I first encountered Modern Library's list of the top 100 novels quite a few years ago, probably thanks to some meme or other. Because I hadn't read many of the books on The List but wanted to read quite a few of them, I bookmarked the page and forgot about it.
Since then I've finished school and started reading again, and found that old bookmark. Lately I kept going back to The List, wanting to work my way through it, but... unsure. After all, it generated some bad press when it was first released, and there are other 100 best books lists. Notably, there is this list, where Modern Library's #1 book, Ulysses, finds itself in last place, far behind Confessions of a Shopaholic and The Da Vinci Code.
Although mostly That Other List makes me ashamed to call myself Canadian, I find the disparity between the two lists very interesting. Even Modern Library's readers (mostly scientologists, it looks like) disagree with "The Board" about the top 100 novels.
So I guess that's where I come in. I think I'm a pretty ordinary reader. Actually I'm an engineer, i.e. a member of a group not usually known for its artistic sensibilities. I took one three-credit English class in university, called "Reading Poetry." Before that I took ordinary high school English classes. I kid myself that I'll eventually read The Faerie Queene and Paradise Lost and Le Morte d'Arthur, but none of those will make any more sense to me than Dante's Divine Comedy, which I struggled through for over a year.
And with little or no ability to pick out themes, or symbolism, or Shakespeare references, I'm going to review all of the books on The List, with the intention of determining which ones are worth reading, and which ones aren't. I can't guarantee insight, hilarity, or good grammar. I will guarantee the following two things: comma splices, and my own complete lack of good taste.
As if that wasn't enough, I'm also reviewing 100 random romance novels. Just to avoid getting too pretentious, and stuff.
Credit where it's due, by the way: the "Uncomfortable Plot Summary" concept comes from PostModernBarney.