Amazon Releases List of 100 Books To Read In a Lifetime

Amazon Releases List of 100 Books To Read In a Lifetime

If you could pick 100 books to form an essential library that everyone absolutely must read before they die, what would you put in the collection? While we're waiting for your answer, we'll move on to the new list that Amazon has published, 100 Books To Read in a Lifetime.

The list, while mostly made up of safe choices such as Lewis Carol's Alice in Wonderland, J.D. Salinger's A Catcher In The Rye, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, also contains some more interesting selections, including Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Michael Chabon's comic book epic, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

There are some questionable selections on the list, though. Kate Atkinson's 2013 release Life After Life is included on the list, along with Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl from 2012, along with another 2012 release, John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. While these books were met with both critical and commercial success, and there's no doubt a lot of people would include them in their personal lists of the best books they've ever read, these books haven't had the chance to really stand the test of time.

So what do you think? Are there any books that Amazon made a big mistake in not picking? Do you think we'll still be reading and studying Life After Life or other newer releases on the list in 50 years?

Image of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland (Annotated)
Manufacturer: UMash Marketing Ltd
Part Number:
Image of Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Price: $10.58
Publisher: Crown (2012)
Binding: Hardcover, 419 pages
Sean May

News by Sean May

Sean May is, among other things, an author, journalist, graphic designer, video game fanatic and feared but charming space pirate (one of those isn't true, but which one?). His fiction work has appeared in Crimefactory and other publications, and his music journalism can be found at Has It Leaked?. His novella, The Case, and a short story collection, Crimewave, can be found on Kindle. Sean lives in Carmel, IN with his wife and a cat.

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postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words February 6, 2014 - 9:37am

there's always a time distortion with these kinds of lists - I am still in the glow of the wonder of books I have read recently, whereas I haven't read 100 years of solitude in forever but I remember having greatly enjoyed it.

Looking over the goodreads voting, 50 shades of grey and all sorts of other toss-away titles are listed. At least it begs the question, what books would you recommend? It entirely depends on the person. I would recommend Gravity's Rainbow to a few people, but not to everyone.

I'm far more interested in titles and authors I'm less familiar with when it comes to these kinds of lists. The safe choices are a given, but not particularly enlightening.

Vladimir Castro's picture
Vladimir Castro from The People's Republic of California is reading Game of Thrones, Damned, and Darksaber February 6, 2014 - 2:29pm

Too many books on this list that aren't even books in my opinion. There are quite a few that probably won't be around in ten years. But most likely I am just a snob. 

Christopher Provost's picture
Christopher Provost from Nashua, New Hampshire is reading The Zombie Survival Guide February 7, 2014 - 9:35am

These types of lists are pointless.  Are there books that have stood the test of time and should be recommended?  Of course.  I consider myself fairly well-read (Shakespeare, Melville, Tolstoy, Joyce, Sartre, etc.) but I already know that I would probably hate Austen's Pride and Prejudice, so I've never read it and I have no intention of ever reading it.  I did, however, read Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and I think that should count.  Not everyone is going to get turned onto reading by Shakespeare or Melville, but they just might by King or Palahniuk.  I say, introduce people to reading and let them come up with their own personal lists.  Chances are, many of the books on any Top 100 list will be read by them anyway.

Taylor's picture
Taylor from Portland, Oregon is reading 'Alexander Hamilton' by Ron Chernow February 10, 2014 - 4:34pm

I have read 38 of these, and at least 10 others where I've read other books by that same author but not the book listed. (And about 5 of which I've seen the Masterpiece Classic adaptation of, but haven't read the actual book. :))

I think this is a decent list that culls from a fairly wide variety of genres.  I do think this list was heavily weighted with books that appeal to modern day people living in a priviledged western society. There are lots of books I'd add to it, and plenty I'd take off if it were MY list.

I almost always shy away from these lists, because, hey, you don't know what I like, but I was curious this time. I like that these generate conversation. It also makes me take a second look at a book I might not have picked up otherwise. Some of my favorite books were ones that I picked up to get out of my comfort zone. What I also love about reading some the "best" books is that it opens up for me new avenues of thought or coversation with my fellow humans. When we've read the same books, we can connect on a new level. It's part of participating in culture (for better or worse.) 



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