This was an intriguing topic! First of all I had to decide–only fiction? Then, how many years back? I decided to start with recent bestsellers—those since 2000. I found the two lists linked below. So, my Top 10 Tuesday is my rating of various books from these two lists.
Top 21 Bestselling Books of the 21st Century
Top 10 Books of the Twentieth Century
I know, I know! One is bestsellers, the other some nebulous personal list! That’s what I used, ok?
Of those I’ve read, here are my thoughts and ratings:
First the Bad
21 St Century List
The Shack by William P. Young
Force me to do a corporate compliance meeting–it would be more interesting. I read this supposed “masterpiece” in two hours for, you guessed it, a retreat! [Hand up if you read it for any other reason]. No interest what-so-ever in seeing the movie.
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
I’ve done the Purpose Driven Life/Purpose Driven Church in THREE churches in 3 states. I’m done. The first time thru it did get me to think about things I was supposed to think about. It even got me to act on some. But each read through became more and more trite. The purpose of this book, I decided after read 3, was to earn money for the publisher and the author–i.e. the exact same purpose as any other book.
Fifty Shades of Gray, The Hunger Games, Twilight, Divergent and Song of Ice and Fire
So completely not my thing I haven’t even opened them. I think I bought Divergent for Kindle to see what the fuss was about, then heard the fuss and just plain knew I’d never get those hours of my life back, so it wasn’t worth it.
The Twentieth Century List
Lolita, Ulysses, Hundred Years of Solitude, and Lord Of The Rings
No desire at all. I’m fascinated by Nabokov the person but no, I have zero interest in reading Lolita, ditto Hundred and ditto LOTR.
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I’ve written about loathing this one before. I just didn’t find it funny in spite of loving British humor. It bored me.
Harry Potter and the Rest of the Gang
Yes these books could have been on the 20th Century list, too. What I am about to say is heretical and can be punished by death in certain mythical countries created by the HP fandom. My torture will soon be happening in fan fiction. After book two I couldn’t stay awake. There I’ve said it. I’m “meh” on Harry. NOT, that I am “meh” on J.K. Rawlings achievement though! Far from it. She is one of the women of the century. I think she has the most amazing imagination. It’s just not the sort of stuff that really appeals to me.
That said I adore Mrs. Weasley. I, too, want to mother Harry. Of course the phrase Witch-Slap was invented for Delores Umbridge–who else would it be for? And I’d really like to have a ride in the flying car and meet Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge. But I’m done trying to read the last few tomes. I enjoyed the movies–an extra count of heresy, I’m sure, since I didn’t first read all the books. What’s more, just like admitting I was done with trying to enjoy Dickens, I know this endangers a very, very cool friendship. But, how many times as a Mom have I said “You REAL friends won’t mind.”
Twenty-First Century List
The Book Their by Markus Zusack
World War II in general and the Nazi atrocities specifically are frequent topics in my reading. This one, to me, did not live up to the hype, but was still a good book.
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
I haven’t read it, but I loved her book, The Namesake. I intend to read Interpreter of Maladies yet. My verdict for The Namesake was 4 stars [I have only given 5 stars a handful of times in my life].
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
I also haven’t read this one yet, but I had only praise for his next book, A Thousand Splendid Suns. My verdict was a solid 4 stars. I still intend to read the Kite Runner.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I read some YA, but too much of it is dystopian or weird or …. John Green is YA for grown ups to my mind. I’ve loved each book so far, but Fault remains my favorite. I loved the movie, too, and for once in a billion years I even went to the theater to see it one afternoon with a good friend.
Twentieth Century List
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
This one, to me, is pretty dated. It’s still regarded as a classic coming of age story or some such, but it’s dated. Did it deserve the hype? In it’s day–yes. Today, probably. I read it in 1978.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I loved this book when I read it in 1977. I read all of Fitzgerald in high school and loved every word. It deserved and deserves the hype.
1984 By George Orwell
Everyone should read this and Animal Farm in school so they see what can happen.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This is one of the greatest American novels, but it has now been hyped to death. I don’t understand people suddenly naming their poor daughters’ “Scout” or “Harper” (even though Miss Lee did not use that name]) or naming their sons “Atticus.” Really? I love GWTW but I’d never have named my poor kid Scarlet or Rhett! Though I do think Nabokov–“Nabby” for short–would be a great tom cat’s name!
There you have my list–yes, it was more than 10 titles. Sorry!
Do you enjoy lists like this? Each week Top Ten Tuesday participants compile themed lists of books and post their links at That Artsy Reader Girl’s blog. You can read all the Top Ten Tuesday rules HERE. Why not join in?