I like book lists as an opportunity to find the next good book to read, not as an exercise in self-flagellation (“oh the shame of not having read that classic”) or self-congratulation.
I can’t commit to listing my all-time favourites (at least not tonight); it’s like asking a mother to choose her favourite child.
Books of 2012
- The New York Times Book Review’s 10 best books of 2012
- The Guardian’s best books of 2012
- The Sydney Morning Herald’s best books of 2012, selected by authors and critics
The best books of all time?
- The Guardian’s top 100 books of all time
- The Guardian’s 100 greatest non-fiction books
- The Guardian’s 1,000 novels everyone must read
- Within the Guardian’s 1,000 novels section, you’ll also find expanded categories such as comedy, crime, Gothic novels, state-of-the-nation, road novels, dystopias, the 10 best historical novels and more
- First Tuesday Book Club’s Top 50 Aussie Books (ABC TV)
- 1001 books you must read before you die
Interesting top 10s
- The Guardian has top 10 lists covering all sorts of themes and genres (time travel, reimagined classics, books with maps, literary parodies, quantum theory, homes in literature, bedtime stories, literary feuds, 1980s, books set in Berlin …)
- Andrew Miller’s top 10 historical novels
Books for book nerds
And the last word goes to …
In a letter to the Pall Mall Gazette (1866) on the subject of ‘The Best Hundred Books’, Oscar Wilde divided books into three classes:
- Books to read
- Books to re-read
- Books not to read at all.
“The third class is by far the most important. … Whoever will select out of the chaos of our modern curricula ‘The Worst Hundred Books,’ and publish a list of them, will confer on the rising generation a real and lasting benefit.” Oscar Wilde