Have I read the “classics”?
You know I can’t say no to lists and statistics.
I originally started compiling this list almost 2 years ago as a blog entry, but since I just got tagged by Andrle on Facebook, I thought I’d finally finish and post it. I’m not sure on the provenance of the list, other than I know it’s from one year of the BBC Big Read project. I found one version of the list on their website, but that differs slightly from the list below (which oddly enough is the same ordered ranking as the version with which I was just tagged).
There are of course numerous quibbles to be had with the exact construction (and ordering) of the list, but it’s a reasonable metric for one’s familiarity with “the classics”. It also appears to avoid the common online book list voting problem where Ayn Rand ends up all over the top 10. This particular list is skewed towards 19th Century British classics, with a few books that were very trendy at the time it was compiled (for example, on a list from about two years ago I would have expected to see Eat, Pray, Love in the Top 100). There are also several books I’ve never heard of, although in some cases I’m familiar with the author.
I’ve read 30 of the entries (some of which are multiple books), started but never finished 3 books, and been exposed to another 13 in various other forms. Not too shabby for an engineer who took effectively one humanities course in college, and that in another language! If anything, it’s a demonstration of the quality of my high school’s required English program, that I was exposed to a number of books I otherwise wouldn’t have elected to read. That all said, I don’t read a lot of fiction these days, and when I do, it’s typically new fiction. That means there’s a good chance I’ll never tackle any of those that I’m missing, or never finished.
Full list below the cut.