THE TEN BEST
As man is a gregarious animal, and does most of his performances in company with others of his kind, it is natural that he should take pleasure in statistical tabulations of the tastes and ancles of his fellows. One of the latest of these diversions is a poll among some few hundreds of the cognoscente- a term which has recently become "le mot juste" among the intelligentsia--to determine the ten best books published since 1900.
To allay the suspense at once, the chosen volumes in order, as determined by the "International Book Review," are "The Outline of History," "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," "If Winter Comes," "The Americanization of Edward Bok," "The Life of Christ," "The Crisis," O. Henry's Short Stories, "The Virginian," "Life and Letters of Waltor H. Page," and "The Mind in the Making," by J. H. Robinson. An analysis of this surprising survey brings to light some interesting and significant data. Since only five of the books are novels, the American reading public, apparently, is not so hopelessly devoted to the appeals of pure fiction as caustic critics would have one believe. On the other hand, the fact that the first five books have all been published within the last six years makes it seem that many readers cast their votes on a basis of recency rather than of intelligent reflection. Although only two native sons are among the elect, and incidentally no daughters from any nation--it is extremely doubtful whether, had the vote taken, place in Great Britain, Owen Wister and O.Henry would not have yielded their places to Sir James Barrie and the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
For the rest there are several rather surprising inclusions and omissions. That Giovanni Papini's "Life of Christ" should have attained such heights of popularity in one scant year of existence is as revealing in one way as la the mention of "The Virginian," which is twenty-two years old, to the exclusion of any of Booth Tarkington's work; for example, 'The Conquest of Canaan," or "The Gentleman From Indiana." Dyed in the wool conservatives, however, may be cheered by the fact that neither "Jurgen" nor "Women in Love" were so much as mentioned.