PULVER: Captain, this is Ensign Pulver. I just threw your palm trees overboard. Now what's all this crap about no movie tonight? (He throws the door open, banging it against the bulkhead, and is entering the CAPTAIN's cabin) Curtain.

PULVER: Captain, this is Ensign Pulver. I just threw your palm trees overboard. Now what’s all this crap about no movie tonight? (He throws the door open, banging it against the bulkhead, and is entering the CAPTAIN’s cabin) Curtain.

My Top 10:

  1. Mister Roberts
  2. East of Eden
  3. To Catch a Thief
  4. Picnic
  5. Bad Day at Black Rock
  6. The Man with the Golden Arm
  7. The Heart of the Matter
  8. Lady and the Tramp
  9. Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto
  10. Ugetsu

Note:  This year has one of the longest lists of this era, with several more mentioned down towards the bottom of the post. (more…)

Joad got out and stood beside the cab window.  The vertical exhaust pipe puttered up its barely visible blue smoke.  Joad leaned toward the driver.  'Homicide,' he said quickly."

“Joad got out and stood beside the cab window. The vertical exhaust pipe puttered up its barely visible blue smoke. Joad leaned toward the driver. ‘Homicide,’ he said quickly.”

My Top 10:

  1. The Grapes of Wrath
  2. The Philadelphia Story
  3. His Girl Friday
  4. Rebecca
  5. Pinocchio
  6. The Letter
  7. The Shop Around the Corner
  8. La Bête Humaine
  9. The Baker’s Wife
  10. Pride and Prejudice

Note:  I finally have, not only a full slate of 10, but films that I consider for my list and don’t make it, though that film is discussed below because it was nominated for the Oscar (The Long Voyage Home).  This is the best group of 10 to date, hands down.  The Letter is much better than any #6 so far except for Bride of Frankenstein.  Shop and Humaine, at the #7 and 8 spots would be in the Top 5 of any year to this date except 1935. (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 cover of John Steinbeck’s immortal The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

The Grapes of Wrath

  • Author:  John Steinbeck  (1902  –  1968)
  • Rank:  #18
  • Published:  1939
  • Publisher:  Viking
  • Pages:  581  (Penguin paperback)
  • First Line:  “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.”
  • Last Lines:  “Her hand moved behind his head and supported it.  Her fingers moved gently in his hair.  She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously.”
  • ML Edition:  #148  (1941)
  • Acclaim:  Pulitzer Prize, Modern Library Top 100 English Language Novels of the 20th Century  –  #10, All-TIME 100 Novels
  • Film:  1940  (****, dir. John Ford  –  #1 film of 1940)
  • Read:  Summer, 1996 (more…)