I love lists. Actually, I should probably specify that I love reading lists written by other people – writing my own lists and following them? ha. haha. No. So, when I had a chance to grab a copy of Read This Next: 500 of the Best Books You’ll Ever Read by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman? I thought: YES PLEASE!
So, the danger for readers like most of us is that these lists will be snobby and pretentious – “here are 500 classic and literary fiction books you should read, everything else is worthless” or some such. Well, I am happy to say that Read This Next didn’t strike me as that type of book at all. While there is a section dedicated solely to trying to convince everyone to read Proust (FYI, it didn’t work on me), it also recommends books like Ender’s Game and Soulless.
Another thing that struck me is how radically I was able to misjudge some of the different sections. I really cracked myself up with trying to guess how many books I’d probably read within any given subject. When I got to the War chapter I was like “Welp, it’s a sure bet I haven’t read any of these!” This is when they were able to surprise me with an Ender’s Game mention. Then, I get to a list of post-apocalyptic books and I’m thinking something like “ooo, bet I’ve read at least a few of these…” Um, no. Try NONE. Yes indeed, Read This Next was full of surprises.
Another surprise was how FUNNY it all was. Every chapter intro made me laugh, and I also enjoyed how willing the authors were to share their opinions. I was even able to (mostly) get over a snide remark about the Harry Potter series,which I think was very big of me. I decided it was worth it when they totally dissed The Da Vinci Code a few chapters later.
This book definitely grew my TBR you guys, there was a really great mixture of genres and time periods. It also reaffirmed and strengthened my determination to try and tackle Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. If you’re a pretty varied reader, I definitely think Read This Next will tickle your fancy. From science fiction to historical non-fiction, there are recommendations at the ready!
To Sum it Up:
- This is so not a literati hoity-toity “genre reading is below us” kind of book, y’all.
- The chapter intros are legit hilarious, I really appreciated this book’s sense of humor.
- I AM GOING TO READ INFINITE JEST. That is all.