Monday, August 10, 2009

100 of the Greatest Books Ever Written

On June 29, 2009, Newsweek compiled a list of the best books ever written.

On August 9, 2009, I decided I'd like to read them.

I like to fancy myself a writer, but to be honest, I've had a horrible case of writer's block for... oh, about three years. With young adult phenomenons like the Harry Potter and Twilight series convincing everyone to start reading again, I figure I might actually have a chance at accomplishing my dream: to become a fabulously wealthy full-time writer. However, I've really let my sharp writer's mind go in the past few years. It's amazing what college will do to you. What better way to hone my skills for actually completing a piece of than by reading the great works?

Let's be honest here folks, it's a rare person that reads the classics by choice. Most people wade drearily through novels like War and Peace and The Catcher in the Rye. I know that in my high school days, I would rather drown myself than read one more line of Heart of Darkness or Invisible Man. Now that I'm in college, there are fewer Bronte sisters and Hemingways to torture me. They've been replaced by new tormentors like Toni Morrison, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce.

However, being ever the optimist and forever a believer in positive thinking (imagine your own sarcasm please), perhaps these lengthy and tumultuous works of fiction and non-fiction will be better stomached by a free mind. A mind open to the power of choice and thirsty for new knowledge. Disenchanted by everything from our government to my sparse refrigerator, I'm ready to embark on a journey of wisdom! This time, wrought by my own hand, and not that of overzealous English teachers and jaded literature professors!

I must take care, though. The path will be full of dangers--dark forms seeking to lead me astray, but mostly my own fears at taking on such monsters as William Faulkner and Ulysses. I'm a realist and I know how my mind works. I must be cautious in my methods. Leave myself too much freedom and I'll happily jump into old favorites like The Great Gatsby and new wonders like Wide Sargasso Sea. I need a fool-proof (and cheat-proof) way of deciding the order of these books. I could always start from the very beginning, but what fun is that? Besides, who would want to start such a perilous journey with War and Peace? I could start at the end, but how much more daunting does that make my task seem? Better to use a method of randomness. One that I can't argue with, but one familiar enough to trust in. Being a complete and utter nerd, I always keep dice handy for the unexpected game of D&D. Dice: the perfect companion in my journey. They will surely keep me on my toes.

And so it begins. One average (though somewhat embittered) college student, 100 of the Greatest Books Ever Written (though this is always arguable), and one pair of bright teal dice. Reading is cool again, so let the madness begin!

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