It’s mailbag time.
The first 101 Books mailbag back in December went fairly well, so let’s do it again!
Got a question for me—about the Time list, my blog, my blogging process, books in general, or how to grill a pretty freaking good steak? Then fire away in the comments.
I’ll take a bunch of your questions and answer them in Friday’s post.
Christmas is two weeks from today. Did you read that….Christmas is two weeks from today!
OH CRAP. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BUY? Who knew Christmas actually came on December 25 this year?
But don’t despair. 101 Books has some gift suggestions for you today, at least gift suggestions for the book lovers in your life.
So if you’re buying for any of these people, here are my suggestions:
Today, 101 Books brings to you the third round of 20 Questions!
This is simple. I ask questions. 20 of them. Some are about books. Others are just for fun. You answer the questions in the comments. (Check out the first two rounds of 20 Questions here and here.)
My answers are in italics.
So, as you may know, Time Magazine chose not to rank the 100 All-Time novels when they created this list, but I thought I’d be a dove and help them out. So I rank each novel after I’m finished with it. I like to call these my totally meaningless and highly subjective rankings.
After every 5-6 books, I take a little time to explain why I ranked each book as I did. It’s my way of staying accountable to you and letting you rain down hate upon me in the comments section, if you so choose.
So, here’s how I ranked books 46 through 51:
I use Wikipedia a lot. It’s one of my main sources of information while researching information related to each of the books I read.
But I always take an extra step. If Wikipedia doesn’t have a source, if it doesn’t link out to some other respectable site that provides the same information, then I won’t use it in that case.
So there are definitely dangers in trusting Wikipedia, and here’s a great example why:
Recently, Philip Roth (read my review of American Pastoral) wrote “An Open Letter To Wikipedia” in which he spelled out his experience trying to change a piece of faulty information in an entry about his novel, The Human Stain.
The Grapes of Wrath is an incredible piece of art. And that’s exactly what it is…art.
But, make no mistake, this novel is essentially a pitch for socialism.
In the novel, Steinbeck paints an interesting picture of corporate landowners in the 1930s. They were the farming conglomerates who actively harassed and denied work to “Okies”–the hundreds of thousands of midwesterners who moved to California following the Dust Bowl drought.
If you can imagine moving to a new city and being told, “We don’t like your kind around here, boy,” then you can start to understand the plight of the “Okies.” Multiply that by about 10–where the locals attack you and burn down the tents you are dwelling in, then you get an even better picture.
Steinbeck explained his motivation for The Grapes of Wrath this way:
This project is 40% done, people. The next time I do a “look back” post like this, 101 Books will be halfway complete! What will I do?
Today’s post is simply a review of some highlights and lowlights from the first 40 novels. It’s a 101 Books Award Show, if you will, except that there are no awards to hand out and no drunken celebrities to present them.
Let us begin.