I had some difficulty coming up with a book for this week’s review, so I Googled “best books” to get some inspiration.
While the list doesn’t particularly surprise me, although admittedly there’s at least one I’ve never heard of, I can say with conviction that I disagree with this list, produced by thegreatestbooks.org.
Here’s what they’ve got in the top 10:
1.“In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust
2.“Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes
3.“Ulysses” by James Joyce
4.“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5.“Moby Dick” by Herman Melville
6.“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare
7.“War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy
8.“The Odyssey” by Homer
9.“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
10.“The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri
Let’s break this down.
1.Everything I know about Proust is from the movie “Little Miss Sunshine,” in which Steve Carell played a depressed, suicidal Proust scholar.
2.“Don Quixote” is a cool concept often likened to a crusader who, for example, fights social injustice. I like this book but it could probably stand to be updated with a modern-day twist.
3.I got nothin’.
4.I’m a Gatsby fan. I don’t necessarily think it’s the greatest piece of literature of all time but it’s a good, entertaining read. It’s short and sweet and keeps the reader’s interest.
5.Nope. Not doing it.
6.See, here’s the thing about Shakespeare. We get force-fed it in high school before we’re mature enough to understand the themes. The writing is well-thought-out and the stories are interesting but ye olde English is a little difficult to process. So the reader’s eyes tend to glaze over about three paragraphs in, and once you’ve lost me, I’m not coming back.
7.This book is like 9,000 pages long. My mother read it one summer when she was in high school and she loves to tell that story. The apple does not fall far from the tree. However, you might find several dog-eared copies of Tolstoy tomes in Becky Towery’s house, but you will not likely find “War and Peace” or “Anna Karenina” on my shelves.
8.“The Odyssey” is good stuff. I wonder why it’s considered better than “The Iliad.” But yeah, OK.
9.The recurring problem with these books is they’re all really old. Are there no “classics” that were written in the 1990s? Maybe not, but it seems like we get sort of stuck on Shakespeare being the greatest because he’s supposed to be the greatest. Repeat something often enough and it will come true.
10.Never heard of this one either.
I think we’re overlooking some good stuff, but it really does depend on the genre than interests each individual. I think “Lord of the Flies” is amazing. I didn’t care for “A Separate Peace.” I like “Julius Caesar” better than “Hamlet.”
It’s all subjective, but here’s the takeaway. Pick up a book, give it a try and let me know what you think. I’m always looking for recommendations.
April Towery is the managing editor of The Sealy News. She can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.