I couldn't see this already being discussed on the Fforum, but here's a link to the Guardian's list of 1000 novels "everyone must read":
Yes, they couldn't bring themselves to dare to say "best books" in the thing itself, but note that the words are embedded in the URL. Hmm. They've already done the same with albums and films. Note also that an absurdly large and frankly unrealistic proportion of the 1000 novels "everyone must read" is made up of obscure Victorian novels you'll never have heard of.
It's worth poring over the full articles, incidentally, if you've got the time.
Well, shall we have some fun picking it apart? First and foremost, of course, Jasper's not on the list, which is an outrage. (Quickly, the pitchforks!) But there are other problems with the list. I've mentioned the large helping of Victorian filler - those list spaces could've been better spent, surely? There's some odd placing of titles within sub-sections, but I suppose you could argue most of them. ("Of Mice And Men" in Crime? Kafka's "Castle" under Comedy? Before you say anything, though, "Nineteen Eighty-Four" *does* belong in Science Fiction, oh yes.)
Also some odd decisions in how they've treated authors with more than one qualifying item. Psir Pterry Pratchett's entire Discworld series as one item - couldn't they pick a couple of winners? Isn't it cheating to include the 2000 Molesworth omnibus rather than an individual book or books? Jane Austen's *entire* oeuvre - really?
I'd also question the inclusion of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" on the grounds that it's "so influential", unless of course we're celebrating the 60th birthday of "Nineteen Eighty-Four" with a festival of Newspeak and "influential" now means "derivative". (Jasper could've had Rowling's space, dammit!)
Some odd choices of titles for particular authors - I can't help wondering if here the editors and/or contributors identified an author who deserved to be represented, but couldn't agree on their actual best work and just plumped for their first one instead. The one that leaps out at me here is "The Wasp Factory" by Iain Banks on the Science Fiction & Fantasy list - surely the correct choice is his second novel, "The Bridge", because:
a) it's much, much better, and more to the point
b) it actually has some fantasy content that would justify including it in that sub-section.
Finally, the big obvious problem with this list and others of its type - it's novels only. No Edgar Allan Poe, then. Of course including short fiction would complicate the editors lives enormously, but still, there's a bit of a gap there.
work is a vampire that sucks me dry
which is a metaphor
but still the reason I stuck a chair leg through my manager
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2009 12:27AM by Adrian Lush.