Happy New Year, readers! I’ll be honest: I miss December a little and I’m still adjusting to this new year. But I need to hurry up. After all, I can only mistakenly write 2010, cross it out and write 2011 for so long. But I digress.
Today, I wanted to share with you this post on Edward Champion’s website that I thought was very interesting. Part his own personal challenge, part a literary case study, Champion plans to read the entire Modern Library list of top 100 novels of the 20th century from #100 to #1. Throughout the process, Champion will write about each on his site in an effort to “track some quirky course of literature.” I find this interesting for a few reasons. First, I appreciate Champion’s ambition. I’ve written in the past on lists and reading the classics, and I think this list is a respectable and broad representation of titles considered canon, even within the temporal limits of the 20th century.
But I also wonder about his aim to somehow trace a path, whether linear or not, through literature. When these one hundred books were chosen, I imagine they were selected for their distinction as individuals, not as a whole. So I guess I’m just a little skeptical. And of course I wonder how books of this century measure up, and whether in ninety years we’ll be able to make a similar list and track a similar progression.
At the end of the day, I admire Champion’s drive. I’d love to think I could take on a challenge like this, but honestly, where is he going to find the time? Would any of you ever attempt something like this?