the greatest books of all time…

Who can resist a list like that? Seriously. Reading is such a subjective activity. It’s one of the reasons why my book club has a rule: you can’t choose a book you’ve already read as your pick. I mean, what happens if I choose my absolute all-time favourite book and everyone hates it! Still, we can probably find some common ground, can’t we?

This list of greatest books was chosen by 125 of the most popular writers in the business today. You can see the list here.

David Orr offers this in the introduction:

If you’re putting together a list of ‘the greatest books,’ you’ll want to do two things: (1) out of kindness, avoid anyone working on a novel; and (2) decide what the word ‘great’ means. The first part is easy, but how about the second? A short list of possible definitions of ‘greatness’ might look like this:

1. ‘Great’ means ‘books that have been greatest for me.’
2. ‘Great’ means ‘books that would be considered great by the most people over time.’
3. ‘Great’ has nothing to do with you or me — or people at all. It involves transcendental concepts like God or the Sublime.
4. ‘Great’? I like Tom Clancy.

Ask a different group of writers – get a different list.


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