Second Annual Personal Top 100 Update

No one has ever asked me how I come up with these personal top 100 lists, but I'm going to tell you anyway. Over the course of 2016 I spent a bunch of time ranking the nearly-complete list of books I've read over the course of my whole life. I may or may not have given a bit too much extra weight to some of the books I feel most nostalgic about.

For last year's update, and this year's, I took the full list of novels that I read over the course of the year prior, and ranked them. This is all a pretty arbitrary process and can depend a lot on my mood at the time of ranking and what I read most recently. It's just what feels right at the time. Next, I look at the current lowest-ranked book on the current Top 100 list, and see where that book would fall on the ranked list of books from the past year. Anything that falls below it is eliminated.

Here is where there's another flaw in my process. When I did the original ranking, I just arbitrarily grouped every series together as one entry on the list. This doesn't work great when I have certain series, like Temeraire or Aubrey&Maturin that I'm currently reading. In case the word "arbitrary" doesn't already look meaningless, here it is again. I've arbitrarily solved this problem by deciding to average the position of any previous read books and any new books. So if I've got the first book already on the list at #50, and the new one doesn't make it onto the Top 100, then the first book falls to #75. Or something. I dunno.

Anyway, once I've decided which of the previous years' books should be fitted onto the Top 100, I start with the top ranked book on the year list, and fit it wherever I think it should go, and then the rest fall in line behind it.

All this a very long-winded introduction to my second annual Personal Top 100 update. This was actually really really difficult to do this year. The system is definitely not perfect, not to mention ranking books is inherently sort of pointless. The fact that I had several rereads made things especially interesting. Little Men fell down the list a bit, while The Last Unicorn, Wuthering Heights, and House of Leaves all moved up. I also had a big chunk of books get hung up on the Earth's Children series entry, meaning it might be time to reevaluate the position of that on the list. But not today.

The books I read last year are in bold in the list below.

My Personal Top 100

  1. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
  2. We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson
  3. The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
  4. The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
  5. The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson
  6. Silence - Shusaku Endo
  7. The March Sisters trilogy - Louisa May Alcott
    • Little Women
    • Little Men
  8. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman
  9. The Little Mermaid - Hans Christian Andersen
  10. As for Me and My House - Sinclair Ross
  11. Good Omens - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  12. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
    • The Golden Compass
    • The Subtle Knife
    • The Amber Spyglass
  13. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
  14. The House on the Strand - Daphne du Maurier
  15. The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle
  16. Bird Box - Josh Malerman
  17. Fall on Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
  18. Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie
  19. A Room with a View - E. M. Forster
  20. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë
  21. One Hand Clapping - Anthony Burgess
  22. Of Human Bondage - W. Somerset Maugham
  23. Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë
  24. The Alice books - Lewis Carroll
    • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
    • Through the Looking Glass
  25. Watership Down - Richard Adams
  26. The Anne books - Lucy Maud Montgomery
    • Anne of Green Gables
    • Anne of Avonlea
    • Anne of the Island
    • Anne of Windy Poplars
    • Anne’s House of Dreams
    • Anne of Ingleside
    • Rainbow Valley
    • Rilla of Ingleside
  27. The Harry Potter series - J. K. Rowling
    • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
    • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    • Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban
    • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  28. Where Nests the Water Hen - Gabrielle Roy
  29. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
  30. The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
  31. The Old Wives' Tale - Arnold Bennett
  32. House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski
  33. The Wings of the Dove - Henry James
  34. Sister Carrie - Theodore Dreiser
  35. A Handful of Dust - Evelyn Waugh
  36. The Gormenghast trilogy - Mervyn Peake
    • Titus Groan
    • Gormenghast
    • Titus Alone
  37. The Good Soldier - Ford Madox Ford
  38. Mythago Wood - Robert Holdstock
  39. The Earth's Children series - Jean M. Auel
    • The Clan of the Cave Bear
    • The Valley of Horses
    • The Mammoth Hunters
    • The Plains of Passage
    • The Shelters of Stone
    • The Land of Painted Caves
  40. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume
  41. Angle of Repose - Wallace Stegner
  42. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  43. The Running Man - Richard Bachman
  44. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
  45. The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain
  46. Jamaica Inn - Daphne du Maurier
  47. Persuasion - Jane Austen
  48. Le Petit Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  49. The Stone Angel - Margaret Laurence
  50. A Passage to India - E. M. Forster
  51. The Foundation series - Isaac Asimov
    • Prelude to Foundation
    • Foundation
    • Foundation and Empire
    • Second Foundation
  52. The Orenda - Joseph Boyden
  53. The Discworld series - Terry Pratchett
  54. 1984 - George Orwell
  55. My Ántonia - Willa Cather
  56. Death Comes for the Archbishop - Willa Cather
  57. Catherine, Called Birdy - Karen Cushman
  58. Double Indemnity - James M. Cain
  59. The Cat Who Went to Heaven - Elizabeth Coatsworth
  60. Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
  61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  62. Plowing the Dark - Richard Powers
  63. Calculating God - Robert J. Sawyer
  64. Summer Sisters - Judy Blume
  65. Kane and Abel - Jeffrey Archer
  66. The Aubrey and Maturin novels - Patrick O'Brian
    • Master and Commander
    • Post Captain
  67. Nightfall - Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg
  68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
  69. The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
  70. The Temeraire series - Naomi Novik
    • His Majesty's Dragon
    • Throne of Jade
  71. The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
  72. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  73. The MaddAddam trilogy - Margaret Atwood
    • Oryx and Crake
    • The Year of the Flood
  74. The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  75. The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber
  76. The Dream Where the Losers Go - Beth Goobie
  77. A High Wind in Jamaica - Richard Hughes
  78. Howards End - E. M. Forster
  79. Main Street - Sinclair Lewis
  80. The Dark Tower series - Stephen King
    • The Gunslinger
    • The Drawing of the Three
    • The Waste Lands
    • Wizard and Glass
    • The Wind Through the Keyhole
    • Wolves of the Calla
    • Song of Susannah
    • The Dark Tower
  81. Les Liaisons Dangereuses - Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
  82. The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
  83. East of Eden - John Steinbeck
  84. The Call of the Wild - Jack London
  85. The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
  86. A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway
  87. The Emily books - Lucy Maud Montgomery
    • Emily of New Moon
    • Emily Climbs
    • Emily’s Quest
  88. The Once and Future King - T. H. White
  89. The Pendragon series - D. J. MacHale
    • The Merchant of Death
    • The Lost City of Faar
    • The Never War
    • The Reality Bug
    • Black Water
    • The Rivers of Zadaa
    • The Quillan Games
    • The Pilgrims of Rayne
    • Raven Rise
    • The Soldiers of Halla
  90. Animal Farm - George Orwell
  91. City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennett
  92. The Canterville Ghost - Oscar Wilde
  93. The Little House series - Laura Ingalls Wilder
    • Little House in the Big Woods
    • Little House on the Prairie
    • Farmer Boy
    • On the Banks of Plum Creek
    • By the Shores of Silver Lake
    • Little Town on the Prairie
    • The Long Winter
    • These Happy Golden Years
    • The First Four Years
  94. The Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
    • The Magician's Nephew
    • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
    • The Horse and His Boy
    • Prince Caspian
    • The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’
    • The Silver Chair
    • The Last Battle
  95. Olympiad - Tom Holt
  96. Scoop - Evelyn Waugh
  97. As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner
  98. Roadside Picnic - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
  99. Carrie - Stephen King
  100. The Sarantine Mosaic - Guy Gavriel Kay
    • Sailing to Sarantium
    • Lord of Emperors
- - - - -

No comments:

Post a Comment