Saturday, January 24, 2009

100 Greatest Books?

Some time ago, TIME Magazine put forth a list of what they determined were the 100 Best Books from 1923 to the Present.

This is an awfully difficult thing to narrow down and a super-ambitious timespan, but of course it's fun to look at the list and determine what one would add or delete.

So . . . how many of the books on TIME's list have you read?

:)

19 comments:

Dana King said...

y, someone not afraid to show his ignorance of fine literature has to go first.

18.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Wow, Dana, you've got me beat. I've read five but have a sixth handy. Sigh. Not a good record.

Okay, Julia, how many have YOU read? I suspect since you are a teacher that your record will top the rest of us.

Darlene Ryan said...

Much to my amazement, I've read twenty-five. Credit has to go to my Grade 9 teacher, Dave Taylor, who was the kind of teacher every kid should have.

steveo said...

About 25. Hard to conceive of Don Delilo making the list. And why focus on English books ? Still, many books worth exploring on this list.
Faulkner had never done much for me.

Lori said...

I've read five. Five and a half if I can count The Catcher in the Rye which I never finished.

Julia Buckley said...

Darlene, Steve, Dana--you've got me beat, too. I've read 12 from this list. I'm closer to Lori and Lonnie's camp, but as we know, a different list would elicit different results.

The books that I DID read from this list, though, were indeed great books.

Auntie Knickers said...

I've read 31, at least I'm pretty sure. I have to say that some of the ones I haven't read I probably never will -- life is too short. I would like to at least try Anthony Powell, but it seems unfair to list a multi-book series as one book; ditto for The Lord of the Rings. The list is an odd mixture of books that have been important in our culture (like GWTW) and books that a lot of people think they should have read, but relatively few ever have or will! (Gravity's Rainbow springs to mind there).

Susan D said...

Nope. Not going to be sucked into somebody's idea of what we should read. (And a list, furthermore, that doesn't include The Handmaid's Tale. ) There are far too many wonderful, thought-provoking books to claim that 100 books subjectively selected by a couple of reviewers from an American news magazine over a specified period of time are the "best novels."

Hmm, that sounds grumpy, doesn't it. Sorry.

Julia Buckley said...

Wow, Auntie Knickers--you are a prodigious reader!

And Susan, I think the main value of lists is that they get people talking. I totally agree about THE HANDMAID'S TALE. I read it, I taught it, and I think about it all the time.

Paul Lamb said...

Well, I've managed to read 47 of them. I was hoping to do better than 50.

Also, does anyone else see anything suggestive in the clouds of the photo you displayed. I think that's a doctored photo.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

39

Julia Buckley said...

Paul and Patrick, those are some impressive reading credentials.

Paul, the photo came with the stock pictures on my computer. Nothing jumps out at me, but maybe if I looked at it in a larger form . . .

Paul Lamb said...

The shape of the cloud coming down from the left? The "cleft" formed by the brightly colored clouds in the center? I'm pretty sure someone had some fun with this photo before releasing it in the wild.

Julia Buckley said...

Wow. That's kind of horrifying, especially since it was loaded into the "my pictures" section of my computer when I bought it.

Beth said...

According to my memory which can be a bit weak these days.... I know I have read 10 and seen the movies of probably 10 more. The reason for some of the books was that I took a few lit courses.

Personally I read a LOT but not always what is on anyone's list.
(I keep track and have already read 10 books this month) I like Mystery, Romance, Travel, Biography, Political
and often come across books in the library that sound interesting and are.

My latest "find" is The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. It took a while to get into but I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.

Auntie Knickers said...

Wow, Paul and Patrick, good work -- especially if you are younger than I! Now I've just printed out the Guardian's list of 1000 (!) Books Everyone Should Read. I now think I will have to live to be 100 since at first glance it appears I haven't read all that many of them (and some, never even heard of -- it's a diverse list in some ways). It's divided into categories, too.

knwick84 said...

I've only read 10 of these. Of course, most of those were because they were assigned.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

I've read at least 49 by virtue of having majored in English at Brandeis in the early 60s--but it's sure not my list of favorite or even most readable books. I'd keep John Barth's The Sotweed Factor, which is a brilliant book and was my favorite for a few years (before the women's movement and my romance with genre fiction), To Kill A Mockingbird (the Great American Novel of the 20th century), and of course Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books. A lot of them, as I remember from my student days, were boring, unpleasant, or depressing. I don't think it does books any favor to approach them with reverence. :) I say let's never forget that reading is a pleasure!

Sandra Parshall said...

I'm almost afraid to give my total... 60 of them. (I read much more widely when I was younger than I do now.) And unlike Liz, I see a number of my favorite books of all time on the list. MOCKINGBIRD, of course, THE MOVIEGOER, THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE, THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN, THE SOUND AND THE FURY, THE GREAT GATSBY, THE HEART OF THE MATTER, and yes, a thousand times yes, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER-- all wonderful books. The choice of a few of the books listed mystifies me, though. I would put Isak Dinesen's OUT OF AFRICA on the list (it was written in English).