The editorial team at Amazon Books devotes a small portion of their time celebrating books in seasonal applications by coming up with curated lists of recommended reads. Previous lists have focused on everything from romance for February to cookbooks at the holidays, but this new list of editors’ picks was even farther reaching in scope.
The “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” list pitted editors against each other as they whittled down the best one hundred titles that spoke to a wide audience of readers. At the same time, the list was meant to encompass different stages of any given reader’s life, therefore incorporating beloved children’s classics, young adult favorite that help shape world views, and adult titles for understanding and enjoyment.
“With 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, we set out to build a roadmap of a literary life without making it feel like a homework assignment,” said Sara Nelson, Editorial Director of Print and Kindle Books at Amazon.com. “Over many months, the team passionately debated and defended the books we wanted on this list. In other words, we applied plenty of the bookish equivalent of elbow-grease, and we can’t wait to hear what customers have to say about our final picks.”
The editors have released some interesting information about the process of establishing this list, including: the oldest book on the list was Pride and Prejudice, the most recently published book was Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, the most internally debated book that made the list was 1984 by George Orwell, and a few books–Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth, and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand–were actually nominated unanimously by the editors.
Unfortunately, not all favorite books can be counted. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, and Moby Dick by Herman Melville were among the titles that editors passionately argued for but were ultimately excluded.
A podcast of Nelson’s interview about this year’s list can be found HERE.