Friday, February 6, 2009

The Guardian's 1000 Novels

Recently, the UK Guardian newspaper published a list of "1000 Novels Everyone Must Read." (

It's interesting to see what they suggest.

The list is broken down in categories: Comedy, Crime, Family and Self, Love, Science Fiction and Fantasy, State of the Nation, War and Travel. Each category is varied in the number of books selected.

Now granted, this is a heavily weighted English list, although American writers are also included. (I was happy to see Eric Ambler, Falkner, Updike, Hemingway etc. on the list.) And the categories are not broken down quite like I would have done it.

For instance, Kim by Kipling is listed as a crime book. And Gentlemen Prefer Blonds is listed as Love instead of Comedy. And War and Travel could have been separated. Crime and Mystery are two different categories to my mind as well as SciFi and Fantasy.

In some of the listings, I've read the author, but not the particular title selected. So, I didn't count those. (But it does give me new titles to look for.)

So I wanted to know:

1. The total number of list books I have read----215

2. The percentage of books I have chosen to read in each category.

23 per cent---------Comedy
36 per cent---------Crime
8 per cent----------Family and Self
40 per cent---------Love
8 per cent----------SciFi and Fantasy
9 per cent----------State of the Nation
32 per cent---------War and Travel

3. What different kinds of reading and new titles/authors I might look for when I go to the library, order new books, and download MP3 files from public domain sources like Librivox.

I do read a lot of books that are non-fiction also, usually choosing those above novels. Generally, I want to learn new things in order to add to general knowledge.

When I was in high school/college, I read everything I could get my hands on that would be put under the category of Self-Sufficiency and life skills.

I wanted to know as much as I could about making things; be able to walk into the woods and 'read' the vegetation like a book. I think I bought every Foxfire and Euell Gibbons book there was.

I was also big on medical books, First Aid and Emergency-type information. This led to serving some years on a volunteer emergency rescue and ambulance team plus good information when my children were small and we were living in other countries. I actually diagnosed my son's scarlet fever and was able to get him treatment quickly when we lived in the Middle East. Frustrated doctor, me.


Anonymous said...

wow! i took a peek at the list and 215 is impressive. for a long time i was not a big fiction reader and the list was frustrating when i found that i had read a book by a particular author but it wasn't in the 1000. Recently a friend has been feeding me the fiction he likes and i guess they would be considered crime. the best ones so far have been "The Skull Mantra" - Pattison, "Wolves Eat Dogs" - Smith and "Clockers" - Price. anyway, new to the blog thing and have been checking out clay blogs... yours is very interesting.

clayartist said...

Thanks for your reading recommendations, Jim. Always like to hear about new books to explore.

My early reading was heavy on books of information--history, biographies, and real adventure. And I still want to learn something new when I read.

Thanks for your kind words about the blog.

Cheers, J.