I’m always a bit suspicious of this sort of claim; but this looks like a fairly reasonable list, sent to me by “Gibson Square” of Cabbieblog — for which thanks. It would appear that Robert McCrum has restricted himself to one book per author. Maybe the list should really be called “100 best novelists in English, represented by one book each”. Still, if you settle down and read your way through these books, you’ll be suffused by warm feelings of self-satisfaction, and will of course also be keen to go on with others of their works.

Mr McCrum has apparently been doing this at a rate of one per week for the past couple of years. His account of the saga includes links to several of the selections with discussion of his choice. (You can also get there by clicking the title link in the original listing.) Guardian readers have been suggesting that the list lacks diversity. But isn’t “diversity” a rather recent concern, and however much we may regret the failings of our forefathers isn’t it just too late do do anything about the history? Whatever, The Guardian is appealing to us all to come up with a more diverse list. Read all this stuff, and you’ll be able to put off your serious reading for quite some time. Robert McCrum seems impossible to stop: here’s his 2013 list of the 100 greatest novels of all time (in any language, but translated into English). Unsurprisingly, there’s a good deal of overlap here — I remain puzzled why Three men in a boat makes it onto either list — it’s on both! Maybe it’s just an example of peculiarly English humour, to which I’m proudly impervious. What will he be listing next?

By the way I like Cabbieblog’s report on the idea of making disused subway tracks in London into underground bike paths. I rather hesitated when thinking about the air quality, but I suppose we can find a way around that after we stop the trains running through.

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