March 17, 2006

Yet another annoying booklist

Why, O why, do I let you people rope me into looking at these lists? I know, I know, I am a sucker for lists of prestigious books.

A poll of British librarians has resulted in a list of the books everyone should read before they die. Fortunately I'm well on my way. As usual, the ones I've actually read are in beautiful Palatino Bold:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. The Bible (No kidding.)
  3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
  4. 1984 by George Orwell
  5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Well, I started it.)
  8. All Quite on the Western Front by E M Remarque
  9. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
  10. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
  11. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  12. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  14. Tess of the D'urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
  15. Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
  16. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  17. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
  18. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  19. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  20. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  21. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  22. The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
  23. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  24. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  25. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  26. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  27. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  28. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  29. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  30. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

Well, 10/30 isn't so bad. If I live to 105, I should manage to finish off the list.

I find it interesting that the Bible, the most significant book in world literature, should play second fiddle to To Kill a Mockingbird. Beyond that, the list is a hodge-podge of the truly great (e.g. Dickens), the pretty-good-but-I-wouldn't-say-it's-that-great (e.g. Life of Pi, A Clockwork Orange) a bunch of stuff I've never heard of, and another bunch of stuff I doubt will stand the test of time. Who's going to remember His Dark Materials a century from now?