Top 100 Books Meme

These are Time magazine’s “All-TIME” 100 best novels.I glanced through, so I already know my ignorance is going to depress me when I’m done.  The ones I’ve read are bolded.

1. The Adventures of Augie March (1953) by Saul Bellow
2. All The King’s Men (1946) by Robert Penn Warren
3. American Pastoral (1997) by Philip Roth
4. An American Tragedy (1925) by Theodore Dreiser
5. Animal Farm (1946) by George Orwell
6. Appointment in Samarra (1934) by John O’Hara
7. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970) by Judy Blume
8. The Assistant (1957) by Bernard Malamud
9. At Swim-Two-Birds (1938) by Flann O’Brien
10. Atonement (2002) by Ian McEwan
11. Beloved (1987) by Toni Morrison
12. The Berlin Stories (1946) by Christopher Isherwood
13. The Big Sleep (1939) by Raymond Chandler
14. The Blind Assassin (2000) by Margaret Atwood
15. Blood Meridian (1985) by Cormac McCarthy
16. Brideshead Revisited (1945) by Evelyn Waugh
17. The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927) by Thornton Wilder
18. Call It Sleep (1934) by Henry Roth
19. Catch-22 (1961) by Joseph Heller

20. The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by J. D. Salinger
21. A Clockwork Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess
22. The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967) by William Styron
23. The Corrections (2001) by Jonathan Franzen
24. The Crying of Lot 49 (1966) by Thomas Pynchon
25. A Dance to the Music of Time (1951-1975) by Anthony Powell
26. The Day of the Locust (1939) by Nathanael West
27. Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927) by Willa Cather
28. A Death in the Family (1956) by James Agee
29. The Death of the Heart (1939) by Elizabeth Bowen
30. Deliverance (1970) by James Dickey
31. Dog Soldiers (1974) by Robert Stone
32. Falconer (1977) by John Cheever
33. The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) by John Fowles
34. The Golden Notebook (1962) by Doris Lessing
35. Go Tell it on the Mountain (1953) by James Baldwin
36. Gone With the Wind (1936) by Margaret Mitchell
37. The Grapes of Wrath (1939) by John Steinbeck (bloody depressing, by the way, more than anything else)
38. Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) by Thomas Pynchon
39. The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald
40. A Handful of Dust (1934) by Evelyn Waugh
41. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940) by Carson McCullers
42. The Heart of the Matter (1948) by Graham Greene
43. Herzog (1964) by Saul Bellow
44. Housekeeping (1980) by Marilynne Robinson
45. A House for Mr. Biswas (2001) by V. S. Naipaul
46. I, Claudius (1934) by Robert Graves
47. Infinite Jest (1996) by David Foster Wallace
48. Invisible Man (1952) by Ralph Ellison
49. Light in August (1932) by William Faulkner
50. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) by C. S. Lewis
51. Lolita (1955) by Vladimir Nabokov
52. Lord of the Flies (1954) by William Golding
53. The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955) by J. R. R. Tolkien
54. Loving (1945) by Henry Green
55. Lucky Jim (1954) by Kingsley Amis
56. The Man Who Loved Children (1940) by Christina Stead
57. Midnight’s Children (1981) by Salman Rushdie
58. Money (1984) by Martin Amis
59. The Moviegoer (1961) by Walker Percy
60. Mrs. Dalloway (1925) by Virginia Woolf
61. Naked Lunch (1959) by William Burroughs
62. Native Son (1940) by Richard Wright
63. Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson
64. Never Let Me Go (2005) by Kazuo Ishiguro
65. 1984 (1949) by George Orwell
66. On the Road (1957) by Jack Kerouac
67. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) by Ken Kesey
68. The Painted Bird (1967) by Jerzy Kosinski
69. Pale Fire (1962) by Vladimir Nabokov
70. A Passage to India (1924) by E. M. Forster
71. Play It As It Lays (1970) by Joan Didion
72. Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) by Philip Roth
73. Possession: A Romance (1990) by A. S. Byatt
74. The Power and the Glory (1940) by Graham Greene
75. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961) by Muriel Spark
76. Rabbit, Run (1960) by John Updike
77. Ragtime (1975) by E.L. Doctorow
78. The Recognitions (1955) by William Gaddis
79. Red Harvest (1929) by Dashiell Hammett
80. Revolutionary Road (1961) by Richard Yates
81. The Sheltering Sky (1949) by Paul Bowles
82. Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut
83. Snow Crash (1992) by Neal Stephenson
84. The Sot-Weed Factor (1960) by John Barth
85. The Sound and the Fury (1929) by William Faulkner
86. The Sportswriter (1986) by Richard Ford
87. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1963) by John le Carré
88. The Sun Also Rises (1926) by Ernest Hemingway
89. Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) by Zora Neale Hurston
90. Things Fall Apart (1959) by Chinua Achebe
91. To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee
92. To the Lighthouse (1927) by Virginia Woolf
93. Tropic of Cancer (1934) by Henry Miller
94. Ubik (1969) by Philip K. Dick
95. Under the Net (1954) by Iris Murdoch
96. Under the Volcano (1947) by Malcolm Lowry
97. Watchmen (serial, 1986-87) by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
98. White Noise (1985) by Don DeLillo
99. White Teeth (2000) by Zadie Smith
100. Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) by Jean Rhys

No, I haven’t actually read 1984 or Lord of the Flies. I started on 1984 but found it a little too depressing and I was in the middle of something-I forget what, probably exams, as usual- and then I just never picked it up again.  The same for Gravity’s Rainbow, which was too tough, not too depressing-probably a mistake trying to read it off a computer. I’ll try again once I get a physical copy. I started reading On The Road, again as an ebook, but after the first few pages the formatting was all awry, so yet again I’ll wait till I get a physical copy.

I don’t really claim to be much of a literary critic- I stick firmly to a read what you like, only if you like it policy- but I’m a little surprised at the choice of books, specifically in the absence of some. But given that I’ve read so little of what they’ve selected, and all the ones I’ve read certainly deserve to be on the list, I suppose I can’t complain.

4 thoughts on “Top 100 Books Meme

  1. I was also surprised by some of the list – George Orwell is on it twice and he couldn’t write if his life depended on it. [Don’t get me wrong, his ideas are wonderful, but his writing style is really, really bad.]
    Lord of the Flies left me completely unimpressed as well.

    Anyways, from the books I did read, which are on the list and you haven’t read them, I’d particularly recommend Atonement, Lolita, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Possession and Slaughterhouse Five.

    Did you like Never Let Me Go?

  2. I’ve only read 22. Shame on me as an Arts student. 😦
    My 2 cents- finish 1984. It will make you cry. Naked Lunch and Slaughterhouse Five are awesome too.

  3. @kalafudra:
    Sorry for the delay. I wanted to re-read Never Let Me Go, got reminded by your comment.

    It’s…unique. There’s no suspense anywhere, not really much of a plot- the whole thing is about the setting. And there’s a very weird way of how even things that you know, you somehow come to FEEL, which is of course much stronger. There’s no one moment of realization like “Soylent Green is PEOPLE!” or anything even remotely similar to that(or so I presume, I’ve never actually seen the movie 🙂 ), we’re told about the donations from the very start, but it’s still shocking, as it goes on. Also, there’s something sinister about how they never use the word “die”, just “complete”. It definitely deserves to be on the list, that much I can say.

    And of course, it’s profoundly sad.

    I think there’s some SF story by Asimov which had something similar, I forgot which…in that, all convicted criminals, even for relatively small crimes like theft, would be killed and have their organs harvested. But that doesn’t leave you with the same feeling, partly because by the end of the book they overthrow the government after finding some new technique of growing the organs. Here, it’s all very…not peaceful, or complacent, just…unavoidable. You have to read it to get what I mean, I think.

  4. @Carapace:
    You’ve read 22?? Arts student or not, that’s still shame on me, a year older and apparently about half as educated.

    And thanks for the recommendations. I was planning to do a lot of reading in the hols, but my free time is rapidly coming to an end. Well, maybe the internship won’t be that hectic.

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