The Top 100 Books

There’s a list somewhere of the best 100 books ever written. I saw it in an in-flight magazine. Someone was selling leather-bound editions of the 100 books that you could impress your friends with when you have them over for a charcuterie board (meat and cheese tray) and a drink (booze).

You (wearing a smoking jacket and silk pajamas): “Dostoevsky? Absolutely. No one does pathos quite like the Russians.”

I will probably tackle Dostoevsky someday. Not today. (Truth? I had to spell check Dostoevsky and charcuterie.)

Today I want to talk about stories—the ones you read and the one you live.

Here’s a picture of the side table in our bedroom. My wife, Libby, leaves the books there in hopes of shaming me into cleaning it off. What she doesn’t know is that the table will collapse from the weight of books long before shame sets in.

Many different books stacked on a side table

But it does bring up an interesting visual of some of the books I have read this year. My tastes are varied, as you can see:

Books I should read: They are full of advice and wisdom.

Biographies and historical nonfiction: I think it was Lily Tomlin who said, “Maybe if people listened, history wouldn’t have to keep repeating itself.” I read these for insight on what is going on in the world today.

Fiction: I like a big, fat story arc. The worse off the character starts out and the better off they end up, the more I like it.

Books I take a chance on: Not my taste, but who knows, surprise me.

So here are my two questions:

1: What’s on your top 100 book list?

Looking at the picture, I recognize books that are either forgettable, regrettable or inspirational. Five are definitely on my top 100. Care to guess which ones?

2: How’s your book going?

Each day you write a page in your own story. So, how’s it going? Do you like it? Are you the kind of hero you want to be? What is the next chapter going to look like? Who is your enemy and who is your trusty sidekick? Does it include lessons that will help others? Lessons of wisdom learned the hard way, stories of hard knocks, insights of humility and humor?

Will it make my top 100 list?

Hah! Tough questions! I’m looking at my own story and am a little discouraged. It seems a bit on the dull side. But that’s okay; I believe my story could be one of those started-out-slow-but-really-had-great-scenes-at-the-end-I-highly-recommend-satisfying-read-five-star books. As long as I keep at it!

In the meantime, thanks for taking a break and reading this. Now it’s time to sharpen our pencils, turn the page and start writing!