5 March 2006

The list

British librarians come clean on what books are a must read. The Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (you mean there's another MLA?!?) have thusly spoke, yet I'm left a little wanting. The Lord of the Rings is #3. 1984 is #4. All good, but so highly ranked? I'm not so sure. I can't speak of their #1--To Kill a Mockingbird--because I haven't read it (resisting the urge to say "it was a great movie though!"). And the bible at #2? I've read many sections of it (not just browsed, actually read), and have heard other lit-heads place it similarly high, yet I still don't see the literary merit. It's a monument of literary history but not a monument of skill. I may be prejudiced.

So the modern is amply represented--Life of Pi, A Clockwork Orange--but it still feels such an odd list. Gone With the Wind? Again, I haven't read it, but I've heard only mediocre opinions on it. Same with Gibran's The Prophet. What's up with that?

And so, I must publicly ask a librarian a very public question: what do you think of this list? And is any canon acceptable ... ignoring Harold Bloom's opinion? Maybe it just runs afoul in the same manner than any list might. And the inclusion of Wuthering Heights?!? Nice, but is it really the #16 must read?

[ posted by sstrader on 5 March 2006 at 12:18:17 AM in Language & Literature ]