Faulkner is the king of the list.  Does that really surprise you?

Faulkner is the king of the list. Does that really surprise you?

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.

  • Longest Top 100 Novel:  In Search of Lost Time  (4651 pages)
  • Shortest Top 100 Novel:  Heart of Darkness  (96 pages)
  • Earliest Top 100 Novel:  Gulliver’s Travels  (1726)
  • Latest Top 100 Novel:  Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel  (2004)
  • Latest Top 200 Novel:  The Night Circus / The Tiger’s Wife  (2011)

Publication Date:

The Top 100 By Century:

  • 1700’s:  1
  • 1800’s:  13
  • 1900’s:  80
  • 2000’s:  6

The Top 200 By Century:

  • 1700’s:  1
  • 1800’s:  30
  • 1900’s:  151
  • 2000’s  18

The Top 100 by Decade (only listing those with 2 or more):

  • 1840’s:  2
  • 1860’s:  5
  • 1890’s:  3
  • 1900’s:  2
  • 1910’s:  5
  • 1920’s:  10
  • 1930’s:  9
  • 1940’s:  9
  • 1950’s:  8
  • 1960’s:  13
  • 1970’s:  10
  • 1980’s:  9
  • 1990’s:  7
  • 2000’s:  6

notes:  In terms of decades, some titles appear in multiple decades (like the Rabbit Novels).

The Top 200 by Decade:

  • 1830’s:  3
  • 1840’s:  4
  • 1850’s:  2
  • 1860’s:  6
  • 1870’s:  2
  • 1880’s:  4
  • 1890’s:  8
  • 1900’s:  8
  • 1910’s:  7
  • 1920’s:  19
  • 1930’s:  17
  • 1940’s:  14
  • 1950’s:  17
  • 1960’s:  20
  • 1970’s:  15
  • 1980’s:  21
  • 1990’s:  15
  • 2000’s:  14
  • 2010’s:  4

note:  All 6 of the books from the 1860’s are Russian.

Years with Multiple Top 100 Titles:

  • 4:
    • 1961  (10, 37, 75, 96)
  • 3:
    • 1925  (15, 42, 68)
    • 1930  (19, 59, 94)
    • 1940  (30, 71, 84)
    • 1979  (21, 40, 90)
    • 1988  (13, 80, 97)
    • 1990  (41, 48, 75)
    • 1995  (25, 49, 66)
    • 2000  (34, 52, 86)
  • 2:
    • 1869  (54, 61)
    • 1913  (42, 81)
    • 1919  (24, 42)
    • 1921  (42, 92)
    • 1929  (29, 42)
    • 1932  (27, 94)
    • 1936  (12, 94)
    • 1951  (28, 82)
    • 1955  (23, 56)
    • 1968  (31, 77)
    • 1969  (39, 99)
    • 1971  (26, 75)
    • 1973  (67, 73)
    • 1980  (38, 47)
    • 2001  (53, 70)

note:  #41 re-appears because it covers the publication of all 7 volumes of Proust.  #75 reappears with the 4 Rabbit books.  #94 reappears because of the different books in the USA Trilogy.

Years with More than 3 Top 200 Titles:

  • 6:
    • 1985
  • 4:
    • 1929
    • 1934
    • 1940
    • 1956
    • 1961
    • 1968
    • 1973
    • 1982
    • 1988
    • 1990
    • 1995
    • 2000
    • 2001
  • 3:
    • 1922
    • 1925
    • 1927
    • 1930
    • 1951
    • 1965
    • 1969
    • 1979
    • 2005

note:  All four titles for 1982 were from 101-200.  Five of the six titles from 1985 were from 101-200.

Authors:

Authors with 2 or More Top 100 Titles:

  • 6:
    • William Faulkner  (1, 12, 19, 27, 62, 71)
  • 3:
    • Fyodor Dostoevsky  (2, 11, 54)
    • Salman Rushdie  (13, 47, 66)
    • Philip Roth  (21, 39, 86)
    • Kurt Vonnegut  (31, 37, 91)
    • Graham Greene  (56, 65, 82)
  • 2:
    • James Joyce  (3, 7)
    • Albert Camus  (4, 51)
    • Joseph Conrad  (8, 89)
    • Gabriel García Márquez  (9, 97)
    • Toni Morrison  (14, 58)
    • Leo Tolstoy  (16, 61)
    • George Orwell  (17, 44)
    • Virginia Woolf  (29, 68)
    • Charles Dickens  (35, 83)
    • Michael Chabon  (34, 49)
    • Thomas Pynchon  (43, 67)
    • E.M. Forster  (45, 72)
    • Richard Russo  (70, 80)
    • John Fowles  (78, 99)
    • D.H. Lawrence  (81, 92)

Authors with 2 or More Top 200 Titles:

  • 7:
    • William Faulkner
  • 6:
    • Philip Roth
  • 5:
    • Graham Greene
    • Salman Rushdie
  • 4:
    • Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Joseph Conrad
    • D.H. Lawrence
    • Richard Russo
    • Thomas Hardy
    • Sinclair Lewis
  • 3:
    • Kurt Vonnegut
    • Gabriel García Márquez
    • Charles Dickens
    • E.M. Forster
    • Saul Bellow
    • John Steinbeck
    • John Updike
    • Evelyn Waugh
  • 2:
    • James Joyce
    • Albert Camus
    • Toni Morrison
    • Leo Tolstoy
    • George Orwell
    • Virginia Woolf
    • Michael Chabon
    • Thomas Pynchon
    • John Fowles
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Ernest Hemingway
    • John Irving
    • Milan Kundera
    • Cormac McCarthy
    • Haruki Murakami
    • Margaret Atwood
    • Alexandre Dumas
    • Louise Erdrich
    • Jonathan Franzen

Authors with 2 or More 101-200 Titles but no Top 100 Titles:

  • Sinclair Lewis  (4)
  • Evelyn Waugh  (3)
  • Margaret Atwood  (2)
  • Alexandre Dumas  (2)
  • Louise Erdrich  (2)
  • Jonathan Franzen  (2)

Nationality:

The Top 100 By Country:

  • 46:
    • United States
  • 27:
    • Great Britain
  • 8:
    • Russia  (2, 11, 16, 23, 54, 61, 84, 87)
  • 3:
    • Ireland  (3, 7, 69)
    • France  (4, 42, 51)
    • India  (13, 47, 66)
  • 2:
    • Czech Republic  (6, 76)
    • Poland  (8, 89)
    • Columbia  (9, 97)
  • 1:
    • Japan  (25)
    • Hungary  (55)
    • South Africa  (61)
    • Italy  (90)

note:  India has three titles, but only one author.  The Czech Republic has two titles from two different authors, unlike Poland and Columbia.

Top Top 200 By Country:

  • 101:
    • United States
  • 46:
    • Great Britain
  • 10:
    • Russia
  • 9:
    • France
  • 5:
    • India
    • Poland
  • 4:
    • Czech Republic
    • Ireland
    • Canada
  • 3:
    • Columbia
    • Japan
  • 1:
    • Hungary
    • South Africa
    • Italy
    • Chile
    • Germany
    • Sweden

note:  All 5 books from India are by the same author, as are the 3 from Columbia.  On the other hand, the 4 books from Canada are from 3 different authors, as are the 4 from the Czech Republic.  All 3 Top 100 novels from France are from the 20th Century. The 6 from the second 100 are all from the 19th Century.  You can tell that I don’t much care for 19th Century American Literature – though 46% of the Top 100 and 50% of the Top 200 are American novels, only 1 of the 13 19th Century books in the Top 100 are American (McTeague) and only 4 of the 30 in the Top 200.

I fully accept the notion that I might be more biased towards 20th Century American books.  But I’m an American – they’re the easiest books to find.  Nevertheless, as I have all read most of the books in the Modern Library series and every winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, I don’t accept that I don’t read books from other countries.

Awards:

note:  For all awards, the books are listed chronologically, with my rank in parenthesis, except in the Modern Library list, where they are listed by their rank, then with my rank afterwards.  The Top 200 lists only include the books from 101-200.  For the Nobel Prize, I simply list the Top 100 novels in my rank order.  For the Top 200, I list the author, with how many books they wrote in chronological order of them winning the award.

Nobel Prize:

Top 100:

  • The Sound and the Fury  (#1)
  • The Stranger  (#4)
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude  (#9)
  • Absalom Absalom  (#12)
  • Beloved  (#14)
  • The Grapes of Wrath  (#18)
  • As I Lay Dying  (#19)
  • Light in August  (#27)
  • Lord of the Flies  (#32)
  • Humboldt’s Gift  (#36)
  • The Sun Also Rises  (#46)
  • The Plague  (#51)
  • Song of Solomon  (#58)
  • Sanctuary  (#62)
  • Disgrace  (#64)
  • Snopes  (#71)  –  * (2/3)
  • Love in the Time of Cholera  (#97)  –  *

note:  The starred titles are the only ones written after the author won the Nobel Prize.

Top 200:

  • Sinclair Lewis  (4)
  • William Faulkner  (7)
  • Ernest Hemingway  (2)
  • Albert Camus  (2)
  • John Steinbeck  (2)
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn  (1)
  • Saul Bellow  (3)
  • Gabriel García Márquez  (3)
  • William Golding  (1)
  • Toni Morrison  (2)
  • J. M. Coetzee  (1)

Modern Library Top 100 English Language Novels of the 20th Century:

Top 100:

  • Ulysses  (#1  –  #3)
  • The Great Gatsby  (#2  –  #15)
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man  (#3  –  #7)
  • Lolita  (#4  –  #23)
  • The Sound and the Fury  (#6  –  #1)
  • Catch-22  (#7  –  #10)
  • Darkness at Noon  (#8  –  #55)
  • Sons and Lovers  (#9  –  #81)
  • The Grapes of Wrath  (#10  –  #18)
  • 1984  (#13  –  #17)
  • To the Lighthouse  (#15  –  #29)
  • Slaughterhouse-Five  (#18  –  #31)
  • Native Son  (#20  –  #30)
  • Appointment in Samarra  (#22  –  #85)
  • U.S.A.  (#23  –  #94)
  • Winesburg, Ohio  (#24  –  #24)
  • A Passage to India  (#25  –  #72)
  • Animal Farm  (#31  –  #44)
  • As I Lay Dying  (#35  –  #19)
  • Howards End  (#38  –  #45)
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain  (#39  –  #98)
  • The Heart of the Matter  (#40  –  #65)
  • Lord of the Flies  (#41  –  #32)
  • The Sun Also Rises  (#45  –  #46)
  • Nostromo  (#47  –  #89)
  • Women in Love  (#49  –  #92)
  • Portnoy’s Complaint  (#52  –  #39)
  • Light in August  (#54  –  #27)
  • The Maltese Falcon  (#56  –  #59)
  • The Catcher in the Rye  (#64  –  #28)
  • A Clockwork Orange  (#65  –  #88)
  • Heart of Darkness  (#67  –  #8)
  • Midnight’s Children  (#90  –  #47)
  • Ironweed  (#92  –  #100)
  • The Magus  (#93  –  #78)
  • Sophie’s Choice  (#96  –  #40)

Top 200:

  • Under the Volcano  (#11)
  • I, Claudius  (#14)
  • Tender is the Night  (#28)
  • Sister Carrie  (#33)
  • A Handful of Dust  (#34)
  • All the King’s Men  (#36)
  • The Bridge of San Luis Rey  (#37)
  • The Secret Agent  (#46)
  • The Rainbow  (#48)
  • The Naked and the Dead  (#51)
  • The Age of Innocence  (#58)
  • From Here to Eternity  (#62)
  • The Wapshot Chronicle  (#63)
  • Main Street  (#68)
  • The Day of the Locust  (#73)
  • A Farewell to Arms  (#74)
  • Scoop  (#75)
  • A Room with a View  (#79)
  • Brideshead Revisited  (#80)
  • The Adventures of Augie March  (#81)
  • Lord Jim  (#85)
  • Ragtime  (#86)
  • The Magnificent Ambersons  (#100)

Pulitzer Prize:

Top 100:

  • The Grapes of Wrath  (#18)
  • Humboldt’s Gift  (#36)
  • Confederacy of Dunces  (#38)
  • Rabbit is Rich  (#75)
  • Ironweed  (#100)
  • Beloved  (#14)
  • Rabbit at Rest  (#75)
  • The Shipping News  (#79)
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay  (#34)
  • Empire Falls  (#70)

Top 200:

  • The Magnificent Ambersons
  • The Age of Innocence
  • The Bridge of San Luis Rey
  • All the King’s Men
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Color Purple
  • American Pastoral
  • The Hours
  • Middlesex

National Book Award:

Top 100:

  • Gravity’s Rainbow  (#67)
  • Sophie’s Choice  (#40)
  • The World According to Garp  (#33)
  • Rabbit is Rich  (#75)
  • The Shipping News  (#79)

Top 200:

  • From Here to Eternity
  • The Adventures of Augie March
  • The Wapshot Chronicle
  • Them
  • The Color Purple
  • White Noise
  • Sabbath’s Theater
  • The Corrections

The Booker:

Top 100:

  • Midnight’s Children  (#47)
  • Possession  (#41)
  • Disgrace  (#64)

Top 200:

  • The English Patient
  • The Blind Assassin

PEN/Faulkner:

Top 100:

  • The Human Stain  (#86)

Top 200:

  • The Hours
  • Bel Canto

National Book Critics Circle:

Top 100:

  • Song of Solomon  (#58)
  • Rabbit is Rich  (#75)
  • Ironweed  (#100)
  • Rabbit at Rest  (#75)
  • Atonement  (#53)

Top 200:

  • Love Medicine

Openings  /  Endings:

I had originally planned to do 10 of each.  Then it grew to 15.  Then the closing ones grew to 20 and there was no paring it down.

Top 15 Opening Lines from Top 100 Novels (in order by list rank):

  1. ”Mother died today.”  (The Stranger)
  2. ”Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo.”  (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
  3. ”Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”  (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
  4. ” ‘To be born again,’ sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, ‘first you have to die.’ “  (The Satanic Verses)
  5. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”  (Anna Karenina)
  6. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”  (1984)
  7. “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.”  (Lolita)
  8. “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”  (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
  9. “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”  (The Catcher in the Rye)
  10. “A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head.”  (Confederacy of Dunces)
  11. “A screaming comes across the sky.”  (Gravity’s Rainbow)
  12. “This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”  (The Princess Bride)
  13. “A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”  (The End of the Affair)
  14. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”  (A Tale of Two Cities)
  15. “You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler.  Relax.  Concentrate.  Dispel every other thought.”  (If on a winter’s night a traveler)

Top 20 Closing Lines from Top 100 Novels (in order by list rank):

  1. “The broken flower drooped over Ben’s fist and his eyes were empty and blue and serene again as cornice and facade flowed smoothly once more from left to right, post and tree, window and doorway and signboard each in its ordered place.”  (The Sound and the Fury)
  2. “and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”  (Ulysses)
  3. ”The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flower sombre under an overcast sky – seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.”  (Heart of Darkness)
  4. “Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”  (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
  5. “’Now I want you to tell me just one thing more.  Why do you hate the South?’  ‘I dont hate it,’ Quentin said, quickly, at once, immediately; ‘I dont hate it,’ he said.  I dont hate it he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark: I dont.  I dont!  I dont hate it!  I dont hate it!“  (Absalom, Absalom!)
  6. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”  (The Great Gatsby)
  7. “He had won the victory over himself.  He loved Big Brother.”  (1984)
  8. “I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art.  And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.”  (Lolita)
  9. “About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about.  Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance.  I think I even miss that goddam Maurice.  It’s funny.  Don’t ever tell anybody anything.  If you do, you start missing everybody.”  (The Catcher in the Rye)
  10. “In the world according to her father, Jenny Garp knew, we must have energy.  Her famous grandmother, Jenny Fields, once thought of us as Externals, Vital Organs, Absentees and Goners.  But in the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases.”  (The World According to Garp)
  11. “Passerine spread his arms in a gesture that seemed to belong to the priesthood of some remote culture; perhaps to a descending angel.  The auctioneer cleared his throat.  Oedipa settled back, to await the crying of lot 49.”  (The Crying of Lot 49)
  12. “ ‘Oh, Jake,’ Brett said, ‘we could have had such a damned good time together.’  Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic.  He raised his baton.  The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.  ‘Yes,’ I said.  ‘Isn’t it pretty to think so?’ ”  (The Sun Also Rises)
  13. “The young men listen dutifully, for the most part, and from time to time some of them even take the trouble to go over to the college library, and dig up one or another of his novels, and crouch there, among the stacks, flipping impatiently through the pages, looking for the parts that sound true.”  (Wonder Boys)
  14. “Everything had gone right with me since he had died, but how I wished there existed someone to whom I could say that I was sorry.”  (The Quiet American)
  15. “She closed the compact and from beneath her smart new hat she seemed to follow with her eyes the waves of music, to dissolve into the dying brasses, across the pool and the opposite semi-circle of trees where at sombre intervals the dead tranquil queens in stained marble mused, and on into the sky lying prone and vanquished in the embrace of the season of rain and death.”  (Sanctuary)
  16. “I mean, I really do think that love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops.  But I also have to say, for the umpty-umpth time, that life isn’t fair.  It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.”  (The Princess Bride)
  17. “Rabbit thinks he should maybe say more, the kid looks wildly expectant, but enough.  Maybe.  Enough.”  (The Rabbit Tetrology)
  18. “I want to.  I really do.  But I’d be fighting a dozen jinxes from the start, Mouse.  Maybe I could.  But I don’t think so.  The only way to protect myself from the jinx, I guess, would be to abandon it before I finish the last”  (Nova)
  19. ” ‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done, it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.’ “  (A Tale of Two Cities)
  20. “Only rarely, at the end of our century, does life offer up a vision as pure and peaceful as this one: a solitary man on a bucket, fishing through eighteen inches of ice in a lake that’s constantly turning over its water atop an arcadian mountain in America.”  (The Human Stain)

Films:

10 Best Films made from Top 100 Novels:

  1. The Lord of the Rings  (2001, 2002, 2003, dir. Peter Jackson)
  2. The Princess Bride  (1987, dir. Rob Reiner)
  3. The Maltese Falcon  (1941, dir. John Huston)
  4. A Clockwork Orange  (1971, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
  5. The Grapes of Wrath  (1940, dir. John Ford)
  6. A Passage to India  (1984, dir. David Lean)
  7. Atonement  (2007, dir. Joe Wright)
  8. Greed  (1925, dir. Erich von Stroheim)
  9. Apocalypse Now  (1979, dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
  10. Sophie’s Choice  (1982, dir. Alan J. Pakula)

10 Worst Films made from Top 100 Novels (worst is #1, least worst is #10)

  1. The Lord of the Rings  (1978, dir. Ralph Bakshi)
  2. Jane Eyre  (1934, dir. Christy Cabanne)
  3. The Great Gatsby  (1947,  dir.  Elliott Nugent)
  4. Count Dracula  (1970,  dir. Jesus Franco)
  5. Anna Karenina  (1997,  dir. Bernard Rose)
  6. The Great Gatsby  (1974,  dir. Jack Clayton)
  7. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man  (1977,  dir. Joseph Strick)
  8. The Magus  (1968,  dir. Guy Green)
  9. Gulliver’s Travels  (1939,  dir. Dave Fleischer)
  10. Love in the Time of Cholera  (2007,  dir. Mike Newell)

10 Best Films made from 101-200 Novels:

  1. L.A. Confidential  (1997, dir. Curtis Hanson)
  2. The English Patient  (1996, dir. Anthony Minghella)
  3. Field of Dreams  (1989, dir. Phil Alden Robinson)
  4. No Country for Old Men  (2007, dir. Joel and Ethan Coen)
  5. The Age of Innocence  (1993, dir. Martin Scorsese)
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird  (1962, dir. Robert Mulligan)
  7. From Here to Eternity  (1953, dir. Fred Zinnemann)
  8. The Big Sleep  (1946, dir. Howard Hawks)
  9. A Room with a View  (1986, dir. James Ivory)
  10. The Hours  (2002, dir. Stephen Daldry)

10 Worst Films made from 101-200 Novels  (worst is #1, least worst is #10):

  1. The Three Musketeers  (1993, dir. Stephen Herek)
  2. The House of the Spirits  (1994, dir. Bille August)
  3. Tender is the Night  (1962, dir. Henry King)
  4. True Grit  (1969, dir. Henry Hathaway)
  5. The Three Musketeers  (1939, dir. Allan Dwan)
  6. Dorian Grey  (2009, dir. Oliver Parker)
  7. Babbitt  (1934, dir. William Keighley)
  8. The Age of Innocence  (1934, dir. Phillip Moeller)
  9. Madame Bovary  (1949, dir. Vincente Minnelli)
  10. Handmaid’s Tale  (1990, dir. Volker Schlondorff)
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