The OF Blog: Interesting Top 100 book list from Lit Net

Friday, January 11, 2013

Interesting Top 100 book list from Lit Net

They recently did a new reader poll of favorite books and while I've read the majority of them, more unread on this list than I expected.  Needless to say, it's mostly Euro-American in focus.  Bold for books I've read, italics for those I own but haven't yet read, and plain for unread/not owned works:

1. The Bible
2. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
3. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
8. Don Quixote by Cervantes
9. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
10. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
11. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
12. The Odyssey by Homer
13. Paradise Lost by John Milton
14. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
15. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
16. Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire
17. The Illiad by Homer
18. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez
19. Essays by Montaigne
20. The Stranger by Albert Camus
21. The Oresteia by Aeschylus
22. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
23. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

24. The Story of the Stone by Cao Xueqin (read first volume, own others)
25. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
26. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

27. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
28. Emma by Jane Austen
29. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
30. The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio

31. Eugene Onegin by Pushkin
32. Watership Down by Richard Adams
33. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
34. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
35. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
36. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
37. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
38. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
39. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
40. The Trial by Franz Kafka

41. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
42. Shahnameh by Ferdowsi
43. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
44. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
45. Fictions by J.L. Borges
46. El Aleph by J.L. Borges
47. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
48. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

49. The Magus by John Fowles
50. Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman
51. Testament by R.C. Hutchinson
52. Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
53. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
54. Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
55. Oedipus the King by Sophocles
56. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
57. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
58. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
59. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake

60. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
61. Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
62. Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
63. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

64. No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre
65. Othello by William Shakespeare
66. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
67. Vanity Fair by William Thackerey

68. Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy
69. Voss by Patrick White
70. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
71. Manfred by Lord Byron
72. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
73. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
74. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
75. Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy

76. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty
77. 1984 by George Orwell
78. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
79. The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramagos
80. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
81. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
82. Tristam Shandy by Laurence Sterne

83. The Tree of Man by Patrick White
84. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
85. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
86. 2666 by Robert Bolano

87. Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
88. If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino

89. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
90. The Arrow of Gold by Joseph Conrad
91. The Recognitions by William Gaddis
92. The Castle by Franz Kafka
93. I Canti by Giacomo Leopardi
94. Man’s Fate by André Malraux
95. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
96. Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
97. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
98. Confessions by Rousseau
99. The World as Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer
100. Julius Caesar by Shakespeare

How many have you read/own?


Juan Manuel Pazos said...

I've read 24 of these and own another 14 most of which I've read in part (Ulysses and Moby Dick, someday I'll beat you!) I've read a couple you haven't (Watership Down and Roger Ackroyd) and I'm a little disappointed in the fact some authors get more than one book and a little surprised at the success of a couple of authors, particularly Cormac McCarthy. And I had never even heard of Infinite Jest! Where have I been? Plus: yay Shakespeare but WHAT ABOUT LOPE DE VEGA? And don't start me talking about Oscar Wilde....

Larry Nolen said...

I would have chosen Calderón de la Barca over Lope de Vega, but that's just personal preference for La vida es sueño speaking there :P

Infinite Jest is one of those novels to experience rather than to try to decipher its myriad possibilities/meanings, I've learned. Perhaps I should re-read and review it here later this year.

As lists go, this one wasn't too bad. Mine would be a different list though; it'd be more "American" in some regards (by that I mean more than just the US) and less in others.

Gabriele C. said...

As usual, I'm missing more German and Scandinavian writers in that list (Thomas Mann, Goethe, Ibsen and Strindberg should have made the cut) but that's nothing new about lists compiled in te US. ;-)

Unknown said...

Not a bad list, although I still tend to think Ulysses is a better thought experiment than an actual reading experience. Then again, I also think Grapes of Wrath should be higher than number 80, so I suppose taste is a fickle thing. The one thing that truly disappoints though is that Slaughterhouse Five gets picked over Mother Night to represent Vonnegut. I realize it is better known, but Mother Night is the much more powerful read.

Larry Nolen said...

Yeah, the place of origin/preponderance of respondents will shape these quite a bit (I posted a similar-type list a couple of years ago that Le Monde conducted and it was heavily Francophone in comparison to this list).

And yes, tastes are fickle things. I liked Ulysses more than many do, but it wouldn't be a Top 10 selection. As for Vonnegut, hard to say which is my favorite; the ones I've read I liked for different reasons.

Drkshadow03 said...

I was curious to see the geographical make-up of the voters on Lit Net for this list.

10 Countries unknown
8 United States
2 England
2 Canada
2 Portugal
1 China
1 Scotland
1 Ireland
1 French
1 Scandinavian
1 Italy
1 Australia
1 Somewhere Dutch
1 India

Hélène said...

I read 35 of these: the French and Classical Greek writers helped.
I gave up on Russian writers, their fifty characters, each with three names I could never remember : I'm lost before reaching page 50. Joyce's Ulysses is a no go for me, thank you!

So... this means I need to "delve" into American litterature.
And I hadn't even heard of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh!

Larry Nolen said...

Not surprising about the country breakdowns, as they reflect what has endured in various European national literary traditions.

The Ferdowsi book is a classic of post-Arab invasion Persian literature. I have heard of it, but haven't yet read it (although I see it available for $0.99 as an e-book).

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