Here it is. My Top 100 Novels – the complete list.
Here is the list: (more…)
22 February, 2013
19 February, 2013
Before I put up the full Top 100 list (and do the post for #1), I am tossing up this bit of various trivia and statistics about the novels on my Top 100 list and on the 101-200 list.
Please note that none of the lists involving 101-200 have numbers attached because I didn’t rank them.
17 February, 2013
This list works a bit differently than the Top 100. First of all, this is not a ranked list. Except for the first three listed titles, they are placed on this list chronologically. Second, I have not been back through each one of these titles the way I have gone through the Top 100. Some of these I haven’t re-read in years while every one of the Top 100 were re-read before I wrote on them. There won’t be individual posts on these books. Think of this list as less the definitive second 100 as 100 great novels that are worth a read.
Don’t mistake me. These aren’t just books I enjoy reading. I hope to start a series soon called Great Reads (which will all get individual posts), which are all about the books I really enjoy, but that don’t really belong on a list like this one, let alone the Top 100. These are all great novels (though some might also end up in Great Reads).
What about your book, the one you were surprised didn’t make the Top 100 and are even more surprised didn’t make this list? Well, I had to pare it down (I originally typed out over 125 novels and considered far more). Just imagine that whatever book you’re thinking of that didn’t make the list was one of the last ones I cut. Well, unless your book is Infinite Jest, Middlemarch, On the Road or anything by Jane Austen or Henry James. If you thought those might ever make the list you have clearly never read anything else I have ever posted on literature and are probably brand new to the site. Welcome!
Now, as for those first three titles. Well, I made the decision not to re-approach my list while in the process of doing these posts (of course I didn’t know it would take over three years to get the whole list done). Because of that, sometimes things come up that I realized belonged on the list. The first of them was something I had somehow never read and as soon as I read it (mid-2011), I realized it should have been on the list. The second was one I went back and re-read in the summer of 2012 after re-watching the film with Veronica and I realized I had long under-estimated it and it should have been on the list. The third of them I have the best excuse for – it hadn’t even been written when I did the list. But it belongs on it. So those are the de facto other Top 100 books. (more…)
25 March, 2012
“I write fiction and I’m told it’s autobiography, I write autobiography and I’m told it’s fiction, so since I’m so dim and they’re so smart, let them decide what it is or it isn’t.” (Deception)
Philip Roth has not won the Nobel Prize. But it seems like he’s won everything else. And if the Nobel Committee were to realize that there are countries outside of Europe (hell, outside of Sweden – nine Swedes have now won the Nobel Prize in Literature – I know it’s your country, but that’s ridiculous), they would look at Roth again. He has written award winning books, award winning short stories, he has written on the art of writing and on his contemporaries. He has helped to build the knowledge of European Literature in the United States, being the editor of Writers from the Other Europe Series from Penguin that brought, among others, Milan Kundera to the forefront in the States. With John Updike and Saul Bellow now gone, he is the last of that breed, those writers who were obsessed with sex, obsessed with life, who gave us great novels that were cultural as well as literary milestones.
He is one of my favorites. You might not want to shake his hand, or even know him. But you should definitely read him.
20 March, 2012
12 June, 2011
3 September, 2010
Sometime in early October, the Swedish Academy will present this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. By now, they should have already reduced their list of candidates for this year down to five. But, nonetheless, I will throw up this list now in the hopes of getting their attention (yeah, right).
I had intended to combine this list with a retrospective on the complete works of Philip Roth, but I was also planning on tying that in to one of his novels in my top 100 and that’ll be a while, so I’m tying it in with a Rushdie novel.
It seems that at times the Nobel Prize Committee could use a list. To be fair, the Nobel Prize has gone to many worthy recipients, including Knut Hamsun, William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Eugene O’Neill, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, Saul Bellow, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison. And, because, with rare exceptions, the award doesn’t mention a particular work, it is hard to criticize the exclusion of any particular author in any particular year. (more…)
12 April, 2010
Author: Philip Roth
8 April, 2010
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is the oldest and perhaps most distinguished literary award in the United States. Faulkner, Hemingway and Steinbeck all won it, as did Morrison, Updike and Roth. But how distinguished is it, really? How many of these books are still studied? How many of them are even still read? How well do they stack up over time?
A quick comparison. When the Modern Library did their list of the 100 Best English Language Novels of the 20th Century, only 7 of them had won the Pulitzer. By contrast, 6 of them had won the National Book Award, which is 30 years younger. None of those overlap, as only two post-1950 Pulitzer winners were on the list and neither won the NBA. Only 5 Pulitzer winners have won the NBA. Of course, the major book awards don’t like to copy each other – only twice has a Pulitzer winner also won the PEN/Faulkner award. But the Pulitzer Prize is supposed to be the award, the one that truly lasts. Well, now that I’m finally done reading the list of all the Pulitzers, I just wanted to a quick look back and see how well that list actually stands up to the test of time. (more…)
6 November, 2008
Don’t you ever just read for enjoyment? You can’t read Faulkner all the time! It’s too difficult, too depressing. You must unwind and relax a bit sometimes.
That’s the argument, anyway, and I hear it a lot. Of course I do. Like I said, there are plenty of books I love that wouldn’t necessarily make my top novels list. So to that end, I hereby present my 25 favorite novels to read, the ones I read over and over again. And there’s no Faulkner.
There is Michael Crichton, though. For a long time he was a very enjoyable author to read. I read Jurassic Park in high school, knowing that Spielberg was working on the film, and I not only loved it, it actually changed the way I view the world (seriously).
So, to the author of Jurassic Park, The Great Train Robbery, Sphere and The Andromeda Strain (all highly enjoyable), in honor of his untimely death yesterday, I dedicate my following list.
There are a few books that in the end, surprisingly didn’t make my list, some brilliant but damn enjoyable (Catch-22, 100 Years of Solitude, The Stranger), some more of a pleasure (The Big Sleep, Hound of the Baskervilles, The Golden Compass), some because I love the author but couldn’t pin down a specific book (Kurt Vonnegut, Christopher Moore), and, then, the Harry Potter series, because I just couldn’t figure out which one, yet didn’t want to put the whole series, because the last four books are so much better than the first three.