Weekend book lists

As the AVI pointed out in the comments on my last post, book lists are troublesome.  Are we ranking books that are important, books that are supposed to be important, books that we’re reading or books we want people to think we’re reading?   What makes a good book anyway?

That being said….here’s a list of 623 books, compiled from 13 different “100 best books” lists (actually, now I’m confused…it says 623, but if you scroll all the way down it’s 624).
I’ve read 127, in part because I was working on the Modern Library’s top 100 novels list for a while.  It shows that my focus was on top novels too….I’ve read 39 out of the top 50, and 100 of the books I’ve read were in the top 300.
So how is this list skewed?  Well for starters I know the Modern Library list was supposed to be English language novels from the last century.  From the looks of the main list, some of the other lists included translations and older books, along with nonfiction.  Still, the name of the website sort of takes care of any complaints….all they’re claiming is that this is “a list of books”.
Which, of course, it is.  

6 thoughts on “Weekend book lists

  1. , I've only read 85 (so far!) although I've been reading mostly nonfiction lately. This is a great reminder of the other half of the equation. My favorite part about lists like this are when they list “Shakespeare's Complete Works” and then have separate entries for Othello, Hamlet, King Lear, and Shakespeare's Sonnets. Also interesting to see a cookbook on the list. I know nothing about it so I'm withholding judgement.

    Thanks for sharing!


  2. It's surprising how few books I read these days, compared to when I was younger. Even less do I read magazines, which I devoured in the 60's-80's.

    Maybe the liberals are right in their stereotype – I did read more books when I was a liberal! Now, it's all internet. Of interest. Many works of fiction are quite different when one reads them aloud.


  3. I took a look at the cookbook, and it's from a list that was a poll of readers. The sample size was 25,000 people, and it came in at #83….so my guess is a few people decided to vote for it.


  4. 124, including about 10 that I hated. I once felt I had to finish a book I started come hell or high water. No more; I don't include several I started and gave up on. I grew up without a TV, and spent time reading–including some (like Moby Dick) that I read too young to really appreciate.


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