You've probably seen the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die post that has been going around the book blogging community like a bad cold. It has a handy-dandy spreadsheet on which you can figure out not only what percentage of the list you have completed (24.9% or 250 books for me) but also how many books you must read a year to make it before your statistically appointed time. I am pleased to report that I read a good deal more than the 25 books per year, given that I must read that many if I am to fulfill their mission, but most of the books I will read this year aren't on the list. Somehow it's not troubling me too much. I find the list, which takes the trouble to defend itself by saying it is not exhaustive (whew) strangely weighted toward recent popular fiction. Why so many of Ian McEwan, Jose Saramago, Margaret Atwood, and Don DeLillo's books are there, even some obscure and not too great ones, and why Tim Winton, Andre Dubus, Hilary Mantel, or Wallace Stegner are not I can't tell. On the other hand At Swim Two Boys is there! I've never seen that absolutely brilliant book make a list before - John McGahern, Virginia Woolf, Chinua Achebe, and Rohinton Mistry are represented, I approve. It did a decent job of pointing out some glaring holes in my reading experience like Philip Roth, who I've never been able to stand, and John Updike, whose novels feel dated to me, V. S. Naipaul, and Rebecca West. I guess I have some work to do but I'm going to do it on my own rather than bring out the competitive in myself by signing up for the 1% challenge that 3M is offering - I'm all challenged out - but please don't let that stop you.
Hat tip: Ex Libris