Literary Kitty is happy that we’re getting back on track with our Okie Reads posts, but he has a problem with us. Why, oh why, he wonders, didn’t we include this wonderful list in our last post? Well… gosh. Literary Kitty says “good job!” and then starts his criticism all over again.
He’s right, of course. (He always is.) Time Magazine’s 100 Best English Language Novels from 1923 to 2005 is a great list. (Why 1923, you ask? That’s the year Time magazine was born.) More than anything, the list is a great conversation starter. Is the list what you would come up with? What’s missing? Why did Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo come up with these titles? Well, you can find out on Time’s site, but you’ll have to navigate through the 100 one title at a time to read their commentary.
I don’t know whether to be happy or embarrassed by the fact that I’ve only read 12 titles on the list. Of those 12, I can give a thumbs up to:
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
- The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
- A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (Okie Reads post on Lolita)
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (Okie Reads post on Watchmen)
As far as the other four titles, I can probably tell you I was too old to fully appreciate J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, and that I was too young to fully appreciate Lord of the Flies, Portnoy’s Complaint and Rabbit Run. Or maybe I just wouldn’t have liked any of them, no matter what my age.
I suppose I should be a little ashamed that I haven’t read many of the classics on the list, such as Catch-22. (My friend Layla is re-reading that book right now.) But I’m really more perplexed why I’ve never cracked Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. I mean, what kind of a sci-fi fan am I, anyway!?
OK, it’s your turn! What do you think about the list? What’s missing? What shouldn’t be there?