I think it is all nice and dandy to explore and read new books, to map the uncharted territories of books soon to be published, but ultimately there comes a time when you want to submerge yourself into a trusted classic that many generations read before you.
So I started to search and kind of evaluate the ‘best novels lists’ and as you can imagine, there is plenty of them out there. The one limitation I found in most of them was that the books were very Anglo-American centered. Where are all those great Russian, French or Spanish novels? What about South America or Asia? I just wanted more wide-spread choices and so I kept searching.
In the end I realized that no matter what I do, one list isn’t going to get the job done. And I ended up with accumulation of top five ones as I feel that each of them brings something different to the table.
Now that I shortlisted my lists, I ended up with a burning question – How do I tackle this? The obvious two solutions have both advantages and serious limitations.
1) I merge them in one list – on the plus side, this removes any duplicates; on the minus side, it kind of destroys the soul of the lists and turns them into one slightly big pot full of books without any taste or texture.
2) I leave the lists as they are – on the plus side, I can pick any list, scroll through it and pick what I fancy; on the minus side – I will need to tick off all the duplicates on the rest of the lists once the book is finished.
I have thought about this for past few weeks and was trying to figure out what to do and decided for the second option. I still don’t think I found the right solution but this is as neat solution as it gets.
So here are my top five:
- The Top 100 Books of All Time (Guardian)
- 100 Best Novels – The Board’s List (Modern Library)
- 100 Best Novels – The Reader’s List (Modern Library)
- Raddcliffe’s Rival 100 Best Novels List (Modern Library)
- 110 Best Books: The Perfect Library (Telegraph)
Now, there is no time limit to this, it is just something to dip into when I feel like it.
Do you follow a list? And if so, which one and why?