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Greatest Books of All Time


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Initial post: Jun 26, 2012 4:52:49 AM PDT
I discovered a website containing a "master" list of greatest books, based on 43 "Great Books" lists which the author has compiled into a single list. There are links each individual book and also to all 43 of source lists he used. Most of the books are available for Kindle.

I've been looking for something like this to help me plan a personal great books reading program and this is the best resource I've found to date. It contains both classics and modern works and is divided by fiction and non-fiction categories.

Here's the link: http://thegreatestbooks.org/

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 5:02:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 6:49:44 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
I love lists!

I'm not too impressed with the source lists this person chose but the selections are interesting. I do the same kind of compilation. Shelfari has a feature where you can tag books based on lists and, then, show a composite of titles common to all those tags. (This is based on the books you have on your shelf.) In addition, they have a "goal" feature where you can track the books based on lists and tags. This really does help me plan what to read over a period of time.

DL

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 5:07:21 AM PDT
Fud53 says:
Consider the source and what they use as criteria for judging whether or not it's actually your favorite or someone else is doing your choosing/thinking for you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 5:12:25 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
Well, duh.

DL

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 6:27:46 AM PDT
I'm actually very impressed by the collection of source lists. I was familiar with many of them but it's helpful to me to see so many of them collected in one place. Although I consider myself to be fairly well-read, in reviewing the lists I realize how many gaps there are in my reading.

One glaring example is Don Quixote. Somehow I missed reading it in high school and college and although I've always intended to read it on my own, I've never gotten around to it. Seeing its preeminent position on so many of the lists has inspired me to finally read it. Furthermore, I found a free Yale Open Course that I intend to study along with my reading of the book: http://oyc.yale.edu/spanish-and-portuguese/span-300#overview

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 6:38:07 AM PDT
Just Peachy says:
Thanks for the link. Some interesting lists there.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 6:48:08 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 6:54:20 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
There are just 100s of such lists from which to choose to make a compilation. I agree - these can reveal some very interesting voids in reading history and plans. Hope you read Quixote soon - fabulous story and (at least the English translation I used) extremely lovely writing.

I like BELF (Best English Language Fiction) a Princeton study list, The Pulitzers (Fiction), and Downs' Books that Changed the World.

http://www.shelfari.com/series/Best-English-Language-Fiction-of-the-20th-Century
http://www.shelfari.com/series/Pulitzer-Prize-Winners---Fiction
http://www.shelfari.com/series/Robert-B-Downs---Books-that-Changed-the-World

What really caused me to say I didn't like the source lists for your referenced site was the presence of Donald Barthelme's Reading List - I just can not STAND his writing and, therefore, am disinterested in anything he may recommend. I absolutely hated The Dead Father. So much so that I haven't even marked it as read on Shelfari or written/posted a review of it. My negative reaction was so strong I decided to wait (possibly YEARS!) and re-read it later. Perhaps I will be less passionate at that time.

I also like (and own) Britannica's Great Books set which is a list used on that site. I can't really tell, however, (even though they attempt to explain it) which version is used. Perhaps it is a combination of all of them? Some of the titles - well, at least one (I didn't read the whole list) - aren't in my set.

DL who goes a little more than nuts when she encounters any "great books" reading list!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 6:55:12 AM PDT
Just Peachy says:
I am also a lover of lists. I have to calm myself down when I see websites like that one. Take deep breaths, read what you like, quit getting wound up about the list. But the lists are giving me some ideas of things to read and books to suggest to the local book club.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 6:59:38 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
LOL!

Good calming advice.

I don't use lists to track my reading so much as to help me organize my reading. I have literally 1000s of unread books on my shelves (I inherited a library.) Lists help me put them in a priority list (I love lists!) In addition, these lists not only introduce me to books I may have passed over in the past but help me avoid getting sucked into reading ruts.

I'm not certain what you mean about "getting wound up about the list" Did I sound as if I disapproved of the OP's referenced site? If so, I certainly didn't intend to do that.

DL

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 7:21:17 AM PDT
Just Peachy says:
Oh, no, my comment wasn't about you, it is about my brain going into hyper-drive about what is on what list. Then I spend more time organizing the list then actually reading LOL

I do like lists of anything, especially books. I really like my "books I've read" list that I started about 15 years ago.

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 7:21:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 7:23:15 AM PDT
Thanks, Dog, for your recommendations. As to Don Quixote, I've looked over the various translations available for Kindle, both free and paid, and decided to buy the Rutherford translation: Don Quixote

This is the translation used for the Yale course and the introduction was written by Professor Gonsalez, who's the lecturer for the course. I've downloaded the course materials for the Yale course and have also bought the supplementary course book: Imperial Spain 1469-1716 . I'm disappointed that the other supplementary course books are so expensive and aren't available in ebook form.

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 7:52:20 AM PDT
Thank you, everyone for the various lists! Always fun to peruse such things, and spot items I agree with, diss items I dislike, flag items that I need to look at further, and generally see how I match up with/don't match up with the list creators' expectations. Kind of like reading a literary horoscope. ;-)

One thing I have learned over the course of my reading life, is that is it OK not to like a book that someone else likes or recommends, even if it is considered a "classic" or "noteworthy" or a "must read". It used to seem like a failing if I couldn't adore a book that was important or popular or on one of these "greatest books" lists. If I don't like it, or don't enjoy it, I do not need to finish it or even start it.

Now, to print out the lists and grab my highlighter. :-D

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 8:40:36 AM PDT
I've read 55 of them!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 8:44:59 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 8:45:56 AM PDT
Jazzy_Jeff says:
Show off! :-) I plan on reading a lot more of them.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 8:54:21 AM PDT
Just Peachy says:
I've read 58!

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 9:38:04 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 9:45:47 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
I didn't count as I marked'em and the marks weren't saved when I went through the list again. Read a bunch.

I object to this list being called "Greatest Books". Twilight? please. All the Harry Potters? Too many Philip Roths. I did enjoy seeing one of Georgette Heyer's titles but, devoted as I am to GH, her Regency/Georgian romances are not "Great Books." Also, the list is too modern. Corrections? It hasn't been out long enough to be considered "great", IMMHO.

This list is strongly biased toward best sellers - appears to have some literate influences but, IMMHO, the cut off publishing date should be somewhere around 1950 at the latest.

Always fun, though, to scan such lists.

DL

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 9:42:58 AM PDT
Just Peachy says:
If you create a login, then click the ones you read, it does save them. There is a link at the top to see the list you marked as read. You may need to log back in.

I also agree that the list of GBWW is not correct. Not sure where the person got their list but it is not the set of GBWW that I owned ( I sold them a few years ago).

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 9:46:25 AM PDT
I would put To Kill A Mockingbird higher than 39th and Frankenstein much higher than 57th.

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 9:50:18 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 26, 2012 9:50:46 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 9:53:14 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
TKAM is my mostest favoritist book of all time. It does show up on almost every "great book" list I've examined.

I did like that SF was very present on the OP's referenced site - some of SF really are "great." Couldn't get my head around all the children's books though. The ABC's?

Of course Charlotte's Web always belongs on these lists (can't remember if it is on this one or not) as does (probably) the Anne of Green Gables series (at least the first one in that series.)

I suspect that graphic novels are gonna start showin' on these kind of lists in the future. ::shudder::

DL

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 9:54:14 AM PDT
Just Peachy says:
I saw Charlotte's Web on this list but not Anne of Green Gables.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 9:54:46 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
Oh - forgot to say...

If I read it correctly, the numbering isn't a "rank". It is more an indicator of how popular the title was amongst the source lists used to compile this list.

DL

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 9:56:15 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
Yep - Anne was there. Don't remember the sequence number but using the built-in search feature I found it.

DL

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 9:58:29 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
Sigh... Keep forgetting stuff..

I really do like the non-Fiction list part.

DL

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 10:04:46 AM PDT
Just Peachy says:
Ah, then I've read 59 of the books.
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  31
Initial post:  Jun 26, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 29, 2012

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