FALSTAFF: We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Robert Shallow. (Henry IV Part 2, III. ii. 220)

My Top 10:

  1. Chimes at Midnight
  2. Z
  3. Stolen Kisses
  4. Oh! What a Lovely War
  5. Midnight Cowboy
  6. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
  7. Boudu Saved from Drowning
  8. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  9. Goodbye Columbus
  10. Cactus Flower

Note:  This year’s post is a bit ugly with a number of source materials I was unable to get.  There is also even a film that I am unable to really review because while I have seen it, it was years ago (well over a decade ago) and it is extremely difficult to get hold of and I wasn’t able to do so. (more…)

"Your future's all used up." The line doesn't go with this scene, but neither that line nor this scene are in the original novel. All that great work comes from Welles.

“Your future’s all used up.” The line doesn’t go with this scene, but neither that line nor this scene are in the original novel. All that great work comes from Welles.

My Top 10:

  1. Touch of Evil
  2. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  3. Separate Tables
  4. The Horse’s Mouth
  5. Vertigo
  6. Therese Raquin
  7. The Last Hurrah
  8. The Bravados
  9. The Horror of Dracula
  10. The Brothers Karamazov

Note:  There are 13 films on my list.  Me and the Colonel is reviewed because its was a WGA nominee and the other two are listed down below. (more…)


“When the drink was set before him, he felt better. He did not drink it immediately. Now that he had it, he did not need to.” (p 11)

My Top 10:

  1. The Lost Weekend
  2. To Have and Have Not
  3. Spellbound
  4. The Body Snatcher
  5. The Man in Grey
  6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  7. And Then There Were None
  8. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  9. The Story of G.I. Joe
  10. The Southerner

Note:  A year after only having five on my whole list, I have more than 10.  My #11 is Pride of the Marines, which is covered down below because it was an Oscar nominee.  Next year, I’ll be back to less than a whole list. (more…)

The brilliant opening of Children of Paradise.

The brilliant opening of Children of Paradise.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category.  Films in blue were nominated.

This is the first year of the reduced number of nominees in the tech categories at the Oscars – Sound and Interior Decoration would have three nominees each with Cinematography and Special Effects only having two each.  It’s the fourth year for the Golden Globes, but there are still no nominees and no distinction between Drama and Comedy – the films marked in red in my Globes section won the Globe.

Note:  You will see seven films in most categories listed below.  Only the top 5 are my nominees for the year.  But the seven top films of this year are so incredibly good, I decided to list more than my top 5 – in fact, this year sets a new best for Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing and Cinematography.  In later years, I will probably list my Top 10 in just about all categories, but still only my top 5 will earn nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Children of Paradise
  2. The Best Years of Our Lives
  3. It’s a Wonderful Life
  4. The Big Sleep
  5. Brief Encounter
  6. Henry V
  7. Notorious


The cream of the crop of my collection, as it sits on a shelf in the dining room.

The cream of the crop of my collection, as it sits on a shelf in the dining room.

“”When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old manservant – a combined gardener and cook – had seen in at least ten years.”  –  “A Rose for Emily”

I can blame the Tolkien obsession on my brothers.  But my Faulkner obsession has the blame laid squarely on Carol Mooney, my high school English teacher (both for Freshman and AP).  In AP English we read The Sound and the Fury and I was hooked for life.  And as for the collection, you can actually blame that on Veronica.  It was when she bought the Signet copy of Sanctuary because of how awesome the cover was, in spite of the fact that I already had it, that I started opening myself to collecting various editions of books.  Before I met her I owned precisely 1 copy of Lord of the Rings and 1 copy of The Sound and the Fury.

There is a competition going.  Looking in my Book Register (of course I have a spreadsheet that has all this information – read this and stop asking silly questions), the Faulkner collection currently encompasses 314 books for a total of 114273 pages.  The Tolkien collection only has 188 books for 88201 pages.  Of course, Tolkien only wrote two novels while Faulkner wrote 20.  And the Faulkner collection has probably only grown by about a shelf since we came to Boston, whereas the Tolkien collection has probably doubled in size.  Clearly they are the two collecting passions in my life (if by the two, you don’t count Star Wars, the Modern Library, the Viking Portable Library, Harry Potter or Lego). (more…)

The Vintage Corrected Text mass market copy of The Sound and the Fury I bought for AP English in 1991.  I haven't parted with it since.

The Vintage Corrected Text mass market copy of The Sound and the Fury I bought for AP English in 1991. I haven’t parted with it since.

The Sound and the Fury

  • Rank:  #1
  • Author:  William Faulkner  (1897  –  1962)
  • Published:  1929
  • Publisher:  Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith, Inc.
  • Pages:  378
  • First Line:  “Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting.”
  • Last Line:  “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.”
  • ML Version:  #187  (with As I Lay Dying – 1946), #187  (by itself – 1966), P6 (both with As I Lay Dying and by itself), gold dust jacket, new dust jacket
  • Acclaim:  Modern Library Top 100 English Language Novels of the 20th Century #6, Le Monde’s 100 Books of the Century, All-TIME List
  • Film Version:  1959  (***  –  dir. Martin Ritt)
  • First Read:  Fall, 1991 (more…)
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: (more…)

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) (more…)
Sinclair Lewis is king of the second 100, with four books.  He is on the cover of Time Magazine, 15 years after winning the Nobel Prize.  Have you ever read anything by him?

Sinclair Lewis is king of the second 100, with four books. Here he is on the cover of Time Magazine, 15 years after winning the Nobel Prize, yet now he is mostly forgotten or ignored. Have you ever read anything by him?

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…)

The 1st Edition dust jacket of William Faulkner’s Absalom Absalom (1936)

Absalom, Absalom!

  • Author:  William Faulkner  (1897  –  1962)
  • Published:  1936
  • Publisher:  Random House
  • Pages:  384
  • First Line:  “From a little after two oclock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that.”
  • Last Lines:  “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!
  • ML Edition:  #271  (two dust jackets – 1951, 1963); gold Modern Library, Modern Library College Edition
  • Film:  None, thankfully
  • First Read:  Spring, 1996 (more…)