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The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books (1997)

av J. Peder Zane (Redaktör)

Andra författare: Sven Birkerts (Bidragsgivare), Fred Chappell (Bidragsgivare), Sandra Cisneros (Bidragsgivare), Edwidge Danticat (Bidragsgivare), David Anthony Durham (Bidragsgivare)16 till, Paula Fox (Bidragsgivare), Mary Gaitskill (Bidragsgivare), Michael Griffith (Bidragsgivare), Kathryn Harrison (Bidragsgivare), Andrew Hudgins (Bidragsgivare), A. L. Kennedy (Bidragsgivare), Stephen King (Bidragsgivare), David Leavitt (Bidragsgivare), Margot Livesey (Bidragsgivare), Lydia Millet (Bidragsgivare), David Orr (Bidragsgivare), Iain Pears (Bidragsgivare), Arthur Phillips (Bidragsgivare), Francine Prose (Bidragsgivare), Louis D. Rubin, Jr. (Bidragsgivare), Tom Wolfe (Bidragsgivare)

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2831268,434 (3.84)21
You'll find the answer in The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books: the ultimate guide to the world's greatest books. As writers such as Norman Mailer, Annie Proulx, Stephen King, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, Margaret Drabble, Michael Chabon and Peter Carey name the ten books that have meant the most to them, you'll be reminded of books you have always loved and introduced to works awaiting your discovery.The Top Ten includes summaries of 544 books--each of which is considered to be among the ten greatest books ever written by at least one leading writer. In addition to each writer's Top Ten List, the book features Top Ten Lists tabulated from their picks, including:* The Top Ten Books of All Time* The Top Ten Books by Living Writers* The Top Ten Books of the Twentieth Century* The Top Ten Mysteries* The Top Ten ComediesAlready sparking debate, The Top Ten will help readers answer the most pressing question of all: What should I read next?… (mer)

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First I will have to cop to a certain proclivity for top ten lists and also for the tabulation of points based upon an item’s appearance on those lists to make other top ten lists. Then if you make those top tens the favorite books of 125 contemporary authors, you have me hooked. This is a nice book to pick through at your leisure over time, otherwise reading list after list could become rather maddening. After the author’s lists, a synopsis of each book appears in the order of its popularity from the top tens. There are 544 books listed which let me know two things. First--many books appear on multiple lists and second-- despite that, I still found a treasure trove of books that I have never heard of and am now crazy curious to find. For example, MAN’S FATE by Andre Malraux, IMPRESSIONS OF AFRICA by Raymond Roussel, THE WAR OF THE NEWTS by Karel Capek, AUTO-DA-FE by Elias Canetti and several more. The somewhat redundant appearance of certain books reflects that most of the authors were Western, white and predominantly male—that is a drawback. I would also have liked some archival work referencing writers no longer with us and the books they liked and referenced during their careers. Possibly another book. And of course it is quite difficult to read this book and not be inspired to create my own list:
WINESBURG, OHIO by Sherwood Anderson
HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
MOBY DICK by Herman Melville
TWICE TOLD TALES by Nathaniel Hawthorne
THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD by Zora Neale Hurston
DEAD SOULS by Nicolai Gogol
CATCHER IN THE RYE by JD Salinger
SHIP OF FOOLS by Katherine Anne Porter
GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck

And of course I cheated by putting eleven. Before you judge me, try it yourself.
( )
  KurtWombat | Sep 15, 2019 |
I love reading. I like making lists. I like finding out what books are considered quality literature and checking my reading against those recommendations. Clearly, this book is ideal for me.

The way the editor created his list was by surveying contemporary writers about their top ten choices. While many of the writers protested that such a list was an impossibility, they still sent one in. The editor then assigned a number to each book on the list, ten points for the top book chosen, ranging down to one point for the book on the bottom of the list. He totaled the points, and chose the ten books that received the most of them. Voila - a top ten lists of favorite books chosen by contemporary writers. The method is admittedly flawed; it's too subjective, we don't know how the editor chose his sample of participating authors, and the criteria for what makes a book a favorite can vary wildly from one person to the next. The editor actually acknowledges several of these points in one of the essays at the beginning of a book. He also explains that this list is meant to inspire more reading in literature rather than be a decree to read the particular titles described, and that while it is not conclusive evidence of anything, it is suggestive to see similarities and differences in reading choices among a broad set of people.

How can you make a whole book out of one list? With a lot of other corresponding lists! The book starts with two essays to establish the purpose and the meaning of the top ten list; they also describe the selection process. Then, the top ten list is presented on one page, simple and in a rectangle outlined in strong black lines. After this, the editor presents the top ten list of every individual author who responded to their survey, with a brief description of that writer's works. This way, we can see all the books that were considered brilliant but didn't quite make the cut. Following this section of lists is the longest division of the book, a bibliography of all the books mentioned in the preceding lists, with a brief synopsis for each one. Finally, in a short section at the end, the editors had fun with some data analysis. They created new lists from the information they procured, using different sets of criteria for each one; for instance, top ten mystery choices, or top ten books of the eighteenth century.

As I wrote earlier, I enjoyed reading this book. The fun of reading what other writers consider great literature. The enjoyment of perusing various lists. The enticement of all of those wonderful books that I haven't read and need to. I particularly liked the top ten list and the new configurations at the end of the book; the list of every individual author was enlightening, but monotonous. The biggest portion of the book, the bibliography, is also too much. I understand why the editor included it, and it certainly sparked new interests for me in books that I have never heard of, or books that I have always meant to read but never have, but the section was too long and repetitive and greatly slowed the reading pace. However, this only matters to people who obsessively read the entire book. If the majority of readers refer to this book as a reference, neither of these complaints will detract from the book's enjoyment. Certainly, the benefits of the materials collected outweigh the personal irritations, and I recommend this book for all fellow bibliophiles. ( )
  nmhale | Aug 8, 2013 |
Ever wonder what books your favorite authors would recommend, or which works they rank as their own favorites? 125 contemporary writers were asked to pick their top 10 favorite works of fiction. Author J. Peder Zane scored their choices by awarding 10 points to their first choice, 9 to their second choice, and so on.

From such data, Zane compiled a list of what might be called the Top Top Ten: Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, War and Peace, Lolita, Huckleberry Finn, Hamlet, The Great Gatsby, In Search of Lost Time, The Stories of Anton Chekhov, and George Eliot's Middlemarch. Likewise, he breaks the choices into lists of top ten works of the 20th, 19th, and 18th centuries, top authors worldwide, top authors by nationality (American, British, Russan, and French), top comic works, top mysteries, works of science fiction, and so on.

About 1/3 of the book consists of the top ten lists of each of the surveyed authors. Most of the rest consists of one paragraph descriptions of each of the 544 books chosen, although some works are given essays of tribute by a particular writer. An index to book descriptions is included, listed by book title.

I devoured this book, and found it most enjoyable. The avid reader will enjoy checking off books they've read in each of the lists, and taking note of works they will want to indulge in. There are many surprises, including the number of books that got a vote from only one of the writers surveyed. (In fact, most of the works listed got only a single vote -- meaning a graph of the responses would show a distribution with a very long tail, much like the books at Library Thing itself).

One notable point is that the surveyed authors include quite a number whose impact and writing output has been small. Readers will likely recognize fewer than half of them, but readers are of course free to seek out the ones they know. Another point is that Zane necessarily did some judicious editing, sometimes combining multiple short works under a single listing for the sake of consistency.

The one flaw in this work is that no index is given of authors of the chosen books. As a result, if a reader wonders which works of (say) Faulkner or Wharton have been listed, there is no alternative but to scan the list of 500+ titles. However, in reality, few readers will mind searching through lists of books for their favorites.

Overall, this is an ideal book for Library Thing members. As a sequel, wouldn't it be great to see lists of the top ten favorite works of public figures -- political leaders, scientists, biographers, artists, and so on? Or how about a book of top ten non-fiction works? ( )
7 rösta danielx | May 23, 2010 |
I browsed through this book a few weeks back during a bookstore visit and put it back on the shelf; my quick assessment found it tediously monotonous, with all the writers picking the same few classics. I couldn’t pass it up for two dollars at a book sale, however. It did read with deadly repetition for the majority of the book: Macbeth…Macbeth…Macbeth…Middlemarch…Middlemarch…Middlemarch…War and Peace…War and Peace…War and Peace. It was the surprises, the little known favorites, that I found to be worth the price of the book, the So Long, See You Tomorrows, The Man Who Loved Childrens, the Quartet in Autumns. I love to hear about other people’s favorite books….It should be written under their name on a tag when meeting new people….inscribed on t-shirts….emblazoned on business cards….added to signature lines…. ( )
  debnance | Jan 29, 2010 |
Addictive. Great fun. ( )
  Moxie44 | May 12, 2009 |
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» Lägg till fler författare

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Zane, J. PederRedaktörprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Birkerts, SvenBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Chappell, FredBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Cisneros, SandraBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Danticat, EdwidgeBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Durham, David AnthonyBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Fox, PaulaBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Gaitskill, MaryBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Griffith, MichaelBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Harrison, KathrynBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Hudgins, AndrewBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Kennedy, A. L.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
King, StephenBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Leavitt, DavidBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Livesey, MargotBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Millet, LydiaBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Orr, DavidBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Pears, IainBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Phillips, ArthurBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Prose, FrancineBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Rubin, Louis D., Jr.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Wolfe, TomBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
gray318Omslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Oler, AnnaFormgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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You'll find the answer in The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books: the ultimate guide to the world's greatest books. As writers such as Norman Mailer, Annie Proulx, Stephen King, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, Margaret Drabble, Michael Chabon and Peter Carey name the ten books that have meant the most to them, you'll be reminded of books you have always loved and introduced to works awaiting your discovery.The Top Ten includes summaries of 544 books--each of which is considered to be among the ten greatest books ever written by at least one leading writer. In addition to each writer's Top Ten List, the book features Top Ten Lists tabulated from their picks, including:* The Top Ten Books of All Time* The Top Ten Books by Living Writers* The Top Ten Books of the Twentieth Century* The Top Ten Mysteries* The Top Ten ComediesAlready sparking debate, The Top Ten will help readers answer the most pressing question of all: What should I read next?

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