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I love lists like the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels, it is a list I've perused before and one on which includes many titles I've read. I stumbled across it again a few days ago and decided I'd make it a goal to read everything on the list I haven't already read. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I've only read 37 of the 100 books. I plan on reading the remaining 63 over the next three years, one does not live by classic literature alone.

I usually get through 40 or 50 books a year. I'm doing a little better this year, and will probably finish with 70 or 80. The nice thing about starting this project now is the Kindle I recently received as a gift. Many of the books are in the public domain and available for free from sites like Feedbooks, Manybooks, and Project Gutenburg

Think of the money I'll save, and maybe it is good for the environment as well. No trees are cut down to produce the books, no fuel is burned transporting them across the country on airplanes and in trucks. I may be overlooking something here, but it seems on balance to be a good thing. I could just check them out of the library of course, but even there it means a trip in the car and more fuel used.

And talk about instant gratification, I can decide on a book and in less than a minute it is available to read. My Kindle is already filling up with books I intend to read, but unlike the many books I've purchased intending to read they are not sitting on bookshelves, sometimes double stacked, on the Kindle the books don't require any more physical space. I was concerned when I got the Kindle that I wouldn't like reading on it but I do.

There are rumors about that the Kindle is really starting to take off sales predicted by some to be 180,000 this year may according to the same prognosticators reach 360,000. The current estimate of Kindles in the wild is 240,000. I've been amused by some of the naysaying I've been reading. One fellow doesn't believe there are that many because, although he lives in a city of six million, has never seen one in the wild, another, a literary blogger points to the lack of Kindle sales through her Amazon link. It seems to me that they simply are having trouble understanding what a small number a couple of hundred thousand is in a nation of over 300 million.


 

Comments

I enjoy those lists as well. Have you read any Rohinton Mistry? If not, I'd recommend starting with A Fine Balance.

Wow. Them's some lists. What disturbs me the most is the sheer number of them in the "Reader's Choice" columns that were written by either Ayn Rand or L. Ron Hubbard.

What disturbs me the most is the sheer number of them in the "Reader's Choice" columns that were written by either Ayn Rand or L. Ron Hubbard.

Ouch.

There are a lot of Americans who are flattered by Ayn Rand's approval of American capitalism. ;)

Heh, I wrote a post about that list a few months back, and what amazed me about it was that virtually all my favorite books weren't on it!

There are a lot of Americans who are flattered by Ayn Rand's approval of American capitalism. ;)

Um, yeah, they're called Republicans!

what amazed me about it was that virtually all my favorite books weren't on it!

In looking at your what's missing list I notice you have some that were not originally published in English. I think they have excluded all translations from other languages. It is an English Only list.

Have you read any Rohinton Mistry?

I don't believe so. I'll check it out.

Sorry, but I think the list is a piece of crap. Are the books in order? Ulysses always seems to make it to the top of lists but how many people have read that thing? It is only read by graduate students, hardly a recommendation for me. If no one reads it then I don't see how anyone can think so highly of it. Literature should be for the reading public. Correct me if I am wrong but I didn't see anything by Dickens on the list. He certainly had popular appeal. I guess that is a strike against him as far as the list makers are concerned.

And speaking of huge best sellers, why do these lists always ignore Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe? I think it is probably the best American novel...no kidding. Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess is another of my favorites and it is also left out of all of these “best” lists. These sort of ratings remind me of the Academy Awards which almost never coincide with my choices.

My “list” is to read all of Shakespeare's plays before I croak. I still have about 15 to go and with my current levels of pork and red wine consumption (the perfect Spanish diet) I may not make it.

I think a cool internet geek thing is to make a list of your favorite novels. I did this a long while back and probably need to update the list to include a few great Latin American-Spanish titles.

Happy reading everyone.

Norm,

Nice to see a nice long post written by you.

I saw a Kindle 'fake' in a store. Doe sthe screen look roughly similar? Like a high-res greyscale LCD?

The Radcliffe list http://www.randomhouse.com/modernlibrary/100rivallist.html includes Tom Wolfe's book. A book I agree was one of the best of 50 years

I'm going to be restarting a onegoodmove forum. There is an upgrade to the Movabletype software that will let me manage both a forum and the blog from the same interface. It is also supposed to be much faster. Perhaps it will improve performance on posting comments etc.

The forum would be a place where we could carry on extended conversations on topics of interest in a more leisurely and thoughtful manner. It might be fun to have a section on books and reading. We could even come up with best of fiction or non-fiction lists as chosen by onegoodmove readers.

norm, thought i'd weigh in on the forum idea: i remember when you tried it last time. i understand you stopped not because it wasn't working, but because it was a pain in the ass for you for logistical reasons. but it was "successful" insofar as the comments on the regular blog were getting overwhelmed by long dialogues on specific subjects.

anyway, i've noticed that, since your decision to support hillary against obama and the whole lemos thing that the comments being overwhelmed (in any sense) has become the least of your problems. many of your old posters seem to have dropped off the face of the earth and the number of comments seems to me to have been drastically reduced. so why split them up at this point?

btw, as a long time tom wolfe fan, i didn't like "bonfire" at all. and i was reading it in installments in "rolling stone" before it was even published. not his best work at all, imo. oh well.

Sorry, but I think the list is a piece of crap. Are the books in order?

They are in order. Point taken on Ulysses, but how many of the books on the list have you read to characterize it as "a piece of crap."

I was also surprised that someone called the list a piece of crap - I guess because it has a lot of my favorites on it - like Lolita, Gatsby, Catch-22, The Good Soldier, I, Claudius, Invisible Man, Day of the Locust. I think Brian had a lot of great non-translated selections, also: I would've liked to see The Scarlet Letter on there, David Copperfield - I'm not a big Hardy fan but I do love the book he wrote when he was in love - Far From the Madding Crowd, Twain is great, of course and it reminded me I should try reading Swift as an adult (when I was young I thought Gulliver's Travels was a kid's book). I would love to hear a top 100 OGM list - I'm surprised to hear Bonfire of the Vanities is a hit with some of you --- I'm even more surprised that Norm has not read ALL the books or, at least, that the ratio wasn't reversed... :)

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