Monday, January 26, 2009

List-o-Phile Monday

Last week, we began the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list…2008 edition.

First part of the Added list

As I mentioned in last week’s post, the editors took out a lot of great classics of western lit (Dickens, Dostoevsky, Austen, etc – we’ll get to the list of what was taken off in about three weeks) and replaced them with a more world-lit-oriented list…a lot of Asian, Spanish, and Eastern European works were added. I’m sure that I’ll reiterate this when we get to the Removed list, but I’ll say it now also so you know where I stand with this. While on one hand, it’s great to see more obscure, “foreign” works of literature being put on this list – especially in light of the criticism from the Nobel people that America doesn’t participate in the world lit dialog and therefore don’t deserve awards – I also think that it’s detrimental to remove the Western greats in favor of foreign works. My reason is that so much culturally is drawn from those great works, that to have people think it’s ok NOT to read them is to create a huge vacuum. When you don’t have people reading A Christmas Carol, which is one of the many Dickens that was removed, at some point we will lose the reference to why someone is called “Ebenezer Scrooge,” and so many others. It’s part of our cultural heritage as English speakers, as part of the Western tradition, that I think is so sad to lose. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing novels like This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, Barabbas, and War with the Newts added to this list, and while multi-culturalism is fabulous, cutting out Dickens in favor of it I think is going the wrong way. And to remove those Western greats when the list was already top-heavy with recent literature is very frustrating.

As always, list is in reverse chronological order and red (or a link) indicates that I've read it.
  1. The Back Room - Carmen Martin Gaite
  2. The Beggar Maid - Alice Munro
  3. Requiem for a Dream- Hubert Selby Jr.
  4. The Wars - Timothy Findley
  5. Quartet in Autumn – Barbara Pym
  6. The Engineer of Human Souls – Josef Skvorecky
  7. Blaming - Elizabeth Taylor
  8. Almost Transparent Blue – Ryu Murakami
  9. Kiss of the Spider Woman - Manuel Puig
  10. Woman at Point Zero - Nawal El Saadawi
  11. The Commandant - Jessica Anderson
  12. The Year of the Hare - Arto Paasilinna
  13. The Port - Antun Šoljan
  14. The Dispossessed - Ursula K. Le Guin
  15. The Diviners - Margaret Laurence
  16. Day of the Dolphin - Robert Merle
  17. The Optimist's Daughter - Eudora Welty
  18. The Twilight Years - Sawako Ariyoshi
  19. Lives of Girls and Women - Alice Munro
  20. Cataract – Mykhailo Osadchyi
  21. A World for Julius - Alfredo Bryce Echenique
  22. Play It As It Lays - Joan Didion
  23. Fifth Business – Robertson Davies
  24. Jacob the Liar – Jurek Becker
  25. Here's to You, Jesusa - Elena Poniatowska
  26. Season of Migration to the North - Tayeb Salih
  27. The Case Worker - Gyorgy Konrad
  28. Moscow Stations - Venedikt Erofeyev
  29. Heartbreak Tango - Manuel Puig
  30. The Cathedral – Oles Honchar
  31. The Manor - Isaac Bashevis Singer
  32. Z – Vassilis Vassilikos
  33. Miramar – Naguib Mahfouz
  34. To Each His Own - Leonardo Sciascia
  35. Marks of Identity - Juan Goytisolo
  36. Silence – Shusaku Endo
  37. Death and the Dervish - Mesa Selimovic
  38. Closely Watched Trains - Bohumil Hrabal
  39. Back to Oegstgeest - Jan Wolkers
  40. Gardens, Ashes – Danilo Kis
  41. Three Trapped Tigers - Guillermo Cabrera Infante
  42. Dog Years – Gunter Grass
  43. The Third Wedding - Costas Taktsis
  44. Time of Silence – Luis Martin Santos
  45. The Death of Artemio Cruz - Carlos Fuentes
  46. The Time of the Hero - Mario Vargas Llosa
  47. Memoirs of a Peasant Boy - Xose Neira Vilas
  48. No One Writes to the Colonel - Gabriel García Márquez
  49. The Shipyard - Juan Carlos Onetti
  50. Bebo's Girl - Carlo Cassola
  51. The Magician of Lublin - Isaac Bashevis Singer
  52. God's Bits of Wood - Ousmane Sembene
  53. Halftime – Martin Walser
  54. Down Second Avenue - Es'kia Mphahlele
  55. Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon - Jorge Amado
  56. Deep Rivers - Jose Maria Arguedas
  57. The Guide - R.K. Narayan
  58. The Deadbeats - Ward Ruyslinck
  59. The Birds - Tarjei Vesaas
  60. The Glass Bees - Ernst Junger
  61. The Manila Rope - Veijo Meri
  62. The Devil to Pay in the Backlands - Joao Guimaraes Rosa
  63. The Burning Plain - Juan Rulfo
  64. The Tree of Man – Patrick White
  65. The Mandarins – Simone de Beauvoir
  66. A Day in Spring – Ciril Kosmac
  67. Death in Rome – Wolfgang Koeppen
  68. The Sound of Waves - Yukio Mishima
  69. The Unknown Soldier - Vaino Linna
  70. The Hothouse – Wolfgang Koeppen
  71. The Lost Steps – Alejo Carpentier
  72. The Dark Child – Camara Laye
  73. Excellent Women - Barbara Pym
  74. A Thousand Cranes - Yasunari Kawabata
  75. The Hive - Camilo Jose Cela
  76. Barabbas – Par Lagerkvist
  77. The Guiltless – Hermann Broch
  78. Ashes and Diamonds - Jerzy Andrzejewski
  79. Journey to the Alcarria - Camilo Jose Cela
  80. In The Heart of the Sea - Shmuel Yosef Agnon
  81. This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen - Tadeusz Borowski
  82. Froth on the Daydream - Boris Vian
  83. Midaq Alley - Naguib Mahfouz
  84. Zorba the Greek – Nikos Kazantzákis
  85. House in the Uplands - Erskine Caldwell
  86. Andrea – Carmen Laforet
  87. Bosnian Chronicle - Ivo Andrić
  88. The Death of Virgil - Hermann Broch
  89. The Tin Flute – Gabrielle Roy
  90. Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren
  91. Chess Story (Royal Game) - Stefan Zweig
  92. Broad and Alien is the World - Ciro Alegria
  93. The Harvesters – Cesare Pavese
  94. The Man Who Loved Children - Christina Stead
  95. Alamut – Vladimir Bartol
  96. On the Edge of Reason – Miroslav Krleza
  97. The Blind Owl – Sadegh Hedayat
  98. Ferdydurke – Witold Gombrowicz
  99. War with the Newts – Karel Capek
  100. Ricksaw Boy – Lao She

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