26 May 2008

A pox upon your lists ... but...

Thinking Through My Fingers expresses my own feelings about "lists" well, in response to Listology's "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" - but, never one to leave a lily unguilded, I added my own two penn'orth as a comment.

A yet as a discussion starter, I said at the end of that comment, the list has served a purpose. I've been thinking, since reading it, along unaccustomed lines - which can't be a bad thing.

In another place, Jim Putnam suggested that an interesting alternative exercise would be to compile a personal list of books which have had most impact on the list maker over the years. That would indeed be interesting ... but I know that I couldn't even begin to do it.

And if I did begin, I would never end...

Here's another, smaller project which might lie within my capabilities. It's a very short list, containing just two books, and makes no claim to be "the most" in any sense. It's a list which can, quite cheerfully, be different every time I compile it. Perhaps, in time, through sedimentation, it might gradually build up a larger picture of how I see books ... or perhaps not.

  1. One book which I recommend to others. Not, please note, the book - just a book. And with no suggestion whatsoever that others "must" or even "should" read it.
  2. One book which I would personally not recommend to others. The same caveats apply - not the book, just a book, and with no suggestion that the book is valueless or "should not be read".

If nothing else, it would be interesting to see how others saw the results.

In for a penny, in for a pound ... here, for better or worse, is my first pair:

  1. The Last Magician - Janette Turner Hospital.
  2. The Godfather - Mario Puzo.

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