The Modern Library cover for Possession by A.S. Byatt

Possession: A Romance

  • Author:  A.S. Byatt  (b. 1936)
  • Rank:  #41
  • Published:  1990
  • Publisher:  Chatto and Windus
  • Pages:  555
  • First Line:  “The book was thick and black and covered with dust.”
  • Last Line:  “And on the way home, she met her brothers, and there was a rough-and-tumble, and the lovely crown was broken, and she forgot the message, which was never delivered.”
  • ML Edition:  Gold hardcover  (2001)
  • Film:  2002  (*** – dir. Neil LaBute)
  • Acclaim:  Booker Prize, All-TIME List
  • First Read:  May, 2002 (more…)

The first edition of Salman Rushdie's Booker of Bookers: Midnight's Children (1981)

Midnight’s Children

  • Author:  Salman Rushdie (b. 1947)
  • Rank:  #47
  • Published:  1981
  • Publisher:  Jonathan Cape
  • Pages:  552
  • First Line:  “I was born in the city of Bombay . . . once upon a time.”
  • Last Line:  “Yes, they will trample me underfoot, the numbers marching one two three, four hundred million, five hundred six, reducing me to specks of voiceless dust, just as, in all good time, they will trample my son who is not my son, and his son who will not be his, and his who will not be his, until the thousand and first generation, until a thousand and one midnights have bestowed their terrible gifts and a thousand and one children have died, because it is the privilege and the curse of midnight’s children to be both masters and victims of their times, to forsake privacy and be sucked into the annihilating whirlpool of the multitudes, and to be unable to live or die in peace.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Film Version:  planned by the BBC in the late 90’s with a screenplay by Rushdie; current version being planned
  • Awards:  Booker Prize; 25th Anniversary Booker of Bookers; 40th Anniversary Booker of Bookers, All-TIME List; Modern Library Top 100 English Language Novels of the 20th Century #90
  • First Read:  Spring, 2000 (more…)

the stark blank cover used for the U.S. version of Disgrace (1999) by J.M. Coetzee published by Penguin


  • Author:  J.M. Coetzee  (b. 1940)
  • Rank:  #64
  • Published:  1999
  • Publisher:  Martin Secker & Warburg
  • Pages:  220
  • First Line:  “For a man of his age, fifty-two, divorced, he has, to his mind, solved the problems of sex rather well.”
  • Last Line:  ” ‘Yes, I am giving him up.’ “
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Acclaim:  Booker Prize; The Observer “Best English-Language Novel of the Past 25 Years Outside the United States”
  • Film:  2008
  • First Read:  Fall, 2001 (more…)