Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Best 100 Novels of All Time

The Observer's top 100 novels had me interested. I know the whole idea of a list of the 'best' books ever is a bit dodgy but I can't resist having a look, if only to get outraged at novels that are missing. For the most part I'm with the Observer, although sometimes I would have chosen a different novel for the author ('Unbearable Lightness of Being' instead of 'The Book of Laughter and Forgetting' for example). I've nicked an idea from this site and have bolded those that I've read. I'm pretty ashamed of the amount of unread ones but I guess it gives me something to work towards...

By the way, where's 'Heart of Darkness'?


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 (well, ¾ of it- I’ll finish it one of these days, I promise!!)

6. Clarissa Samuel Richardson

7. Tristram Shandy Laurence Sterne (I've seen the brilliant film with Steve Coogan, but I don't think that counts)

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 (Twice, I love it!!)

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 (Many times, when I was a kid)

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 (and still devastated by the suicide scene)

37. The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers

38. The Call of the Wild Jack London

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

43. The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford

44. The Thirty-Nine Steps John Buchan

45. Ulysses James Joyce

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

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 (yes, and feel I wasted too many hours of my life in doing so)

65. Lucky Jim Kingsley Amis (the speech he gives while drunk is one of my favourite scenes in literature)

66. Lord of the Flies William Golding

67. The Quiet American Graham Greene

68 On the Road Jack Kerouac (during moody teenage years)

69. Lolita Vladimir Nabokov (recently and loved it)

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 (bleh, hugely overrated)

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

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 (and loved it)

90. Money Martin Amis

91. An Artist of the Floating World Kazuo Ishiguro

92. Oscar And Lucinda Peter Carey (yay, an Australian)

93. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Milan Kundera

94. Haroun and the Sea af Stories Salman Rushdie

95. LA Confidential James Ellroy (brilliant!)

96. Wise Children Angela Carter

97. Atonement Ian McEwan

98. Northern Lights Philip Pullman (yes, and the rest of the trilogy- love it)

99. American Pastoral Philip Roth

100. Austerlitz W. G. Sebald (well, I own it and have read 2/3….
:-) )

2 comments:

Todd said...

Jess, thank you for the comment about The Stone Reader. It's a lovely film, although I started reading the Stones of Summer this morning and put it down after half an hour. The prose is purple and it's just not well-written at all. A shame to see such product from an Iowa Workshop grad. Dow Mossman needed an editor.

I like the 100 novel list. I'm making my own, nicking an idea from Jane Smiley's 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, an excellent book about the form that has its own annotated list.

jess said...

I'm sorry to hear that about the novel, I'd always hoped it would be an 'undiscovered masterpiece'.

I'm looking forward to your list. I've been thinking more about the Observer's list and seeing further flaws, such as very token inclusion of novels written in languages other than English, and I think that some of the children's novels might be sentimental inclusions rather than merit-based (although maybe that's ok?). Lists are so fraught with problems!