World Book Day

ACADEME BLOG

The editors of and contributors to the books section of the Independent, one of the United Kingdom’s largest newspapers, have published a list of “43 Books to Read before You Die” in honor of World Book Day, which in case you missed it was yesterday.

The list includes the following titles, with annotations explaining why they were selected. But it makes no pretense of being anything but an arbitrary collection of personal favorites for which some sort of persuasive case might be made. The books are neither ranked nor categorized. That lack of formality is precisely what makes the list fascinating—but also what compels me to categorize the books so that I can comment on and complain about what has been included and excluded.

Pre-20th Century British and American Novels:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Vanity…

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