This is a call - over the next week or so, spend some time putting together a short list of your personal essential titles that are maybe a little bit out of the mainstream. Say, your top 25 or so that you think are representative or transformative of their era or genre, or are culturally important or especially significant in some way.
Not Pride and Prejudice or The Great Gatsby or the titles that show up on every great books list, that we all - as avid readers - already either have read or are on our radar screen, but stuff that is a bit more out of the way than that.
For example, my list would definitely include Excellent Women by Barbara Pym, South Riding by Winifred Holtby, The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr, and Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. Anything goes - genre fiction/literary fiction/out-of-the-way classics, etc.
More diverse is better. Not all dead white guys - not that I'm adamantly opposed to dead white guys, but they tend to saturate the lists. And I'm definitely not saying that they won't be on the list - just that they're so obvious we don't need to look for them, IYKWIM.
Oh, and I know that books that are shiny and new are fun, but I'm looking for titles that we really think will stand the test of time, and sometimes the only way to know is to give them time, so be judicious with books that were published in the last five years or so. Hard to know if they will make the cut at the end of the day!
I'm interested in everyone's ideas b/c we have some incredibly well-read people on this website.
Tag your posts with either "crowdsourced" or "essential books" so I am sure to find them!
And thanks in advance to everyone for playing!