100 (short) books in 100 days

To someone as easily distracted as myself, the idea of doing anything for 100 days is intimidating at best. To actually read with intention and retention 100 books verges on the terrifying. However, comments such as, “You’re completely crazy!” and, “What about your social life?” have failed to dissuade me, for I am quite aware of the first and quite lacking in the second. Also, I can honestly say that reading has never come at the expense of my social life, rather it is what I do instead of sleeping.

The idea for this project came out of yet another top100 list of books that seem to be so pervasive in the media. Everyone’s got their own version informally lolling about in their heads, and the more self-important of us seem to feel the need to share. With no small amount of discipline and a firm sense of “doing what should be done” I’ve meandered through the more interesting picks off the must-read lists for many years now- only to feel that I’ve gotten not very far at all.

If I were more serious I could dispense with the need to read frivolous fiction that obviously takes me away from reading things of importance. This attitude, though, of sombre intellectualism, is only one I can keep up for a limited amount of time before I need to do something rebellious, like read Christopher Moore while drinking Tequila. So, in light of this acknowledged failing I have decided to capitalise on my transient feelings of seriousness by exploiting them in a marathon fashion.

100 books, 100 days. Now, in all reasonableness, while it would be funny (and wickedly reckless) to blow through War and Peace in one night I don’t think it would be terribly helpful. So, to keep the project somewhat sane I’ve decided to put a cap on the length of the books I’m considering for inclusion. No doorstops, behemoths or tomes allowed (no matter how much I’m dying to get through the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili – it’s just not going to happen). I’m currently collecting titles, so suggestions are welcome. I’m looking for books that are either:

1. Commonly considered literary classics, or

2. Wickedly good and deserving of being read, or

3. Bad books masquerading as good books, or

4. Brilliant but misunderstood, or

5. Simply important to someone whose opinion I value

I’m hoping to have the list together by March 1st (at least most of it). I’ll leave a trail of reviews as well so folks can keep up with how the marathon is going. In the interests of keeping track of the process overall I will try to keep things updated here as well.

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