Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Smug/Stupid Ratio, per TIME

So TIME magazine has come out with another one of those book lists, challenging readers to estimate just how dumb (or how smug) they may feel by reading the list and judging each other by how few (or how many) of the books on said list they’ve read in their lifetimes.

I admit I fell into the trap.

I’ve read just under one-tenth of the books on their list of the 100 most influential non-fiction books ever written:

7 Maus, by Art Spiegelman
48 The Closing of the American Mind, by Saul Bloom
61 In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
63 All the Presidents Men, by Woodward and Bernstein
72 A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking
83 Elements of Style, by Strunk and White
90 Nickeled and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
93 Working, by Studs Terkel
99 Hiroshima, by John Hersey

I don’t feel stupid or smug, having read these books, or not having read the other 91 books on the list. Lists like these, I remind myself constantly, are subjective. More aggressive reader and pseudointellectual types are likely raising a firestorm about what books are on the list and what books aren’t on the list. I’m just feeling this way:

And a little bit this way:

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