Monday, September 14, 2009

More for the TBR List

As if I need more books to read . . . but of course this is a mock complaint, because I actually love knowing there are still good books out there waiting for me.

Even if I stick to the Canon or the so-called classics list, I don't think I will ever run out. The classics list itself is still expanding. And of course I won't stick to the books other people think are good; part of the fun of reading is finding those gems that others might not (yet) appreciate.

Be that as it may, I recently discovered (thank you, Rose City Reader) The Guardian's list of the 100 Greatest Novels of All Time, defined as "essential fiction from the last 300 years." Plenty of holes in The Guardian's methodology, with corresponding gaps in the results, if you should choose to pick nits. It's still a pretty darn interesting list.

Lots of the usual stuff is there: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Jane Austen's Emma, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, and so on.

What I find intriguing are the novels I haven't heard of before (blurbs are from The Guardian):

The Black Sheep, by Honore De Balzac - Two rivals fight for the love of a femme fatale. Wrongly overlooked.

Daniel Deronda, by George Eliot - A passion and an exotic grandeur that is strange and unsettling.

If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, Italo Calvino - A strange, compelling story about the pleasures of reading. (Story of my life, this one!)

Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson - Haunting, poetic story, drowned in water and light, about three generations of women.

I don't plan to read all 100 of these (I thought I might, until I noticed the Proust that's listed is not one I have already read, and I don't think I'm up for that). I plan to pick and choose, when the TBR stack runs low. And I sure like thinking that I'll never run out of books to read!


  1. I've not heard of Robinson's Housekeeping. Just might have to check it out!

  2. So many books, so little time! I hope to catch up on my reading when I'm on vacation next month. I might add a couple of these to my suitcase.

  3. Oh, I am so glad to hear that there is SOMETHING that you don't feel up to reading....I was beginning to feel embarrassed

  4. Glad you like this list -- it appeals to me because at least they applied some methodology to it rather than pure popularity like the BBG Big Read list.

    I also love that you use the term pick nits!


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