Arundhati Roy's Booker Prize winning novel, The God of Small Things, has been voted as the 20th best by a woman in the list of top 50. Her book has been rated above the likes of Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Wolf, George Eliot's The Mill of the Floss, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and two of JK Rowling Harry potter books.
But, while Harry Potter's magic helped JK Rowling beat the Queen in the list of wealthiest Britons, it has failed to overcome the allure of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, which appears to continue inspire a devotion by successive generations. Pride and prejudice has been voted the "best-loved novel" by a woman author.
The result of the poll in which both men and women voted, should bring comfort to the so-called thinking classes.
The contemporary romance and chick lit appear to have fleeting popularity and lack the enduring attraction of the creations by the likes of Brontes and George Eliot. Only two books in the top 10 are by living authors: Unless by the Canadian author Carol Shields at ninth and To Kill A Mocking Bird, Harper Lee's expose of the racial strains of America's Deep South in the 30s at the 10th slot.
Otherwise, in the list of 50 novels, the first eight are the unchallenged classics of A-level studies and university literature courses. Pride and Prejudice is followed by Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Middlemarch, Rebecca, Persuasion (again by Jane Austen), Frankenstein and Emma ( the third Austen novel in the list) at the eighth position.
But, Rowling may not have got into the first 10, her popularity is arguably the match of Austen's. Rowling, who completed her first book in a café in Edinburgh because she was broke after leaving her Portuguese husband, has an astonishing score with her every one of her Potter titles getting into the top 50.
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