The next book I read, will be a milestone of sorts, as it will be my 50th from the list. The halfway mark. My first thought was I should be picking something special for the halfway mark, but quickly realized that on a list of '100 All Time Books,' they're all supposed to be special. Of course one could argue that these books are sort of like the beasts in Animal Farm; all books are equally great, but some are more equally great than others.
I ventured over to my local library yesterday to see what was available and to pick up what would be my 50th book. For a long time I had figured on reading Lord of the Rings as the 50th. It's a book I'm not that keen to read, it's big, it's well known, and for some reason always struck me as an ideal halfway book. After spotting it on the shelf, I decided to keep searching.
The copy my local branch has is 1,100 pages, with font so small I'd need a magnifying glass to read it. Considering I'm coming off a seven week odyssey through The Sot-Weed Factor I don't think I should be reading something so monumental right now. While I did check it out, it will not be my 50th read. Perhaps 52 or 53, but not 50. I don't want get bogged down in another lengthy tale, and suddenly find that it's April and I've only read two books.
Instead, I've decided to read Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. The first criteria it meets, and perhaps the most important, is that it's short, only 215 pages. But also, it's the first detective novel I'll have read, granted there are only a couple on the list. It was also written in the 1920's, and I haven't read a book from the 20's since The Bridge of San Luis Rey, nearly a year ago. So that's that. The midway point will be Red Harvest. And so far the plan is working as I'm about halfway through it already.