In the same way that I love following literary prize races (see my post on that topic from a couple weeks ago), I adore a good book list. This includes everything from an inspirational lifetime reading menu such as 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die to those gimmicky “5 Novels About…” or “10 Books for People Who Like…” lists you get on websites like BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post.
Every time a new ‘Best Books Ever’ type of checklist comes out, I gleefully scan through to figure out how many I’ve already read. Usually the disappointing results smack me back and remind me that for all my voracious reading, I still haven’t read many of the classics everyone’s supposed to have read by my age.
Here for your delectation (if you like this sort of thing) is a sampling of the book lists I’ve bookmarked over the years, with my running total noted in brackets after each:
THE BEST OF THE BEST
The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time, as chosen by the Guardian in 2003 
1000 novels everyone must read, as chosen by the Guardian in 2009 (interestingly, they divide it up by genre: Love Stories, Crime Fiction, Comedy, Family & Self, State of the Nation, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and War & Travel) [155 + 2 in progress]
The 100 greatest non-fiction books, as chosen by the Guardian in 2011 
Vintage 21, a set of 21 modern classics chosen in 2011 
100 novels everyone should read, as chosen by the Telegraph in April 
The 100 best novels written in English, as chosen by Robert McCrum in the Guardian last week 
PARTICULAR TIMES OF LIFE
65 Books You Need To Read in Your 20s, from BuzzFeed (alas, it’s too late for many of us) [13, 12 of which I think I read in my 20s]
25 Books to Help You Survive Your Mid-20s, from Bustle (ditto) [9, all read in my 20s, I think]
Conversely, here’s 15 Books You Should Definitely Not Read in Your 20s from Flavorwire (well, that’s alright, then) [I disobeyed them on 4 counts]
21 Books Every Woman Should Read By 35, from Bustle (I’ve got 3.13 years to work on it) [5; I left The Flamethrowers unfinished]
11 Novels That Expectant Parents Should Read Instead of Parenting Books, from Electric Literature (my mother may be reading this, so I must hastily add that THIS SITUATION DOES NOT APPLY TO ME!) 
The Best Hemingway Novels, on Publishers Weekly [2 out of 6, but A Moveable Feast is my favorite from him]
The 13 Best John Steinbeck Books, on Publishers Weekly 
The 10 Best Mark Twain Books, on Publishers Weekly [just 1!]
23 Contemporary Writers You Should Have Read by Now, on Reader’s Digest [I’ve read 3, Elizabeth Spencer, Percival Everett and Pamela Erens]
Beyond Murakami: 7 Japanese Authors to Read, on Book Riot [none so far]
20 Classic Novels You’ve Never Heard of, from QwikLit [I’ve heard of plenty of these, but only read 1]
12 Fiction Books That Will Shape Your Theology, from RELEVANT Magazine 
The 10 Best Books Shorter Than 150 Pages, on Publishers Weekly 
10 Best Southern Gothic Books, on Publishers Weekly [none so far]
10 Novels with Multiple Narratives, on Publishers Weekly 
The 10 Best Short Story Collections You’ve Never Read, on Publishers Weekly [they got that right; none so far]
The top 10 novels about childbirth, on the Guardian (again, NOT APPLICABLE TO ME!) 
How to not be scared of sci-fi: 10 best novels for sci-fi beginners, chosen by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin for We Love This Book 
Berthoud and Elderkin are the School of Life bibliotherapists as well as the authors of The Novel Cure, which is another wonderful source of top 10 lists. Two I’ve found particularly useful are “The Ten Best Novels for Thirtysomethings” (I’m working on my fourth title) and “The Ten Best Novels to Turn Your Partner (Male) on to Fiction” (my husband’s now read three and loved them all). I also highly recommend Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust series of four books, each one divided into themes.
ONE LAST LIST
Not a book list, but it may be useful for all you bibliophiles:
The 25 Best Websites for Literature Lovers, by Flavorwire
Do you love book lists as much as I do? Are you addicted to counting how many you’ve read from a checklist?
How do you fare on the lists above?