Friday, June 20, 2008

Listing into the Weekend

My love for lists of all sorts is well-known, so you can imagine my joy when I discovered Entertainment Weekly's list of "The 100 best reads from 1983 to 2008." When a magazine like Entertainment Weekly, which consists primarily of lists anyway, releases a list like this, well, I take notice. All joking aside, this is a fascinating list. A few things jumped out at me:
  1. I'm not a Harry Potter guy, but it's interesting that was the Potter book to make the list is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Is that the consensus best Harry Potter book? I'm guessing they limited the list to one book per author, otherwise Toni Morrison, JK Rowling, Haruki Murakami and a couple other authors would've had about half the list to themselves. (By the way, at BEA, Scholastic had huge banners up advertising the 10th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It made me feel very old).
  2. The Da Vinci Code, a book I thought would've been a fave of many EW readers, comes in at 96, one spot ahead of Jesus' Son. Shows what I know.
  3. Where else would you find a list that includes books by Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, David Foster Wallace and other literary heavyweights rubbing shoulders with Jon Stewart's America (The Book)?
  4. A couple of books I was happy to see get some love: Neuromancer, by William Gibson. I'm not a huge sci-fi nut, but this book has influenced literature, film, and academia about as much as is possible. It's a very important book, and it has a kick-ass opening line ("The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."). The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood. If you've only seen the movie, read the book. My wife taught this book in a class at the University of Iowa and read it about thirty times. She pointed out all the incredible language games happening in it. It's brilliant, and people who don't like it are stoopid.
What books would've made your list?


At 9:23 AM, OpenID julieklam said...

The Remains of the Day, The Known World, Fraud by David Rakoff, Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell.... Please Excuse My Daughter by Julie Klam (not because I think it's that good, but it would probably have sold some books if it were on that list!)


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