Yet another bloody list, this time from the Telegraph. But at least with this one it's difficult to argue with the core concept: 110 books that changed the world. Although the headline deploys the infuriatingly fuzzy adjective "best", it's really about importance, and any arguments are cultural rather than critical.
Another advantage is that there's no assumption that you need to have read any of the volumes to have a view on their relative importance. At the age of 15, I had it drummed into me by my history teacher that Diderot's Encyclopédie kick-started the European Englightenment, and I've never felt the urge to peruse any of its 35 volumes.
That said, I think the division between 'CLASSICS', 'LITERARY FICTION' and 'ROMANTIC FICTION' seems pretty arbitrary: couldn't Madame Bovary or Tess of the D'Urbervilles have slipped into any of those three camps? And there seem to be some howling omissions, as picked up in the comments: The Bible; The Qu'ran; Dostoevsky; Adam Smith; Graham Greene; and if we're looking at impact over quality, where's Valley of the Dolls?
Never mind, the concept's sound, even if the execution leaves something to be desired. But what do you think are the truly important books? Or, conversely, the books that you love, but know to be utterly unimportant.