Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Isn't all this keeping of lists, ranking of books, rather superficial? Doesn't it run counter to the spirit of true literary appreciation?

1. Yes, to the first question. It's a superficial exercise. The reading is the important thing. The invention of best-of lists can be a trivial pursuit.

Though, to be fair to ourselves, we aren't really ranking books in any kind of hierarchy here, except for saying these one thousand works are considered greater than all the other millions of works that have ever been created.

And we're open in pointing out there are many different ideas of what comprises greatness. You are encouraged to depart from the list and read whatever you fancy—maybe even create your own competing list of what you think is great reading.

2. No, to the second part. Presenting a list is worthwhile in getting people to read books—and to delve into whole areas of reading—they might not otherwise give a chance to. I know I've been led into some wonderful reading experiences by leads provided on other peoples' lists.

And the discussion of literature—argument!—that a list engenders is both valuable and enjoyable.

At least I have found it so.

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