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Reader’s Digest Releases Best 100 Books of All Time List

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Erica Ezeifedi

Associate Editor

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack. Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

Reader’s Digest released a list of what it considers to be 100 of the best books of all time yesterday. The list, which it describes as consisting of books that “open our minds to new characters, points of view, and worlds,” is a mix of nonfiction and fiction.

There are bestsellers on the list, as well as award-winners, and some that have had some other kind of impact on Western literature and society. It’s not said whether the books are ranked, but it does take more than 10 titles to get to the first nonwhite author on the list. Additionally, blatantly racist books like Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen are affixed with the disclaimer that they are “not free of the racial bias and colonial attitudes of the time,” and then described as giving “a glimpse into an area of the world that’s largely overlooked when telling the coming-of-age narrative of modern countries.” As far as coming-of-age tales set in similar areas, I’m sure there were better books to choose from that didn’t center racist white Danish women’s experiences. Like Nobel Prize-winning East African writer Abdulrazak Gurnah’s coming-of-age tale Paradise, for instance.

There is some diversity on the list, however, with authors like James Baldwin, Gabriel García Márquez, Toni Morrison, Jhumpa Lahiri, and others having their books mentioned.

Here are a few of Reader’s Digest’s 100 Best Books of All Time. For the full list, click here.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Love Medicine cover

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan 

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (1999)

Love Medicine by Louise Eldrich 

All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein 

The Liars’ Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote 

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.