The Top 100 Novels.

The Top 100 Novels.

Here it is.  My Top 100 Novels – the complete list.

The intro was here.  The second 100 can be found here.  Various statistics and trivia about the list can be found here.

Here is the list:

#100  –  Ironweed  (William Kennedy – 1983)

” ‘Hell, I fall on the floor about twice a day and I ain’t dead.’  ‘That’s what you think,’ Francis said.”

#99  –  The French Lieutenant’s Woman  (John Fowles  –  1969)

“in those brief poised seconds above the waiting sea, in that luminous evening silence broken only by the waves’ quiet wash, the whole Victorian Age was lost.  And I do not mean he had taken the wrong path.”

#98  –  Go Tell it on the Mountain  (James Baldwin  –  1953)

“He lived for the day when his father would be dying and he, John, would curse him on his deathbed.”

#97  –  Love in the Time of Cholera  (Gabriel García Márquez  –  1988)

“Dr. Urbino caught the parrot around the neck with a triumphant sigh: ça y est.  But he released him immediately because the ladder slipped from under his feet and for an instant he was suspended in air and then he realized that he had died without Communion, without time to repent of anything or to say goodbye to anyone, at seven minutes after four on Pentecost Sunday.”

#96  –  Revolutionary Road  (Richard Yates  –  1961)

“With a moist little whimpering groan she turned and pressed herself into his arms, offering up her mouth.  Then they were on the couch and the only problem in the world was the bondage of their clothing.”

#95  –  Dracula  (Bram Stoker  –  1897)

“Lucy’s eyes in form and colour; but Lucy’s eyes unclean and full of hell-fire, instead of the pure, gentle orbs we knew.  At that moment the remnant of my love passed into hate and loathing; had she then to be killed, I could have done it with savage delight.”

#94  –  U.S.A.  (John Dos Passos  –  1930, 1932, 1936, 1938)

“The young man walks fast by himself through the crowd that thins into the night streets; feet are tired from hours of walking; eyes greedy for warm curve of faces, answering flicker of eyes, the set of a head, the lift of a shoulder, the way hands spread and clench; blood tingles with wants; mind is a beehive of hopes buzzing and stinging; muscles ache for the knowledge of jobs, for the roadmender’s pick and shovel work, the fisherman’s knack with a hook when he hauls on the slithery net from the rail of the lurching trawler, the swing of the bridgeman’s arm as he slings down the whitehot rivet, the engineer’s slow grip wise on the throttle, the dirtfarmer’s use of his whole body when, whoaing the mules, he yanks the plow from the furrow.”

#93  –  Wuthering Heights  (Emily Bronte  –  1848)

“I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”

#92  –  Women in Love  (D. H. Lawrence  –  1921)

“He had come to the hollow basin of snow, surrounded by sheer slopes and precipices, out of which rose a track that brought one to the top of the mountain.  But he wandered unconsciously, till he slipped and fell down, and as he fell something broke in his soul, and immediately he went to sleep.”

#91  –  Cat’s Cradle  (Kurt Vonnegut  –  1963)

” ‘Everything must have a purpose?’ asked God.  ‘Certainly,’ said man.  ‘Then I leave it to you to think of one for all of this,’ said God.  And He went away.”

#90  –  If on a winter’s night a traveller  (Italo Calvino  –  1979)

“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.”

#89  –  Nostromo  (Joseph Conrad  –  1904)

“The gloomy, clouded dawn from behind the mountains showed him on the smooth waters the upper corner of the sail, a dark wet triangle of canvas weighing to and fro.  He saw it vanish, as if jerked under, and then struck out for shore.”

#88  –  A Clockwork Orange  (Anthony Burgess  –  1962)

“And there was the slow movement and the lovely last singing movement still to come.  I was cured all right.”

#87  –  Fathers and Sons  (Ivan Turgenev  –  1862)

“In vain, then, had he spent whole days sometimes in the winter at Petersburg over the newest books; in vain had he listened to talk of the young men; in vain, had he rejoiced when he succeeded in putting in his word, too, in their heated discussions.”

#86  –  The Human Stain  (Philip Roth  –  2000)

“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.”

#85  –  Appointment in Samarra  (John O’Hara  –  1934)

“When Caroline Walker fell in love with Julian English she was a little tired of him.  That was in the summer of 1926, one of the most unimportant years in the history of the United States, and the year in which Caroline Walker was sure her life had reached a pinnacle of uselessness.”

#84  –  The Master and Margarita  (Mikhail Bulgakov  –  1940)

“Thus spoke Margarita as she walked with the Master toward their eternal home, and it seemed to the Master that Margarita’s words flowed like the stream they had left behind, flowed and whispered, and the Master’s anxious, needle-pricked memory began to fade.”

#83  –  A Tale of Two Cities  (Charles Dickens  –  1859)

” ‘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.’ “

#82  –  The End of the Affair  (Graham Greene  –  1951)

“I hate You, God, I hate You as though You existed.”

#81  –  Sons and Lovers  (D. H. Lawrence  –  1913)

“He would not take that direction, to the darkness, to follow her.  He walked towards the faintly humming, glowing town, quickly.”

#80  –  The Risk Pool  (Richard Russo  –  1988)

“He’d been shot at before and guessed that my mother wasn’t really trying to hit him, but those were precisely the situations that got you shot.  He knew from his experience overseas that if you only got shot by people aiming at you specifically, war wouldn’t have been nearly such a hazardous affair.”

#79  –  The Shipping News  (Annie Proulx  –  1993)

“Water may be older than light, diamonds crack in hot goat’s blood, mountaintops give off cold fire, forests appear in mid-ocean, it may happen that a crab is caught with the shadow of a hand on its back, that the wind may be imprisoned in a bit of knotted string.  And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.”

#78  –  The Magus  (John Fowles  –  1965)

“If Rome, a city of the vulgar living, had been depressing after Greece, London, a city of the drab dead, was fifty times worse.”

#77  –  Nova  (Samuel Delany  –  1968)

“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”

#76  –  The Unbearable Lightness of Being  (Milan Kundera  –  1984)

“Tereza’s dream reveals the true function of kitsch: kitsch is a folding screen set up to curtain off death.”

#75  –  The Rabbit Tetralogy  (John Updike  –  1961, 1971, 1981, 1990)

“Rabbit thinks he should maybe say more, the kid looks wildly expectant, but enough.  Maybe.  Enough.”

#74  –  Watership Down  (Richard Adams  –  1972)

“He reached the top of the bank in a single, powerful leap.  Hazel followed; and together they slipped away, running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom.”

#73  –  The Princess Bride  (William Goldman  –  1973)

“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.”

#72  –  A Passage to India  (E. M. Forster  –  1924)

“They both regretted the death, but they were middle-aged men, who had invested their emotions elsewhere and outbursts of grief could not be expected from them over a slight acquaintance.  It’s only one’s own dead who matter.”

#71  –  Snopes  (William Faulkner  –  1940, 1957, 1959)

“Except that it not a monument; it was a footprint.  A monument only says At least I got this far while a footprint says This is where I was when I moved again.”

#70  –  Empire Falls  (Richard Russo  –  2001)

“Compared to the Whiting mansion in town, the house Charles Beaumont Whiting built a decade after his return to Maine was modest.”

#69  –  Gulliver’s Travels  (Jonathan Swift  –  1726)

“I dwell the longer upon this subject from the desire I have to make the society of an English Yahoo by any means not insupportable; and therefore I here entreat those who have any tincture of this absurd vice, that they will not presume to appear in my sight.”

#68  –  Mrs. Dalloway  (Virginia Woolf  –  1925)

“Death was defiance.  Death was an attempt to communicate; people feeling the impossibility of reaching the centre which, mystically, evaded them; closeness drew apart; rapture faded, one was alone.  There was an embrace in death.”

#67  –  Gravity’s Rainbow  (Thomas Pynchon  –  1973)

“For some reason now, she who never laughs has become the top surface of a deep, rising balloon of laughter.  Later as she’s about to go to sleep, she will also whisper, “Laughing,” laughing again.”

#66  –  The Moor’s Last Sigh  (Salman Rushdie  –  1995)

“Bombay was central, had been so from the moment of its creation: the bastard child of a Portuguese-English wedding, and yet the most Indian of Indian cities.  In Bombay all Indias met and merged.  In Bombay, too, all-India met what-was-not-India, what came across the black water to flow into our veins.”

#65  –  The Heart of the Matter  (Graham Greene  –  1948)

“He didn’t drink, he didn’t fornicate, he didn’t even lie, but he never regarded this absence of sin as virtue.”

#64  –  Disgrace  (J. M. Coetzee  –  1999)

“More and more he is convinced that English is an unfit medium for the truth of South Africa.”

#63  –  Blood Meridian  (Cormac McCarthy  –  1985)

“I know your kind, he said.  What’s wrong with you is wrong all the way through you.”

#62  –  Sanctuary  (William Faulkner  –  1931)

“She sat limp in the corner of the seat, watching the steady backward rush of the land – pines in opening vistas splashed with fading dogwood; sedge; fields green with new cotton and empty of any movement, peaceful, as though Sunday were a quality of atmosphere, of light and shade – sitting with her legs close together, listening to the hot minute seeping of her blood, saying dully to herself, I’m still bleeding.  I’m still bleeding.”

#61  –  War and Peace  (Leo Tolstoy  –  1869)

“As happens with perfectly attractive women, her flaw – a short lip and half opened mouth – seemed her special, personal beauty.”

#60  –  Tess of the D’Urbervilles  (Thomas Hardy  –  1891)

“The pointed shaft of the cart had entered the breast of the unhappy Prince like a sword, and from the wound his life’s blood was spouting in a stream, and falling with a hiss into the road.”

#59  –  The Maltese Falcon  (Dashiell Hammett  –  1930)

“The fist struck Cairo’s face, covering for a moment one side of his chin, a corner of his mouth, and most of his cheek between cheek-bone and jaw-bone.”

#58  –  Song of Solomon  (Toni Morrison  –  1977)

“What she did for his sore feet, his cut face, his back, his neck, his thighs, and the palms of his hands was so delicious he couldn’t imagine that the lovemaking to follow would be anything but anticlimactic.”

#57  –  Look Homeward, Angel  (Thomas Wolfe  –  1929)

“The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern, because a London cutpurse went unhung.”

#56  –  The Quiet American  (Graham Greene  –  1955)

“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.”

#55  –  Darkness at Noon  (Arthur Koestler  –  1941)

“We knew more than ever men have known about mankind; this is why our revolution succeeded.  And now you have buried it all again.”

#54  –  The Idiot  (Fyodor Dostoevsky  –  1869)

“His eyes were large, blue and dreamy; there was something gentle, though heavy-looking in their expression, something of that strange look from which some people can recognize at the first glance a victim of epilepsy.”

#53  –  Atonement  (Ian McEwan  –  2001)

“I gave them happiness but I was not so self-serving as to let them forgive me.”

#52  –  White Teeth  (Zadie Smith  –  2000)

“As Merlin was later to reflect when describing the incident, at any time of the day corduroy is a highly stressful fabric.  Rent collectors wear it.  Tax collectors, too.  History teachers add leather elbow patches.  To be confronted with a mass of it, at nine in the A.M., on the first day of a New Year, is an apparition lethal in its sheer quantity of negative vibes.”

#51  –  The Plague  (Albert Camus  –  1947)

“Love asks something of the future, and nothing was left us but a series of present moments.”

#50  –  McTeague  (Frank Norris  –  1899)

“The vast, moveless heat seemed to distill countless odors from the brush – odors of warm sap, of pine needles, and of tar weed, and above all the medicinal odor of witch hazel.”

#49  –  Wonder Boys  (Michael Chabon  –  1995)

“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.”

#48  –  The Things They Carried  (Tim O’Brien  –  1990)

“First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey.”

#47  –  Midnight’s Children  (Salman Rushdie  –  1980)

“How did Nadir Khan run across the night town without being noticed?  I put it down to his being a bad poet, and as such, a born survivor.”

#46  –  The Sun Also Rises  (Ernest Hemingway  –  1926)

“ ‘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?’ ”

#45  –  Howards End  (E. M. Forster  –  1910)

“They had nothing in common but the English language, and tried by its help to express what neither of them understood.”

#44  –  Animal Farm  (George Orwell  –  1946)


#43  –  The Crying of Lot 49  (Thomas Pynchon  –  1966)

“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.”

#42  –  In Search of Lost Time  (Marcel Proust  –  1913, 1919, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1927)

“They were only a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; the memory of a particular image is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.”

#41  –  Possession  (A. S. Byatt  –  1990)

“Leavis did to Blackadder what he did to serious students: he showed him the terrible, the magnificent importance and urgency of English literature and simultaneously deprived him of any confidence in his own capacity to contribute to or change it.”

#40  –  Sophie’s Choice  (William Styron  –  1979)

“This was not judgment day – only morning.  Morning: excellent and fair.”

#39  –  Portnoy’s Complaint  (Philip Roth  –  1969)

“Now you know the worst thing I have ever done.  I fucked my own family’s dinner.”

#38  –  Confederacy of Dunces  (John Kennedy Toole  –  1980)

“Shifting from one hip to the other in his lumbering, elephantine fashion, Ignatius sent waves of flesh rippling beneath the tweed and flannel, waves that broke upon buttons and seams.”

#37  –  Mother Night  (Kurt Vonnegut  –  1961)

” ‘All people are insane,’ he said, ‘They will do anything at any time and God help anybody who looks for reasons.’ “

#36  –  Humboldt’s Gift  (Saul Bellow  –  1975)

“Having lost his talent, his mind, fallen apart, died in ruin, he rose again in the cultural Dow Jones and enjoyed briefly the prestige of significant failure.”

#35  –  Great Expectations  (Charles Dickens  –  1861)

“It was the first time that a grave had opened in my road of life, and the gap it made in the smooth ground was wonderful.”

#34  –  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay  (Michael Chabon  –  2000)

“Both titles had, as Sammy had once predicted, killed; and Joe had soon found himself responsible every month for more than two hundred pages of art and wholesale imaginary slaughter on a scale that, many years later, could still horrify the good Dr. Fredric Wertham when he set about to probe at the violent foundations of the comics.”

#33  –  The World According to Garp  (John Irving  –  1978)

“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.”

#32  –  Lord of the Flies  (William Golding  –  1954)

“The sticks fell and the mouth of the new circle crunched and screamed.  The beast was on its knees in the center, its arms folded over its face.  It was crying out against the abominable noise something about a body on the hill.”

#31  –  Slaughterhouse-Five  (Kurt Vonnegut  –  1968)

“People aren’t supposed to look back.  I’m certainly not going to do it anymore.”

#30  –  Native Son  (Richard Wright  –  1940)

“There was no day for him now, and there was no night; there was but a long stretch of time, a long stretch of time that was very short; and then – the end.”

#29  –  To the Lighthouse  (Virginia Woolf  –  1927)

“Feelings that would not have disgraced a leader who, now that the snow has begun to fall and the mountain top is covered in mist, knows that he must lay himself down and die before morning comes, stole upon him, paling the colour of his eyes, giving him, even in the two minutes of his turn on the terrace, the bleached look of withered old age.”

#28  –  The Catcher in the Rye  (J. D. Salinger  –  1951)

“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.”

#27  –  Light in August  (William Faulkner  –  1932)

“It will be there, musing, quiet, steadfast, not fading and not particularly threatful, but of itself alone serene, of itself alone triumphant.”

#26  –  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas  (Hunter S. Thompson  –  1971)

“But nobody can handle that other trip – the possibility that any freak with $1.98 can walk into Circus-Circus and suddenly appear in the sky over downtown Las Vegas twelve times the size of God, howling anything that comes into his head.  No, this is not a good town for psychedelic drugs.  Reality itself is too twisted.”

#25  –  The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle  (Haruki Murakami  –  1995)

“A life without pain: it was the very thing I had dreamed of for years, but now that I had it, I couldn’t find a place for myself within it.”

#24  –  Winesburg, Ohio  (Sherwood Anderson  –  1919)

“A thing had happened to him that made him hate life, and he hated it whole-heartedly, with the abandon of a poet.”

#23  –  Lolita  (Vladimir Nabokov  –  1955)

“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.”

#22  –  Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell  (Susannah Clarke  –  2004)

“They kissed once.  Then he turned upon his heel and disappeared into the Darkness.”

#21  –  The Ghost Writer  (Philip Roth  –  1979)

“As even the judge knew, literary history was in part the history of novelists infuriating fellow countrymen, family and friends.”

#20  –  Jane Eyre  (Charlotte Bronte  –  1847)

“The feeling was not like an electric shock; but it was quite as sharp, as strange, as startling: it acted on my senses as if their utmost activity hitherto had been but torpor; from which they were now summoned, and forced to wake.  They rose expectant: eye and ear waited, while the flesh quivered on my bones.”

#19  –  As I Lay Dying  (William Faulkner  –  1930)

“My mother is a fish.”

#18  –  The Grapes of Wrath  (John Steinbeck  –  1939)

“To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.”

#17  –  1984  (George Orwell  –  1949)

“He had won the victory over himself.  He loved Big Brother.”

#16  –  Anna Karenina  (Leo Tolstoy  –  1877)  –  updated with the 2012 film

“A little muzhik, muttering to himself, was working over some iron.  And the candle by the light of which she had been reading that book filled with anxieties, deceptions, grief and evil, flared up brighter than ever, lit up for her all that had once been in darkness, sputtered, grew dim, and went out for ever.”

#15  –  The Great Gatsby  (F. Scott Fitzgerald  –  1925)

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

#14  –  Beloved  (Toni Morrison  –  1987)

” ‘It’s gonna hurt now,’ said Amy.  ‘Anything dead coming back to life hurts.’ “

#13  –  The Satanic Verses  (Salman Rushdie  –  1988)

“Gibreel Farishta floating on his cloud formed the opinion that the moral fuzziness of the English was meteorologically induced.  ‘When the day is not warmer than the night,’ he reasoned, ‘when the light is not brighter than the dark, when the land is not drier than the sea, then clearly a people will lose the power to make distinctions, and commence to see everything – from political parties to sexual partners to religious beliefs – as much the same, nothing-to-choose, give-or-take.  What folly!  For truth is extreme, it is so and not thus, it is him and not her; a partisan matter, not a spectator sport.  It is, in brief, heated.  City’ he cried, and his voice rolled over the metropolis like thunder, ‘I am going to tropicalize you.”

#12  –  Absalom, Absalom!  (William Faulkner  –  1936)

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!

#11  –  Crime and Punishment  (Fyodor Dostoevsky  –  1866)

”He was one of that numerous and diverse legion of vulgarians, feeble miscreates, half-taught petty tyrants who make a point of instantly latching on to the most fashionable current idea, only to vulgarize it at once, to make an instant caricature of everything they themselves serve, sometimes quite sincerely.”

#10  –  Catch-22  (Joseph Heller  –  1961)

“But the God I don’t believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God.  He’s not the mean and stupid God you make him out to be.”

#9  –  One Hundred Years of Solitude  (Gabriel García Márquez  –  1967)

“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.”

#8  –  Heart of Darkness  (Joseph Conrad  –  1902)

”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.”

#7  –  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man  (James Joyce  –  1916)

“-Then – said Cranly – you do not intend to become a protestant? –  – I said that I had lost the faith – Stephen answered – but not that I had lost selfrespect.  What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical and incoherent?-”

#6  –  The Trial  (Franz Kafka  –  1937)

”Someone must have traduced Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.”

#5  –  The Lord of the Rings  (J.R.R. Tolkien  –  1956)

“In this year on March 1st came at last the Passing of King Elessar.  It is said that the beds of Meriadoc and Peregrin were set beside the bed of the great king.  Then Legolas built a grey ship in Ithilien, and sailed down Anduin and so over Sea; and with him, it is said, went Gimli the Dwarf.  And when that ship passed an end was come in Middle-earth of the Fellowship of the Ring.”

#4  –  The Stranger  (Albert Camus  –  1942)

”I went close up to him and made a last attempt to explain that I’d very little time left, and I wasn’t going to waste it on God.”

#3  –  Ulysses  (James Joyce  –  1922)

“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.”

#2  –  The Brothers Karamazov  (Fyodor Dostoevsky  –  1880)

”In my opinion, Christ’s love for people is in its kind a miracle impossible on earth.  True, he was God.  But we are not gods.”

#1  –  The Sound and the Fury  (William Faulkner  –  1929)

“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.”