I am fortunate enough to have some extra down time in my days when I’m not working and playing games and making ends meet. I suppose I could use this time to be productive. I could wash the giant pile of laundry that’s waiting for me, or finish painting my office, but no. Why would I do those things when I can lose myself in a good book? I’ve been trying to step away from the computer each night early enough to read for at least a half hour before bed. This week I remembered that NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books list exists, and that I keep meaning to work my way through it. I figure Blaugust is a perfect time to get started on it, to give me more blog fodder and to keep me honest and see if I’m still making progress.
I chose this list instead of any of the billion other lists of top sci-fi and fantasy because I generally trust NPR as a curator of interesting stories, because 60,000 people voted on it, and because it is easily accessible. I do acknowledge that it is 5 or so years old now, so it is probably missing a few amazing recent works.
The list cheats a bit, in that many of the items are series, not single books. If a single book of a series is listed alone, I’ll just read that one. For listed series, I’ll read the first book and leave the rest up to personal discretion. If I enjoyed the first one or if I feel like it is worthwhile to me culturally to keep reading I will. Even if I’m really loving a series I will probably stop after 3 and come back to it later because if I get myself bogged down in The Wheel of Time or some other long series I may never finish this list.
I also recognize that this is a very long term project. If I did no other reading it would still take ages to get through this entire list, so I’m only going to require that I finish one of these per month. That way I can alternate between these classics and whatever new shiny novel Seanan McGuire wrote this week or other thing that catches my fancy.
So here are my full ground rules for this challenge:
- Start at #100 and work up the list to #1
- Must attempt every book
- May skip books after reading at least 25% if they are just awful or upsetting
- May stop series after reading the first book
- Must track progress and rate each work
- Must complete one book each month
I did the math before writing this post, and I’ve read about half of this 100 already. Some of them recently, some of them decades ago. I’m curious to see if they hold up to my vague memories of them, or if age gives me a bit of perspective and makes them even more enjoyable.
Item #100 on the list, and hence my first for this challenge, is the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. I’ve never read these, but I’m not a huge fan of C.S. Lewis’ other work. I don’t really know anything about this one at all, though, so I’m curious to see how it compares.
Interested in joining me on this challenge? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!