Wednesday, February 23, 2011

List Love: All TIME 100 Novels

In 1995, Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo picked their top 100 English-language novels (written between 1923 and 1995) for TIME Magazine -- 1923 because that's when TIME Magazine was founded. The full list is here.

Titles in bold are ones that I have read.

A - B
The Adventures of Augie March (1953), by Saul Bellow
All the King's Men (1946), by Robert Penn Warren (required reading in high school)
American Pastoral (1997), by Philip Roth
An American Tragedy (1925), by Theodore Dreiser
Animal Farm (1946), by George Orwell (required reading in junior high)
Appointment in Samarra (1934), by John O'Hara
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (1970), by Judy Blume
The Assistant (1957), by Bernard Malamud
At Swim-Two-Birds (1938), by Flann O'Brien
Atonement (2002), by Ian McEwan
Beloved (1987), by Toni Morrison (required reading in high school)
The Berlin Stories (1946), by Christopher Isherwood
The Big Sleep (1939), by Raymond Chandler
The Blind Assassin (2000), by Margaret Atwood
Blood Meridian (1986), by Cormac McCarthy
Brideshead Revisited (1946), by Evelyn Waugh
The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927), by Thornton Wilder

C - D
Call It Sleep (1935), by Henry Roth
Catch-22 (1961), by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye (1951), by J.D. Salinger
A Clockwork Orange (1963), by Anthony Burgess
The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), by William Styron
The Corrections (2001), by Jonathan Franzen
The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), by Thomas Pynchon
A Dance to the Music of Time (1951), by Anthony Powell
The Day of the Locust (1939), by Nathanael West
Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927), by Willa Cather (read for high school project)
A Death in the Family (1958), by James Agee
The Death of the Heart (1958), by Elizabeth Bowen
Deliverance (1970), by James Dickey
Dog Soldiers (1974), by Robert Stone
F - G
Falconer (1977), by John Cheever
The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969), by John Fowles
The Golden Notebook (1962), by Doris Lessing
Go Tell it on the Mountain (1953), by James Baldwin
Gone With the Wind (1936), by Margaret Mitchell
The Grapes of Wrath (1939), by John Steinbeck (required reading in high school)
Gravity's Rainbow (1973), by Thomas Pynchon
The Great Gatsby (1925), by F. Scott Fitzgerald
H - I
A Handful of Dust (1934), by Evelyn Waugh
The Heart is A Lonely Hunter (1940), by Carson McCullers
The Heart of the Matter (1948), by Graham Greene
Herzog (1964), by Saul Bellow
Housekeeping (1981), by Marilynne Robinson
A House for Mr. Biswas (1962), by V.S. Naipaul
I, Claudius (1934), by Robert Graves
Infinite Jest (1996), by David Foster Wallace
Invisible Man (1952), by Ralph Ellison
L - N
Light in August (1932), by William Faulkner
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (1950), by C.S. Lewis
Lolita (1955), by Vladimir Nabokov
Lord of the Flies (1955), by William Golding (required reading in junior high)
The Lord of the Rings (1954), by J.R.R. Tolkien
Loving (1945), by Henry Green
Lucky Jim (1954), by Kingsley Amis
The Man Who Loved Children (1940), by Christina Stead
Midnight's Children (1981), by Salman Rushdie
Money (1984), by Martin Amis
The Moviegoer (1961), by Walker Percy
Mrs. Dalloway (1925), by Virginia Woolf
Naked Lunch (1959), by William Burroughs
Native Son (1940), by Richard Wright
Neuromancer (1984), by William Gibson
Never Let Me Go (2005), by Kazuo Ishiguro
1984 (1948), by George Orwell (required reading in junior high)
O - R
On the Road (1957), by Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962), by Ken Kesey
The Painted Bird (1965), by Jerzy Kosinski
Pale Fire (1962), by Vladimir Nabokov
A Passage to India (1924), by E.M. Forster
Play It As It Lays (1970), by Joan Didion
Portnoy's Complaint (1969), by Philip Roth
Possession (1990), by A.S. Byatt
The Power and the Glory (1939), by Graham Greene
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), by Muriel Spark
Rabbit, Run (1960), by John Updike
Ragtime (1975), by E.L. Doctorow
The Recognitions (1955), by William Gaddis
Red Harvest (1929), by Dashiell Hammett
Revolutionary Road (1961), by Richard Yates
S - T
The Sheltering Sky (1949), by Paul Bowles
Slaughterhouse Five (1969), by Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash (1992), by Neal Stephenson
The Sot-Weed Factor (1960), by John Barth
The Sound and the Fury (1929), by William Faulkner
The Sportswriter (1986), by Richard Ford
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1964), by John le Carre
The Sun Also Rises (1926), by Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), by Zora Neale Hurston (required reading in high school)
Things Fall Apart (1959), by Chinua Achebe
To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), by Harper Lee (required reading in high school)
To the Lighthouse (1927), by Virginia Woolf
Tropic of Cancer (1934), by Henry Miller
U - W
Ubik (1969), by Philip K. Dick
Under the Net (1954), by Iris Murdoch
Under the Volcano (1947), by Malcolm Lowry
Watchmen (1986), by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
White Noise (1985), by Don DeLillo
White Teeth (2000), by Zadie Smith
Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), by Jean Rhys
Graphic Novels
Berlin: City of Stones (2000), by Jason Lutes
Blankets (2003), by Craig Thompson
Bone (2004), by Jeff Smith
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams (2002), by Kim Deitch
The Dark Knight Returns (1986), by Frank Miller
David Boring (2000), by Daniel Clowes
Ed the Happy Clown (1989), by Chester Brown
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (2000), by Chris Ware
Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories (2003), by Gilbert Hernandez
Watchmen (1986), by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
I've read 22 of these which isn't bad. Nine were ones that I was required to read in school. Frankly, I thought that number would be higher. It's nice to know that I chose to read 13 on my own and I see a few more on the list that I'm planning on reading later as well!

Are you surprised by any of the choices on this list? I think I might be the only person who hates Bone because I always see people raving about it and it made it to this list but I thought it was complete crap.

If you had to choose one book on this list that I haven't read yet that I really should, which would it be?

Satisfying my list lust,


  1. Well, many people consider Catcher in the Rye and Catch-22 to be Very Important Novels, though neither are personal favorites.

    Personally, I loved The Blind Assassin and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. White Teeth was good too.

  2. Housekeeping is the one I would put stars and confetti around.

  3. Two books you haven't read yet which I would highly recommend are Catch 22 and The French Lieutenant's Woman.

  4. I'm reading Catch-22 (and others) this year; The Moviegoer is one of my all-time faves.

  5. Karen - I feel like the time may have passed for me to enjoy or appreciate Catcher in the Rye. I may pick it up one day or I may not! I have a copy of The Blind Assassin in my TBR so maybe I will try and read that one this year. And I've had The Heart is a Lonely Hunter brought to my attention again recently and it sounds intriguing.

    Rebekah - I don't think I've ever looked at Housekeeping. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Tracy - I couldn't remember if I had read Catch 22 but I don't think I have and it's one I want to get to. I'll be sure to get to The French Lieutenant's Woman too!

    Wordlily - The Moviegoer is another one that I don't think I've ever looked at. I'm off to check it out now!

  6. It's interesting to see what was required reading for you vs what was required at my schools. Not much overlap.

    Two of my all time favorites on this list that you haven't read are The Great Gatsby (was required in HS and has been a favorite since) and Neuromancer (read for a Sci-Fi lit class in college).

  7. Claudia - Weird. You always assume that most people had to read what you did in high school but it never seems to be that way. I need to read The Great Gatsby some time and T has all of the Gibson books and I've meant to try one some time but just never do. Maybe I should read Neuromancer and make him try Jane Eyre!

  8. I love lists and that's yet another one to add to my collection of lists:)
    As far as recommending something for you, Kristen, I'd say Wide Saragasso Sea is worth looking into.
    I never did find Catch-22 all that great or amusing nor do I know why Catcher In the Rye is such a classic. I never liked books for YA audience all that much though (not even when I was one myself).
    I have to say though that I'm surprised there aren't any Wallace Stegner books on that list (or maybe I just missed them?).

  9. I read 16. It is a pretty diverse list ... and filled with books you don't always see on lists like this.

  10. Lilly - I definitely am interested in reading Wide Sargasso Sea. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Jenners - I kind of liked this list too. I think that it had more space for variety since it started from 1923 and didn't get bogged down with classics that everyone already knows that they are supposed to have read.

  11. I'm actually blogging my way through the entire list, so it's nice to see other people talking about it. I'd definitely recommend Gravity's Rainbow and Snow Crash, they're awesome.

  12. thisnerdinglife - What a great project (and something more doable than 1001 books!). I've added you into my reader so I can follow the rest of your journey!