Thursday, April 13, 2006

Lists of 100 Books

I've been bookmarking those "100 Greatest Books" or "100 Best Reads of the Century" lists for a while now, as I mentioned at my book club last night. Wow, that makes me sound really middle-aged and boring, doesn't it? My book club. But really, what could be better than a night out discussing books with some friends? OK, I can think of a few better things to do, but they all involve babysitters and elaborate plans and some money (at least for the babysitter). Participation in my book club just takes a library card and some reading (which I already do), and the ability to talk about a different book each month. Not a problem here. Especially when wine and chocolate and strawberries and blueberries are provided (thanks, Kim).

The New York Times prints a 100 Notable Books of the Year every December. Last year's picks weren't so exciting for me, although I did like some of the non-fiction a lot and a few of the fiction selections are still on my "to read" list.

The BBC did a general "best-loved novel" list in 2003. Five of their top ten are five of my favorites, and since I've read so many of the UK's "best loved" (48) I felt all smug...until I realized that most of these were children's books.

Book of the Day is working her way through an interesting bunch of lists: Great Books Lists. I love her blog selection of trashy books interspersed with literary stuff. It mirrors my own reading, though I don't blog about most of the trash. I'm pretty sure this is also where I found CounterPunch's Top 100 (and a few more) Non-Fiction Works of the 20th Century.

Time magazine did a story on the 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923-2005. It's a weird that I guess reflects the idiosyncracies of the two editors that got to pick the books. Some of the books I agree are absolute classics, others...not so much. Then there's Random House's 100 Best Novels, both the board's list and their reader's list. Battlefield Earth? Give me a break.

If you're a snob about your reading, you can always check out The 100 Most Meaningful Books of All Time, selected by a hundred authors from 54 different countries.

Finally - I haven't forgotten about kids' books. Here the NEA's two lists: Teachers' Top 100 Books and Kids' Top 100 Books. And finally, the New York Public has the wonderful 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know - which is especially nice because it includes pictures of the covers.

I'm sure I could go on and on...I could probably google up 100 Lists of Lists, but I think I'll stop here.

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