Tuesday, October 18, 2005

TIME's Top 100 Novels

The book critics for TIME Magazine have created a list of the top 100 novels (in English), published since 1923. The list doesn't just stick to highbrow "literary classics". There are, of course, the classics I read in school (Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, Grapes of Wrath), but also young adult books (Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret), modern literature (Beloved, The Blind Assassin, Midnight's Children, White Teeth), spy novels and murder mysteries (The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, The Big Sleep), fantasy (Lord of the Rings, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), and science fiction (Neuromancer, Snow Crash, Slaughterhouse Five, 1984), and the less classifiable (Crying of Lot 49, Naked Lunch, A Clockwork Orange). Even a graphic novel made the list (Watchmen).

The fun of these lists is that the final selections had to be based on personal taste, so you can easily argue that noteworthy books were excluded. For example, it's interesting that "Neuromancer" and "Snow Crash" (both "cyberpunkish", both from the 1980s) were included, but the large repertoire of earlier science fiction didn't make the cut. Why not "The Martian Chronicles" or "Stranger in a Strange Land"?

I've only read a quarter of the books on the list, and and some I'm only familiar with as movie adaptations (e.g., "The French Lieutenant's Woman", "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"). I'm looking forward to reading the rest!



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Blogger Brian said...

Interesting. I am happy that Watchmen made it onto the list. Since it is excellent. But why is there no Ray Bradbury stuff. He is one of our greatest writers and thinkers. Maybe you need to start your own list Peggy.

10:34 AM  

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