…Huckleberry Finn. No surprise there; Huck was the favorite and led from the opening gun. A total of 4,439 votes were cast, but the results at the end of the poll looked very much as they did after the first few hundred ballots. Here are the final standings:
I think it’s noteworthy that To Kill A Mockingbird came in second. Scott and I part company a bit on this one: he thinks it’s a great popular novel, I think it’s a great novel, period.
I was pleasantly surprised that Moby-Dick came in third. When I was a student, many kids read Moby-Dick in school. That’s no longer true, mainly, I think, because schools put a premium on reading books that are short. Thus, American kids read Of Mice and Men and The Old Man and the Sea instead of the many far better books that are ruled out because of their length.
In assembling our list, we tried to pick books that are fun to read. The results indicate, I think, that our readers share that preference. If you haven’t yet read books like Pale Fire and The Sot-Weed Factor, which are wildly funny, or The Age of Innocence and The Long Goodbye, which are hauntingly beautiful in very different ways, I highly recommend them. Paul and Scott may want to add plugs for their own favorites on the list.
Anyway, it was fun. And now it’s time to put away my laptop and open a book.