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June 10, 2010
I am faced with a dilemma. I have been deceived.  I’ve known this for some time now, but the time has come to deal with it head on. One would think that the brief for creating a list of “1000 Novels Everyone Must Read” would be awfully self-explanatory. Make a list of a thousand really terrific books. Simple. Yet they still cheated.

I suppose “Around About 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read” or “1000-ish Novels Everyone Must Read” doesn’t have the right ring to it. They don’t convey the same definitiveness or authority that “1000 Novels…” does. That being the case I think they should have held the committee’s collective feet to the fire until it had narrowed it down to a thousand. But no, they chose to be sneaky about it.

If you scrutinize the list to any extent you will see that there are more than a thousand novels listed. I haven’t taken the time to add it all up, but my estimation is 25-50 extra books.  The main way they accomplished this was by listing entire series under one title, such as The Lord of the Rings (3 books) or Chronicles of Narnia (7 books!) Those I can afford to be good natured about these since I have already read them, but it irks me nevertheless.

My dilemma is how to deal with this going forward. For instance, Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, is on the list.  I have now read The Golden Compass, but not The Subtle Knife or The Amber Spyglass. Will I play along and read all of the books in a series, or will I take an if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em approach and content myself with reading one book out of each series listed? At the rate I’m going, the extra books translate to an additional year’s worth of reading. Hmm.

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