Monday, September 22, 2008

List-o-Phile Monday

The Observer's take on the Top 100 novels...not of the 20th Century but of all time. It's obviously skewed towards the British, but that's not necessarily the bad thing. All these lists are of course influenced by the list-er...age, sex, nationality, ethnicity, etc.

The background to this list can be found here.

1. Don Quixote - Miguel De Cervantes
2. Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan
3. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
4. Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift

5. Tom Jones - Henry Fielding
6. Clarissa - Samuel Richardson
7. Tristram Shandy - Laurence Sterne
8. Dangerous Liaisons - Pierre Choderlos De Laclos
9. Emma - Jane Austen
10. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
11. Nightmare Abbey - Thomas Love Peacock
12. The Black Sheep - Honore De Balzac
13. The Charterhouse of Parma - Stendhal
14. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
15. Sybil - Benjamin Disraeli
16. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (2008)
17. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
18. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
19. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
20. The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
21. Moby-Dick - Herman Melville
22. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
23. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
24. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
25. Little Women - Louisa M. Alcott
26. The Way We Live Now - Anthony Trollope
27. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
28. Daniel Deronda George Eliot
29. The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky
30. The Portrait of a Lady Henry James
31. Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
32. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson

33. Three Men in a Boat Jerome K. Jerome
34. The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde
35. The Diary of a Nobody George Grossmith
36. Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy
37. The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
38. The Call of the Wild Jack London (2008)
39. Nostromo Joseph Conrad
40. The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
41. In Search of Lost Time Marcel Proust
42. The Rainbow D. H. Lawrence (2009)
43. The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford
44. The Thirty-Nine Steps John Buchan
45. Ulysses James Joyce (2008)
46. Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf
47. A Passage to India E. M. Forster
48. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
49. The Trial Franz Kafka

50. Men Without Women Ernest Hemingway
51. Journey to the End of the Night Louis-Ferdinand Celine
52. As I Lay Dying William Faulkner
53. Brave New World Aldous Huxley
54. Scoop Evelyn Waugh

55. USA John Dos Passos (2010)
56. The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler
57. The Pursuit Of Love Nancy Mitford
58. The Plague Albert Camus
59. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
60. Malone Dies Samuel Beckett
61. Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
62. Wise Blood Flannery O'Connor
63. Charlotte's Web E. B. White

64. The Lord Of The Rings J. R. R. Tolkien
65. Lucky Jim Kingsley Amis
66. Lord of the Flies William Golding
67. The Quiet American Graham Greene
68 On the Road - Jack Kerouac
69. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
70. The Tin Drum - Gunter Grass
71. Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
72. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
73. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
74. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
75. Herzog - Saul Bellow
76. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
77. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont - Elizabeth Taylor
78. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - John Le Carre
79. Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
80. The Bottle Factory Outing - Beryl Bainbridge
81. The Executioner's Song - Norman Mailer
82. If on a Winter's Night a Traveller - Italo Calvino (2008)
83. A Bend in the River - V. S. Naipaul
84. Waiting for the Barbarians - J.M. Coetzee
85. Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson
86. Lanark - Alasdair Gray
87. The New York Trilogy - Paul Auster
88. The BFG - Roald Dahl
89. The Periodic Table - Primo Levi
90. Money - Martin Amis
91. An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro
92. Oscar And Lucinda - Peter Carey
93. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting - Milan Kundera
94. Haroun and the Sea af Stories - Salman Rushdie
95. LA Confidential - James Ellroy
96. Wise Children - Angela Carter
97. Atonement - Ian McEwan
98. Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
99. American Pastoral - Philip Roth
100. Austerlitz - W. G. Sebald

I've read 38/100. There's a lot on this list that I REALLY want to read, but just haven't gotten to: Atonement, Austerlitz, Herzog, and Pilgrim's Progess to name a few. The British-ness of the list adds a different dimension, as does the "of all time" as opposed to 20th Century only. I often think about how the 20th century works really stand up against the 19th century works - Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, the works of Dickens, etc....and I always feel that despite how many works I love from the 20th century, they just don't compare. But on the other hand, the bad works of the 19th century have been sifted out, whereas that hasn't really happened with at least half of the 20th century. In 100 years, it might be very different.


Tom Goodfellow said...

I read this lot rather than your choice of the Modern Library list (yes, I am English). It was a fun exercise, my brief thoughts are at:

I also have a book blog, and our tastes overlap a bit, so if you're interested take a peek at

I just finished Dance to the Music of Time - sublime!

Kristin said...

I'm into the WW2 years in Dance right now. I am enjoying it slightly less than that party-going of the previous volumes, but it's good nonetheless. I think the scope alone - and the fact that Powell pulls it off - makes it an amazing piece of work. It took me a while to begin to appreciate get to the point where Nick's voice made sense, but now I look forward to my nightly time with Nick.

I noticed from your Observer reviews that you liked The Monk. What a fabulous book! It was definately up there with Dracula and Frankenstein, in my book, but it seems to be mostly forgotten. The only one I disagree with you on is Vanity Fair

Tom Goodfellow said...

Yes, I was too harsh on Vanity Fair. Becky is a marvellous heroine and the Waterloo sequences are very memorable. I guess I was in a bad mood that day.

I persuaded a colleague to read The Monk earlier this week, as it happens. What a blast.