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I'm jumping on [livejournal.com profile] wanderlust_atx's bandwagon for this literary meme.



In 2005, Time Magazine picked the 100 best English-language novels (Update: since 1923, the year the magazine was founded, which explains away some, but not all, of my quibbles). How many have you read? Copy this list and mark the selections you have read in bold. If you liked it, add a star (*) in front of the title, if you didn't, give it a minus (-). Then, put the total number of books you've read in the subject line and pass it on! Bonus: Think Time missed a title? Add a novel you think belongs in the top 100.


The Adventures of Augie March - Saul Bellow
All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
American Pastoral - Philip Roth
An American Tragedy - Theodore Dreiser
Animal Farm - George Orwell (managed to slip past this one…liked 1984, though)
Appointment in Samarra - John O'Hara
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume
The Assistant - Bernard Malamud
* At Swim-Two-Birds - Flann O'Brien
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Beloved - Toni Morrison
The Berlin Stories - Christopher Isherwood
* The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (on my shelf – keep meaning to read it)
The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Thornton Wilder
Call It Sleep - Henry Roth
* Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
* The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
* A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
The Confessions of Nat Turner - William Styron
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
* The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon (I actually like Pynchon, and I’m not just saying that thinking it will impress anyone)
A Dance to the Music of Time - Anthony Powell
The Day of the Locust - Nathanael West
Death Comes for the Archbishop - Willa Cather
A Death in the Family - James Agee
The Death of the Heart - Elizabeth Bowen
Deliverance - James Dickey
Dog Soldiers - Robert Stone
Falconer - John Cheever
The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles (liked The Magus…need to read this one)
The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing
Go Tell it on the Mountain - James Baldwin
Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (kind of indifferent to this one)
* Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon
* The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

A Handful of Dust - Evelyn Waugh (why on earth haven’t I read any Waugh? Big gaping hole, and I’m confident I’ll like it)
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers
* The Heart of the Matter - Graham Greene
Herzog - Saul Bellow
* Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson
A House for Mr. Biswas - V.S. Naipaul
I, Claudius - Robert Graves
Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace (I’ve read excerpts)
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
Light in August - William Faulkner (One of the few I haven’t read by him)
* The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
* Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
Lord of the Flies - William Golding (No marking…I’m indifferent about this one)
* The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
Loving - Henry Green
Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis (Another I keep meaning to read)
The Man Who Loved Children - Christina Stead
Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie (Liked the Satanic Verses…need to branch out)
Money - Martin Amis
The Moviegoer - Walker Percy (liked The Second Coming)
* Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
* Naked Lunch - William Burroughs
Native Son - Richard Wright
* Neuromancer - William Gibson
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (Remains Of The Day is brilliant…makes me wonder how much better this could be)
* 1984 - George Orwell (his prose style leaves me a bit cold, but I like this one in spite of its faults)
* On the Road - Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
The Painted Bird - Jerzy Kosinski
* Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabokov
A Passage to India - E.M. Forster
Play It As It Lays - Joan Didion
Portnoy's Complaint - Philip Roth
- Possession - A.S. Byatt (tedious…have a hard time fathoming why people like this one. I thought I would, as it appealed thematically to a lot of things I like, including the epistolary form in novels. But it just didn’t work for me)
The Power and the Glory - Graham Greene
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
Rabbit, Run - John Updike
Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
The Recognitions - William Gaddis
* Red Harvest - Dashiell Hammett (interesting choice, and despite sentimentally preferring The Thin Man and The Maltese Falcon, I agree with the choice…his best and most important work.)
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
* The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles
* Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

* Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
The Sot-Weed Factor - John Barth
- The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner (not a fan, despite significant effort)
The Sportswriter - Richard Ford
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold - John le Carre
* The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway (I prefer the short stories and For Whom The Bell Tolls, but this one I like well enough)
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
* To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf (really need to read this one…like much of her stuff)
* Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller (liked despite its harsh attitudes toward women, and being more vulgar than I usually find felicitous)
Ubik - Philip K. Dick
Under the Net - Iris Murdoch
* Watchmen - Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
White Noise - Don DeLillo
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys


Reader’s Choice:

Any of the following could rightly be placed in this list:

Bleak House – Charles Dickens
The Code of the Woosters (or maybe Jeeves In The Morning) – P.G. Wodehouse
Jude The Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Ulysses – James Joyce
Wise Blood – Flannery O’Connor
Mansfield Park or Pride And Prejudice - Jane Austen


And the inclusion of Watchmen plucks a finger from the dike and fails to deal with the flood of other worthy graphic novels. Leaving it at just one graphic novel is flatly disingenuous. They should have done a top 200 instead and made room for more graphic novels, plus all of the above and more.




Update: More Reader's Choice

I can't believe I forgot these....

Dhalgren - Samuel R. Delany
The USA Trilogy - John Dos Passos (much like Lord Of The Rings, it is for all intents and purposes a single book that just happens to be published in 3 volumes)

And just to stir things up a bit, not only should Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale be on this list, but also some Kathy Acker - probably Don Quixote: Which Was A Dream for its exuberant tower-toppling feminism and structural avant-garde insanity.

Date: 2006-10-31 10:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wanderlust-atx.livejournal.com
I did some poking as to why there were no Brontes, Dickens, or Austen on this list and according to the source, the list encompasses 1928 through 2005. So that takes care of that.

And a tip of the hat to you for using felicitious on LJ. ;-)

Date: 2006-10-31 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abbandono.livejournal.com
Fair enough, but that doesn't excuse them from having no Wodehouse. Oh! Or no John Dos Passos.

And they could have picked Finnegan's Wake, but considering even fewer people have finished that than Gravity's Rainbow or Infinite Jest, I can see why they wouldn't.

Date: 2006-10-31 11:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] churlish.livejournal.com
Only 3 and 7/8 for me =P

Date: 2006-11-01 05:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abbandono.livejournal.com
Hehe. Maybe you would have more than that in the 100 greatest French-language novels.

Date: 2006-11-01 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] churlish.livejournal.com
Most likely. Or in the 100 greatest philosophical works.

Date: 2006-11-01 01:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] phylomath.livejournal.com
I too had an awful time with The Sound and the Fury. I tried, but god, what a slog.

Date: 2006-11-01 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 14icedbear.livejournal.com
i didn't notice until i read your version of the list that they included red harvest.

and i can't believe neither you, sara, nor karin have read wide sargasso sea. it's not like it's my very favorite or anything, but it's pretty interesting and a very quick read.

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