Category Archives: C.S. Lewis

Top 100 Books proves that Jane Austen is the Teacher’s Pet

CLASS lets get reading…

TES (Think, Educate, Share) a website dedicated to bringing the latest teaching news and strategies to educators and the public asked 500 primary and secondary teachers what their top 10 books were. They crunched the numbers and came up with the following list of 100 top books.

It is an interesting list and it ranges nicely from early-ish chapter books — the kind that got us all hooked on reading in the first place, like Dahl and Lewis — to more mature novels like Atonement.

I was glad to see that my girl Jane made the grade (#1, 32, 52, 58). And you’ll recognize lots of other Thought of the Day authors on here too (I put them in italics — if you  are interested in reading the bioBlogs go to the search box to the right and type in their name.)

1. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait b...

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait by her sister Cassandra, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

3. Harry Potter (series) J.K. Rowling

4. Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

5. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

6. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell

7. The Lord of the Rings (series) J.R.R. Tolkien

[Image courtesy Biography online

[Image courtesy Biography online

8. The Book Thief Markus Zusak9. The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien10. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald11. The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini12. The Hunger Games (series) Suzanne Collins13. The Time Traveller’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger

14. The Chronicles of Narnia (series) C.S. Lewis

15. Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

16. Birdsong Sebastian Faulks

17. His Dark Materials (series) Philip Pullman

18. The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

19. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger

20. Life of Pi Yann Martel

21. Tess of the d’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy

22. Rebecca Daphne du Maurier

23. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon

24. Lord of the Flies William Golding

25. Matilda Roald Dahl

My Roald Dahl collage featuring some of his most popular characters (as drawn by the amazing Quentin Blake).  Surrounding Mr. Dahl and his pups are: at the top left are: The BFG, Sophie, Dahl with his pups, The Enormous Crocodile, Mr. Fox, James, the Grand High Witch, Willy Wonka, and Matilda.

My Roald Dahl collage featuring some of his most popular characters (as drawn by the amazing Quentin Blake).


26. Catch-22 Joseph Heller

27. Millennium (series) Stieg Larsson

28. Animal Farm George Orwell

29. The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood

30. Persuasion Jane Austen

31. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez

32. Kensuke’s Kingdom Michael Morpurgo

33. Goodnight Mister Tom Michelle Magorian

34. The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

35. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl

36. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas John Boyne

37. Little Women Louisa May Alcott

English: Bust of Louisa May Alcott

English: Bust of Louisa May Alcott (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

38. One Day David Nicholls

39. We Need to Talk About Kevin Lionel Shriver

40. The Twits Roald Dahl

41. Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel

42. A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini

43. The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame

44. Frankenstein Mary Shelley

45. Great Expectations Charles Dickens

46. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernieres

47. George’s Marvellous Medicine Roald Dahl

48. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams

douglas adams inspired "Hitch hikers guid...

douglas adams inspired “Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy” H2G2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

49. Room Emma Donoghue

50. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy

51. Atonement Ian McEwan

52. Emma Jane Austen

53. Middlemarch George Eliot

54. The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon

55. The Color Purple Alice Walker

56. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle

57. Brave New World Aldous Huxley

58. Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen

59. The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

60. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll

61. Charlotte’s Web E.B. White

62. Dracula Bram Stoker

63. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

64. A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving

65. The Secret History Donna Tartt

66. The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Scanned drawing.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Scanned drawing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

67. Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky

68. The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver

69. Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy

70. Skellig David Almond

71. The Woman in White Wilkie Collins

72. Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

73. Game of Thrones (series) George R.R. Martin

74. David Copperfield Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, a former resident of Lant Street.

Charles Dickens, a former resident of Lant Street. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

75. Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro

76. Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak

77. Twilight (series) Stephenie Meyer

78. Beloved Toni Morrison

79. The Help Kathryn Stockett

80. Sherlock Holmes (series) Arthur Conan Doyle

81. Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

82. Moneyball Michael Lewis

83. My Family and Other Animals Gerald Durrell

84. Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden

85. On the Road Jack Kerouac

86. Cloud Atlas David Mitchell

87. Wild Swans Jung Chang

88. Anne of Green Gables L.M. Montgomery

89. Les Miserables Victor Hugo

90. Room on the Broom Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

91. Private Peaceful Michael Morpurgo

92. Noughts and Crosses Malorie Blackman

93. Cider with Rosie Laurie Lee

94. Danny the Champion of the World Roald Dahl

95. Down and Out in Paris and London George Orwell

English: George Orwell in Hampstead On the cor...

English: George Orwell in Hampstead On the corner of Pond Street and South End Road, opposite the Royal Free Hospital. The bookshop has long gone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

96. The Magic Faraway Tree Enid Blyton

97. The Witches Roald Dahl

98. The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy

99. Holes Louis Sachar

100. The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde.

English: Oscar Wilde, three-quarter length por...

English: Oscar Wilde, three-quarter length portrait, facing front, seated, leaning forward, left elbow resting on knee, hand to chin, holding walking stick in right hand, wearing coat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So… what do you think? Did the teachers get an A+ for their list?  Are there any other books that you treasure that didn’t make the top 100?

If you were asked to list your top 10 books what would you include?


James McAvoy 1-1-13 Thought of the Day

“That’s the main thing that attracts me – characters who have big journeys. I like playing those people.”
— James McAvoy

Scottish Actor James McAvoy at Hollywood Life ...

Scottish Actor James McAvoy at Hollywood Life Magazine’s 7th Annual Breakthrough Awards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

James Andrew McAvoy was born on this day in Port Glasgow, Scotland in 1979. He is 33 years old.

The son of a psychiatric nurse and builder McAvoy has a sister and a half-brother. His parents divorced when he was seven and he went to live with his maternal grandparents. McAvoy was raised Catholic and attended St. Thomas Aquinas school in Joranhill, Glasgow. He considered becoming a priest, but followed his acting instincts instead.

His first professional gig came at 15 when he landed a role in the film The Near Room.  He had small roles in movies and guest spots in TV series while in school. He graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2000.

McAvoy continued to build his CV with high-profile guest spots on series like HBO’s Band of Brothers (he was Pvt. James Miller on “Replacements”) and BBC’s  Inspector Lynley,   Foyle’s War, and State of Play.

In 2003 the SciFi Channel took on Frank Herbert‘s Dune as a mini series and McAvoy landed the role of Leto Atreides II.

Leto Atreides II

Leto Atreides II (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He had the lead role in Rory O’Shea Was Here as a disabled man whose enthusiasm shakes up the world around him.
McAvoy’s dark side came  out for his haunting performance as Joe Macbeth in ShakespeaRE-TOLD’s Macbeth. with the always wonderful Keeley Hawes as Ella (Lady M) and Richard Armitage as Peter Macduff.  [They only RE-TOLD four of the Bard’s plays — all of them interesting and worth a look — but this one is the real gem in the series.]
I’ve got two words to say about his next movie…” Mr. Tumnus. “
He stole The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe with his portrayal of the sweet, conflicted fawn who meeting Lucy  Pevensie.
From fantasy to drama biopic McAvoy next played the naive personal physician to Ugandan leader Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Needless to say things go south quickly as the doctor gets in way over his head and Amin shows himself to be a brutal dictator.  (McAvoy won the BAFTA; Scotland in 2007 for his work on the film.)
He played a trio of romantic roles (albeit in very different genres) in Penelope, Starter for 10, and Becoming Jane (as Tom Lefroy to Anne Hathaway’s Jane Austen) in 2006 and 2007.
McAvoy landed the role of Robbie Turner in the movie version of Ian McEwan‘s novel Atonement.  (He won the Empire Award for Best Actor in 2008 for his role in Atonement.)
He shifted gears to play a fish out of water action hero in Wanted opposite Angelina Jolie.  Then went back to historical drama with The Last Station –a movie about Leo Tolstoy’s last days — and The Conspirator — the story of Mary Surratt’s involvement in the Lincoln assassination.
Most recently he’s been seen on the big screen as Professor X in the X-Men prequel — X-Men: First Class, and heard in a duo of voice parts as Gnomeo in Gnomeo & Juliet and Arthur in Arthur Christmas.
According to IMDB he has FIVE movies coming out in 2013:
  • Welcome to the Punch
  • Filth
  • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His
  • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby; Hers
  • Trance

And, rest assured, there’s another X-Men in the works.

C.S.Lewis 11.29.12 Thought of the Day

The statue of C. S. Lewis in front of the ward...

The statue of C. S. Lewis in front of the wardrobe from his book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in East Belfast, Northern Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither”
C.S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis was born on this day in Belfast, Ireland in 1898. Today is the 114th anniversary of his birth.

When he was four years old he adopted the nickname “Jack” (short for “Jacksie”) in honor of a beloved neighborhood dog who got hit by a car and died. As a child he and his brother Warren (also known as Warnie) created a fantasy world with talking animals called “Boxen.”

Lewis and Weldon Borland

Lewis and Weldon Borland (Photo credit: Kevin Borland)

When Lewis was nine his mother died of cancer. In 1910 he was sent to Campbell College, a boarding school in Belfast. He withdrew after a year because he developed a respiratory condition. In 1913 he attended Malvern College for a year. There he abandoned his Christian faith and became an atheist.  The following year he left Malvern and was privately tutored.

Lewis received a scholarship to University College Oxford. He started there in 1916, but took a leave of absence to join the Army when World War One broke out. He was injured at the Battle of Arras on April 15, 1918. After his release from the Army in December of 1919 he went back to Oxford. Where he received Firsts in Greek, Latin, Philosophy, Ancient History and English.

He was appointed Fellow and Tutor of English Literature at Oxford University in 1925 (a position he held until 1954 — for 29 years). In 1954 he became chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge.

In 1931 after an evening of discussing Christianity with J.R.R. Tolkien and Hugo Dawson  Lewis converted to Christianity. The following day he and Warnie took a motorcycle ride to the Whipsnade Zoo. ” I did not believe that us Christ was the Son of God, and when we reached the Zoo I did.” [Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis]

At Oxford he was one of the founders of the literary group The Inklings.

He wrote more than 30 books including novels, fantasy literature, Christian literature, literary criticism, and essays. He is best known for The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, The Four Loves and Mere Christianity.

English: Map of Narnian world as described in ...

English: Map of Narnian world as described in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

C.S. Lewis died on November 22nd, 1963 in England.

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