Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Top 1000 books

I just came across this very interesting list of the top 1000 books held by libraries { that are members of the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center).} One thousand books seemed like a mighty big number until I scrolled through the list and realized just how many of these books I have actually read in my lifetime. I have definitely read most of the top 130 or so, and hold many in our own home library. Honestly, any educated person should have read at least 100 of these books, and your average voracious reader has probably polished off at least half.

Since this is a comic strip blog, let me then say how surprised I was by how many of these books are children's books and comic strip collections. (I was truly shocked to see that Garfield was one of the highest ranked books, but that's another column. And no, I won't be bashing Garfield... I actually think the first book is very funny. I'm just surprised that it ranked higher than Calvin & Hobbes and Peanuts.) Anyway, the point was children's books and comic strips.

One can joke about the decline of Literacy in America, but those would be fighting words :0) The truth is, comic strips are the natural child of the illustrated novel, and in particular illustrated children's books. And let's be honest... using the words "Children's books" is a rough categorization. Alice in Wonderland has great appeal to children because of the silliness of the situations and language, but truly there is a lot here going on on the adult level. Aesops Fables as well still has a lot to teach us grown-ups, but- hey, why am I defending the art form I truly love? Comics and children's literature need no defense, and besides, who says a great book has to educate us, or make us think?

As long as we enjoy a book on some level, then the author has accomplished something magical, especially if that book can reach so many people that nearly every library has a copy of it. It seems obvious, then, that most of these books must have something going for them, so I for one am going to scroll the list for one I haven't read yet, and check it out.

And although this isn't National Library day, or National Cartoonist's day, or anything like it, I will leave you with this; Why don't you check out the list as well, and find something good to read?

And if you want something really different, check out my personal favorite books. Oh, the list isn't complete, but this is a good list of books that have influenced me, or that I found exceptional.

Let me know if you find anything good to read, huh?

Cheers, JOHN :0)

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