I don't think that the love of :
...literary lists and the fights they provokeis a peculiarly British affliction, as William Grimes implies. His own newspaper came up with a list of the best American novels not so long ago, and annually lists the "100 most notable" and then the "ten best" books; Americans Peder Zane and Francine are among those to have written books listing books.
But good for Grimes, he steps up to the plate and engages in a good argue with Boxall about what should have been included in place of what is ... which is really the point of a book like this in the first place.
But do such lists cause feelings of :
... guilt and inadequacyas Grimes implies? Book lovers do rather play a game of oneupmanship with books, feeling smugly superior when we have read something the other person we're in conversation with hasn't, feeling trumped when the tables are turned on us.
I had forgotten this :
In his novel “Changing Places,” David Lodge — not on the list — introduces a game called Humiliation. Players earn points by admitting to a famous work that they have not read. The greater the work, the higher the point score. An obnoxious American academic, competing with a group of colleagues, finally gets the hang of the game and plays his trump card: “Hamlet.” He wins the game but is then denied tenure.Let's play a round of Humiliation here. What are your gravest literary omissions?
My list would be very very long indeed, but just to start the ball rolling I will go first - with Kafka's The Trial. I do want to read it ... just never have. Haven't even got a copy of it yet. But I laugh at myself nodding knowingly whenever anyone brings it up in conversation.
Please reserve your snorts of derision until you have made your own confession in the comments.