By Mark O’Neill
When I am not at the computer surfing the waves of the World Wide Web, I can normally be found in a chair reading a book and away in ImaginationLand. I am a huge book reader and collector and I currently have 114 unread books to get through (with more coming into the house every day). I am a shameless bibliophile and I can’t stop possessing more books. It’s like a drug and I stopped apologizing for it long ago.
But there’s one thing that seems to be quite common these days which is these constant lists that keep popping up on the internet – these “1001 Books You MUST Read Before You Die” type of lists. Most of them tend to have some questionable book titles. The latest list refers to the book of the same title and tells you you MUST read “Interview With The Vampire” by Anne Rice before you leave this earth to meet your maker. Really? Er, well I don’t have to read that one thanks. I feel quite comfortable dying knowing that I didn’t read a book about a blood-sucking vampire!
And that’s why some people criticise these lists – because everyone’s reading tastes are different and you shouldn’t impose your own tastes on other people. You shouldn’t say “you MUST read this otherwise you’re not a real reader.” Each to their own.
But I am not really one of those critics. Despite the weird titles that tend to crop up, I tend to love these lists as they give me inspiration for my next shopping trip to the bookstore. Here is one list that caught my eye recently. How many of them have you read? I’ve already printed it out and ticked off the ones I want.
What books would YOU add to the list? What “must-read” list would you compile? Quick, I am off to the bookstore tomorrow and I need recommendations!