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The 100 Best English-Language Novels of the 20th Century

In 2000, the publishing giant Random House assembled a board of authors and literary critics to list the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

The Zeray Gazette blog has the list (of which I reprinted the top 10) and I'm sad to say that I've only read 4 of these:

1. (1922) Ulysses James Joyce
2. (1925) The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. (1916) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce
4. (1955) Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
5. (1932) Brave New World Aldous Huxley
6. (1929) The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner
7. (1961) Catch-22 Joseph Heller
8. (1940) Darkness at Noon Arthur Koestler
9. (1913) Sons and Lovers D. H. Lawrence
10. (1939) The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

How many of the 10 (and 100) have you read? And what's missing from the list? Link


I've only read three of these books, and that's including Lord of the Flies, which was half read in novel form and half in Cliffnotes form.

Huh.
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I've read about half of them. Of the half I haven't read, at least half of those are ones (like Catch 22) that I very much want to read.

avraamov: Ulysses is still in English. It's Finnegan's that takes the real leap.
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Read 9 of the 100, going to check out several on that list. I've always prefered the classics over modern literature, but should add that I only found this in my 20's while in school I hated that stuff.
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I was such a bookworm when I was a kid but somewhere along the line I lost it. I've read precious few of these books. I thought I was a more literate person than that. It's kind of humbling! These days it seems like all my reading is web surfing. But I should add that, though I've only read bits and pieces of Joyce's work, I'm surprised to see him so high on this list. Like others have commented on here, didn't he write mostly gibberish?
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I've been hearing a lot about Cormac McCarthy (He wrote the novel No Country for Old Men) lately, and how I need to read his stuff. My friend is going to lend me Blood Meridian today, and he keeps telling me I'm not going to like it because of McCarthy's style of writing. I looked into it and it's very poetic.

I'm surprised he's not on this list.
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You can tell this list comes from 'literary' critics. Note the almost complete lack of fantasy, science fiction (except '1984' and 'Brave New World' - both written by 'literary' writers), and mystery (except for nods to Dashiell Hammett and Norman Mailer, the latter of which I didn't think was that great a writer). How about 'The Lord of the Rings', 'Dune', or anything by Ray Bradbury or Raymond Chandler?
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strange that Mockingbird isn't on there, nor Confederacy of Dunces.

and yes, Cormac McCarthy is a great writer. i spent a few months reading everything of his i could find, and burned out on him, unfortunately.
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Shouldn't there be some P.G. Wodehouse on this list? Maybe "The Code of the Woosters"?

Just because it's hilarious doesn't mean it isn't a great work of literature.
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Who are they guys that write these lists and why is Ulysses always at the top of every one of them? I've tried to read it at least 5 times and can't get more than 50 pages in. And never met anybody that ever has admitted to reading it either.
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I've read 52 of these.
No "To Kill a Mockingbird" ?!?
This list looks like it was put together by people who want other people to think they are smart and well read.
Frankly, life is to short to read Joyce.
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Absolutely absurd for the list not to include Moby Dick.

And, @JPFC: your inability to get through/enjoy Ulysses is explained in full by your love of Atlas Shrugged.
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Want to chime in with another plug for Cormac MacCarthy. Read Child of God if you can get past the subject matter, which is about as horrible as it can get. Not for the squeamish, but the language is utterly breathtaking.
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gunfunbler, moby dick is 19th century innit? Anyway this list is egregiously missing "Bill the galactic hero on the planet of the hippies from hell" and "the 13and a half lives of captain bluebear"

just because a book has pictures doesn't mean it's not a great work of literature
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I've read Ulysses, The Great Gatsby, Lolita, and Catch-22. To me The Great Gatsby was the only one that really deserves to be here because it remains relevant. Ulysses and Lolita are too obscure to be "great" and Catch-22 is too dated. The one book which I'd put on there is Fifth Business by Robertson Davies.
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The Grapes of Wrath is my least favorite book of all time, so I always take these kinds of lists with a grain of salt. I think they based their list on literary merit and style, not intrigue and plot, which is why most of us read.
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I've read half of Ulysses and Portrait, three pages of Gatsby and all of The Sound and the Fury! Have to check out the full list to see how far else I need to catch up with the rest of the literary world.
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I also started Ulysses a couple times, and the only other Joyce book I've tried to read was Finnegan's Wake, so yeah, not a real fan here. I occasionally believe the literati give a great deal of credit to authors if they make their work nearly incomprehensible to the less erudite.

Coincidentally just finished Grapes of Wrath. Very depressing of course, but I did enjoy it and had a hard time putting it down. I have a bad habit of picking up the dialect of whatever I am watching/reading, so for a while I was drawling and droppin' the en's offa words an' such.
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i have read four. Novel in English language has remained a weaker genre as compared to Russian,French and Spanish author who could encompass bigger characters in larger environment and place them in the conflict which thrived at all levels.
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I'm not going to be pretentious and say how many of the books on the list I've read, but I will say that any list without Tolkein - whose work is the greatest, bar-none, of the twentieth century - or the living master/human word-safe, Cormac McCarthy, is petty, and, to say the least, uninspired.
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