Friday, January 30, 2009

1000 Novels...1 Lifetime

British newspaper The Guardian recently brought together their review team and a panel of "expert" judges to determine the "1000 Novels Everyone Must Read Before They Die". The list is broken up into 7 different categories (War & Travel, Science Fiction & Fantasy, State of the Nation, Family & Self, Comedy, Crime, and Love) and chooses authors and novels from just about every time period and nation.

At first, this seemed like a rather doable list. Let's say that the average life expectancy is 75 and you begin reading the novels when you are around 15. That's only about 17 novels a year. But then you add in all of the other great novels out there, not to mention all of the non-fiction, the epics, the short stories, the poetry, and the plays! No way on earth I'll ever get to read them all!

I guess that I'll just have to read as many as possible in what little time I have. I am comforted by the fact that I'm only 21 and have already read 38 novels on the list including:

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Bleak House by Charles Dickens

So, that's 38 down and only 962 to go! How many have you read?


Lepidoptera said...

I have read at least 15 to date. Many I had never heard of and many that I have. Plenty more to read. I am ready to start my next great novel having just finished Dickens' "The Old Curiosity Shop" which was not on the list. Be glad that you have started reading voraciously already. May it be a lifelong passion!

A Colorful World said...

First of all, thanks so much for coming by my blog and commenting on The Shack. I absolutely LOVE your blog! It is the only "book blog" I have seen, and is just wonderful! I'm glad you had noticed I had been by in the past....just haven't had time to do so lately.

Reading this post, I am intrigued by this list! My brother came across a list called 100 Greatest Books, and he has set out to read them all. He recently came to live (part of the year) here at my parents' and brought many of the books with him. I had already read about 1/4 of them when I saw the list and have since added to that number. Most recently I read Treasure Island (had only ever seen it in film before that) The list is very good, but I felt there were some staggering omissions. I'd heard of other lists, and figured they took up the slack but have not seen the lists themselves. Wow, a list of 1000--now that's formidable! As you say, one person could never read them all. But it's fun to try!!! I also recently read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, because I had never read it, and now I have started Anna Karenina. LOVE the movie version with Vivien Leigh...can't wait to devour the book!
As for The Shack...not great lit, as I said, but moving and uplifting and really an experience like no other! I highly recommend it for the spiritual experience!
Thanks again for coming by....I will be by whenever I can till I can use a computer more often!

All my best-