1000 novels – What should you read?


I have been working with English classes aver the past few week, talking to students about reading. What they might like to try, what’s new, etc.  The year 8 students have been hearing about novels in the crime fiction genre.  I have been enjoying the discussions that have taken place as I have spoken about the different novels. The “aha, I get it” looks on faces when I have tried to explain the particular aspects of the different crime sub-genres in crime stories.

I have also been talking about the books that have been published, the “100 books/film…etc you must read/watch/listen to before you die.

In January the Guardian published an article called 1000 novels everyone must read: the definitive list.

Selected by the Guardian’s Review team and a panel of expert judges, this list includes only novels – no memoirs, no short stories, no long poems – from any decade and in any language. Originally published in thematic supplements – love, crime, comedy, family and self, state of the nation, science fiction and fantasy, war and travel – they appear here for the first time in a single list.

Also on the 23rd of Jan: We didn’t want a list of ‘greatest novels’, or a list of ‘favourite novels’, but what have we left off our list of 1000 novels everyone must read? There are 161 comments left by others that are also worth reading.

The links I have included here indicate how the Guardian approached each of the different themes and a great many novels and descriptions can be found here. The whole series of articles are interesting to read and would provide a good starting point for further investigation.

On the crime page there were links to: Matthew Lewin on modern hardboiled crime, The best spy fiction, The best unusual detectives, The best of Arthur Conan Doyle, The best of Agatha Christie and, my favourite (being in the library),  Top 10 trivia: Most frequently stolen books.

 Looking at the popularity of the “100” books, and the fact that everyone seems to like lists, this type of resource will probably continue to to be published, and it provides a wonderful starting point for discussions about books, reading and what makes a must read.  Our students at lunchtime love to discuss what they think is a “good” or a “bad” book. An on-line survey we did a  few years ago, where students (and staff) had to chose their top 5 books of all time, also caused a lot of discussion in English classes.

Have a look at the lists. What do you think about the lists? Do you  agree with what has been chosen? What would you have included in your list?

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