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101 Books FAQ

Before I start today’s post, I’ll let you know that Watchmen and Lolita won the “runoff” voting yesterday. So that means the next five, in no particular order, will be Never Let Me Go, Animal Farm, Beloved, Watchmen, and Lolita. Thanks for voting!

Now, on to today’s regularly scheduled post…

After the Freshly Pressed feature on Friday, I’ve had a lot of new visitors and subscribers over the weekend.

And since I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, I thought now would be a great time to write a 101 Books FAQ–many of which are questions I’ve been asked, some of which are questions I ask myself when I interview myself. You don’t do that?

I’ll make this a new “page” at the top of the blog menu, if you’re interested in taking a look at it in the future.

So here you go:

What’s the point of 101 Books?

Other than reading through 101 books, all on Time Magazine’s list of ALL-TIME novels published since 1923? I like to read. I like lists. I like big projects. I like blogging. Why not? When I started the blog, I thought I’d simply write a “review” of each book, with a related post here and there, maybe once a week. But the blog slowly morphed into a 5-day-a-week deal, and I’m loving it.

If the Time Magazine list is 100 Books, why is the name of your blog 101 Books?

I explain this a little more in my first post, but basically the list only includes books published since 1923, which was the year Time Magazine started. Ulysses just missed the cut because it was published in 1922. Since it’s widely regarded as the greatest novel in the history of the history, I decided to include it.

How do you have time to read that many books?

Great question. I don’t necessarily have time, but I make time. I read during my lunch break, for about 30 minutes, and I read (and work on the blog) at night after my wife and kid have gone to bed, for about an hour. Reading and running are my two hobbies right now. I think everyone needs a little breather, a little downtime, to re-engergize the batteries. Reading is one of the ways I do that. If you’re really interested, I talk more about it in this post.

In what order are you reading the books?

No particular order. It’s a list but it’s not an ordered list.

So how do you select which book you’re going to read next?

I read them in groups of five with no super-organized plan, to be honest. Sometimes I let the blog readers vote on it. I’ve done that several times, actually. I try and space out the really long 600+ page novels, so I’m not left reading a bunch of weighty novels at the end.

Are you only reading the novels you haven’t read before?

Nope. I’m re-reading the ones I’ve already read, too. Sadly, I had only read 12 of the 101 books before I started.

When do you expect to finish the list?

Well, I started in August 2010. It’s October 2011 and I’ve read 28 books. I have 73 books left to read, not factoring in that The Lord of the Rings is actually 3 books and A Dance To The Music of Time is actually 12 books. I’ll be happy if I can finish all of them sometime in 2014. That said, I love your book suggestions, but if it’s not on the list, I won’t be reading it for a few years.

Will the blog continue once you’ve finished the list?

I honestly don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll continue it in another form or start a new blog with a new concept. I’ve thought about trying to beat the 100 greatest video games of all time, but I don’t know what my wife would think about that. I guess I’ve got a while to figure out what I’ll do next, if I do anything at all.

What’s your favorite/least favorite book you’ve read so far?

Check out my rankings. Through the first 27 books, my favorite is To Kill A Mockingbird and my least favorite is Mrs. Dalloway.

What book are you looking forward to the most/the least?

I’m really looking forward to re-reading The Great Gatsby. It’s one of my all-time favorite books. On The Road was also one of my favorite reads in my early 20s, but I haven’t read it in probably 10 years. It will be interesting to see what I think of it now.

As for the book I’m least looking forward to—that’s got to be A Dance To The Music of Time. It’s not really a book…it’s more like a twelve-volume set of literary torture. Actually, the story is supposed to be great. It’s just long, really long, as in more than 3,000 pages long.

Other Stuff You Probably Don’t Care About

Do you have guest posts?

Not usually. I’ve had one guest post in the first year. I’m not totally opposed to the idea, but it needs to be a well-written article that’s relevant to the list. And, even then, I might not post it. I guess I’m just a control freak.

Have you guest posted on other blogs?

Yes. To this point, the only one I’ve guest posted on is Jane Friedman’s Writer’s Digest blog. I’m also guest posting on Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like on 10/21 and Michael Hyatt’s blog on 10/28.

What are your favorite posts so far?

We’ll I’d be lying if I didn’t include the three freshly pressed posts (Ignorance Revealed, Jonathan Franzen’s 10 Rules of Writing, and Book #27: The Sound and the Fury). After all, those posts have brought in the most traffic and long-term visitors. But here are a few of my other favorites:

Are You On Twitter?

Yes. You can follow me—but not in the cultish sense of the word–@robertbruce76.

How do I subscribe?

Input your email in the text box at the top right side of my homepage. Or, if you’re on WordPress already, simply click “subscribe.”

Favorite nonfiction books?

Into The Wild. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Under the Banner of Heaven. Mere Christianity.

Traditional book or e-reader?

Paper all the way. More on that.

Do you like milk?


Do you like vinegar?

Absolutely not.

Favorite herb? 

Basil…hands down.

What’s the capital of Delaware?


Any other questions? Feel free to fire away.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. It’s great to know that you like milk and know the capital of Delaware. Your credibility was waning with me until I read those awesome facts.


    October 12, 2011
    • It’s important for me to let everyone know I’m tolerant of lactose.


      October 12, 2011
  2. Dominick Sabalos #

    Not really FAQ fodder, but since it’s confirmed that Watchmen’s coming up – have you ever read a comic book before? Either single issues or collected paperbacks or whatever. Just curious.


    October 12, 2011
    • Good question. I have, but it’s been a really long time. Probably 25 years or so. I used to read Batman, Spiderman, Superman, the usuals, for a couple of years when I was a kid.

      I read Maus in college, but I think that’s the only graphic novel I’ve read.


      October 12, 2011
      • Just a head’s up I had to read it twice – once for the dialogue and then again for the illustration (what’s the right word?!?). My mind doesn’t work that great with that type of novel – but it’s worth it!


        October 12, 2011
  3. Jen #

    I’m really interested in what you have to say about Lolita. Over the years, I’ve thought about reading it, but I’ve never been brave enough. It’s a classic for a reason, though, so…


    October 12, 2011
    • I’m really interested in what I have to say about Lolita too. The story just creeps me out.


      October 12, 2011
  4. I just finished Never Let Me Go. Looking forward to your review of it.


    October 12, 2011
  5. zigana #

    Hi Robert…

    I was wondering if you have seen this list of “must reads” and was also wonderin if being a man and all… do you agree?

    The 75 Books Every Man Should Read

    That might be a great post in and of itself… just sayin.


    October 20, 2011
    • Great suggestion. Thanks! I’ve seen that a while back, and I agree that it should be a good post subject.


      October 21, 2011

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