There is a book called “501 Must Read Books”. My friend Sheena acquired it and made the mistake of showing the list to myself and some other close friends. We all read, it’s been a keystone of our friendship for many years. We’re also all pretty competitive. I was horrified to find that despite considering myself well-read I could only notch up a score of 69 on the list. Ok so I was in second place with that score (beaten only by my eclectic reading friend Deirdre with 110), but wasn’t I supposed to be the writer, the big reader, the one who got paid to review books?
I spent a year mulling over the challenge. I already read about 70-100 books per year (not counting magazines, ebooks etc), could I really tackle such a long list? Did I want to?
But then I found myself buying books because I knew they were on the list. I’d begun without ever convincing myself that I should begin. The challenge is on. No deadline. No prize. I’m going to read the remainder of the 501 books and post a brief review here as I do so. Feel free to join in. I know I won’t keep all of the books afterwards (I’ve already wanted to hurl one away from me with some degree of force a la Dorothy Parker) so I intend giving most of them away here to interested blog-readers. Only the very best of the 501 will remain on my limited shelf-space. Of course I’ll be using my local library for some – I won’t be able to give those ones away.
And hey, I can be hired for table-quizzes afterwards as I’ll be ridiculously well-read, hopefully.