(I do like this cover.)
I was so super impressed with William Patrick Martin's most recent booklist book, The Mother of All Booklists, that I immediately requested this slightly older volume from my library. It has the same set-up: five chapters each representing an age group, each with 100 recommended reads. The author explains in the introduction that he used the same process of culling through dozens of "best of" lists and compiling the results. I so loved reading through the Early Reader and Middle Grades sections! Looking at the covers and reading the brief synopses took me right back to my childhood library. It made me want to go re-read them all! Then I got to the Young Adult and Adult sections, and my enthusiasm decreased dramatically. The Young Adult section was packed full of classics. Not that there's anything wrong with classical literature, but I think you find it more in schools than in a teen's casual reading. And I can't speak for everywhere, but in my local library and book stores, these literary classics (such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, etc.) are shelved in the adult section. I also noticed a trend in the Young Adult and Adult sections of A Lifetime of Fiction: a nearly complete absence of science fiction/fantasy. At the end of the book, the author again breaks up the titles by interest, and there are four sci fi/fantasy books in the Adult category! Four! Out of 100! So, I would say that this might be a good starting point for a parent of a young child, but I wouldn't use it for reader's advisory for teens or adults.
*I checked out my copy of A Lifetime of Fiction from my local library.