I spend a lot of time looking over lists of the greatest books ever written. I take notice of award winners. I listen to critics.

Unpopular things. My friends regard me as either stupid or obsessive.

 But critical opinion does matter. Critics are generally good readers who have read a lot and have informed opinions. I tend to enjoy highly recommended books. There are times I don’t; there are a number of critical darlings I just can’t abide – but I certainly have a good success rate.

They are subjective – but that doesn’t make them just a matter of taste. The amazing things about humans is our ability to share language and taste through the medium of culture. The books on many of the ‘greatest’ lists compiled have managed to appeal to many people for many years. So they might appeal to you too.

I’m going to start a series of posts on different lists available and how I’ve found them.