So depressing...

There is nothing I love better than a good list*. Seriously, want me to do something that I hate, stick it on a list and your chances increase tenfold (how else do you think I get any housework done at all?). So, as you may imagine, books full of lists - and, even moreso, books of book lists are a huge winner with me.

I'm working my way slowly through the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (as well as the movie edition), BBC's The Big Read: Book of Books, and Voyages of Imagination: the Star Trek Fiction Companion ... oh, and a whole pile of the annual top-lists that I pick up from teh local bookstores. What can I say? I've come to terms with my obsession.

All this is my way of justifying the fact that I once again broke my self-imposed book buying ban (who am I kidding, really?) by buying yet another list/companion book: The Literature Lover's Companion.

Covering a huge range of authors, from Homer to Stephen King, each entry gives a brief bio of the author and a list of their major works. Douglas Adams, for example:

But of course, the fun in having a list (or book of lists) is in the crossing off. So - after a great deal of working myself up to it - I grabbed a hilighter and went at it.

Despite being a pretty speedy reader, I know that I'm the most well-read person in the world; I'm not even the most well-read person I know but even so, I had been maintaining the somewhat naive self-delusion that I had read reasonably widely ... I have since learnt that the quickest way to dispel this belief is to sit down with a book like this. There is a depressingly little amount of blue highlighting in this book.

Oh well.

*Every one of my friends just rolled their eyes and died from the complete understatement of that sentence.


Arukiyomi said...

If you're interested, there's a brand new version of Arukiyomi's 1001 books spreadsheet. Along with some cool new features, there are lists of both the revised 1001 books and those that were removed from the new 2008 list.

To get your free copy of the spreadsheet, head over to Arukiyomi's blog.

Happy reading!

Dani in NC said...

I'm glad that I'm not the only one out there with a list obsession! As I tell my husband and friends, I may not always stick to the list or program, but it helps me to have a framework. When I was homeschooling my eldest daughter, I would buy a curriculum and then add and subtract items and lessons. If I had tried to just create a lesson plan from scratch, I would have had a panic attack!

I also enjoy checking off items. I recognize that these lists aren't definitive, but if I make a dent in a list then it still feels like an accomplishment. Like you, I suffered a bit of a blow to my ego when I realized I hadn't read many books on my chosen lists. That just gives us something to strive for :-).

Rebecca said...

Yay! Someone who understands! Thanks Dani.