For the Purposes of This Post, Let’s Pretend That “4/5” Is a Major and Oft-Celebrated Milestone

This is how I feel about finishing 80 books for The 100 Greatest Books Challenge:

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And this is how I feel when I look at The List of 20 books I have yet to read:

200

Because among those 20 books—the 20 that will close out The Challenge, and probably my long, wistful period of mental health—lurk:

  • The Iliad, a 3000-year-old yawn
  • Yet another novel by my nemesis, Bill Faulkner
  • Clarissa, in all its 1500-page glory
  • Finnegans Wake, a nonsensical nightmare
  • Ulysses, widely regarded as the most difficult novel ever written in English
  • War and Peace (no need to elaborate here)
  • Proust’s six-volume, densely packed, metaphorical, post-structuralist behemoth In Search of Lost Time, AND
  • 13 other books

So, yeah, my feelings are… mixed, you might say. Conflicted. A little unstable. I’m too close to the finish line to ease up now, but too far away to start planning my post-race pie party.

But you know what? I’m convinced beyond a doubt—beyond half a decade; beyond 100 books—I’m convinced it will be worth it.

The pie party, that is. Not the reading.

Definitely not the reading.

Bye for now. I’m off to go chain myself to another ten-pound classic. 80 down, 20 to go!

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6 thoughts on “For the Purposes of This Post, Let’s Pretend That “4/5” Is a Major and Oft-Celebrated Milestone

    • No, not deliberately. Last year I had a subway commute, so I quickly ran through several shorter (more portable) books on the List and left the longer ones for bedtime reading. I usually read long ones alongside the shorter ones, but obviously the longer ones just take more time to finish. So while I’ve tried to spread them out, the sheer number of hugely long and difficult books on the List means that, necessarily, I still have a pile left at the end…

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