NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

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Cosima__J

NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by Cosima__J » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:29 pm

Newsweek magazine has compiled a "top 100" list based on 10 other "top" lists. It contains a lot of the usual suspects and can be seen here:

http://www.NEWSWEEK.COM/METABOOKS

In Newsweek's July 13 issue, they've selected "what to read now and why". The number one book on the list is "The Way We Live Now" by Anthony Trollope. Hmmmmm. That's a rather quirky choice, don't you think?

Anyway, I'm always curious to know what people are reading. What are you reading right now (besides this post :) )

jbuck919
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:51 pm

Did anybody else happen to notice that there is not a single book on there that was originally written in Spanish?

Not even Don Quixote. (Oh Dulcinea!)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Brendan

Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by Brendan » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:26 pm

I'm sure Gabriel Garcia Marquez would be astonished to learn he didn't write Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude, no 17) in Spanish.

My own current reading (I always have multiple books on the go):

The Great Upheaval - The Birth of the Modern World 1788 - 1800 - Jay Winik
God's Empowering Presence - The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul - Gordon Fee
Nicaea and It's Legacy - An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology - Lewis Ayers
Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God - Christopher A. Beely
The Complete Chronicles of Conan - Robert E. Howard

Do techno manuals count? Working through these at the moment:

Programming .NET 3.5 - Jesse Liberty
Web Design in a Nutshell - Jennifer Niederst Robbins
Learning Ruby - Michael Fitzgerald

jbuck919
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:26 am

Brendan wrote:I'm sure Gabriel Garcia Marquez would be astonished to learn he didn't write Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude, no 17) in Spanish.
OK, I missed it. Checked the list twice too. :oops:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by John F » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:34 am

Newsweek wrote:These days there are lists for everything, from the mundane (groceries) to the ridiculous (Top 10 Fascinating and Notable Lobotomies). Some lists make us happy (Top 10 Movie Kisses) and some inspire greed (The Forbes400 List of the Richest Americans). If you Google "lists," you'll even find lists about lists. So, why not a list of the 100 best books of all time?
Alternatively, why? And what you mean "best," kemo sabe? :roll:

But there's a feature of the online list, not available in Newsweek's print edition, that might actually make it useful. The "Additional Filters" include "Recommended by," so you can deconstruct Newsweek's essentially meaningless "metalist" and check out, say, the New York Public Library's "Books of the Century," or if you prefer, "Oprah's Book Club."

What am I reading just now? Susie Parr et al., "Talking About Aphasia: Living With Loss of Language after Stroke." A friend is in that situation, she wants desperately to get better, and I want to understand whether she can and if I can help.
John Francis

moreno
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by moreno » Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:16 pm

And what about the absence of Goethe's Faust?
And Kafka, Thomas Mann, Camus, Bocaccio, Rabelais, Céline, ...
Seriously, that list is a joke.

jbuck919
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:44 pm

moreno wrote:And what about the absence of Goethe's Faust?
And Kafka, Thomas Mann, Camus, Bocaccio, Rabelais, Céline, ...
Seriously, that list is a joke.

The Newsweek list seems to be an approximation of 100 books that would look good on anyone's bookshelf, and it would be nice if he/she had read them too. Make allowances for the obligatory PC tweeks (both Wright and Ellison, plus two works by Virginia Woolf) and as such, it is not all that bad a list, though many other such lists with more or less overlap are possible.

Oh, BTW I am reading Blake Bailey's biography of John Cheever, but only because his funeral was presided over by a close friend of mine who though unnamed appears in two pictures in the book. :)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Harold Tucker
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by Harold Tucker » Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:59 pm

Thank goodness you folks noticed this too! I have been sick and I was sure that receiving a copy of NEWSWEEK the week that Michael Jackson died with a cover story recommending the reading of Trollope was a sure sign of a feverish dementia or at the very least and indication that I had entered an alternative universe where HARPERS is called NEWSWEEK.

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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by DavidRoss » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:19 pm

Appalling. Not that these are bad books...but the best of all time? Consider that Newsweek is 'highbrow' to a population whose literacy is challenged by People magazine. (And they vote!)
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Guitarist
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by Guitarist » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:49 pm

I'm pleased that 14 books I teach at my high school are on the list:

1984
Gulliver's Travels
The Catcher in the Rye
The Great Gatsby
Native Son
Hamlet
King Lear
Huck Finn
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Slaughterhouse-Five
Animal Farm
Lord of the Flies
Heart of Darkness
The Color Purple

I do teach Kafka's "The Metamorphosis", and Camus' The Stranger, so my kids get exposed to them!
Last edited by Guitarist on Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brendan

Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by Brendan » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:07 pm

Perhaps not the best books of all time, but considering the reading habits of most of the population not as bad as it could have been. No vampire romances, masterchef cookbooks or celebrity scandal tomes at least. And if The Iliad and The Odyssey are counted as one book (and why not the Alexander Pope translation if it must be in English?), why not a Complete Works of Shakespeare instead of three plays and the sonnets taking up 4 spaces? One of which should surely go to The Aeneid, which for many is as important and wonderful as Homer. Dante chose Virgil as his guide for a reason. Another should be the 1559 edition of The Book of Common Prayer. Plato's Republic (why not a complete Plato?) is another glaring omission.

Maybe the Five-Foot Shelf is a better idea: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/28/books ... .html?_r=1.

Cosima__J

Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by Cosima__J » Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:20 pm

Damn the History Book Club! I love history, so I keep buying more and more of those lovely books that are so intriguingly described in each month's list of offerings. I buy them faster than I can read them. In our new house, the bonus room contains nothing but stacks and stacks of books --- some of them I've read, some of them not.

Then there are the countless book reviews in the many magazines we get and of course they entice me to buy even more books.

Is there an organization (similar to Alcoholics Anonymous) where I can turn for help? :wink:

Harold Tucker
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by Harold Tucker » Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:29 pm

Cosima__J wrote:Damn the History Book Club! I love history, so I keep buying more and more of those lovely books that are so intriguingly described in each month's list of offerings. I buy them faster than I can read them. In our new house, the bonus room contains nothing but stacks and stacks of books --- some of them I've read, some of them not.

Then there are the countless book reviews in the many magazines we get and of course they entice me to buy even more books.

Is there an organization (similar to Alcoholics Anonymous) where I can turn for help? :wink:

No, I'm sorry there is no cure. I gave up the History Book Club years ago and it didn't slow down the accumlation one bit. Could I borrow your "bonus room".?

I am currently reading "The State of Jones" by Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer--a highly readable account of Newton Knight and his fellow anti-Confederate "scouts" in southeast Mississippi during the war between the states.

DavidRoss
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by DavidRoss » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:14 pm

Cosima__J wrote:Damn the History Book Club! I love history, so I keep buying more and more of those lovely books that are so intriguingly described in each month's list of offerings. I buy them faster than I can read them. In our new house, the bonus room contains nothing but stacks and stacks of books --- some of them I've read, some of them not.

Then there are the countless book reviews in the many magazines we get and of course they entice me to buy even more books.

Is there an organization (similar to Alcoholics Anonymous) where I can turn for help? :wink:
Try your local library. :D
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Harold Tucker
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by Harold Tucker » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:16 pm

DavidRoss wrote:
Cosima__J wrote:Damn the History Book Club! I love history, so I keep buying more and more of those lovely books that are so intriguingly described in each month's list of offerings. I buy them faster than I can read them. In our new house, the bonus room contains nothing but stacks and stacks of books --- some of them I've read, some of them not.

Then there are the countless book reviews in the many magazines we get and of course they entice me to buy even more books.

Is there an organization (similar to Alcoholics Anonymous) where I can turn for help? :wink:
Try your local library. :D

Doesn't work. I am married to a librarian who would be happy to fulfill my every desire (including interlibrary loan).

DavidRoss
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by DavidRoss » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:12 am

Harold Tucker wrote:
DavidRoss wrote:
Cosima__J wrote:Damn the History Book Club! I love history, so I keep buying more and more of those lovely books that are so intriguingly described in each month's list of offerings. I buy them faster than I can read them. In our new house, the bonus room contains nothing but stacks and stacks of books --- some of them I've read, some of them not.

Then there are the countless book reviews in the many magazines we get and of course they entice me to buy even more books.

Is there an organization (similar to Alcoholics Anonymous) where I can turn for help? :wink:
Try your local library. :D
Doesn't work. I am married to a librarian who would be happy to fulfill my every desire (including interlibrary loan).
Exactly. It costs you next to nothing, and when you're done there's no problem with storage space! :D
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Richard Mullany
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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by Richard Mullany » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:23 pm

For me, "A Death in the Family" bu James Agee. He remminds me of Hemingway in his relentless pursuit of the perfect sentence ion conveying mood or time and place. He is also the screenwriter for the masterpiece "The African Queen" starring Hepburn and Bogart.

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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by slofstra » Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:11 pm

I thought it was a pretty good list until I came to Gone with the Wind at 19. That's a joke.

John, Woolf is very very good. She catches the nuances of what is going on in peoples' minds like no one else can. I'm sure there's some other PC driven choices on the list .. not her.

Can anyone recommend a Dante translation? Every time I look into this in the bookstore there are five to pick from. I know there is one that is both a good translation and preserves the rhyme scheme (isn't it ABA BCB or something like that?)

Here is the biggest surprise on the list: Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials a trilogy ostensibly for young adults. My oldest daughter - who was an English major - has recommended it a few times, so perhaps I should try it.

I kinda like this list. There's at least a few books on it I'm now pumped about getting.

Current reading. I picked up Anne McCaffrey's first few books in an omnibus edition. Just a science fiction read which I like to do in the summer. My son tells me the first book is good, and then a noticeable drop off. I actually was thinking of LeGuin when I bought it and got confused. LeGuin is very good, apparently.
I just finished Marcus Borg's Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. Very worthwhile. Basically, how a heavy duty Bible scholar loses and then regains/reinvents his faith.

There's some other stuff I've read lately but my mind's a blank right now. Time to go home.

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Re: NEWSWEEK's Top 100 Books of All Time

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:26 pm

slofstra wrote:
John, Woolf is very very good.
Oh, I know that. But she probably wouldn't turn up twice on most people's list of top 100 of all time. (At least there weren't two by Ayn Rand. :) )

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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