Tuesday, August 5, 2008

1001 Books

I had this idea that I would begin a serial post here with the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. Then I really thought about it and I'm not sure how much I agree with the list. See, they have it broken up into century and I've never read any of the 2000's books. In fact, I question why some of them are on there and others aren't. I'm sure they have good reason for placing them on the list, and I'm sure that those reasons are thoroughly outlined in the book itself, but I've never been that much of a conformist when it comes to reading.

I can remember being in high school, working my way through James Ellroy's LA Confidential while I was waiting at the orthodontist's office (I was probably about 15 at the time). One of the assistants in the office happened to walk by me and make a comment to the effect that it was such a shame that "kids" my age weren't actually reading literature. 

I really wanted to ask her just what exactly she thought I should be reading, but would no doubt have been understood as the snotty and sarcastic kid that I was - yes, I perfected the art of rolling my eyes at adults by the age of 6! 

See, for the most part I was taught that as long as I was reading something, that was a good thing. I've read "literature" that I've enjoyed and some that I haven't. I understand that the tag is for the most part completely subjective. I also understand that the "literature" that we read in school is specifically chosen to illustrate certain aspects of writing and to be examples of defined periods of writing. When you get into "modern literature," however, the definition of the term becomes more fuzzy and gray. 

Since September of 2004, I have read 414 books. Granted, my pace fluctuates quite a bit and I'll beat my average of 103 this year (actually, I've already topped 10 this year) but by whose measure are absolutely 0 of those books worthy of being on the list? In fact, I have read books by authors who made the 2000's decade list. I actually own 5 of the 69 titles on the list. The 1 book, though, that I have attempted to read to date, I loathed for so many different reasons that my jaw dropped to see it on the list. I never finished it. In fact, neither did my other who attempted to read it as well. 

I guess I'm just a bit disillusioned by the whole list. There are some on there that I intend to read at some point in time, but as one who falls into the avid reader category (50 books, or more, per year - not kids books) it's a little sad to see that I've only actually read about 24 of the books that made the list. 

I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I enjoy most of the books that I read and while I read a lot of fluff that allows me to truly get away from the hassles and stresses of my daily lives, I have read some books that I think deserve a spot on the list more than others. 

Again, the term literature is subjective. I like to read, I'm not going to criticize people who read things that I don't and I really don't think anyone should turn their noses up at anyone who reads for entertainment, regardless of what it is they choose to devote their time to. 

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

I'm back again. Yea