Newsweek‘s book coverage had become a bit sporadic (also true, sadly, for most of the weeklies, with the notable exceptions of People, Entertainment Weekly and The New Yorker).

The current issue (July 13; Michael Jackson on the cover, of course) makes up for that with a feature on the 50 books that are not “best books,”  but books that “open a window on the times we live in.” Who needs “another list telling you how great The Great Gatsby” is, they say (nonetheless, online, perhaps as a form of self-protection, they also provide a best list — Newsweek‘s Top 100 Books).

It’s interesting to see the mix of older and contemporary books on the list; number one is Trollope’s 1875 masterpiece, The Way we Live Now. Newsweek says,

Trollope’s satire of financial (and moral) crisis in Victorian England even has a Madoff-before-Madoff, a tragic swindler named Augustus Melmotte.

Harry Potter doesn’t make the cut, but Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series does.

This list is more fun than the over-familiar “bests” lists. It would make a great book display or a reading group discussion (“What books would you choose?”)

5 Responses to “Newsweek’s WHAT TO READ NOW”

  1. Amy Says:

    Hi, I received my personal copy of Newsweek by mail yesterday, and “What to Read Now” was the cover story. I don’t have the issue in front of me, but I think there was an editorial concerning the editors’ decision not to put Michael Jackson on the cover. Interesting that they changed their minds.

  2. Nora Rawlinson Says:

    That’s fascinating; thanks for letting us know. I wonder if the Michael Jackson cover was on newsstand issues? It’s still the one on the Newsweek Web site.

  3. Amy Says:

    The Newsweek issue I saw at the grocery store yesterday had the very young Michael Jackson on the cover.

  4. Mike Says:

    Any list like this that excluded any books by Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Henry James just to name a few & says Winnie the Poo is better book than what any of these authors wrote is a joke in my opinion.

  5. Janelle Says:

    Do you have the original list? Newsweek is changing their site and the list is no longer available there. I would love to see it. Thanks!