Last weekend, the Sydney Morning Herald website published Angus & Robertson’s list of Top 100 Books of All Time. The list was compiled based on the votes of 26,000 readers and confirms my long-standing suspicion that people are morons.
Here’s my own little list.
Top 10 Reasons Why the Top 100 Books List is About as Definitive as a Cowpat:
1. The Harry Potter series stole first place. Has the world gone mad?
2. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult scored 5th. This is one of those books I stupidly read simply because every idiot around me went on and on about how wonderful it was and claimed that it changed their miserable lives. So I read it, and then I tore out every page and wiped my arse with it. The plot of My Sister’s Keeper is based entirely on a single ethical dilemma: is it right to take an organ from one child (against their will) in order to ensure the survival of its sibling? After debating this throughout the whole goddamn book, and including many tedious courtroom scenes filled with ridiculously inappropriate behaviour from the characters, Picoult neatly sidesteps the issue altogether by killing the protagonist in a car accident and leaving all her organs up for grabs. I almost expected to turn to the last page and read, “And then they all woke up and realised it was just a dream!” Fuck you, Jodi Picoult, you wasted four hours of my life and I want them back. I could have used that time to read something better, like the phone book.
3. Rolling in at number 8 was Tim Winton’s Breath. Don’t get me wrong, I totally heart Tim Winton. I would probably have sex with him based on his writing ability alone, and Winton is about as attractive as a dog’s bum. But Breath just didn’t cut it for me. The plot was shaky, the characters confusing, and the ending unsatisfying. The one thing Breath proves is that even if your idea is shitty, you can get by on superb writing skills alone.
4. April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtney slides in at number 25. Again, I love a bit of Bryce, but April Fool’s Day is hardly his best work. What about The Potato Factory, Jessica or Four Fires? They piss all over a (sometimes) whiney account of Courtney’s son’s death, punctuated by uncensored rants against the public health system. On the bright side, you’ll never shower without a raincoat again.
5. In 27th place is In My Skin by Kate Holden. In My Skin is a great read, but mainly for shock factor. Every bored housewife loves reading about a high class heroin-addict whore. Who cares if she can write? She’s exciting. Idiots.
6. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is ranked 29th. After The Kite Runner, I was expecting big things from Hosseini. Unfortunately, A Thousand Splendid Suns is about as engaging as a brick wall. I didn’t even finish the fucking thing.
7. In 32nd place is Atonement by Ian McEwan. What the deuce is wrong with people? Atonement the book sucked even harder than the movie! McEwan seems to have taken a leaf out of Picoult’s book too for the ending – after labouring through three hundred pages of meaningless romantic crap, you find out that none of it ever really happened in the first place.
8. Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist comes in at 57th. Oh god, now I’m really angry. The Alchemist is another book I read because everyone in the world recommended it to me. I thought it was a load of horse shit. This is by far the most boring, meaningless, mind-numbing novel I’ve read in the last year. Through Santiago’s journey, we are supposed to realise that no matter how unattainable our dreams seem, if we just have the courage and determination to pursue them, we will succeed. This, my friends, is why so many losers try out for Australian Idol and cry when they don’t make it through. The reality is you will probably never achieve your dream – that’s why it’s called a dream.
9. At number 89 is Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. WHY THE FUCK IS THIS SO FAR DOWN THE LIST? Sedaris is a goddamn genius. He’s the Einstein of the twenty-first century. In fact, I think SMH’s list should have consisted solely of Sedaris’ work.
10. This is not a list of the Top 100 Books of All Time. It’s a list of the Top 100 Commercialised Crap Published During the Last Fifteen Years With Some Token Austen, Bronte and Dickens Thrown In to Create an Impression of False Credibility.