Sunday, May 25, 2008

Reading is Fundamental

I stumbled upon this list in a NY Times article. It references a British book that sports a 1001 book list "handpicked by a team of international critics and literary luminaries."

The Times writer had read 300+ of the 1001 books. Well hello Mr. Fancy Pants. I did a rough pass at the list and came up with 59. Which means that while I might be a book snob, I'm not a very well read one.

Looking at the first 10 on the list (which is in reverse chronological order) we have:
  1. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  2. Saturday – Ian McEwan
  3. On Beauty – Zadie Smith
  4. Slow Man – J.M. Coetzee
  5. Adjunct: An Undigest – Peter Manson
  6. The Sea – John Banville
  7. The Red Queen – Margaret Drabble
  8. The Plot Against America – Philip Roth
  9. The Master – Colm Tóibín
  10. Vanishing Point – David Markson
I've read Never Let Me Go and The Plot Against America, and I've read a book by McEwan (the same one everyone else has read) but I haven't read Saturday. And I've never actually heard of Banville, Drabble, Tóibín or Markson. Ah well. Maybe I'll get around to one or two of the 1001 during my last several months in Afghanistan.

7 comments:

Ethan said...

I am going to check out that book for real.

cchrishefish said...

Very professional looking blog. I just started a blog for the first time a few days ago. Hope you have a chance to read it over. http://cchrishefish.blogspot.com/

Will said...

"The Plot Against America" is derivative and rather boring for an alternate-history; I'd recommend some of Harry Turtledove's earlier work (before he created a writing-mill like Clancy did), or anything by Peter Tsorous (who approaches the topic as an historian should)

LFC said...

Toibin's 'The Master' is based on the life of Henry James (particularly the last part of his life). Very well written, though I'm not sure I'd put it on a list of 1001 must-reads.

Exnicios said...

You know, "The Plot..." was a book I enjoyed, but perhaps not as much as some other Roth. It's an interesting exercise, though, in that it's an alternate history written by someone from outside the genre. I think you'll like it more if you approach it as a Roth novel, and not if you are hoping for Turtledove (who I read and enjoyed as a younger man).

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