Books Everyone Must Read?

This unique and slightly frustrating list of books from The Guardian turned up on Roger Ebert’s Twitter account this morning:

Do Top 100 Books polls and charts agree on a set of classics?  I scraped the results of over 15 notable book polls, readers surveys and top 100’s. Both popular and high-brow. They included all Pulitzer Prize winners, Desert Island Discs choices from recent years, Oprah’s Bookclub list, and, of course, The Guardian’s Top 100 Books of All Time. A  simple frequency analysis on the gathered titles gives us a neat ‘consensus cloud’ visualisation of the most mentioned books titles across the polls.

You can see the image by visiting this link, but don’t be surprised if your favorite books aren’t on the list, or simply aren’t visible. I had to search long and hard to find The Brothers Karamazov or The Master and Margarita, but the His Dark Materials and Harry Potter stand out clear as day. This list isn’t bad—there are a ton of great books featured prominently on it—but it makes me wonder what “must-read” means.

I suppose all the list actually does is measure the popularity of certain books, but then why call it a list of books “everyone must read?”


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