By WILLIAM REES
There is something rather curious about the “hundred best” list (see Michael Caines's posts "Not the hundred best novels?" and "The hundred most influential books since the war?"); after all, putting the vote to the public or, worse, a cadre of self-elected experts almost never results in anything that will meaningfully diverge from an all-too-well-known canon. And yet we are compelled, time and again, to draw up endless variations of the same list, and to read them. Even those of us who have not contributed to an “official” list have probably drawn up hazier versions in our imaginations, perhaps as we stare at that familiar patch of ceiling above our beds.