Topic: Must Read
So I was browsing through Amazon's online Kindle store and there was a link to "100 Books for $3.99 or Less." Who could resist?
Heinlein's The Door into Summer was one of them and I snapped it up for a pittance. Then I came upon Thrillers:100 Must-Reads (edited by David Morell and Hank Wagner). My curiosity pricked, I downloaded it to my Kindle. For a mere $2.99, why not?
Thrillers takes the form of a chronological list, beginning in 1500 B.C. with Theseus and the Minotaur (author unknown) and ending in 2003 A.D. with The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown). For each entry, a contemporary thriller writer has supplied a review essay.
The editors defined “thriller” very broadly indeed. The fourth entry is Macbeth, a choice that I regarded skeptically for a moment before conceding that Shakespeare’s Scottish horror story does indeed embody the elements of a thriller. I was unsurprised to see such titles as Dracula, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Day of the Jackal—obvious choices all. But Conrad’s Heart of Darkness? Hmmm. And P.G. Wodehouse’s Summer Lightning? Really? Each in its own way, these are fine books—but including them on the list meant that other, more worthy candidates had to be included out, e.g. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (whose The War of the Worlds is number sixteen on the list). As for the review essays, the ones I've read so far—about a quarter of the total—range from insightful to pedestrian.
Such quibbles aside, I was curious not only to see what tales made the list, but how many I’ve actually read. The somewhat surprisingly low tally: thirty-two. The thing is, I don’t read much crime fiction, the inevitably dominant genre in the thriller category. Still I enjoyed perusing Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, even if it did add several titles to my ever-lengthening list of books that I simply must get around to reading…