Thursday, July 25, 2013

Entertainment Weekly's "Best 100 Novels" List, 26-50

26. Invisible Man. This is a great, great book. And it only gets more relevant as time goes by. If I were teaching a comp class, I might have students read this and then write about its relevance to current events. And then I would have to drink heavily in order to cope with reading the essays. In sum: great. Important. I would bump it slightly higher, but this is acceptable.

27. A Wrinkle in Time. Entertainment Weekly’s interesting tidbit about this book is that it was rejected by numerous publishers for having a female protagonist. Way to stick to your guts, Madeleine L’Engle! Also, I have not read this. Shame.

28. War and Peace. Yes, this book is great. Way better than I expected it to be. Probably because I am Team Tolstoy! (Ducks and hides from Ian.) I feel like this is a must-read for sure. Despite its reputation, it's not difficult, just long.

29. The Handmaid’s Tale. More shame that I have not read this one. I feel like it will just piss me off, so I have been avoiding it. This is also why I don’t watch The Daily Show most of the time. I am filled with impotent rage and anxiety and wonder why I brought a girl-child into this world, and then I have to drink a lot.

30. Native Son. I remember preferring Invisible Man to Native Son, but I can’t remember why, or why I connected them together in my mind, so don't mind me, we'll just move along.

31. Blindness. I totally have not even heard of this one. It must be good though, to make it to 31!

32. The Catcher in the Rye. I should read it and see how it holds up, since I’ve already had the adolencent infatuation with the book and then the adult backlack against the book. Is there a re-appreciation phase?

33. Maus. Glad this is here, even though the basic cartoony premise has never quite worked for me as well as it should. It’s probably my anti-cartoon bias, even though that was not a problem for me with Watchmen or Persepolis. But this is on Ian’s bookshelf and I flip through it a lot. 

34. The World According to Garp. I remember really liking this! Much better than the saccharin Owen Meany, sorry Meany fans. Irving is not always my bag, but Garo is definitely his best.

35. A Personal Matter. Another one I’ve never even heard of.

36. Atlas Shrugged. You all know how I feel about Atlas Shrugged. For fuck’s sake, what is it doing here? I mean fine, put The Fountainhead on if you must, but Atlas Shrugged? What is wrong with you, Entertainment Weekly? Here are some books that should be on this list instead of Atlas Shrugged: The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The Master and Margarita. Brideshead Revisited. Rebecca. Cloud Atlas. American Pastoral. Little Women. A Portrait of a Lady. Appointment in Samarra. Wings of the Dove.  I COULD GO ON.

37. The Sun Also Rises. My favorite Hemingway! And it’s the highest Hemingway! That’s actually super exciting to me for some reason! Maybe it’s because I feel like A Farewell to Arms gets all the glory.  (I was going to be indignant that it is lower that Atlas Shrugged, but then I realized I would have to cut-and-paste my indignance for the next 63 entries as well, so we'll just take it as read.)

38. The Regeneration Trilogy. Nope, have not read this. Apparently about WWI?

39. Middlesex. On my “to read” pile consdering how much I loved The Marriage Plot. But have not gotten to it yet.

40. A Suitable Boy. All these books from the ‘90s are like, “what?” I was clearly not reading literary fiction in the ‘90s.

41. Go Tell It on the Mountain. This is on my “re-read” list, I don’t remember it well, but I remember loving the hell out of it. 

42. The Stand. I don’t think I’ve made it all the way through The Stand, even though I have loved a lot of King’s books. My big re-reads were always It and Insomnia for some reason. I feel like one day I should make it all the way through The Stand. For some reason what springs to mind is the opening of the Stand miniseries, with “Don’t Fear the Reaper” playing over a shot of corpses. It was a hell of an opening.

43. A Confederacy of Dunces. I have this in my Kindle. I’ve started it. I’m going to read it. Please don’t look at me like that. I know.

44. His Dark Materials. I’m sorry, these were just not my jam. I know how much people love them, and it’s great that the hero is a girl, and that it’s all complex and satirical and stuff, and in theory yay, but I just did not enjoy the world and felt icky reading them.

45. The Color Purple. I’ve read this so many times. A long-time favorite. I might switch this with Native Son purely on principle.

46. The Age of Innocence. And my favorite Wharton! Again, I would have expected House of Mirth. I slightly forgive this list for the Atlas Shrugged thing. (Only not really.) This book is fucking amazing.

47. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I don’t think I made it all the way through this one, but I respect its position on this list. I will try it again someday.

48. The Talented Mr. Ripley. And the list continues to do well by women, I think, because this novel tends to be underrated. I said that very confidently considering I haven’t ever read it, huh? It’s on my list.

49. Ender’s Game. I’ve always meant to read this, but now that I know Card is a homophobic fuckhead, it has moved down my priority list somewhat.

50. Snow. This is a strange choice for this list. I can see why it was selected since Pamuk is an important Turkish author and this is probably his most well-known work. But we read this for book group and my feelings towards it were more along the liens of “it was fine” rather than “MODERN MASTERPIECE.” But I am sure it deserves to be here. (I can’t help but think of Sir Winston Shakespeare every time I see his name now, though.)

That's it for part two! Tell me what you think in the comments, and let me know if you've read any of these '90s things and if any of them are really better than all of Henry James.



Blogger Beth said...

I read A Wrinkle in Time for the first time as an atheist adult and really did not like it. I felt terrible for not liking it because it is so many people's favorite book, but it was just too late for me to read it, I think. I felt the way about it that many people feel about the Narnia books (which I love) if they don't read them until adulthood: the Christianity is just way too prominent, and it ruined the story for me.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Oh, yeah, the Regeneration Trilogy is AMAZING. I am not sure whether you would like it (since I now question my knowledge of your tastes!) but if Ian hasn't read it already I bet he would really like it. But he's probably read it. So good. Also by a woman!

12:43 PM  
Blogger mo pie said...

Oh yeah, that makes sense. Sometimes there's a specific window where you have to read the children's book! I feel like I should still read it just for completist's sake.

In spite of our differences, I will give Regeneration Trilogy a try :)

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't read any of Pat Barker's Regeneration books but they are on my to-read list!

4:01 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Posting from the future to say that if you ever read the Regeneration Trilogy a try and like it, then you should also read Pat Barker's Another World. I am really loving that (even though it is taking me forever because it is an actual dead tree book, not a Kindle book).

1:28 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home