Friday, March 5, 2010

Well-Read. Not.

I love "best-of" lists.

I never pass up a chance to see how I stack up. (Yes, I'm very competitive.)

So I checked out a few "Best Novels" lists to see how many I had read. Now, I've never been one to read a lot of "classic" books; therefore I didn't expect to do "well."

My expectations were fully met.

Some results:

Modern Library had two "100 Best" lists posted, “The Board's List and The Reader's List.” I've read seven on The Board's List and eighteen on The Reader's List (obviously a list of more "accessible" literature).

At, the "100 Best Book" list includes fiction and non-fiction. I've read nine.

College Board has compiled a list of "101 Great Books for College-Bound Readers." I've read eleven. (I wonder what this says about my chances for success in college.)

Of Time Magazine's "All-Time 100 Novels," I've read six.

I've read 14 of "The Best 100 Novels." 

Here's a “100 Best Book” list from the National Education Association where I did a little better. I've read 35 of these. Figures, right?

I wonder what my lackluster "performance" says about me?

Full disclosure: the vast majority of the books I've read on these lists were assigned. Mandatory. No choice. Just Do It. Funny, I don't recall liking most of them, either.



Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Yeah, I've read a lot of these. But I was an English major and on that track even before college. But I still see things on these lists I've been meaning to read or reread.

Mystery Writing is Murder

JournoMich said...

ha! I now have to click through and add up my scores...You've officially helped me waste more of my time today! :P

I would imagine there are many on my "need to read" list and "want to re-read" list...


JournoMich said...

9 on The Board's List
15 on The Reader's List
26 on Newsweek's 100
34 on 101 College-Bound
14 on All-Time 100
31 on Best Novels
38 on 100 Best Books

Yay! That was fun!

Anonymous said...

Alan - I've read several of those "Best" novels, but not nearly as many as I wish I had. But then, I've always been seriously warped ; ). It's interesting to think about what people consider "great books."

Mason Canyon said...

Some interesting lists. I'll have to check those out to see how I did.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

My poor memory these days doesn’t always allow me to distinguish between books I actually read and books I really meant to read, so I’m pretty sure my count wouldn’t be too accurate:)

Elspeth Futcher said...

I'll have to check these out. I'm sure many of them are books I know I SHOULD read but never had.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

HA. I KNOW what my chances were in For example, my freshman English class resulted in an F. It joined several other less than stellar grades that resulted in a grand total of 1.3 (of 4) for my GPA.

The following year found me flying helicopters in Vietnam. Apparently I did better in flight school.

Best Wishes, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Alan Orloff said...

Elizabeth - I figure you for about 85+.

Michele - Not bad. Thanks for playing!

Margot - You should generate a top 100 Mystery Book list.

Mason - I trust you did better than I did!

Jane - I know what you mean. Some of those books I know I read, but I couldn't tell you a thing about them now.

Elspeth - You and me, both. I also should have paid more attention in English Lit.

Galen - And now you're a writer. Nice recovery!

Lorel Clayton said...

I've always *meant* to read alot of those. Does watching the movie count?