but even she had to produce several novels before her short story collection made it to print!
Lorna McCubbin, Broughty Ferry, Scotland

The one which stands out for me is Girl with a Pearl Earring. The sexual tension and vivid descriptions and characterisations are completely absorbing. I'm surprised The Life of Pi is not on the list as this was a very memorable and unusual book.
caroline mulvihill, warwick

Voted for the Da Vinci Code because the better book by Dan Jones - Angels and Demons - wasn't on the list! How does the Curious Incident... get on the list??
Kathryn Tuddenham, Nottingham, UK

Voted for Great Expectations due to the compelling story and colourful characters who have stood the test of time. Sorry to see no Stephen King or Terry Pratchett on the list.
Jennie Rich, London

Life of Pi by Yann Martel should be on your list. I think its one of the most highly original books over the last couple of years.
Nicola , Claygate, Surrey

I must disagree with Alan Simpson. I have an autistic son and have found 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' to be invaluable for helping people to understand some of his quirks - I also enjoyed it immensely. On the missing list anything by the fantastic Iain Banks (I'm particularly fond of Espedair Street) or Louis de Bernieres if you liked Captain Corelli try the Majestic 'Birds Without Wings'
Pen, Nottingham

Good Lord, it looks like the Booker Prize list - full of pretentious rubbish, voted for by people with an over inflated sense of their own intellectual and literary importance.
Nigel MacDonald, Camborne, UK

I read 'The Curious Incident of the Dog' by Mark Haddon whilst looking after my poorly Mother for a long weekend recently. It made us both laugh & Cheered us both up - well worth a read!
Peter Dorey, Manchester, UK

What makes a good novel; originality, well written thought provoking, while a poor novel is a hyped piece of recycled ideas and stories that have gone well past their sell by date. This poll gives an excellent example of both; Curious Incident and Da Vinci. Need I say who I voted for!
Graham, Sittingbourne

When lists like this are created can we not have anything written/sung/achieved/etc in the past 5 or 10 years. That way we might get a list of the best rather than a list of "what I did in the holidays"
John, Brighton

I voted for The Da Vinci Code as it was the only one in the list that I have read, sad really as I read a lot of books during the year.
Caroline O'Brien, Camberley

Since the only book in the list I've actually read is "Great Expectations" I had to vote for that, even if I was forced to read it in GCSE English classes. The one glaring omission is of course Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings", which I've currently just started reading (again). But if you put that on the list, the vote will become un-interesting; Tolkein would win by a country mile.
Richard Geary, Leicester, UK

I must admit that the names of quite a few books on the list are new to me. But I voted for the Girl with A Pearl Earring simply because I loved the sensual vividity of the narrative. Tracy Chevalier makes the colors of the actual portrait and that of the City of Delft come alive. I would love to see the original picture and imagine the girl, her master and the entire creative process that went into the making of this masterpiece.
Anyesha , Greenbelt, Maryland, USA

I am a fan of Thomas Hardy, the Mayor of Casterbridge gives us all hope, you can't mess up everything you touch as much as he did. That makes me appreciate what I have already got
alexandra hume, leicester, england

I've only read two of the books on this list as I prefer to support my local library rather than book clubs. The Curious Incident...... I didn't feel was a great book but it was at least innovative and interesting. To be honest I don't really see how any of the books listed could hope to compete with Great Expectations, I wonder how many of them will still be in print 144 years after they were first published.
John Mercer, Leicester

The Future Homemakers of America - funny, humane and uplifting.
Nicola, UK

I was torn between The Wind up Bird Chronicle & Enduring Love but chose Murakami as this book first introduced me to his work. However, had you included any of Ishiguro's novels I would have chosen him for the sheer elegance of his writing.
Isobel, Bristol

I have to admit to being disappointed about the lack of classics on this list... but of the ones I've read it definitely has to be Seebold's The Lovely Bones. An original, uplifting, though-provoking take on two of the most difficult subjects imaginable; paedophilia and death.
Vicki Love, London, UK

I think the Da Vinci Code has fascinated the readers all over the world. I believe that there are many Japanese who enjoy spending their terrible commute time to read it. Of course, I'm one of them.
Akiko, Tokyo

After the first few chapters, The Other Boleyn Girl was impossible to put down. Based mainly around historical fact, this is a fascinating insight into such a decadent and intriguing period of history. Characters, plots and twists that a soap opera scriptwriter could never come up with, and all true. Inspired my new interest in Tudor history.
Justine Rose, Cardiff

Of the books listed, my instinct was to vote for The Da Vinci Code - a brilliant thriller which grabs the attention and twists and turns like a snake on hot sand before reaching the end. However, I decided to vote for The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time because I have never read a book like it before. Told from the point of view of its autistic central character, Christopher, it plays with your emotions in a way that even a first rate rollercoaster thriller can not.
Alex, Borve, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

I was torn between Bel Canto and Girl with a Pearl Earring as I really enjoyed both but Bel Canto really drew me in and made me want the book to go on forever. I thought the ending could have been better but even taking that into account, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and was upset when I finished it.
Janice, Norwich, UK

I can't believe that The Time Travellers' Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is not on the list. I only picked it up from my local book store because it was nominated by the Richard and Judy book club. It is a sublime tale about love and time travel and it brought me closer to tears than anything else in the last 10 years.
Steve Chadbourne, Winsford

I voted for Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, which touched me, and made me laugh at the same time. But why oh why is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini not on your list? This book has the most intimate portrayal of friendship and its power. And a recommendation for those who enjoyed Tracey Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring - read Sarah Dunant's The Birth of Venus. It's a wonderful book.
Fran, Bucks

Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials. The best series I've ever read, These books can reduce adults to tears. They show you that there could be more to life and the universe than you ever imagined. To leave this off the list is unbelievable.
Vicky, Isle of Wight




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