In the beginning...

I had dinner the other day with two friends of long ago (as long ago as it can be when I'm only 20, of course), and got to talking about books, blogs, Publisher's Weekly (yes, I'm that much of a nerd), and I promised upon leaving to send them both an email with links to all the books I had recommended in the course of that evening, as well as the blogs I had mentioned and instructions for signing up for Publisher's Weekly daily email. That was two weeks ago -- I haven't sent the emails yet. Not because I don't want to, but just because I keep forgetting. Then I thought to myself, "I've now told at least 10 people about this one literary blog I really like, and hyped Mark Helprin (my latest favorite author) to anyone who will listen. Why not put it all in one place?"

And just like that, this half-assed attempt at a blog was created. Maybe I'll remember to send them both that email, or maybe I'll just send them the link to this blog. We'll have to see.* In the meantime, I figured I'd start off with an overall approach:


In my stumblings (these were stumblings of my own design, although adding the Stumble application to my laptop may have been at once one of the most fascinating, mind-expanding and yet dangerous things I've ever done) through the internet world of books the other day, I came across this list of the top 100 books of all time. Generally, these lists do one of the following things to me:

a) Make me feel inadequate, like all of my ventures into the literary world for the last 20 years have been nothing but a waste of time and breath and probably eyesight.
b) Make me depressed, because there is no way I will ever read the 1,001 books I must read before I die.
c) Make me gloat, because I've read everything on the list of books to read before I'm 30 by the tender age of 20.

But this one stuck out in that it was a multi-faceted effort, an amalgamation of various lists compiled in various ways -- by popularity, by literary critics, by sales, etc. You can see the list of books, and how NeilB compiled the list, here:

Of the top 100, I've read 28. Not too shabby, I'd say, but I have to go back and reread at least 10 of those because I read them either too quickly, too early, or too long ago. My dad's got an impressive 53, giving him an average of 1 per year. So, what's your number?

*Jackie and Sheri, if I've sent you this link, it's because I clearly haven't sent you your email yet. It will come, eventually, I promise.