The Guardian’s 1000 Novels Challenge

This is it; no more challenges or I’m scared I won’t have time for “fun books.” I never want to feel like I have to read something, or that it would be a chore, which I think is why I stopped taking notes as I read books for school even though it made me remember them better (well that, and the fact that it took twice as long).

I remember perusing the Guardian list when it first came out (in fact, I think it was a Sunday this past year and I was killing time waiting for my nails to dry), and as I just looked over it again I am struck by how different it is from the “1001 Books” list.  One could argue this slightly as a nationality issue, but I think the more likely cause is the Guardian’s emphasis on genre. For example, there’s no way that the creators of the other list gave that much attention to crime novels. In addition, there are a lot more modern books.

I have a wonderful Excel file for the 1001 Books that I downloaded from somewhere. It lists them all in chronological order, and when you check something off as read it turns green. At the top it tracks what percentage you are at and how many a year you should aim for. I think I’ve read more off the Guardian’s list, and would love to be able to compare! (Update: I made a copy of the file with this list and I was right,  45 titles compared to 37.)

Here are the details:

The Guardian’s 1000 Novels Challenge, hosted by Jennie

The British paper, The Guardian, has come up with a list of 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read Before They Die. (In case they take that link down, I’ve also posted the list here.)

So, the challenge is to read 10 and review read and review 10 books off the list (that’s 1%) between February 1st of 2009 and February 1st of 2010.

Of these 10, you must read 1 from each category and, if possible, 1 should be a book you have never heard of until you saw it on this list.

Here are the books I’ve chosen:

button3Comedy: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Crime: The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith; Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg

Family and Self: The L-Shaped Room, by Lynn Reid Banks; Invitation to the Waltz, by Rosamond Lehmann

Love: More Die of Heartbreak, by Saul Bellow; The Princess of Cleves, by Madame de Lafayette

Science Fiction and Fantasy: Nineteen-Eighty-Four, by George Orwell

State of the Nation: McTeague, by Frank Norris

War and Travel: Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

I was very good in picking these titles from the list at random, discarding ones I was already familiar with. I have heard of most of these authors but know nothing about the specific books. The one exception is Nineteen-Eighty-Four, since I’m not the biggest sci-fi fan and had already promised to read it for the classics challenge.

Note: I completely reserve the right to switch in qualifying books I’ve already read this year, like Scaramouche or Queen Lucia, but only if I get desperate. : )

I guess I had better get off the computer now and start reading, before I find any other challenges!

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Published in: on June 4, 2009 at 6:10 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] book counts for both the Lost in Translation Challenge and the Guardian Challenge. It is also one of the “1001 Books to Read Before You Die.” Possibly related posts: […]

  2. […] book was from the mystery section of the list for the Guardian challenge (I made myself pick from the ones I hadn’t heard of). Since it was originally written in […]

  3. […] books is from the Comedy portion of the list for the Guardian Challenge. Published […]

  4. […] is another one in the crime category for the Guardian Challenge; it’s also on the 1001 Books list, and in my opinion deservedly so. Published […]

  5. […] is my original post, as well as my actual list of books […]

  6. […] start off, I picked this book blindly from the love category of the Guardian list only because I knew the author. One of my roommates had a American authors course on Twain, […]


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