Amazon’s list of 100 books to read in a lifetime

Amazon’s editors have chosen 100 books you’ve really got to read. and followed it up on GoodReads where you can add your own and vote all the choices up and down.  There are some strange choices in it and I wonder if Amazon haven’t allowed marketing matters to have a great deal of influence in their choices – for one thing, the books seem to have to be currently available  in print and Kindle, and there is a surprising shortage of books in the public domain from sites like Project Gutenberg (Don Quixote for example).  That’s what you expect from a book-seller I suppose. On the whole I prefer Peter Boxall’s collection of 1001 books.

The weather in Britain has been appalling this winter – January was the wettest since records began in 1910.  I live at the coast and this week it’s been pretty rough with no sign of any change:

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So very different from summer:

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. . . . for those who don’t mind sitting on shingle

At least it gives us plenty of time to read when it’s too wet to go out.

8 comments to Amazon’s list of 100 books to read in a lifetime

  • Yes, I’ve seen this list, I think it’s sad that many people will take it seriously and be short changed by it. I like 1001 Books too, I am working my way through it in a desultory way but LOL may have to settle for a lot less than 1001 of them because I keep getting distracted.
    It seems as if we’re all suffering from extremes of weather: the climate scientists warned us this would happen but our leaders have failed to act. Here in Melbourne today the temperate is heading for 40 degrees (Celsius) and apparently it will only drop to 30 overnight. These high temperatures overnight are a new summer phenomenon and must be absolute misery for anyone without air-conditioning. I hate to think what the future holds for our children…

  • Brian Joseph

    I was looking at the list myself. No doubt marketing has played a big part in the choices. I do find these lists fun. However I think that one needs to be careful about taking any of them very seriously. I particularly like the one created by Howard Boom and the one created Clifton Fadiman and John Major.

  • Kat

    I must say this is a very odd list. I am fascinated by “Best” lists, and though this does not say it is a “Best” list, I am a little surprised to find Judy Blume here. Amazon is probably doing double marketing; I have read some complaints that Goodreads is changing now that Amazon owns it. Goodreads used to have a very different list of best books each month from Amazon’s. I would like to be part of the “book culture,” but the postings at Goodreads seem to me to be very short and confusing. So hard to find good groups these days!

    I don’t want to be a snob about lists, but between this and the recent one of women writers at Abebooks, I’ve got a headache!

  • That’s odd: I commented on this post yesterday about how I like 1001 Books too – but it’s vanished.
    O well…
    Brian, my favourite fun list is the Banned Books List:)
    Kat, the thing about GoodReads is that it works well if you have discerning friends who introduce you to discerning communities. What happens then is that the reviews you see at the top will be the ones from your friends. There is more rubbish now that Amazon owns it, but, hey, it’s free, and you can ignore it.

  • I don’t think I’ll bother to look at the list Tom. I’m getting a bit tired of lists produce by people/organisations I don’t know. I much prefer those end-of-year top read lists by my favourite bloggers because I have an idea of their tastes and they tend to read widely. Love your comment that all the books on the Amazon list are currently in print (paper or electronic). Fair enough, it’s their business, but we don’t have to follow their recommendations if we don’t want to, do we!

    Kat, I’m sort of in Goodreads but I can’t keep up with all the groups and lists so I regularly forget to go there. As a result I don’t find it very useful either – and to be honest I don’t really need more reviews and recommendations – what I need it more time to read my books!

    And Tom … the weather here as been pretty appalling in the opposite direction. Very hot and no rain. We are currently in our third, I think, string of multiple days of temperatures over 35°C. Though, as a Queensland born gal, I’d much prefer the heat to days of cold, squall and rain!

  • Lisa – your comment on Saturday is still showing as far as I can see. Hope it’s not a problem with my site!

  • Sue – I find the problem with GR is that I often can’t find newer books on it. There seems to be a long lag between a book being published and it appearing on GR. I go there occasionally but find it too time-consuming. There are only so many website you can attend to!

    Ahh, the WEATHER. How strange and unpredictable it is.

  • LOL My disappearing comment is back again!
    Anyway … new Aussie books not being listed is also a problem – I applied to be a ‘librarian’ so I can add them myself, it only takes a minute. But yes, it’s impossible to be everywhere. I’m at GR for books, Facebook for friends and family, and Twitter solely for notifying that I’ve got a review up and watching for others I trust who do the same. And that’s it. I haven’t got time to be anywhere else, I don’t want social media to cut into reading and blogging time!

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