Just recently, I discovered through bookcrossing.com the list of "1001 books you must read before you die" which was compiled by Peter Boxall. Okay, I will admit that I am a bit behind the times; this book, by the aforementioned Mr. Boxall, with its list of must reads apparently came out sometime in 2006, but I only just discovered this list.
Of course, I downloaded a copy of the list to see what books were included. I wanted to see which, if any, of these books I had read. I also wanted to see what books I might consider reading in the future. While I realized that this list should be considered a jumping off place for discussions of good literature, what I found rather surprised me. First off, I was angered that my one favorite novel, Atlas Shrugged, was not on the list. Neither was Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead; I would expect one of these two should have made the list, but then I admit to a prejudice. I also noticed that all of Jane Austen's novels were included. Don't get me wrong; Jane Austen wrote some great novels (some of which I have read), but all of them? There were other authors that fell into a similar category. If not all of their books, at least, many were included on the list. For example, Charles Dickens had at least ten titles on the list. I also found that quite a few books that I tried reading in the past, gave up as a waste of my time (couldn't get into the story, for example), and will never read. I think what I found most amazing was how many novels written fairly recently (in the last decade or so) made the list. Shouldn't the test of time play some part in this?
Supposedly, the list was determined by approximately one hundred English scholars, and I don't claim to be an English major, but I think that these scholars didn't take into account that some of us (okay, me) like a good story and descriptive paragraphs don't do it for us (me). The funny thing is I have just started reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and I am finding some of it extremely humorous, especially those literary society members who are expressing the same sentiments about books as I am. They are expressing the opinion that a good story trumps some of the literature that is considered great.
By the way, I have read about fifty or sixty of the books on the list, and according to the statistics, I need to average about fifty of those listed books per year if I want to read them all. Well, having seen the list, I can tell you I won't ever read them all. Nor do I wish to.
I wonder how many of the favorite books that Red Roomers have blogged about this week made the list. I know mine didn't. How about yours?
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association