Thursday, October 27, 2005

Time Publishes Its First-ever
All-Time 100 Novels

Time magazine's list of All-Time 100 Movies was so well received, they decided to do a similar list for books: All-Time 100 Novels. Time describes the list in this way: "Time critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo pick the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present." [italics mine]

Among my personal favorites that made the list:

Most of the titles on the list I haven't read. My tastes in reading turn to the eclectic, and I often read more than one book at a time, depending on my interest at the moment. Sometimes I don't return for long periods to a particular book that I have been reading, when I am not in the mood to read it. Because I don't always have a lot of time to read (although I enjoy it immensely) I prefer books with short but more-frequent chapters or chapters that are broken down into segments that I can read in short bursts and easily assimilate what I've just read and then be able to pick it up again at my next willing opportunity.

I hate to admit it, but I wasn't an early reader. I was a child of the television era, so most of the stories I enjoyed were on television. My first professional job was even at a television station. Thus it was that I didn't finish a book from cover to cover for the first time until I was in my junior year at high school. It was The Bedford Incident by Mark Rascovich, a thrilling read for me at the time and a story that I had seen first in film.

My interest in reading blosssomed during my junior year in college, when I discovered science fiction. In particular, I was fond of Larry Niven's tales (e.g., Ringworld, Protector, The Mote in God's Eye, and Lucifer's Hammer). And it was then that I became mesmerized by J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was also then that I came upon Arthur C. Clarke's visionary tales (e.g., 2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End, and Rendezvous with Rama).

Soon after I got my first job, I became fascinated with Sherlock Holmes and a take-off private consulting detective by a reader disgusted with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's retreat from his own famous detective: Solar Pons.

Today, I enjoy well written novels like The Secret Life of Bees and Life of Pi (this month's book club selection), humor pieces such as those by Christopher Moore (e.g., Lamb), thrillers like those by Dan Brown (e.g., The Da Vinci Code, Deception Point, Angels & Demons, and Digital Fortress), and various books on cosmology and politics (feel free to e-mail me if you'd like suggestions).

I would never have dreamed when I finished reading The Bedford Incident that one day I would work for a bookstore or start my own online bookstore. I've come a long way since then.

Our family now enjoys Friday nights at the bookstore, in which we each browse the shelves of our favorite local bookstore (Schuler Books on Alpine and Schuler Books on 28th Street, both in Grand Rapids, Michigan) for a good read.

Which brings me back to my original point of this article: Time magazine provides an invaluable service by giving us a list of books we might otherwise never have known and which is worthy of our individual study. We can never read all the books there are, and we can never accidentally discover all the books that are worthy of our discovery. But Time provides us with a list of fine choices we should all at least consider in our valuable time left on this fabulous world called Earth.

Note: Although I offer the title links on this page to help you learn about the books I cite, they do lead to through my online bookstore, BizBooksPlus. If you take these links to their respective pages and order the books, my online store will receive a commission in the form of a small percentage of the sale.

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