Norm’s Alternative Big Read is out — and here’s a handful of interesting things. It turns out that I’ve only read 25 of the BBC’s top 100 in the Big Read, which is a bit scandalous, since, the faddish overrepresentation of Harry Potter and the mere presence of Jeffrey Archer aside, it seems a pretty good list. But of the 25 that I have read, fifteen of them are here among Norm’s top twenty, and, within that list, all five of the ones I haven’t read fall into his poll’s top ten (it’s shameful confession time: Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, Middlemarch, The Grapes of Wrath and Anna Karenina).
So of this top ten, I’ve read half; of the second half of this top twenty, I’ve read all; and of the bottom eighty, I’ve read only one eighth. That’s a curious distribution, though quite what the chief mechanisms are that generate it aren’t really clear.