Another Top 100, Another Good News (or: Dickens’ Revenge)…

I find comfort in browsing through the Top 100 of the Gutenberg website every time I go there to download some free classics.

I’ve always been slightly discouraged to look at the List of Notable Books in newspapers (from which I haven’t read any in most cases), at the Top Sales shelf at the nearest mega-bookstore in the mall, or at the Fiction Bestsellers list in Amazon: there is always only very recent fiction (no books published more than 3 months ago, except for the occasional re-release of a classics like for a movie/TV tie-in). I don’t want to imply that all these books are worthless, but I doubt if anyone will remember them in, say, 10 years.

But where else than in Gutenberg can you see a Top 100 that includes several Jane Austen (every time I looked), Tolstoy, James Joyce, Homer, George Eliot and Ibsen? Yesterday, the most popular authors of the day were:

  1. Dickens, Charles (2280 downloads a day!)
  2. Twain, Mark (1789)
  3. Shakespeare, William (1232)
  4. Thomson, J. Arthur (1221) – who’s that guy ranking higher than Austen who wrote The Outline of Science?
  5. Austen, Jane (1114)

Who said nobody read classics?

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5 thoughts on “Another Top 100, Another Good News (or: Dickens’ Revenge)…

  1. Fun to stumble upon a post so similar to one of my own for this week. I am reading Schopenhauer these days and he would be much soothed to learn that the classics are not dying.
    I think the wonderful people at Gutenberg deserve a prize for their project.

  2. I rarely read books that are on those bestseller lists either, and usually haven’t read many that appear on the ‘best of the year’ lists as well. Some seem to be worthy reads, but I think you’re right a lot will be quickly forgotten. I’ll have to check out the Project Gutenberg list. I am becoming a fan of that site actually. Yay for Dickens!

  3. Yes, I was thinking about the same thing with recent books yesterday when I read about the Morning News Tournament of Books 2008. One can only vote for books published in 2007 in English. I bought quite a few books that fall into that category but I haven’t read them yet. I rarely read them right away unless it’s a favourite genre writer.

  4. Verbivore, Oh Schopenhauer, I’m so impressed! Gutenberg is indeed a wonderful project.

    Danielle, if reading online is not too much hassle for you, you’ll find some hidden gems at Gutenberg!

    Bikkuri, yes Dickens is always a great read, it takes you along in his world! Dickens’ Christmas stories are indeed a season’s favorite.

    Imani, too bad for these tournaments! It’s fair enough that they want to promote recent books and new authors, but you need time to digest all of them!

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