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Friday, February 27, 2009

The Top Ten Books of All Time

Former Express Times reporter Pete Hall has come up with some goofy BBC list containing the 100 greatest books ever written. I've only ever read 30 of them, but what the hell do the English know?

I've scrounged around for an American list, and found a top ten list based on interviews with 125 top writers.

1) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
2) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
3) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
4) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
5) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6) Hamlet by William Shakespeare
7) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8) In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
9) The Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
10) Middlemarch by George Eliot

I've only read five of these books, which means I'm illiterate. How about you?


A.J.C. said...

"I've only read five of these books . . . How about you?"

I've heard of a couple of them... LOL!

Anonymous said...

The Bible should be on the List. As well as Bil Klien's "worst Toasts in History".

Anonymous said...

I think In Cold Blood (Truman Capote) eclipses Middlemarch any day of the week. Even Joe Long will agree with that.



Anonymous said...

1) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy -- probably about Commies.

2) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert -- "le mot juste" or just really boring?

3) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy -- Minus points for having both French people and commies in it.

4) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov -- heard the song by the Police, never read the book.

5) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain -- Tom Sawyer never gets any love.

6) Hamlet by William Shakespeare -- His mom sleeps with his uncle, yada yada yada, everyone dies.

7) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald -- ruined by Robert Redford's crappy performance

8) In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust -- Should have been called in Search of the Time I Lost Reading this.

9) The Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov -- Suggest instead Different Seasons by Stephen King.

10) Middlemarch by George Eliot -- I'd rather read a book by Chris Elliott.

I've always been partial to Watership Down, meself.

Anonymous said...

What no Steinbeck or Hemmingway!

Anonymous said...

What about Obama's books?

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

I've read 4. I better catch up!

Synopsis of Huck Finn for anyone who missed it . . .

Boy floats around on raft. Says some stuff. Gets off raft. Does some stuff. Says some stuff. Gets back on raft. Repeat.

Since seeing Little Miss Sunshine, I'll never look at Proust the same way again.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:17, You are hilarious! I agree abouit Madame Bovary. I tried to rewad that snoozer. But Tolstoy is compelling. You have to read 1000 pages, but after that, you're hooked. Who doesn't love Huck Finn? It's not even that long.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Cold Blood (Truman Capote) is riveting, right from the very beginning. Do you think writing that book is what really killed Capote?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Steinbeck or Hemmingway might be considered too low brow for the top 125 writers who came up w/ that list, but I've read everything Steinbeck has ever written. He's on that BBC list ... twice. I'sd agree there should be room for Hemmingway, too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Since seeing Little Miss Sunshine, I'll never look at Proust the same way again."


Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

Geez . . . I haven't read any of them!


Anonymous said...

How about "Red Badge of Courage?" by Crane or W. Somerset Maugham's
"the Razor's edge"?

LVCI said...

My reading level is only up to "The Ant & The Grasshopper".

(I'm sure somebody can make political hay of that)

Anonymous said...

What, no T.S. Geisle? How can one ignore:

cat, hat; in French, chat, chapeau
in Spanish, el gato in a sombrero
and I'll tell you something more
now you listen to me good:
in German I'm a Katze und dieses ist meine Hut!
Ist das nicht eine Katze Hut?

"Riveting and Enthralling" raves the NYT Book Review.

"Life Changing Genius" trumpets the LAT.

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

Where is "Fear and Loathing: In Las Vegas"? If Huck Finn is on the top five, Vegas should be too.

All it is is the modernday adventure of Huck Finn, had Finn been on Coke, Uppers, downers, booze, LSD, shrooms, and any other good stuff I may have missed.

Then again the BBC gave us "Are you being served" the least funny comedy EVER!

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

Also David Simon's "Homicide: A year on the killing streets" is a GREAT book as well.

Anonymous said...

The Godfather by Mario Puzo.

And once you read the book, go watch the movie again and you'll realize even more how good that movie is.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore - best fiction in the modern era.

Anonymous said...

Recommend "Sufferings In Africa" by James Riley (1817).

A Connecticut merchant ship captain and his crew are shipwrecked on the African coast and taken into slavery by Islamic nomads. It's a powerful story of white slavery that greatly influenced the debate in the US. The insights into Islamic culture are equally compelling. Couldn't put it down.

A later adaptation is Skeletons On The Zahara by Dean King in 2004.

Anonymous said...

Watership Down-great book and cartoon

Little Miss Sunshine - great movie

Huckleberry Finn - great book and movie (How did it out do the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, though?)

Alfonso Todd

PA Iconoclast said...

The Secret Sharer - a compelling tale of human behavior if there ever was one. Kinda instrumental in understanding the blogoviating whakosphere of the internet.

Anonymous said...

Madame Bovary would've been better with more pictures.

atown-liker said...

Here's a list I like: Ninety-Nine Novels by Anthony Burgess. This lists his choices by year for the best novels in English between 1939-1983.

Anonymous said...

C'mon do you expect me to believe that this not a Dean Koontz and Danielle Steele fan club meeting?

Anonymous said...

Catch-22 was a great read.

Anonymous said...

Two great reads:

Diary of a Madman and Other Stories,
Nikolai Gogol

The Thurber Carnival, James Thurber

Short stories, not novels. Hemingway found a lot of inspiration in Gogol.

Mike McShea said...

I've only read Hamlet and Huck Finn.

I guess I am eighty cents short of a dollar on this one.

Anonymous said...

What! No Norman Mailer or Gore Vidal books on this list?!?

Oh, it's a list of good books?

Comment withdrawn

Anonymous said...

What about "How to be a lawyer for Dummies" by Bernie O'Hare?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Or "How to Help Elect Republicans" by Joe Long, with a Forward by Charles Dertinger and an Epilogue by Sam Bennett.

Howard Roark said...

FYI. The link to the BBC list goes to the Time American list too.

Anonymous said...

10 books you will be reading in 2020:

1.THe New Roberts Rules of Order, by Ron Angle

2. The secret world of Dogs: My life on NC Council by Char;es DSertinger, with a forward by Ann McHale

3. Shiloh, Bloody Shiloh,
By John Stoffa

4. Politicas for Space cadets
By Sam Bennett

5. I was the last Boss
By Joe Long

6. The Reluctant Congressman
By Charlie Dent

7. I could have drove for NASCAR
By Lisa Boscola

8. I was Misquoted
By Bernie Kieklak

9. PLease elect me to something!
By Tony Branco

10. "Blank" would be a great elected official!
By Julian Stolz

An Exorcist said...

During my spring break, I started to read a dieting book. It's called,

"The Cheesesteak Diet,"

by Fast Eddie. So far, he suggests eating it without the bread. Some kind of atkins thing??? That just seems too messy. I like licking the the remmanents off the wax paper. But to each their own...

When I'm finished, I'll let you know if it is a good read. ~~Alex