Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More evidence that most people don't know shit from Shinola

I was truly aghast over the Random House Modern Library list of the 100 Best Novels.

The first thing that hit me - or anybody with any understanding of what makes a novel good - is that four of the top ten listed in the "Readers List" column are by Ayn Rand and three are by L. Ron Hubbard. The three slots not taken by cult leaders are "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "1984" which are probably there because they are popular school reading assignments and so most people have actually read them, and "Lord of the Rings" which is arguably another cult.

The "Board's List" is better if only because neither Rand nor Hubbard appear on it at all, but it leaves out Twain, Dickens, Jane Austen and the Brontes.

Leaving out the Brontes and Austen wasn't all that surprising: their work is now considered too "chick lit" to be respectable, since the goal posts of all art forms are being moved to hinder growing female participation - now art must be macho and manly for it to be respectable. Hemingway appears on the Board list, twice.

The truly shocking part is that "Wide Sargasso Sea" is on the list. That book is a prequel to "Jane Eyre" and it's not only glorified fan fiction, it's the most boring novel I've ever read. I finished it but only barely, clinging desperately to consciousness.

Who are these Modern Library board people???