Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fired from the Canon

Over at the Second Pass, I just posted a feature that's been a while in the making. Several contributors chose acclaimed books and un-recommended them. The introduction to the piece:
If you’re looking for reading suggestions in bulk, you’re spoiled for choice. There are classics, like Clifton Fadiman’s Lifetime Reading Plan or Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon. And in recent years, a cottage industry has sprung up of books that recommend books — The Top Ten, Book Lust (and its follow-up, More Book Lust), The Modern Library, etc., etc.

Some of these efforts are quite good and owned by the authors of this feature — but a problem arises: Such guides are presumably meant to save readers time by pointing them in the right direction, but the guides themselves amount to several months or years of reading. The books they recommend add up to several lifetimes. What starts as an attempt to save hours ends as a commitment to more hours than you probably have.

That’s where we come in. Below is a list of ten books that will be pressed into your hands by ardent fans. Resist these people. Life may not be too short (I’m only in my mid-30s, and already pretty bored), but it’s not endless.
Please read the whole thing. I think you'll enjoy it.


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