Wednesday, March 5, 2008

100 Greatest Novels of All Time (JM)

So when AOTG was originally conceived it intended to discuss way more than just politics. It is the unique nature of this crazy political season that has led to these pages being nearly dominated by matters political. Anyway, that has translated in to my spending far too much time reading nothing but non-fiction recently (including a really excellent biography of Robert Moses).

My intention is to get back to fiction and hopefully have some good discussion about books here at AOTG. I have chosen to work my way through The Modern Library's 100 Best English Language Novel list. There was very little that led to choosing this particular list, other than the board that chose it is comprised of authors and intellectuals I very much respect, also the books I have read on the list are all quite good. So the plan is to read, from the bottom up, all the books I have yet to read or have not read in some substantial amount of time. This will culminate with finally giving another shot at Ulysses, a book that, despite my overwhelming confidence in my personal intelligence, I have never been able to read and enjoy.

I hope to have some good discussions about literature on here or at the very least take some shots at Henry James... uppity bastard (I actually kind of really like Henry James, but still, he'll get what's coming to him). Feel free to let me know if there are any lists y'all prefer to The Modern Library list. Also I would just point out how expressly hilarious the "Reader's Top 100 List" is. I mean seriously four of the top ten books are by Ayn Rand, three by L. Ron Hubbard and one by George Orwell... creepy... Well I suppose before supporting Ron Paul internet crazies had to be doing something with themselves.


Anonymous said...

It's been a while since I've look at the Modern Library's Top 100 List, but if I remember correctly the few books that I did read are good, while many of the books listed I think are flat out boring even though I haven't read them yet. Also, some of my favorite novels are missing such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, Tolkien's "The Hobbit", "The Godfather", and "The Outsiders". Again, I'm going off memory here. These four novels are great novels, and much better than many of the books on their list. There were other novels I thought were top 100 that were also not on the list.

Anonymous said...

What is great is in the
eye of the beholder.

Terry Finley

Jonathan said...

Anon: I agree with you about the Foundation trilogy, brilliant stuff. The Godfather and The Outsiders were fine. I personally think Tolkien was overrated (though I think the other author of this blog is a big fan). Either way, I am not sure I would put these books in the same class as say Lolita or Tender is the Night.

Terry: Sure, I suppose that's true, but how the heck does one choose what to look at on the basis of such subjectivity. All of these lists are necessarily subjective, yet at the same time books clearly aren't just books, right? Some are worth reading, some aren't. Some are worth teaching, some aren't? Without setting standards, how do we pick and choose?

Nick said...

It's pretty bad that I've only read 5.5 of these...