Life's too short

The Guardian newspaper (my butler reads it) has listed 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read. Note the imperative.

Let's see: setting ourselves the ambitious target of a novel a week, that should take us nineteen years and three months to complete. At that rate, we'll be finished by May 2028—by which time (touch-wood), I'll be 63.

That's 19 years to read 1,000 books, which, to put it bluntly, simply aren't true. They're novels, for Pete's sake. They're not real.

Wouldn't we be better off spending the all-too-few precious years we have left on this fantastic planet finding out about stuff that actually is true—you know science and history and shit like that—rather than frittering it away reading stories?

By all means read a novel now and again, but, quite frankly, reading 1,000 of them just shouldn't be a priority.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. What? Read 1000 novels before I die? I haven't even got time to look at the f******g list! Anyway, I read a book once and it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Put me off for life, I tell you.

  2. Also, by 2028, new novels may have been written that are better than some of those currently on the list. So to protect yourself, make sure you start at the top. Otherwise, you might read novels that are subsequently pushed off the bottom of the list and so turn out not to have been compulsory. With time at such a premium, that would be awful.

  3. And what if, after reading it, you disagree that it was a 'must read' - can you get that time refunded? I long for the day when we can download data directly to the brain so you'd have a memory of having read or learnt something without the tiresome chore of really doing it. (Especially kidding, it's always a pleasure)

  4. How do you know we didn't learn EVERYTHING we 'know' by having someone download it directly into our brains? Haven't you seen The Matrix?

    ...or do you just think you saw it?

  5. The list must have been compiled by a committee, because, if it takes nineteen years to read the 1000 winning selections, how many lifetimes would you need to get through even a reasonable sample of all the lesser novels that didn't make thelist - assuming that only a tiny proportion of these are likely to cut the mustard.

    Andthen if it was compiled by a committee that would mean none of those judges has read all 1000 of the novels. So perhaps they should shut the feck up and get on with reading the rest instead of telling *us* what we 'must' read. Hypocrisy, I call it! (There - that's told 'em.)

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