Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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Book List

Now here's something of interest: The Modern Library's 100 Best Novels.

Lists are, by and large, a curiosity only, but as curiosities go, this one that has a reader's choices next to the board of respected people choices is interesting. Who would've thought so many Scientologists would ban together a vote L Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth in at number three, much less Mission Earth at nine, and Fear at ten. Did they poll a Scientology convention? Tom Cruise's house? And who would have thought that Ayn Rand would've gotten so many books into the top ten--seriously, there's a cult for her, isn't there? A kind of new age spiritualist cult or something, right?

The board selections are fairly ho hum, really. Fitzgerald's the Great Gatsby? Am I the only person who doesn't get this book? I'm fairly sure it's an American thing, really, because I read that book, and thought, "A book trying to make something out of shallow rich people--kind of like Entertainment Tonight." People assure me there's more to it, but I'm just turned off, I guess. At least Nabokov is in the list--sure, Pale Fire is at fifty three, but you can't have everything. Lolita is at four, so I suppose that counts for something, too.

It's mainly the readers selections that are interesting, however. Who would have thought Heinlein could move with Stranger in a Strange Land to number sixteen, ahead of authors that could make prose work like Aldous Huxley, JD Salinger, and yes, Nabokov. Always Nabokov. Sure, Heinlein is not as shocking on a purely literate level like Hubbard, but Hubbard's got that Jesus vote, so it's easy to understand him, you know? But Heinlein? And he's there with about three books, as well, while someone like Stephen King is in there with, well, one. Neither of them hold up to Charles de Lint's dominance, however.

Strange world. Least Orwell is still holding his own.
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