Introduction - Why more reading lists?

This is a site of book lists


Harold Bloom has probably generated the most famous list in the past two decades in his Western Canon. What is the problem with that list? Why more lists?


The simple answer is: Bloom's list is just a literary list of Western texts. The focus is on the aesthetic value of a text as a piece of literature, and it's coverage and audience is explicitly "Western". For those interested in looking at the full list, you can find it  here.


That being said, Bloom's nomenclature of a "Canon" is already an improvement over the term "Great Books" used earlier by the likes of Motimer Alder. "Canon" at least points to the somewhat objective sociological fact that each of the text included have some history of being considered to be important and central to certain tradition(s). On the other hand, the term "Great" in the early 21st century sounds too explicitly subjective.


So, what you will find here are lists that seek to be at least somewhat objective sociologically-speaking and balanced genre- and tradition-wise.


As of now, there are two primary sets of lists on this site:

1. List of 150 - With 150 texts, this long list represents my current (latest) sense of "balance" of texts across dimensions such as traditions, genres, period, geographic origin, and languages. This list consists of 4 sub-lists: East Asian (36 texts), South Asian (36 texts), CWANA (24 texts), and Western (54 texts). Shorter derivatives of this list include versions of 100 texts, 50 texts, 25 texts and 12 texts

2. List of 36 - This is the original list on which this site was built. The fundamental concepts of my lists are explained more clearly here. A list of 36 texts can probably be covered in undergraduate courses in 1-2 years. For those looking for shorter reading lists, there are also two derivative lists with 16 texts and 4 texts.