Monday, September 15, 2008

List-o-Phile Monday

Today's list: the Radcliffe Publishing course's Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century. Apparently, this list was created at the request of the Modern Library editorial board. I don't know why. These grad students each submitted a list of their 10 favorite works of fiction. They compiled the lists and the 100 which appeared the most often became the list.
  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  6. Ulysses by James Joyce (currently reading)
  7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  9. 1984 by George Orwell
  10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
  12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  13. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
  14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
  23. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (2008)
  25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  27. Native Son by Richard Wright
  28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
  29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  32. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (2008)
  34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
  38. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
  39. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster (2009)
  40. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  41. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
  42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (2008)
  43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (2010)
  45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  48. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  51. My Antonia by Willa Cather
  52. Howards End by E.M. Forster (2010)
  53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (2009)
  54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
  57. Sophie's Choice by William Styron (currently reading)
  58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
  59. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
  62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  63. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  64. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
  65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
  66. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  68. Light in August by William Faulkner
  69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
  70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  71. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  72. A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
  74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (2009)
  75. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence (2010)
  76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
  77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
  78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Tokias by Gertrude Stein
  79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer (2009)
  81. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
  83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
  84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  85. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (2010)
  87. The Bostonians by Henry James
  88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (2009)
  89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
  90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  91. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  93. The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
  94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
  95. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
  96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
  99. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (currently reading)
  100. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

51 down already. After I get through the Modern Library list (in addition to In Cold Blood, because I'll read that by the end of next year), I will have read 66/100, leaving only 34. Once I finish the ML list, this is the one that I will probably should only take 2 years to complete.


Robby Virus said...

It's fascinating to compare these lists and wonder why some books are on one and not the other. For instance, how can the Modern Library list exclude "Their Eyes Were Watching God"?

I have two questions:

1. What's your reading rate in books per year for the Modern Library list?

2. How's "Ulysses" coming along?

Kristin said...

It is interesting to compare the lists. It has always frustrated me that "To Kill a Mockingbird" was left out. If I recall from my compilation, there are only 6 books which made ALL of the lists: On the Road, Catcher in the Rye, A Passage to India, the Great Gatsby, Lolita and 1984 I think.

My rate on the ML list is 17 per year. I've been actively reading this list since probably 2005 or 2006, and 17 per year was the number that would allow me to get through it by 2010.

Ulysses is moving along. The episode I just finished, Circe, was probably the easiest to read since the beginning of the book. Only 3 chapters left. I should be done the beginning of October.

Titti said...

Hi Kristin, I'm a new reader of your blog and I must say I like it a lot! You write really well, and it's very interesting to 'hear' what you think about the books you read!
Love all your lists too! Think I'll 'adopt' one of them and try to get through it. Not this one, though. I'm totally amazed (scared?) by the fact that there are hardly ANY books on this list that weren't written in English... Do Radcliffe students not read any books from other language areas? (Compare with British Observer's list which contains quite a few translated works.)

Kristin said...


Thanks for the nice comment! TO answer your question, I think that this list really represents a basic high school and college least in my experience. Also, I find this list interesting for it's inclusion of more children/young adult novels, such as Winnie the Pooh and The Wind in the Willows. I believe that Radcliffe (and many of the other lists compiled at the end of the last century) simply forgot to qualify the list as the top English novels.

Not being part of the world dialog of literature is a charge that has been leveled again Americans by the Nobel people (and others, I'm sure), and to be honest, the majority of works published abroad simply aren't translated for an American audience. So it's not surprising that an American list wouldn't reflect the great non-English literature of the 20th century, especially a list compiled by graduate students.