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Top Ten Reads – Says Who?

19/06/2011

Recently I took a notion that I would like to re-read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. I searched high up and low down but couldn’t find it on my shelves, so I dropped into Easons where I was able to buy it for three euros, all 800 pages of it. And off I set again, starting with that  famous first sentence: ‘All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’

Anna Karenina seems to always feature in lists of the literary greats and reading the book again got me thinking of such lists. Then I stumbled on the web site for The Top Ten – the book edited by L Peder Zane, where he asked 125  American and British authors to list their 10 favourite works of fiction.

He ended up with 544 titles and from these tabulated a series of Top Ten Lists, including:

The Top Ten Books of All Time

The Top Ten Books of the 20th Century

And yes, there it was, Anna Karenina is listed as the number one choice in the Top Ten Books of All Time.

I take out the book and skip to the novel’s last sentence: ‘My reason will still not understand why I pray, but I shall still pray, and my life, my whole life, independently of anything that may happen to me, is every moment of it no longer meaningless as it was before, but has an unquestionable meaning of goodness with which I have the power to invest it.’ 

A thought to be going on with from the number one literary great.

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