I noticed in Time magazine this week a tiny little sidebar about their critic's picks of the 100 Best Novels from 1923 to the present. Now, I love to torture my husband when we go to the bookstore by standing at one of those "Best-loved" displays and pointing to all of the books on it that I have read. He only reads books in computer language. The majority of my reading is for relaxation. He's usually not very amused with my bragging. Hey! I can't help it that I get all excited over the number of books I've conquered in my lifetime. So for the heck of it I decided to visit Time's site to see how many books on the list I'd read. Only 25! Bummer! Ah, but there are so many on the list I've been meaning to read!
I wondered what other lists existed out there, so I dug around and found some other book lists. Here are the number of books I've read on a few of them:
NEA Teacher's Top 100: 88
NY Public Library's List of 100 Pictures Books Everyone Should Know: 55
The ALA's 100 Most Challenged Books from 1990-2000: 56
"Western 100"--a list of best 20th century fiction written in or about the West: 26
The SF Club's Most Significant Science Fiction and Fantasy Books: 6
Random House Modern Library 100 Best Fiction Books of the 20th Century: 21
Radcliffe Publishing Course's "100 Best Novels of the 20th Century": 45
Pulitzer Prize winners from 1918-2004: 14
BBC's "The Big Read" - Top 100 Books: 45.5
Feminista!'s "100 Great 20th Century Works of Fiction by Women": 22
Oprah's Favorites: 28
The 100 Worst Books of the 20th Century: 13
Just because I'm a teacher it probably isn't surprising that I have read so many children's book, but considering I teach teenagers, it SHOULD BE rather surprising. That's a throw back to my days as a book seller. Had to read what I peddled!
It is startling to me that many of the books I've read on the list I haven't read recently. Of course, several of these lists are from the 20th century and we're WAY passed that now. I wonder if I have been reading just junk the last few years? Some of the best books I've read will never show up on these snooty lists, though. I couldn't find a list of bizarre, edgy books out there. Maybe I'll just create my own!
Well, I have much reading to do...unfortunately, tonight my reading consists of reading what my students have written about the books they've read. Interesting, yes, but not quite as satisfying as a nice thick, engrossing novel...maybe this weekend. sigh