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Monday, August 04, 2008

EW's Best 100 books/last 25 years

I almost said, "Why bother?" since I just don't read that many novels. I read mostly non-fiction - way too much Bob Woodward, and quite a bit of religious material - and older stuff and this list is mostly fiction. But what the heck.

*I read it

1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000) - my wife started reading Harry Potter just this year. My 17-year-old niece devours them in a day or two. I haven't read a single page. (I did see the first movie.)
*3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987) - quite moving.
4. The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997) - I've read Roth, but not this.
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001) - didn't see the movie, either.
*7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991) - transcendent.
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996) - I've read some of this.
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997) - no and didn't see the movie either, though I have the soundtrack.
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997) - my wife owns this; have read some.
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
*13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87) - quite good.
14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992). Have read Oates, but not this.
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
*16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986) - I belonged to a book club in the 1980s and early 1990s. Read 10 books a year in different categories. That's the only reason I got to read this, which I found quite engrossing, in a depressing ay.
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990). Read Updike, not this.
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998) - saw the movie.
21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000). Actually have never read Stephen King (except various columns, such as the one in EW.)
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985) - saw the miniseries. Read something of his.
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989) - my wife owns the book; saw the movie.
26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
*36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996) - AND saw the movie. Bleak.
*37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003) - will see the movie.
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
*46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996) - well, at least big chunks of it.
47. World's Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985) - read Ragtime, but not this.
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998) - started this.
49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992) - read excerpts of it; saw the movie.
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000) - borrowed this book THREE years ago, started, got busy, never got back to it.
54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987) - I start LOTS of books.
58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001) - had meant to read.
61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994) - this I should read.
63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003) - my wife saw the movie.
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989) - saw the movie.
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000) - read some of this
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002) - saw the movie
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998) - saw the movie.
85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987) - read chunks of this.
87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995) - saw the movie.
89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999) - read some of this.
*90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001) - only because my wife was reading.
91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987) - saw the movie
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991) - started this.
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001) - started this.
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003) and didn't see the movie, either.
97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
98. The Predators' Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004) - own this, have read parts of it.

So what ought I read first from this list?



Scott said...

Of the ones that you haven't read, I would recommend the "Interpreter of Maladies", "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao", "The Kite Runner", and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time". I thought all of them were very good.

Alan David Doane said...

I like The Road a lot. Not all McCarthy's stuff has worked for me, but The Road and Outer Dark are both extraordinary novels.

Alan David Doane said...

Here's my list, Roger.

Tosy And Cosh said...

Fiction: A Prayer for Owen Meany. A beautiful, highly entertaining book

Non-Fiction: Fast Food Nation. Muckraking of the highest order, not to mention muckraking that's not so high and mighty as to not have some fun (if you can not marvel at the remarkable coolness of a water gun that blasts hundreds of potatoes at high speeds at a metal grate to cut them quickly into fries, you are too serious).

Kathi D said...

My "musts" would be Joy Luck Club and A Thousand Acres.

The Road? Talk about BLEAK! Yikes!