hmm. So I went through that Meta-list of 100 best books ever. Do you agree with those? I've read at least 35 of them if not more... and there are definitely a bunch of books that I'd include onto that last.I've mentioned before on this blog that when I was in high school, I used to feel (quite sullenly, no doubt) that some of the symbolism my teachers blathered on about was totally made up. As I've gotten older and better read, I realise that the one of the problems back in high school is that I just couldn't make the necessary connections between texts or see the patterns in novels on my own. Because I was an arsey little shit (I'm not sure much has changed), I didn't like being told how to interpret what I read and since I couldn't see it for myself I tended to just not like what I was made to read. For example, in a project on genres in 11th grade, I did dystopian novels and my favourite was Walden Two by B.F. Skinner largely because the teacher hadn't read it and didn't comment on how I should interpret it at all.
What does it say about newer authors--- your work has to be OLD in order to be considered the best.
On the list, I've read twenty, started several or studied parts of them at university, and only really hated one. I seldom don't finish novels, but The Wind in the Willows is a book I can distinctly remember not finishing as a child, I gave up on the King James Bible at the begats, stopped reading War & Peace because it was too heavy to take on a hiking trip and I'd forgotten too much by the time I got back (I did love it, so I certainly intended to tackle it again one day), and I'm not entirely sure I've covered the entire Illiad and Odyssey, though I've studied some parts intensely and translated a fair amount as well. The only one I've actually hated was Beloved - I really want to like Morrison's novels but I just don't. I've now taught four of the novels on the list too, and that was an incredible experience.
I think Ray is right - the lack of more modern books is noticeable. What I also noticed is that the newest books were Pullman's Dark Materials Series - I loved them, but I do wonder at them being the best of all newer works. The reason I don't object to the list, however, or the age of the books, is that I think that reading the classics is essential in order to fully understand many newer works and the older I get, the more I enjoy being able to feret out the connections. Intertextuality kind of rocks.
For sure, I would love to read every last book on that list (minus perhaps the other Morrison, though I do mean to force myself through at least one more of her books, as perhaps she'll grow on me.) It's not a bad start, I think.
That said, I'm presently reading some vampire porn, a young adult novel, and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (which also is handy as a paperweight and for strengthening my purse-carrying muscles.)