Go to the NEW FORUM
I know this list is almost an impossible one to make. Just list you 25 favourite novels in order. Fiction Novels that is.
1)2666 - Roberto Bolano
2)Catcher In The Rye - J.D. Salinger
3)Franz Kafka - Metamorphosis
4)The Savage Detectives - Roberto Bolano
5)A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
6)The Road - Cormac McCarthy
7)Franz Kafka - The Trial
8)Deliverance - James Dickey
9)One Hundred Years Of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
10)Lolita - Nabokov
11)Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
12)The Heart Of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
13)Ubik - Phillip K. Dick
14)Portnoy's Complaint - Philip Roth
15)Denis Johnson - Tree Of Smoke
16)Slaughter House Five - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
17)Hunter s. Thompson - Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas
18)Franz Kafka - The Castle
19)Chuck Palinuk - Fight Club
20)This Side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald
21)Robert Bolano - By Night In Chile
22)Under The Volcano - Malcolm Lowry
23)The Call Of The Wild - Jack London
24)Animal Farm - George Orwell
25)Motherless Brooklyn - Jonathan Letham
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
A Brave New world - Aldous Huxley
White Fang - Jack London
The Secret Agent - Joseph Conrad
The Great Gatsby - F. scott Fitzgerald
Hey, Kevin! Excellent (and very personal) list. Sorry but I can’t add my own list, sadly I got no time to read as many books as I would like.
But let me point to the #6 in your list, “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. I’ve read it recently during my trip to Tuscany in Italy. I didn’t know previously the characteristics of the book, but I immediately realized that it was the most inappropriate choice that I could have done. Walking during the day through the softly undulated Toscana fields and through the astonishing pieces of art of the Renaissance and then at night “walking” with the boy and his father through a post-nuclear devastated landscape where every trace of culture has been swept away was more than a shocking contrast. It was more like all the beauty that I had seen during the day was false and the real thing was the burned out “road” that we are going to (I hope no). I even had some trouble to get sleep one night with images of cannibalism coming to my mind again and again (yes, I know, I’m too sensitive). But the most disturbing was not that “gore” aspects but the “dry” style of writing, the dispassionate way of describing the everyday survival of the two protagonists in a shattered world. It’s a hard pill to swallow but when I finished reading the novel on the plane back home, I had to admit with tears in my eyes (yes, I know, I know) that it was of the best book I’ve ever read. Without breaking the dispassionate tone you realized how epic, how heroic was the father figure that despite living in a hopeless world broken to pieces is able to pass on some sense of values, some sense of goodness to his son. Amazing. Really.
"The Road" was an emotional rollercoaster. probably the first book to ever truely make me weep. Not cry, weep.
Maybe you can find interesting some literature listing from Spanish magazine Rockdelux. They are releasing a list of best books of the year from the year 2002. But previously Juan Cervera selected one book per year from 1984 to 2002 (the lifetime of the magazine) in the #200 special issue that RDL published in October of 2002. The list was called 19 Books from the period of 1984-2002 that you should read (or re-read) (“19 libros del período 1984-2002 que deberías leer (o releer)”) and it was ordered by the original release (and not the release of the Spanish translation):
1984: JAMES ELLROY "Blood on the Moon"
1985: ANDREW H. VACHSS "Flood"
1986: SERGUÉI DOVLÁTOV "Иностранка (A Foreign Woman)"
1987: BRUCE CHATWIN "The Songlines"
1988: DON DeLILLO "Libra"
1989: GREIL MARCUS "Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century"
1990: THOMAS PYNCHON "Vineland"
1991: TOM SPANBAUER "The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon"
1992: DONNA TARTT "The Secret History"
1993: IRVINE WELSH "Trainspotting"
1994: CAMILLE PAGLIA "Vamps and Tramps"
1995: RICHARD FORD "Independence Day"
1996: ROBERT McLIAM WILSON "Eureka Street"
1997: IAN McEWAN "Enduring Love"
1998: MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ "Les particules élémentaires (The Elementary Particles)"
1999: ZADIE SMITH "White Teeth"
2000: NAOMI KLEIN "No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies"
2001: RODRIGO FRESÁN "Mantra" *
2002: JAVIER ARGÜELLO "Siete cuentos imposibles" *
* not translated to English (as far as I know)
The best book of the year that Rockdelux is publishing with the rest of the end-of-year listings from 2002 is the result of a critics poll. The year here indicates the first release of the Spanish translation, I’ve included the date of the original release (you may find shocking some tremendous delays):
2002: W.G. SEBALD "Austerlitz" (original German release 2001)
2003: RICHARD YATES "Revolutionary Road" (original US release 1961)
2004: ROBERTO BOLAÑO "2666" (original Spanish release, English translation published in 2008)
2005: HARUKI MURAKAMI "Noruwei no mori (Norwegian Wood)" (original Japanese release 1987)
2006: ROBERTSON DAVIES "Fifth Business" (original Canadian release 1970)
2007: CORMAC McCARTHY "The Road" (original US release 2006)
2008: RICHARD FORD "The Lay of the Land" (original US release 2006)
Another not so interesting literature listing is the one that Spanish Rolling Stone published in RS#98 that I posted in a previous thread
i'll just do a top ten as i'm not well read enough to say 25 books have greatly affected me.
1) 1984- George Orwell
2) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest- Ken Kesey
3) Catch-22- Joseph Heller
4) Catcher in the Rye- JD Salinger
5) The Stranger- Albert Camus
6) Animal Farm- George Orwell
7) All Quiet on the Western Front- Erich Maria Remarque
8) Coming Up for Air- George Orwell
9) To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
10) Heart of Darkness- Joseph Conrad
pretty much a list of stuff they teach in high school though i read a few of these for my own pleasure
Kevin: unfortunately, I’m not a “hard-working” reader (I’ve always been most interested in music and films) but I think it would be great if all the acclaimers wrote a list with their favourite books. Not necessarily a Top 25: the number could be 40, 10, or 100.
Anyway, here is my list in alphabetical order by title (it would be very difficult for me to put them in order of preference):
1. 1984 – George Orwell
2. Animal Farm – George Orwell
3. Brief einer Unbekannten (Letter from an Unknown Woman) – Stefan Zweig
4. Cosmétique de l’ennemi (The Enemy's Cosmetique) – Amélie Nothomb
5. Crónica de una muerte anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold) – Gabriel García Márquez
6. Das Parfum (Perfum)- Patrick Süskind
7. Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) – Franz Kafka
8. El Aleph – Jorge Luis Borges
9. El informe de Brodie (Dr. Brodie's Report)– Jorge Luis Borges
10. El libro de arena (The Book of Sand) – Jorge Luis Borges
11. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
12. Ficciones – Jorge Luis Borges
13. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
14. High Rise – James G. Ballard
15. Il barone rampante (The Baron in the Trees) – Italo Calvino
16. Il visconte dimezzato (The Cloven Viscount) – Italo Calvino
17. Io e lui (Him and Me) – Alberto Moravia
18. La colmena (The Hive) – Camilo José Cela
19. La noia (The Empty Canvas) – Alberto Moravia
20. Le mystère de la chambre jaune (The Mystery of the Yellow Room) – Gaston Leroux
21. Le petit Nicolas (Little Nicholas) – René Goscinny
22. L'Étranger (The Stranger) – Albert Camus
23. Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories – Oscar Wilde
24. Moon Palace – Paul Auster
25. Myths of the Near Future – James G. Ballard
26. Narrow Rooms - James Purdy
27. Osario (*) – José María Latorre
28. Ragtime – E.L. Doctorow
29. Sangre es el nombre del amor (*) – José María Latorre
30. Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore (If on a Winter's Night a Traveler) – Italo Calvino
31. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
32. The Aspern Papers – Henry James
33. The Beast in the Jungle – Henry James
34. The Day of Forever – James G. Ballard
35. The Door into Summer – Robert Heinlein
36. The Happy Prince and Other Stories – Oscar Wilde
37. The Red Notebook – Paul Auster
38. The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennet
39. The Unlimited Dream Company – James G. Ballard
40. Vierundzwanzig Stunden aus dem Leben einer Frau (Twenty – Four Hours in the Life of a Woman) – Stefan Zweig
(*) José María Latorre is an extraordinary (and very minority) Spanish novelist. I’m afraid none of his books have English translations.
I probably couldn't even make a Top 25 list of books as of this moment. Right now, this would be my Top 5 list:
1. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
2. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
3. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
4. Watchmen - Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons (a real brilliant piece of art)
5. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
Honorable mentions: The Great Gatsby, Brave New World, and two kids series that I love: Ender's Game and the His Dark Materials trilogy
A rather amateurish list, but that's probably to be expected from an 18 year old. The Road, One Hundred Years of Solitude, All Quiet on the Western Front, and A Confederacy of Dunces are among some of the books on my list of books to check out.
You gotta start somewhere. Reading is the only remaining art form left, that only smart people can enjoy. Everything else gets bogged down by idiocracy. sure the book business has fluff to, but the fluff in the book business knows that they are fluff and they dont try to hide it in fancy production. There are still great writers living amoungst us. Johnathon Letham comes to mind when thinking of great literally talent. Denis Johnson, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy (These guys still got it).
Anyhow. I understand that you are still young. Hell...Im only 22, but Ive been reading major books since grade 9.
I would suggest you tackle someone with a little more brisk than the authors of the novels you listed as "Books to read in the future". They are all great books, but I think i true literary quest begins with the devouring of one great writer. Take in a 5 or 6 novels by the same guy, then explore outside the cabin.
I suggest Philip K. dick
He's one of my persoanl favourites. "Ubik", and "Flow my tears, the policemen said" are some of the greatest novels of all time.
Nothing is quite like getting lost in Philip K. dicks world. Have fun
1. American Tabloid - James Ellroy (1995)
2. The Road - Cormac McCarthy (2006)
3. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoievski (1869)
4. Hyperion - Dan Simmons (1989)
5. The Odyssey - Homer (circ. 700 B.C.)
6. L'Etranger - Albert Camus (1942)
7. The Man In The High Castle - Philip K. Dick (1962)
8. Dracula - Bram Stoker (1897)
9. American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
10. Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka (1912)
11. Complete Tales - Edgar Poe
12. 1974 - David Peace (1999)
13. Moby Dick - Herman Melville (1851)
14. The Symposium - Plato (385 B.C)
15. Pantagruel - François Rabelais (1532)
16. The Ax - Donald Westlake (1997)
17. Ubu Roi - Alfred Jarry (1896)
18. Voyage au bout de la nuit (Trip To the End Of the Night) - Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1932)
19. Les Racines du mal - Maurice Dantec (1995)
20. Heaven's Prisoners - James Lee Burke (1988)
21. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (1932)
22. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess (1962)
23. La Faute de l'Abbé Mouret - Emile Zola (1875)
24. Middlesex - Jeffery Eugenides (2002)
25. Les Fainéants dans la vallée fertile (The Lazy Ones) - Albert Cossery (1948)
Great List. Middlesex is a monster of a novel. I appreciated it, but it was a tough one to get through. It's one of those untouchable novels (love it or hate it)I found myself struggle with some of the characters, some I found very hard to relate. Irecently read a book by Joseph O'neil called NETEHRLAND. It was great, but I found alot of similarities. If your a Middlesex fan, I suggest Netherlands.
As for the rest of the list, it was great. I havent read all of them, but from what I gather of your taste (I'll have to pick some of them up). An friend of Kafka is a friend of mine.
and I loved Ender's game too
One big omission : Don Quixote - Miguel Cervantes (1615)
Probably in the top 10
Thanks to this thread I just finished "The Road" and I have to say it was a fantastic book. The prose is fairly simple and matter-of-fact and the setting is lifeless and bleak but that doesn't keep the story's beauty and tenderness from shining through. "The Road"'s world might be unrecognizably charred and smoky but the hope that The Man and The Boy show is inspiring. I hope we never get to that point in civilization, but if we did I'd hope to have half the heart and determination as they did. A really good book, to say the least.
Can't get to that point?
Look at Buffalo. Look at Detriot!
No order, top tier:
The Human Stain
Book of the New Sun
Others I liked a lot but can't honestly put on the same tier:
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Lord of the Rings
Japanese book whose name I can't remember that was part two of a four part cycle
1984 might be the most important book written in the last hundred years. If you think about it, every time a politician tries to gain power by controlling media and manipulating language they're accused of being 'Orwellian'. Could George Orwell have saved the world?
The most brilliant thing about 1984 is that it's a self-averting prophecy.
I'm obsessed with literature. Here's my list (with Ulysses being number 1):
Ulysses - James Joyce.
War and Peace -- Tolstoy.
The Magic Mountain -- Thomas Mann
Portrait of the Artist and a Young Man- Joyce
A Farewell to Arms -- Hemingway
Heart of Darkness - Conrad
Tender is the Night -- Fitzgerald
The Sound and the Fury -- Faulkner
Middlemarch - George Eliot
The Brothers Karamazov -- Dostoyevski(longwinded, though)
Portrait of a Lady - Henry James
The Sun Also Rises - Hem
The Great Gatsby - Fitzgerald
Lolita - Nabokov
The Road - Cormac MacCarthy
The Castle - Kafka
Nausea - Sartre
Labyrinths - Jorge Luis Borges (collection of short stuff, admittedly)
The Shlong Saga - Henry Miller
Moby Dick - Melville
O Pioneers! - Willa Cather
Emma - Jane Austen
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
Lord of the Rings - Tolkien
For Whom the Bell Tolls - Hemingway
Lord of the Flies - Golding
Lucky Jim- Kingsley Amis
the Heart is a Lonely Hunter - McCullers
American Dream - Norman Mailer
All Quiet on the Western Front - Remarque
Conan of Cimmeria - Robert E Howard (I can't help it)
THe Hound of the Baskervilles - Doyle
Another point: I focused on novels. The best short stories of Hemingway and Chekhov, in particular, are superior in my judgment to the bottom 15 or so of my list of novels.
As great as these novels are, in my opinion Shakespeare does more memorable stuff in the 50 pages of King Lear or MacBeth than in all of War and Peace. More memorable language, more intensity. He is the Undisputed Champion, as Hemingway said.
Just a top 10 for now:
01. Cormac mcCarthy - The Road
02. William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
03. J.M. Coetzee - Disgrace
04. Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange
05. Arthur C. Clarke - 2001: A Space Odyssey
06. Cormac McCarthy - No Country for Old Men
07. Stanislaw Lem - Fiasko
08. Toni Morrison - The Bluest Eye
09. Kader Abdolah - Het Huis van de Moskee
10. Nick Cave - The Death of Bunny Munro
Nice to know you guys really appreciate McCarthy, he is my favorite writer. Besides the books I mentioned I also dig his Border-Trilogy and I am currently reading Blood Meridian (a real contender up until now).
Just an eclectic few; I've probably got more favourites I just can't think of them right now. Maybe it's a short attention span or something but I don't often get beyond the first few pages of a novel nowadays unless I trust the author to entertain me.
Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray 
Evelyn Waugh - Black Mischief 
Evelyn Waugh - A Handful of Dust 
Evelyn Waugh - Scoop 
James Joyce - Finnegans Wake  (I've only read this in patches, but the bits I vaguely understood were always either brilliant or hilarious or both)
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird 
Some other all-time favorites of mine, that weren't mentioned already:
A House for Mr. Biswas - V.S. Naipaul
100 years of solitude - G.G. Marquez
Love in times of cholera - Marquez
Auto da Fé - Elias Canetti
Desert Le Clézio
Trilogy - Naghieb Mahfouz
The Master and Magrarita - Bulgakov
City of the Blind - José Saramago
The Gospel according to Jesus Christ - Saramago
A Personal Matter - Kenzaburo Oe
Fateless - Imre Kertesz
Girlfriend in a coma - Douglas Coupland
Green hills of Africa - Hemingway (short stories)
Independent people - Haldor Laxness
Emperor of the air - Ethan Canin (short stories)
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
The stars, my destination - Alfred Bester
The mote in gods eye - Niven/Pournelle
Earth abides - George R. Steward
Rediscovery of man - Cordwainer Smith (short stories)
Mockingbird - Walter Trevis
Roadside picknick - Strugatsky Brothers
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Listing my 25 favorite novels is way too hard for me to do, so here's a top 10 instead.
1. Infinite Jest- David Foster Wallace
2. Catch-22- Joseph Heller
3. Gravity's Rainbow- Thomas Pynchon
4. On the Road- Jack Kerouac
5. American Psycho- Bret Easton Ellis
6. Watchmen- Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Hunter S. Thompson
8. To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
9. The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway
10. Looking for Alaska- John Green
I've said it before on this forum and I'll say it again. I wish there was something close to AM for novels. I know it would be a daunting task. There is way more literature out there than films or albums, but even if a site just stuck to post-18th century or English-language or something. That being said, here is a wonderful genre-specific site that tells you awards won and lists made, but it's only for sci-fi/fantasy. http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi. Those two being my favorite genres, I use that site frequently, but I wish there were something similar for other literature.
10 I recommend:
Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
The Matarese Circle - Robert Ludlum (better than anything in his Bourne series)
The Giver - Lois Lowry
The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle
Philip K. Dick's short stories
Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
Invisible Monsters - Chuck Palahniuk
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (but the UNABRIDGED version, which in this case means better translation and entire chapters restored)
Sphere - Michael Crichton
top 20th-century novels, chronologically, one per author, top ten starred
1. Nostromo / Joesph Conrad / England / 1904
2. The Petty Demon / Fyodor Sologub / Russia / 1904
3. The Good Soldier / Ford Madox Ford / England / 1915
4. The Rainbow / D.H. Lawrence / England / 1915
5. The Golem / Gustav Meyrink / Austria / 1915
*6. Petersburg / Andrei Bely / Russia / 1916
7. Winesburg, Ohio / Sherwood Anderson / U.S. / 1919
8. The Good Soldier Svejk / Jaroslav Hasek / Czechoslovakia / 1923
9. Cane / Jean Toomer / U.S. / 1923
*10. The Magic Mountain / Thomas Mann / Germany / 1924
11. The Trial / Franz Kafka / Austria / 1925
12. To the Lighthouse / Virginia Woolf / England / 1925
13. In Search of Lost Time / Marcel Proust / France / 1915-1927
14. A Farewell to Arms / Ernest Hemingway / U.S. / 1929
*15. The Sleepwalkers / Hermann Broch / Austria / 1932
*16. Journey to the End of the Night / Louis-Ferdinand Celine / France / 1932
17. Light in August / William Faulkner / U.S. / 1932
18. Tropic of Cancer / Henry Miller / U.S. / 1934
19. U.S.A. / John Dos Passos / U.S. / 1930-36
20. The Big Sleep / Raymond Chandler / U.S. / 1939
21. The Grapes of Wrath / John Steinbeck / U.S. / 1939
22. The Power and the Glory / Graham Greene / England / 1940
23. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter / Carson McCullers / U.S. / 1940
*24. The Man Without Qualities / Robert Musil / Austria / 1930-42
25. All the King's Men / Robert Penn Warren / U.S. / 1946
*26. Under the Volcano / Malcolm Lowry / England / 1947
27. The Sheltering Sky / Paul Bowles / U.S. / 1949
28. The Catcher in the Rye / J.D. Salinger / U.S. / 1951
29. The Ginger Man / J.P. Donleavy / U.S. / 1955
30. The Alexandria Quartet / Lawrence Durrell / England / 1957-60
31. Hopscotch / Julio Cortazar / Argentina / 1963
32. Cosmos / Witold Gombrowicz / Poland / 1965
33. The Painted Bird / Jerzy Kosinski / U.S. / 1965
34. The Master and Margarita / Mikhail Bulgakov / U.S.S.R. / 1966-67
35. One Hundred Years of Solitude / Gabriel Garcia Marquez / Colombia / 1967
36. House Made of Dawn / N. Scott Momaday / U.S. / 1968
37. The First Circle / Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn / U.S.S.R. / 1968
*38. The Sea of Fertility / Yukio Mishima / Japan / 1968-71
39. Invisible Cities / Italo Calvino / Italy / 1972
40. Crash / J.G. Ballard / England / 1973
*41. Dhalgren / Samuel R. Delany / U.S. / 1975
*42. Terra Nostra / Carlos Fuentes / Mexico / 1975
43. Women / Charles Bukowski / U.S. / 1978
44. Neuromancer / William Gibson / Canada / 1984
45. The Unbearable Lightness of Being / Milan Kundera / Czechoslovakia / 1984
*46. Blood Meridian / Cormac McCarthy / U.S. / 1985
47. London Fields / Martin Amis / England / 1989
48. Generation X / Douglas Coupland / Canada / 1991
49. The Rings of Saturn / W.G. Sebald / Germany / 1995
50. Underworld / Don DeLillo / U.S. / 1997
After reading many more novels, I figured I'd post my revised list.
1. Infinite Jest- David Foster Wallace
2. Catch-22- Joseph Heller
3. Ulysses- James Joyce
4. Underworld- Don DeLillo
5. The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger
6. 1984- George Orwell
7. Gravity's Rainbow- Thomas Pynchon
8. The Pale King- David Foster Wallace
9. The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
10. The Sun Also Rises- Ernest Hemingway
So half of those are standard high school reading material, and the other half are sprawling postmodern epics. Seems about right.
Yeah, I think I'm about due for a revised list too.
I just finished Anna Karenina and picked up a haul of six novels from B&N and Amazon:
Philip Roth - Portnoy's Complaint
Roberto Bolano - Nazi Literature In The Americas
Don Delillo - Libra
David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
Marilynne Robinson - Gilead
Steve Erickson - Amnesiascope
I was thinking of starting with Gilead and then Nazi Literature, but I'm open to other suggestions.
Anyway, my favorite books ever:
Philip Roth - The Human Stain, American Pastoral
Don Delillo = White Noise, Underground
Roberto Bolano - 2666, The Savage Detectives
George Orwell - 1984, Animal Farm
Jonathon Franzen - The Corrections
John Fowles - The French Lieutenant's Woman
Fyodor Dostoyesky - Crime and Punishment
Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse Five
And, there are a bunch of 'canon' classics I read in high school which I didn't really get at the time because I was reading them under diress, because I was looking only for plot points, and because I had a lot of heavy biases, and I have no idea how I'd rate them reading them now in 'Enjoy' mode instead of 'Analyze' mode, so I'll leave them out.
Honorable mention for best comedy book ever:
Jon Stewart - America The Book