Here it is. My Top 100 Novels – the complete list.
Here is the list: (more…)
22 February, 2013
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…)
8 February, 2013
The Brothers Karamazov (Братья Карамазовы)
12 September, 2012
Crime and Punishment (Преступлéние и наказáние)
1 June, 2012
Anna Karenina (Анна Каренина)
27 May, 2012
When I began these For Love of Books posts, I began them with a specific purpose. Because I love books. Not just the words inside, but books themselves. And I hate the Kindle. I don’t hate all E-readers, and I can understand why people flock to them on some level. But for me, they will never replace books. My specific hatred of the Kindle stems partially from the concept, but mostly from the fact that Amazon has replaced Microsoft in my Holy Trinity of Wrong (it now sits alongside Walmart and the Yankees).
I bring this all up here, because this specific post deals with books that you can buy as opposed to e-books that you can get for free. My guess is that it is relatively easy to get the great Russian novels – the works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov – for free. They were almost all written in the nineteenth century and even the English language translations have long since passed out of copyright protection.
But, those free novels that you’re getting aren’t the whole piece of the puzzle. Certainly they are worthy of reading and you will experience, through one literary vision, the great Russian works. My guess is that that vision is the vision of Constance Garnett. Garnett translated 71 Russian works over the course of her career and we should be thankful for how much we can read in English thanks to her.
But, they are no longer the last word. They are no longer the best translations out there, as is made obvious with every new release. Granted, I have no knowledge of the Russian language. But I know the English language and I know literature. And there’s a magical world available to us now, thanks to the work in the last 25 years of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. They are the husband and wife team that has brought out new translations of the best works in Russian literature (excepting Fathers and Sons). (more…)
23 January, 2011
The Idiot (Идиот)