Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Greatest Books of All Time, as Voted by 125 Famous Authors
The Atlantic ^ | Janaury 30, 2012 | Maria Popova

Posted on 01/31/2012 8:21:59 AM PST by C19fan

"Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work," Jennifer Egan once said. This intersection of reading and writing is both a necessary bi-directional life skill for us mere mortals and a secret of iconic writers' success, as bespoken by their personal libraries. The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books asks 125 of modernity's greatest British and American writers—including Norman Mailer, Ann Patchett, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, and Joyce Carol Oates—"to provide a list, ranked, in order, of what [they] consider the ten greatest works of fiction of all time- novels, story collections, plays, or poems." Of the 544 separate titles selected, each is assigned a reverse-order point value based on the number position at which it appears on any list—so, a book that tops a list at number one receives 10 points, and a book that graces the bottom, at number ten, receives 1 point

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature
KEYWORDS: books; fiction; nobelinliterature; pages
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-138 next last
The Brontes were robbed!!! I read Madame Bovary and I am sorry but it is not top 10 material but I suppose today's "edgy" writers like the "edginess" of Bovary.
1 posted on 01/31/2012 8:22:04 AM PST by C19fan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: C19fan

I was pulling for at least one Bronte on the list.


2 posted on 01/31/2012 8:25:27 AM PST by CaptainK (...please make it stop. Shake a can of pennies at it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CaptainK

Were 100 of the top 125 writers polled Russian??? hee hee


3 posted on 01/31/2012 8:26:28 AM PST by C19fan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: C19fan; NicknamedBob

Ping.

I’m inserting a “Nay” for William Faulkner before scanning the list.


4 posted on 01/31/2012 8:27:24 AM PST by Silentgypsy (If this creature is not stopped it could make its way to Novosibirsk!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

Moby Dick is a good story but a bad book.


5 posted on 01/31/2012 8:27:36 AM PST by FatherofFive (Islam is evil and must be eradicated)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

The way you feel about Bovery, I feel about Gatsby.


6 posted on 01/31/2012 8:31:13 AM PST by CaptainK (...please make it stop. Shake a can of pennies at it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

James Joyce??

Perhaps some learned Freeper can explain the supposed greatness of this virtually unreadable author to me. I don’t get it and I have tried. The stream of consciousness business just makes for labored reading for me. Apparently not for others. In fact I have an Irish acquaintance who claims to read Joyce every night. But to me the Joyce mystique remains a mystery.

Now Jane Austin is a different story. She should top the list. Readable over and over.


7 posted on 01/31/2012 8:32:15 AM PST by InterceptPoint (TIN)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

No John Grisham. I call BS.


8 posted on 01/31/2012 8:33:03 AM PST by napscoordinator (Go Newt! Go Patriots (America's Team)! America's is going the right direction in 2012!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan
Bovary certainly is edgy, lol! One of the greatest books I've ever read but it gave me a panic attack worse than “In Cold Blood.” Emma is one scary chick. And the Brontes was robbed! How could anyone leave off “Wuthering Heights” (an edgy book, too.)
9 posted on 01/31/2012 8:34:37 AM PST by miss marmelstein
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

No Tolkein? No LOTR?


10 posted on 01/31/2012 8:34:48 AM PST by eCSMaster (Excommunicate evildoers)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

One Hundred Years of Solitude is just awful beyond description. I will never get those hours back. That said, I’m not surprised it made their list. Madame Bovary over Brothers Karamazov? I guess there were already too many Russians. The Brontes got robbed.


11 posted on 01/31/2012 8:34:56 AM PST by cdcdawg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: InterceptPoint

Re: “virtually unreadable author”
That’s exactly how I perceived, “Sanctuary,” and “Requiem for a Nun.”


12 posted on 01/31/2012 8:35:42 AM PST by Silentgypsy (If this creature is not stopped it could make its way to Novosibirsk!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: InterceptPoint

I with you on that one. I received nothing from the effort I put into Joyce (admittedly, not very much).


13 posted on 01/31/2012 8:37:21 AM PST by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

The consensus is that the intellectuals can take a long walk off a short pier.


14 posted on 01/31/2012 8:38:53 AM PST by Silentgypsy (If this creature is not stopped it could make its way to Novosibirsk!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

English class turned me off of literature, and i was never impressed by any novel, until I read “The Brothers Karamazov.” Everything else pales in comparison.


15 posted on 01/31/2012 8:38:53 AM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cdcdawg

I actually appreciated One Hundred Years of Solitude. I was going to say “enjoyed”, but it wasn’t really enjoyable as it was interesting, memorable, whatever.


16 posted on 01/31/2012 8:41:54 AM PST by SuzyQue (Don't believe everything you think.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

No Sidney Sheldon??
Ridiculous.


17 posted on 01/31/2012 8:44:50 AM PST by Lancey Howard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

Authors chosen by The Atlantic have a bit of narrow-mindedness.

Greatest books of all time? And they eliminate

The Iliad
The Odyssey
The Aeneid
Oedypus Rex
The Divine Comedy

Not to speak of The Bible.

Or, in modern times:

The Lord of the Rings
Brideshead Revisited


18 posted on 01/31/2012 8:45:45 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SuzyQue

I just couldn’t get into it. Parts were interesting, certain themes were intriguing, but it was an overall drag for me.


19 posted on 01/31/2012 8:46:44 AM PST by cdcdawg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: InterceptPoint

I really don’t care for Joyce’s later stuff (as in, completely incomprehensible to me!) but “The Dead,” one of his earlier works, is excellent. Well worth a read.


20 posted on 01/31/2012 8:47:45 AM PST by Hetty_Fauxvert ("She turned me into a Newt . . . backer!" . . . . . Go Newt 2012!!!!!!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

Swim against the tide of RINOism.



Click the Pic


Support Free Republic

21 posted on 01/31/2012 8:48:15 AM PST by deoetdoctrinae (Gun-Free zones are playgrounds for felons)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: C19fan
I must be a literary heathen. Although I was forced to read most of these books in High School and College, I found virtually all theme to be dull and ponderous and I certainly wouldn't re-read any of them by choice or as leisure reading. Give me some Agatha Christie, Steven King, or Tom Clancy any day...
22 posted on 01/31/2012 8:48:28 AM PST by apillar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

Monkeys at their keyboards: eventually they’ll type everything LOL~!

Well, at least Shakespeare, though none of his works, got a mention...


23 posted on 01/31/2012 8:50:49 AM PST by mrsmith (What Tea Party nominee have you found for your House seat?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cicero

Good call on those last two for the 20th Century list. The intellectuals loathe LOTR.


24 posted on 01/31/2012 8:53:00 AM PST by cdcdawg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith

Fools Die - Mario Puzo


25 posted on 01/31/2012 8:53:42 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (Most Conservative in the Primary, the Republican Nominee in the General.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

My List (and I am a lit. teacher)

1. The Bible (no other work is so often alluded to)
2. The Iliad/Odyssey
3. MacBeth
4. Sound and the Fury (narrative experimentation)
5. Hamlet
6. Scarlet Letter
7. Huck Finn
8. Nichomachean Ethics
9. Mere Christianity
10. Walden/Civil Disobedience


26 posted on 01/31/2012 8:53:58 AM PST by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan
Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus Tales comprise some of the greatest American literature. Too complex for modern intellectuals, they are have been consigned to the racist bin along with Twain. Truth is too offensive for modern sensibilities...
27 posted on 01/31/2012 8:54:54 AM PST by antidisestablishment (Our people perish through lack of wisdom, but they are content in their ignorance.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

I’ll take THE ILLIAD, ODESSEY, THE AENEID any day along with the works of Kipling and the short stories of John Russell(THE LOST GOD), Don Quixote, and some of the works of Ernest Hemingway.

Most of the so-called “great novels” are extremely boring, and in my youth I read hundreds of good novels.


28 posted on 01/31/2012 8:54:54 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

Amen!


29 posted on 01/31/2012 8:55:57 AM PST by milagro (There is no peace in appeasement.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: cdcdawg
I just couldn’t get into it. Parts were interesting, certain themes were intriguing, but it was an overall drag for me.

Although it's been quite a long time, this is pretty much my recollection of the hours that I wasted on perhaps 100 pages of this book.

30 posted on 01/31/2012 8:55:57 AM PST by InterceptPoint (TIN)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Silentgypsy
The consensus is that the intellectuals can take a long walk off a short pier.

The intellectuals - - the same people who declare 'The English Patient' and 'Shakespeare in Love' to be "Best Picture" of the year.

31 posted on 01/31/2012 8:57:29 AM PST by Lancey Howard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

They always leave off “Homer Price and his donut machine”.
What were they thinking?


32 posted on 01/31/2012 8:58:29 AM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cicero

The list is of best fiction, that is why the Bible is excluded.


33 posted on 01/31/2012 8:58:50 AM PST by kosciusko51 (Enough of "Who is John Galt?" Who is Patrick Henry?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

The Atlantic? No.....come on.....The Atlantic? Their idea of great literature is “Any Curious George book”.


34 posted on 01/31/2012 8:58:50 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cicero

“Brave New World”

People forget it was written in the early part of the last century, long before socialistic governments had become the norm.

“1984” presents a vision of the future where citizens are kept in line by governmental brute force. “Brave New World” though, presents a vision where citizens are controlled by government paternalism, which results in a voluntary self-enslavement to the government.

Every modern story of a dystopian future has its roots in “Brave New World.”

And, it’s easy to see “Brave New World’s” vision of the future slowly coming to pass.


35 posted on 01/31/2012 8:58:59 AM PST by Brookhaven (Mitt Romney has been consistent since he changed his mind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: struggle

Good list.

Except for “Scarlet Letter.” Terrible, terrible book.

I wasn’t too keen on Hamlet. I saw the Branagh movie in high school and it was much more enjoyable than reading it. MacBeth seemed to be just as good either way to me.


36 posted on 01/31/2012 9:00:26 AM PST by Future Snake Eater (Don't stop. Keep moving!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

I’m just glad it wasn’t ‘The Audacity of Hope” or something by Alynski.


37 posted on 01/31/2012 9:01:02 AM PST by LucianOfSamasota (Tanstaafl - its not just for breakfast anymore...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Brookhaven

There’s a book by Anthony Burgess (of Clockwork Orange fame) called “1985” in which Islam and unions take over Britain.

It is almost IMPOSSIBLE to find, but VERY ACCURATE.


38 posted on 01/31/2012 9:01:35 AM PST by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: C19fan

This list is CRAP!

No Tolkien, Lewis, Hawthorne, or Steinbeck.

No Dumas, Dante, or Heinlein.

But the Marxists just LOOOOOVE the Russians...


39 posted on 01/31/2012 9:03:26 AM PST by Old Sarge (RIP FReeper Skyraider (1930-2011) - You Are Missed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Future Snake Eater

>>Except for “Scarlet Letter.” Terrible, terrible book.

People hate “Scarlet Letter,” but like “Sound and the Fury” it has so many layers to peel back. I teach it to a bunch of bored regular ed kids in public school and a lot of them love it.

There is no greater explanation other than it is a very convoluted diorama of many different aspects of the “human heart in conflict with itself”.


40 posted on 01/31/2012 9:04:33 AM PST by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: struggle

No Atlas Shrugged? No Fountainhead? The list is a big joke.


41 posted on 01/31/2012 9:05:49 AM PST by huckfillary (qual tyo ta)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Brookhaven

What would we catogorize the plot and “action” of the ‘feely’ that Leena and John Savage went to?

From “Brave New World”....

The house lights went down; fiery letters stood out solid and as though self-supported in the darkness. THREE WEEKS IN A HELICOPTER . AN ALL-SUPER-SINGING, SYNTHETIC-TALK1NG, COLOURED, STEREOSCOPIC FEELY. WITH SYNCHRONIZED SCENT-ORGAN ACCOMPANIMENT.

“Take hold of those metal knobs on the arms of your chair,” whispered Lenina. “Otherwise you won’t get any of the feely effects.”

The Savage did as he was told.

Those fiery letters, meanwhile, had disappeared; there were ten seconds of complete darkness; then suddenly, dazzling and incomparably more solid-looking than they would have seemed in actual flesh and blood, far more real than reality, there stood the stereoscopic images, locked in one another’s arms, of a gigantic negro and a golden-haired young brachycephalic Beta-Plus female.

The Savage started. That sensation on his lips! He lifted a hand to his mouth; the titillation ceased; let his hand fall back on the metal knob; it began again. The scent organ, meanwhile, breathed pure musk. Expiringly, a sound-track super-dove cooed “Oo-ooh”; and vibrating only thirty-two times a second, a deeper than African bass made answer: “Aa-aah.” “Ooh-ah! Ooh-ah!” the stereoscopic lips came together again, and once more the facial erogenous zones of the six thousand spectators in the Alhambra tingled with almost intolerable galvanic pleasure. “Ooh …”

The plot of the film was extremely simple. A few minutes after the first Oohs and Aahs (a duet having been sung and a little love made on that famous bearskin, every hair of which–the Assistant Predestinator was perfectly right–could be separately and distinctly felt), the negro had a helicopter accident, fell on his head. Thump! what a twinge through the forehead! A chorus of ow’s and aie’s went up from the audience.

The concussion knocked all the negro’s conditioning into a cocked hat. He developed for the Beta blonde an exclusive and maniacal passion. She protested. He persisted. There were struggles, pursuits, an assault on a rival, finally a sensational kidnapping. The Beta blond was ravished away into the sky and kept there, hovering, for three weeks in a wildly anti-social tête-à-tête with the black madman. Finally, after a whole series of adventures and much aerial acrobacy three handsome young Alphas succeeded in rescuing her. The negro was packed off to an Adult Re-conditioning Centre and the film ended happily and decorously, with the Beta blonde becoming the mistress of all her three rescuers. They interrupted themselves for a moment to sing a synthetic quartet, with full super-orchestral accompaniment and gardenias on the scent organ. Then the bearskin made a final appearance and, amid a blare of saxophones, the last stereoscopic kiss faded into darkness, the last electric titillation died on the lips like a dying moth that quivers, quivers, ever more feebly, ever more faintly, and at last is quiet, quite still.


42 posted on 01/31/2012 9:07:25 AM PST by allmendream (Tea Party did not send the GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: cdcdawg

I love The Brothers Karamozov.

My 13 y/o son and I read it together.

He thought some parts of the story were hilarious.


43 posted on 01/31/2012 9:07:38 AM PST by Califreak ("Burnt By The Sun")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: huckfillary

>>No Atlas Shrugged? No Fountainhead? The list is a big joke.

Almost all the concepts of Rand’s books are covered in Nicomachean Ethics.


44 posted on 01/31/2012 9:07:38 AM PST by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: C19fan
9. The complete stories of Flannery O'Connor

I'm very surprised - but delighted - that this made the list.

She was a very devout Christian, and all her stories reflect this -- in a shocking, sometimes visceral way.

My favorite is "A Good Man is Hard to Find."

It is truly one of the most shocking short stories I have ever read in my life. She was a brilliant, original artist, and a true Southern lady.

45 posted on 01/31/2012 9:08:52 AM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: huckfillary

George R.R. Martin’s epic tomes starting with Songs of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones). Pure fiction with a nod toward ancient Celts.


46 posted on 01/31/2012 9:11:00 AM PST by varina davis (A real American patriot -- Gov. Rick Perry)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Flycatcher

>>It is truly one of the most shocking short stories I have ever read in my life. She was a brilliant, original artist, and a true Southern lady.

And she loved her peacocks.

I loved “Good Country People” but all of her stories show the contradictory nature of human beings.

Eudora Welty was a great author as well. I loved “Ponder Heart,” “Delta Wedding,” and “The Optimist’s Daughter.”


47 posted on 01/31/2012 9:12:02 AM PST by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: CaptainK
Surprised Jack London didn't make the list.

Not just because he was a good writer, but because he was a devout socialist (something I blocked from my mind while enjoying his work).

48 posted on 01/31/2012 9:12:42 AM PST by daler
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: FatherofFive

Moby Dick is sublime. He wasn’t just out to “tell a story”.


49 posted on 01/31/2012 9:13:14 AM PST by Borges
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: struggle
I teach it to a bunch of bored regular ed kids in public school and a lot of them love it.

I read it in AP English, my junior year in HS. I found it to be almost impenetrable, dull, and lazy (the pastor "looked into his heart"? The big scarlet A in the sky? A girl named Hester?).

I haven't read "Sound and the Fury." We did read "Light in August" and it was pretty good. We read some of Faulkner's short stories, and I loved "Young Goodman Brown."

"The Great Gatsby" was one I almost gave up on until it started really picking up after a few chapters.

Hands down the best book I read in high school was "Grendel." We read that in my honor's English class in 12th grade after we read "Beowulf" (meh). Fantastic book that took all of your preconceived notions made in "Beowulf" and turned them on their heads. Even though I knew how it was going to end, I had no idea what was going to happen next!

50 posted on 01/31/2012 9:13:42 AM PST by Future Snake Eater (Don't stop. Keep moving!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-138 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson