two literary lists for fun & discussion.

I just wanted to share some of those classically fun argument-inducers: lists. Thanks to Shelf Awareness for sharing.

First, The 50 Most Influential Books of the Last 50 (or so) Years. This is right up there with, you know, The 100 Best Books of All Time or 100 Great Classics or 100 Books Everyone Should Read. We’ve done this before. It’s not so much that I take major issue with the list as whole – there are lots of books I feel belong on the list that do show up there. But inevitably, I could nitpick here and there. I missed The Monkey Wrench Gang (or Desert Solitaire); and what about Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed? On the other hand, I was glad to see The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Unsafe at Any Speed, To Kill a Mockingbird, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Silent Spring, and The Feminine Mystique get well-deserved spots. I didn’t think Fast Food Nation or The Purpose Driven Life necessarily belonged on the list, but there’s room for personal opinion here. And there were a number of others that I either didn’t recognize at all or wasn’t so sure about, but that predate my literary awareness (or my birth) by enough that I dare not judge. What I want to know is, what are your impressions? What books are you glad to see on the list? Which ones do you see that you don’t think belong? And what’s missing?

On a more fun note (and hopefully fueling fewer disagreements), check out Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails. I was immediately gratified (though not surprised) to see Ernest Hemingway’s image at the top of the page. He’s an easy choice for a list like this, because he was famously a drinker, and also because of all authors and literary figures he has to have one of THE very most well-known faces. He is, without exaggeration, an icon. Perhaps equally unsurprising are F. Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Chandler (the gimlet! I will abstain from telling my Chandler-inspired gimlet story; it didn’t end well; Husband stop laughing), Ian Fleming and Truman Capote, and Tennessee Williams. I’ve said too much; click the link for the rest, and tell me what they missed.

And finally, purely for grins, I give you Extremely Silly Photos of Extremely Serious Writers. Enjoy.

4 Responses

  1. Oh goodness…I’m afraid to look…I already have such a huge list, but you know how I love lists…

  2. I love me a list too! The 50 Influential Books one is interesting – I’ve not heard of quite a few, but the fiction they picked was intriguing.

    • Simon, my father made an interesting point (elsewhere) about the Influential list, asking how many hundreds of thousands of books have been published in 50 years – how could you possibly choose like that? Which is kind of the point… but it’s always interesting to see somebody else’s lists, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

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