One Hundred Best Books
With Commentary and an Essay on Books and Reading
JOHN COWPER POWYS
This selection of “One hundred best books” is made after a different method and with a different purpose from the selections already in existence. Those apparently are designed to stuff the minds of young persons with an accumulation of “standard learning” calculated to alarm and discourage the boldest. The following list is frankly subjective in its choice; being indeed the selection of one individual, wandering at large and in freedom through these “realms of gold.”
The compiler holds the view that in expressing his own predilection, he is also supplying the need of kindred minds; minds that read purely for the pleasure of reading, and have no sinister wish to transform themselves by that process into what are called “cultivated persons.” The compiler feels that any one who succeeds in reading, with reasonable receptivity, the books in this list, must become, at the end, a person with whom it would be a delight to share that most classic of all pleasurable arts—the art of intelligent conversation.