What is the 100 Books Project?
I e-mailed a brilliant idea I had to my sister Jenni and my friend Mike. 'Hey, what if we take the list of the 100 greatest books of the 20th century and split it up, reading all of it, and writing columns about each one?' Jenni and Mike agreed this was a fantastic idea, but which list of 100 greatest books? The Modern Library had one, their readers had one (suspiciously full of L. Ron Hubbard, I might point out), the damn Brits had one, Utne, etc. Which one should we choose?
Then someone had a much less brilliant idea of picking our favorites from each list and compiling our own. After all, the lists were lacking in women authors, non-English works and genre works, and we felt maybe a compilation would help bring those authors out more. We figured we could do this pretty damn quickly. Except we started picking at each other's lists and deleting huge chunks and suddenly remembering books we had left off. Two weeks later we all huddled around a computer and finished it in one final swoop.
Then came who-got-to-read-what.
We decided to get the nasty ones out of the way first. Ulysses and Remembrance of Things Past would have to find homes immediately or we would start bickering over who should have to read them. I managed to duck out of the way of both so I took on The Cairo Trilogy and The Wind Up Bird Chronicles to make up for it. After that, the rest of the choosing went smoothly, with only a few 'Damn!'s when someone picked a book another person had wanted to read.
Below is the final list of the 100 with a designation of to whom the book is assigned. Over a period of time, we will read the books and write a short essay about each one, whether it be rediscovering an old favorite or forcing yourself to plow through the book you skipped in high school.
We hope it's as entertaining for you as it was for us.