10.17.2005

Need something good to read?

Those clever boys up at Time magazine clearly had some sort of hellacious New Year cause in January they decided to compile a list of the 100 best books published since 1923. 1923 is of course the year Time was founded, and since Ulysses was published in 1922, cleverly lets them off the hook about whether it's truly a great book (ya ya ya, I know, but yanno, people still debate this)

Here's the link to their story of
how they chose the list

and the
100 Best books since 1923 list itself.



How many have you read?


Miss Snark's score: 20.
Egad.
Too much crime fiction I guess!


Thanks to Michael Cader, publishing god for the link.

35 comments:

AnimeJune said...

While this is quite sad, I've probably seen more movies based on those books then the books themselves...

I have read Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds, though, which really spoke to me as a would-be author. The idea of someone's characters rebelling against their author is compelling.
The idea of an author having relations with one of their characters and producing a half-fictional child is hilarious.

Breathe said...

18. And most of them in college.


My favorite - not-on-the-list: Soloman's Song

L. said...

It's pretty nifty that they included The Watchmen, a graphic novel. Although if they were going to break down those barriers, where was Maus?! Clearly this list is crap. And I'm not saying that just because I've only read about 15 of them.

Stephen said...

40 for me (on average a little over 1 per year since I learned to read - had I been brought up in the US I might have read a few more).

I like the list because it doesn't exclude crime and SF, but it is odd that the crime is mostly hard-boiled (Chandler and Hammett, but no Dorothy L Sayers, say) and the SF is mostly cyberpunk (Gibson and Stephenson, but no Ursula Le Guin, for instance).

Nothing that really counts as Romance, and not much historical fiction. Could they not have found room for one of Georgette Heyer's gems?

Demented M said...

My score is 9, but you know, I think they left off quite a few books. Some authors I think they missed-- Ursula Le Guin, Robert Heinlen, Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and my personal favorite, John Belairs.

M

Pam G said...

I scored a 21, and for the same reason Miss Snark mentions. In my defense, there were multiple entires for two of my all-time faves: Waugh and Faulkner.

They're lucky they cut it off when they did, because if this list omitted "The Age of Innocence" (as did The Whatchacallit List of the Great 100 that came out last year) my rage would be audible. That book won a frickin' Pulitzer Prize, fer cryin' out loud.

Not sure why I'm ranting about something that isn't on the list, but there you are.

Bill Peschel said...

Interesting list. "The Corrections" shouldn't have been there, but they caught not only "Revolutionary Road" and "Recognitions" but "Ubik" and "Watchman" as well (although lets face it, "Maus" should have been there, much as I love Alan Moore).

My score: 18, and only a few in college.

Jamie said...

I was all set to bitch about the list until I read that the criteria was for English language novels. (I mean, no Celine? C'mon)

Anyway, I only scored a 16, mostly in high school and college, so I don't know if that even counts. Don't quiz me on them or anything.

Allison Brennan said...

24 for me . . .

I, personally, think Stephen King's THE STAND and Dean Koontz's WATCHERS should have been on the list, and Tess Gerritsen's GRAVITY which is one of my all-time favorite books, but I didn't see a lot of crime/suspense books after the 1940s.

But I can't really fault any of these books for making it . . .

Pit Beagle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Random Walk Writer said...

11 for me so far. Tried Catch-22 but just did not like it. I, Claudius is actually on the agenda for December.

Maxwell said...

I read 21, if you count 1/3 of The Lord of the Rings. Dune should have been on there before Watchmen - it is a comic book right? Did I miss the all-text version?

It's good to see somebody remembers Nathaniel West. Without Day of the Locust, would we even have The Simpsons?

Ubik was a good pick for a PKD novel. If I had to pick one, I probably would have gone with A Scanner Darkly, or perhaps the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Thankfully they didn't rain more praise on The Man in the High Castle. It's really not one of his stronger works, despite getting the Hugo.

They nailed the best Hammet though. Red Harvest is an amazing, and usually under-appreciated, book. I'd have a lot less respect for this list if they had The Maltese Falcon on there instead.

THRILL said...

23...

I'm surprised J M Coetzee isn't there - Waiting for the Barbarians is even better than Lord of the Flies (IMHO!). Also missing is Yan Martell...and yeah, I miss Ursula Le Guin, too.

I agree with the choice of Things Fall Apart. No Longer At Ease, the sequel, was also wonderful.

Several of the books that I've read on this list are short, compact novels where the author has made every word count.

Pit Beagle said...

I am also glad that Watchmen made the list, but I think that V for Vendetta is Moore's strongest work.

I can't agree with those who think Maus should be on the list. It's phenomenal, no doubt. But it's non-fiction, right? Even if Spiegelman used animals to represent people, he's telling his father's story.

34 for me.

Brady Westwater said...

Fast forwarded list, quickly realized how many I have read and was instantly too depressed to count. Not certain if despondent because there are so few great books out there, or because I have spent too much time reading those books - or both.

Or it could just be the first rain of the season and a looming birthday.

Sonarbabe said...

Oh man. I scored a whopping 4. 4!! That is horrible. I do think that S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders should be added only because it's considered mandatory reading in schools now along with Charles Dickens, Great Expectations. That would have brought my score up a bit. *wink*

Bernita said...

25 or 26. A couple I'm not sure if I read those or another by the same author. So many books, so little time.

litagent said...

22 for me, with another 5 or 6 that I read part of, and stopped. But what an odd list. Certainly, many of these should be here, others are arguable good books, but the BEST 100?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I only get 18, and some of those were in high school. I'm with allison brennan....King and Koontz should have made the list. The Stand should have made it on weight alone!

Linda Adams said...

I've read two of the books and had two more that I started but never finished.

Ric said...

26 - I think - hard to remember, child of the 60's and all.

Note of interest: The list must have been put together by someone who went to college with me. Only explanation for Vonnegut, Tolkien, West, and Ellison on the same list. Heavily weighted to those who went to college in the 70's.

Mary Louisa said...

I've read 32, and maybe more I can't remember (oh, those nutsoid all-nighters). Lots of them I've read multiple times because I've taught them multiple times. But with a Ph.D. in 20th c. literature and fifteen years of teaching English, you'd think I'd have read MORE!

My addition: Leslie Marmon Silko's CEREMONY

Jan said...

I have read 12 of them. I agree that it is a strange list, especially the fantasy/SF choices. But hey, I'm not the God of all that is books, so what do I know? :)

nessili said...

Only 9. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. My only excuse is that I'm not really a fan of overly-realistic/depressing literature.

Glad to see Tolkien on there. I would have had to sic a band of Orcs on the listmakers had they left Lord of the Rings off.

I'd never heard of At Swim-Two-Birds, but it sounds like a fascinating premise. I'll be hunting it up promptly.

Uli said...

36 for me. As others have noted, it's remarkable what a Lit degree will do for you...

Molly said...

16. I could plead an engineering degree and lack of lit courses, but really it's more a lack of interest.

Also, 3 others on the list in the TBR pile, 4 others started but never finished, and 7 authors where I read at least one of their other books.

Kristin said...

Hmmm, a shameful 12. Ouch. Yet I don't feel deprived (or depraved). I've read many great books, even if they didn't make Time's list.

Mama Rose said...

18, but some were films of the books and a couple I never finished. My list would include a lot of books they'd never consider, though, because I don't care what genre it is. I care whether it moved me, made me think, haunted me after I was finished with it. :)

Linda

Allison Brennan said...

Two books that I thought of when I was talking about this list in my writers group: REBECCA by Daphne du Marnier and THE PRINCESS BRIDE by William Goldman.

Okay, everyone knows REBECCA is classic suspense; THE PRINCESS BRIDE? Yes . . . seriously. My high school advanced english teacher taught this . . . the entire final was on the book (three questions.) It was an instant classic. I rarely read books twice. THE STAND, a few other King novels, a few Poe books, but TPB I've enjoyed each of the four times I've read it.

Knave of Hearts said...

13. But I'm just edging out of highschool, so that's a legit excuse, right?

I agree with THE PRINCESS BRIDE, wholly and completely. I mean, you've got to admit it's a riot. I was surprised to see that THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE was there -- happy day! it's a read for anyone, because C.S. Lewis writes so sweet...

Stacy said...

19. But no Stephen King? And I clutch my copy of Snow Falling on Cedars and wail.

Unpublished Scum said...

No Ayn Rand? wtf?

Ahavah said...

I only got 14! And in my hey-day before children, I could read a novel a day.

I'm bookmarking the page and catching up. I'm all set to read I, Claudius as well, since a friend recommended it for me in anticipation of NaNoWriMo.

noparadiselost said...

I've read them all. Please don't hate me. It's an incurable disease: If I don't read at least a book a day, I go into a mental coma.

Anna L. said...

I've read five and about three-fourths of Gone WIth the Wind. I finished it, I just skimmed some.

Yes, Georgette Heyer is good, but if they'd named one of her books, they'd have people who've read her going "Venetia? What? I liked Devil's Cub better!" or "Regency Buck? I liked The Unknown Ajax better!" and there'd be no end to it. The flak from her fans is unmixed and unanimous this way.