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What do Harry Potter and Cormac McCarthy have in common?

Harry_2 Road_2 In its newest issue, Entertainment Weekly has listed its top 100 classics in various areas (movies, TV, style, music, etc.) and of course books. The best book in the past 25 years? They choose Cormac McCarthy's The Road, with - and this is really a strange choice - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Now I've read Goblet, and I loved it, but I'm just not sure I'm going to list it no. 2. First of all, The Prisoner of Azkaban was really when the series got rolling, so shouldn't it get a nod first? Then: Well. Harry Potter is a phenomenon like the publishing world has never seen, but is it the second best book of the past 25 years? I have to think about that one.

Of course, I'm happy to see Zadie Smith on there (for On Beauty), and Alice Munro (Selected Stories), and Possession (A.S. Byatt), and Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, and Kate Atkinson's Case Histories, and ... well. You can see the book list for yourself by clicking here. For other lists, visit ew.com


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Matt Pinzur

I know my opinion is worth little here, but...

Eat, Pray, Love? Really? C'mon.

Also, I didn't like the Da Vinci Code, but hard to justify putting it so low... it was a phenomenon almost on the scale of Harry Potter, albeit for a briefer period of time.


I got a question for you: What do The Frugalista Files and the No-Spend Zone have in uncommon? I'm convinced they're the same blog.


I had less of a problem with Eat Pray Love being on the list than The Da Vinci Code. The thing is, if the criteria is impact, they both deserve to be on there (Eat Pray Love IS a phenomenon on a lesser scale to Da Vinci, but it's a phenomenon nonetheless, particularly among middle-aged women).

If the criteria is actually quality, then The Da Vinci Code belongs NOWHERE on there.

I think for me, the most ridiculous thing on the list is Scott Smith's The Ruins. Listen, I'm not saying it wasn't fun to read, but...a modern classic? Wha???? It's about killer vines that can mimic cell phones!


Also, I can't help but notice The English Patient is not on the books list...and that is a problem. I mean, Dan Brown and no Michael Ondaatje?

Matt Pinzur

Break out the calendar and the red pen... I agree with you completely, Connie.

People accuse me of snobbery (which is, of course, completely accurate and valid) but I think DaVinci was the lowest form of trash. It used every penny-ante literary trick and a modicum of half-assed Google research to transform a mediocre Indiana Jones ripoff into a page-turning thriller.

Rule of Thumb: If an author tries to keep you reading by ending a chapter with, "And then a shot rang out," do yourself a favor... close the cover, put the book down, and walk away slowly.


It's interesting to speculate on why Da Vinci struck such a nerve. It's poorly written, as you point out. (Strangely, though, I made it to the end, which is kind of amazing.) I suspect people were drawn to the talismans of famous works of art; the "hey, I saw that!" factor. I suppose some like the conspiracy theory angle. And everybody likes a good "Jesus had a kid" theory; it's just so happily upbeat.

But Lord, are you right on the chapter endings...


Where did the Miami Bombshells rank?


...And that fourth Potter book was far from my favorite. It took FOREVER to get going. I did love the last third, tho, and it made for a good movie, but best book of the entire Potter series and No. 2 overall? I'd think not.


I agree that Goblet of Fire took awhile to get going. All that mess about the Quidditch Cup put me to sleep (though it ended up paying off wonderfully at the end). I think that was also the book with all the incredibly dull house elf nonsense in it as well. Still, the TriWizard Tourney was spectacular, and I literally screamed aloud when Harry grabs the cup at the end and it turns into a ... well. YOU know.

But: Not the second best book of the past 25 years, no. You're right.


Hey, Matt - did you see Cloud Atlas made the cut?!

Matt Pinzur

No! I missed that in my skimming of the list. But it makes me very, very happy. I know so few people who slog through the first portion to get to the creamy goodness that is the rest of that book.


There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the list. There's some literary, popular, obscure, fiction, non-fiction, genre, humor, trash, etc. It can't be by bestselling, or well-reviewed. They say it's a list of the "best". What the heck does that mean?? It's a messy jumble. "New Classics"??


I am still in the TV show part of that EW, but I did love the issue with all its lists and argument fodder. Since I just finished The Road a few days ago and remain haunted by it, I'm willing to agree with the #1 rank...but I am NOT willing to see The Da Vinci Code on a list of best anything. Ugh, that book was junk.


If everybody I know - well, except my mom - hated The Da Vinci Code, how come EVERYBODY BOUGHT THE DAMNED THING!

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