Top 100 Books

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Top 100 Books

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1baswood
Nov 6, 2019, 8:23am

I have seen posted on the net recently David Bowie's top 100 books. I started thinking about my top 100 reads (those that I can remember) and soon found I was way over the 100 mark and so I reduced the number by only listing fiction (novels and short stories)

Joseph Heller - Catch 22

Salman Rushdie - Midnight's Children

Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall

Jane Austin - Persuasion

Jane Austin - Emma

Jane Austin - Mansfield Park

D H Lawrence - The Plumed Serpent

D H Lawrence - Lady Chatterley's lover

D H Lawrence - Women In Love

Herman Melville - Moby-Dick

Herman Melville - Billy Budd Sailor and Selected tales

Robert M Persig - Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

China Melville - Perdido Street Station

Rohinton Mistry - A fine Balance

Jim Crace - Being Dead

Margery Allingham - Tiger in the Smoke

Anil's Ghost - Michael Ondaatje

Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte - Vilette

Franz Kafka - Metamorphosis and other stories

Alain-Fournier - Le Grand Meaulnes

Arthur C Clarke - Childhoods End

Dorothy Baker - Young Man With A Horn

E M Forster - Howard's End

E M Forster - A Room with a View

Howard Jacobson - The Finkler Question

Jean Froissart - Froissart Chronicles

Arundhati Roy - The God of Small Things

Colette - The Vagabond

Graham Greene - The Comedians

Graham Greene - The Power and the Glory

Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray

Guillaume de Lorris - Romance of the Rose

Thornton Wilder - The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Thomas Mann - The Magic Mountain

Chretien de Troyes - Arthurian Romances

W M Thackeray - Vanity Fair

F Scott FItzgerald - The Great Gatsby

Elizabeth Gaskell - North and South

Patrick White - Voss

Patrick White - The Vivisector

Patrick White - The Twyborn Affair

Thomas More - Utopia

H G Wells - The War of the Worlds

H G Wells - Tono-Bungay

H G Wells - The New Machiavelli

Aldous Huxley - Brave New World

Albert Camus - L'etranger

Albert Camus - The Plague

Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter

George Orwell - 1984

Virginia Woolf - Mrs Dalloway

Mary Shelley - Frankenstein

Ray Bradbury - The Martian Chronicles

Ludovico Ariosto - Orlando Furioso

James Joyce - Dubliners

James Joyce - Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

William Faulkner - The Sound and the Fury

John Steinbeck - Of Mice and Men

Natsume Soseki - Kokoro

Doris Lessing - The Four Gated City

Doris Lessing - The Marriages between Zones Three Four and Five

Doris Lessing - The Good Terrorist

Erich Maria Remarque - All Quiet on the Western Front

Isaac Asimov - I Robot

Halidor Laxness - World Light

Robert Darnton - The Great Cat Massacre and Other stories

John Cowper Powys - Owen Glendower

John Cowper Powys - Porius

Algernon Blackwood - Incredible Adventures

Nelson Algren - A Walk on the Wildside

Rick Harsch - The Skulls of Istria

Emile Zola - Pour une Nuit D'Amour

Alfred Bester - The Demolished Man

Eighty Fairy Tales - Hans Christian Andersen

A E Van Vogt - Voyage of the Space Beagle

Sir Philip Sidney - The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia

Guy De Maupassant - Bel-Ami

Olaf Stapledon - Starmaker

John Updike - Rabbit is Rich

Paul Auster - The New York Trilogy

Fyodor Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment

Roberto Bolano - 2666

David Mitchell - The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zeot

Charles Dickens - Our Mutual Friend

Charles Dickens - Great Expectations

Lawrence Durrell - The Alexandria Quartet

Ian McEwan - Enduring Love

George R Stewart - Earth Abides

Thomas De Quincey - Confessions of an Opium Eater

Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita

Boccaccio - The Decameron

Masuccio - The Novellino of Masuccio

Peter Matthiessen - Far Tortuga

Henry James - Portrait of a Lady

Mist: A Tragicomic Novel - Miguel de Unamuno

Sylvia Townsend Warner - The Corner That held Them

Assia Djeba - Children of the New World

Peter Ackroyd - The House of Doctor Dee

Daniel Defoe - Robinson Crusoe

2baswood
Nov 6, 2019, 8:25am

Here is David Bowie's list:

David Bowie’s Top 100 Books

Interviews With Francis Bacon by David Sylvester
Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse
Room At The Top by John Braine
On Having No Head by Douglass Harding
Kafka Was The Rage by Anatole Broyard
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
City Of Night by John Rechy
The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Iliad by Homer
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Tadanori Yokoo by Tadanori Yokoo
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin
Inside The Whale And Other Essays by George Orwell
Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood
Halls Dictionary Of Subjects And Symbols In Art by James A. Hall
David Bomberg by Richard Cork
Blast by Wyndham Lewis
Passing by Nella Larson
Beyond The Brillo Box by Arthur C. Danto
The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes
In Bluebeard’s Castle by George Steiner
Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
The Divided Self by R. D. Laing
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Infants Of The Spring by Wallace Thurman
The Quest For Christa T by Christa Wolf
The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter
The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Herzog by Saul Bellow
Puckoon by Spike Milligan
Black Boy by Richard Wright
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima
Darkness At Noon by Arthur Koestler
The Waste Land by T.S. Elliot
McTeague by Frank Norris
Money by Martin Amis
The Outsider by Colin Wilson
Strange People by Frank Edwards
English Journey by J.B. Priestley
A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Day Of The Locust by Nathanael West
1984 by George Orwell
The Life And Times Of Little Richard by Charles White
Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock by Nik Cohn
Mystery Train by Greil Marcus
Beano (comic, ’50s)
Raw (comic, ’80s)
White Noise by Don DeLillo
Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm And Blues And The Southern Dream Of Freedom by Peter Guralnick
Silence: Lectures And Writing by John Cage
Writers At Work: The Paris Review Interviews edited by Malcolm Cowley
The Sound Of The City: The Rise Of Rock And Roll by Charlie Gillette
Octobriana And The Russian Underground by Peter Sadecky
The Street by Ann Petry
Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
Last Exit To Brooklyn By Hubert Selby, Jr.
A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn
The Age Of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby
Metropolitan Life by Fran Lebowitz
The Coast Of Utopia by Tom Stoppard
The Bridge by Hart Crane
All The Emperor’s Horses by David Kidd
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess
The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos
Tales Of Beatnik Glory by Ed Saunders
The Bird Artist by Howard Norman
Nowhere To Run The Story Of Soul Music by Gerri Hirshey
Before The Deluge by Otto Friedrich
Sexual Personae: Art And Decadence From Nefertiti To Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia
The American Way Of Death by Jessica Mitford
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Teenage by Jon Savage
Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Viz (comic, early ’80s)
Private Eye (satirical magazine, ’60s – ’80s)
Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara
The Trial Of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens
Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes
Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont
On The Road by Jack Kerouac
Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler
Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual by Eliphas Lévi
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa
Inferno by Dante Alighieri
A Grave For A Dolphin by Alberto Denti di Pirajno
The Insult by Rupert Thomson
In Between The Sheets by Ian McEwan
A People’s Tragedy by Orlando Figes
Journey Into The Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg

3Crypto-Willobie
Nov 6, 2019, 9:40am

I've read 23 of Bas's and 13 from Bowie's. Bas wins.

4RickHarsch
Nov 6, 2019, 10:43am

Bas 25...but he had ME in there. ME. That makes my day. I got so excited I forgot to count it: 26 (unless the Alexandria Quartet counts for more than one).
18 of Bowies, BUT! I have Puckoon in my bathroom cluster!

5RickHarsch
Nov 6, 2019, 10:54am

Now comes the refining. There isn't much we can do at this point to change Bowie's mind, but Bas may be open to tossing something out to make room for Robert Musil's Man without Qualities.
Others that should be in there in my mind:

The Latin Americans alone:
Borges: Ficciones
Vargas Llosa: Conversation in the Cathedral
Garcia Marquez: 100 Years of Solitude
Roberto Arlt: The Seven Madmen and the Flamethrowers
Julio Cortazar: Hopscotch
Carlos Fuentes: The Death of Artemio Cruz
Asturias: The Eyes of the Interred
Donoso: The Obscene Bird of Night
Mutis: The Maqroll works
da Cunha: Rebellion in the Backlands
Guimaraes Rosa: The Devil to Pay in the Backlands
Eliot: Middlemarch

also missing:

Henry Miller
Blaise Cendrars
Conrad?

6RickHarsch
Nov 7, 2019, 12:42pm

Let's have some input here, eh? Do we add Arlt and toss out Harsch?

7RickHarsch
Nov 7, 2019, 12:43pm

And the battle of the Joyce's: that's there for the taking! Leaving out Ulysses and Finnegans Wake indeed!

8RickHarsch
Nov 7, 2019, 12:44pm

Don Quixote?

9baswood
Edited: Nov 7, 2019, 7:23pm

I have read both Ulysses and Don Quixote but soooo long ago:

Must be about 35 years ago when I was travelling round Greece and camping I swopped a couple of books with an Australian and got one book in exchange. It was a thick book and he told me it was all about a British warship H.M.S. Ulysses (I might have believed him if he had said it was an American warship). It was of course the Joyce book and it kept me reading for the rest of the trip, but I couldn't swop it - nobody wanted it.

10RickHarsch
Nov 7, 2019, 5:24pm

So I looked through your list to see which ones HAD to go...and I could only say Updike. The rest either i don't know or couldn't bring myself to say anything but that maybe the list needs to be 209 or so.

11Crypto-Willobie
Nov 7, 2019, 5:32pm

Part of what's hard about constructing such a list is distinguishing between what's 'great', what's 'important', what are your 'favorites', etc etc. Often not the same thing.

And then, more than one per author? I could come close to 100 by counting multiple titles from my dozen fave authors.

And genre? mystery, suspense, spies, sci-fi, horror, fantasy? how do they stack up against classics, lit-fic, etc?

And mode? plays, narrative poems, etc?

12RickHarsch
Nov 7, 2019, 6:53pm

Well, you can't take away Bas' sci-fi...
More than one per author...Joyce, for one. But, yeah, it might have to be limited to 100 authors...Though Mutis is one whose collection of novellas would be the book. 2666 was also a collection of novels and novellas, if I remember right: he did not want it published as one book (I seem to recall). I think in regard to genre, it's simply that the book must be good enough to make a list of 100 best books. I love Chandler, but I don't think any of his novels are top 100.

Who do you think is missing CW?

13Crypto-Willobie
Nov 7, 2019, 7:00pm

Missing from where?
Bowie's list? Bas's? yours?

My 100 would probably have to be 200+ and would probably overlap only marginally with any of the above. So I don't have a short answer. Especially since I can't decide what "top" means. When I have time someday I may construct my mega-list.

14baswood
Edited: Nov 7, 2019, 7:30pm

Looking forward to that mega-list

>11 Crypto-Willobie: What you sat there is spot on. The list is a top 100 books for me. A personal choice. Some great literature maybe but perhaps not even 50% and I limited myself to three books from my favourite authors.

Tiger in the smoke could be considered as an important book in a genre of crime/mystery books but is a world away from something like The Magic Mountain, but both are in my favourites list. I should have called the list my top 100 favourite reads,.

>10 RickHarsch: I loved Updike's rabbit books when I read them and when I did read them they just felt like the America you see in the movies. (by the way I have never been West of Holyhead in Wales) and so I have no idea what any part of America is really like.

I am still thinking about all my other favourite reads in non-fiction, poetry, drama - I can feel another list coming.........

15Macumbeira
Nov 11, 2019, 12:29am

Happy to see Far Tortuga on Bas' list

16RickHarsch
Nov 11, 2019, 6:06am

I think bas' list is definitive, even though I like to point out what might be missing. Perhaps the one and only top 100 I will ever make, it would not only be unseemly, but self-defeating to REALLY criticize it. Yes, Far Tortuga, certainly...

17Macumbeira
Nov 11, 2019, 8:17am

No list is ever definitive

18lriley
Edited: Nov 12, 2019, 12:19pm

At least 31 of Bas's books--maybe a couple more. I'd have to check my notebook. At least 21 of Bowie's. Got a laugh that Bowie had Hitchen's anti-Kissinger book.

19RickHarsch
Nov 12, 2019, 12:23pm

Yeah--it means his heart was in the right place, at least.