Too many books…too little time!
Amazon made this list of 100 books you should read before you die. It was compiled by their editors as a “bucket list of books to create a well-read life.” I read through the list and I’ve only read 35 of them. Hmmm…
I feel that my life is fairly well-read and I wonder if their book list is on par with the Oscar nominations for Best Picture. Very rarely have I seen all those movies and some I never hear about until they’re nominated! Honestly, for the most recent Oscars, I had heard of most of the 9 nominees but I haven’t seen any of them yet. And I hadn’t heard of the winner until they won. But, maybe I’m just out of touch since I have to keep most of my movie habits in the PG-13/PG range with the twins. Or I like my movies to be more entertaining than intellectual.
But I digress…back to the books.
Thankfully, in addition to the editor-picked list, Amazon also provided a second list of 100 books as ranked by Goodreads users. This seems more promising for my life, because these are real people – people like me! And I was right – I’ve read 67 of them and I’ve heard of all of them!
I did find a couple of interesting books on one list or the other (occasionally both). Like, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. I don’t know that too many non-parents would read that by choice. I only read it because I have two boys who loved the whole series and I had to know why. I still don’t understand why they loved them but it got them interested in reading, so I won’t complain (thankfully, though, they’ve outgrown them and moved on to things like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card).
My daughter went through the Twilight phase and I read along with her – although now I can’t imagine what we saw in those books! And although she read the first novel in the series, I was the only one in the family to read beyond Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and then actually devoured the whole series (and the associated movies). I actually waiting impatiently for my pre-ordered copy of Half-Blood Prince to arrive and then shooed my family outside so I could read it in peace – and finished it in less than 24-hours.
It’s not just my children’s childhood memories I have however. Any 7o’s and 80’s girl probably remembers having to read Are You There, God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume. I did find it interesting this was on the editor’s list but not the reader’s list. However, is it a bit telling that the reader’s list included The Holy Bible: New King James Version (NKJV) by Thomas Nelson but the editor’s list didn’t include such an iconic religious work? (And why is it by Thomas Nelson? Shouldn’t it be “By God”? Or am I being too literal or maybe a bit facetious?)
I was actually happy to see there were many books on there from required school readings – those that I didn’t particularly hate in junior high through college. Books such as 1984 by George Orwell, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank to name a few. I even liked Lord of the Flies by William Golding and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens when I didn’t have to write journals and papers about them! Naturally, my favorite classic made both lists – The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
Funny, though, how so many of our book memories are formed in childhood, isn’t it? Years when so many dread reading because it’s forced upon us and we’re forced to analyze what we’ve read instead of just enjoying it and yet it’s also the period in life when we have the most time to read. Maybe we should all sit back, read a real book (yes, I’m pushing you off my blog) and enjoy it as we should have as children. Take a look through these two lists to pick something new and maybe even life-changing.
XO – T.