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:
- Dickens, Charles (2280 downloads a day!)
- Twain, Mark (1789)
- Shakespeare, William (1232)
- Thomson, J. Arthur (1221) – who’s that guy ranking higher than Austen who wrote The Outline of Science?
- Austen, Jane (1114)
Who said nobody read classics?