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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Best 100 Novels According to Time Magazine

Time Magazine published a list of the best 100 novels. Two Time critics, Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo, picked the 100-best English-language novels from 1923 to the present. Here's the process that they used, straight from the website (where you can find the complete list. ):

Lacayo writes:
"For the books project, Grossman and I each began by drawing up inventories of our nominees. Once we traded notes, it turned out that more than 80 of our separately chosen titles matched. (Even some of the less well-known ones, like At-Swim Two Birds.) We decided then that we would more or less divide the remaining slots between us. That would allow each of us to include books that the other might not have chosen. Or might not even have read. (Ubik? What's an Ubik?) And that would extend the list into places where mere agreement wouldn't take it."

It is pretty amazing that more than 80 of their books matched when they first compared their lists. But what I'm happy to report is that I have read several of these books on the list, loved them and enjoyed them, and have talked about them with friends and family members. Sometimes, it seems like critics don't agree with regular people. :)

Books such as:
  • Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Judy Blume wrote an outstanding book for middle -grade readers that is still used to help girls get through puberty today!
  • Native Son by Richard Wright. This book made me really think about my views on the death penalty (which I am not sharing here, of course). I remember discussing it in American literature class in college to this day.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee--oh, to have a one-hit wonder like that!

Of course, there are some books on the list that I had to read in high school or college that I didn't enjoy, and I don't like. But I understand that other people love them or they are considered classics or they paved the way for other authors to write their great works. I won't name those books here, which I don't think are great, since I always try to be positive! :) But check out the list, and see for yourself what you think.

And as fellow writers, we can all hope that in another fifty or so years, one of our books will make a new list!

Happy writing, reading, and holidays!
Margo Dill

Read These Books and Use Them: a blog about using children's books


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