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Thread: Yet Another List: The Guardian's Top 100 Books of All Time

  1. #11
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Mm. The Hollow Men is very nice. If I've read it, I don't remember it, so thank you for posting about it all the same, Dinahann.

    Huh. So we share a love for The Waste Land. It's such an obscure and difficult poem, I didn't expect to find another fan. +

    Of course, if we're on the topic of Eliot, I have to give mad props to The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

    Excerpt:
    Do I dare
    Disturb the universe?
    In a minute there is time
    For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

    For I have known them all already, known them all:ó
    Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
    I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
    Huh. The more I think about it, the more I really, really like Eliot.

    (Does this mean we have to start a thread just about verse in general or T.S. Eliot specifically? We'd be the only two posting!)

    ETA: A link to The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: http://www.bartleby.com/198/1.html

    And whenever I think of Prufrock, I always think of Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener, for some reason: http://www.bartleby.com/129/
    Last edited by phat32; 07-30-2005 at 01:01 PM.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  2. #12
    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    Well, most in the book forum know that I'm a big classic literature fan. I'm much more apt to pick up a book off of this list then to read contemporary fare (except Harry Potter ). I've read around 20 of them for fun and about 10 at the demand of literature teachers/professors. I'm just relieved that "The Catcher in the Rye" finally got left off of a list. Hopefully that piece of garbage will one day fade into obscurity and stop plaguing innocent students. Curse you Salinger!
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

    "I'll just see where Providence takes me and try to look like I got there confidently." - Craig Ferguson

  3. #13
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Okay, here are the books I have read off that list:
    Chinua Achebe, Nigeria, (b. 1930), Things Fall Apart
    Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark, (1805-1875), Fairy Tales and Stories
    Jane Austen, England, (1775-1817), Pride and Prejudice
    Emily Bronte, England, (1818-1848), Wuthering Heights
    Geoffrey Chaucer, England, (1340-1400), Canterbury Tales
    Dante Alighieri, Italy, (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy
    Charles Dickens, England, (1812-1870), Great Expectations
    Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881), Crime and Punishment
    Euripides, Greece, (c 480-406 BC), Medea
    Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880), Madame Bovary
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Colombia, (b. 1928), Love in the Time of Cholera
    Gilgamesh, Mesopotamia (c 1800 BC).
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany, (1749-1832), Faust
    Nikolai Gogol, Russia, (1809-1852), Dead Souls
    Ernest Hemingway, United States, (1899-1961), The Old Man and the Sea
    Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC), The Iliad and The Odyssey
    Henrik Ibsen, Norway (1828-1906), A Doll's House
    Toni Morrison, United States, (b. 1931), Beloved
    Vladimir Nabokov, Russia/United States, (1899-1977), Lolita
    George Orwell, England, (1903-1950), 1984
    Edgar Allan Poe, United States, (1809-1849), The Complete Tales
    William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616), Hamlet; King Lear; Othello
    Sophocles, Greece, (496-406 BC), Oedipus the King
    Jonathan Swift, Ireland, (1667-1745), Gulliver's Travels
    Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910), War and Peace; Anna Karenina
    Mark Twain, United States, (1835-1910), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    Virgil, Italy, (70-19 BC), The Aeneid
    Walt Whitman, United States, (1819-1892), Leaves of Grass

    I think that's 29 I've read works by a number of authors on that list, just different works than were listed. For instance, I've read Kafka, but not the ones listed. Same with Dickens and a few others. I have to admit that most I read for fun I've got at least 10 others on my shelves right now. I'll get to them eventually.

    About Things Fall Apart - The story takes place during the spread of the British Empire through Nigeria. It's an indictment of colonialism that every history major has to read.

    Phat - I have Blake's "The Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Sun" framed in my hallway. I always think of the book when I look at it. Also - I think that Achebe did get the name of his book from Yeats.

    I don't understand why Stendahl ends up on these "best of" lists. I read The Charterhouse of Parma last year and it was okay but didn't bowl me over.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  4. #14
    the sweetest thing snickers's Avatar
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    canterberry tales----against my will
    great expectations
    pippi longstocking
    beloved
    1984
    othello
    hamlet
    huck finn--alson agianst my will

  5. #15
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Critical
    I think that's 29
    Well. Damn. I think that makes you the current leader.

    About Things Fall Apart - The story takes place during the spread of the British Empire through Nigeria. It's an indictment of colonialism that every history major has to read.
    Thanks for the heads-up.

    Phat - I have Blake's "The Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Sun" framed in my hallway. I always think of the book when I look at it.
    (nodding and smiling, backs away slowly)

    Um...I won't get in the way of your "Becoming," or anything, Crit.

    I kid, I kid.

    ETA: Wait, at 30, I think Star is the current leader. Sorry!
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  6. #16
    giz
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    Just had a quick look. Interesting what's there and what's not. Will Salman Rushdie stand the test of time? I think Zadie Smith's White Teeth is easily as good in the "sums up a society" genre. No Thomas Hardy. Personally I'd take Virginia Wolf out of there (most over-rated writer ever, classist and dull) and put in maybe Isaac Bashevis Singer and Bulgakov's Master and Margarita. There's no Yiddish or Canadian, not that that's necessary, but it struck me. Some of the selections are a little odd. I've got a degree and I worked in two very good bookshops for 12 years (Canada and England) and have never heard of Aghani dude from the 13th century. That's just showing off having him on there! Typical Guardian. Still it's always cool to see these lists, even though they do make me feel pressured to put down my magazine and try reading Proust again (nearly impossible to finish one of his beautifully long sentences without my kids interrupting me).

  7. #17
    FORT Regular Bambi's Avatar
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    I've read over 30 of those books, but I'm an avid reader, have been since grade school, and I'm older than most of you, so I'm not going to claim the leader. Almost all the books I had to read in school are not on the list, except for some of Shakespears, but I love Shakespear, so I've read all of his anyway. Like To Kill A Mockingbird, Animal House, Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 451, Slaughterhouse 5, and more, I read those in school, those are all great books to me. They should be on the list. But, I think the list just goes to show, that no matter how much we love to read, there's so much we miss, because of the different countries who have such great writers also who we never hear about. Times have changed, haven't they??

  8. #18
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    ETA: Wait, at 30, I think Star is the current leader. Sorry!
    D@mn! I gotta find a couple of short ones on that list so I can quick jump ahead of her!

    AND, just so you don't avoid me at FortCON or imagine me with some big-a$$ snake tattooed on me: I love Blake and liked the painting. I don't have ideas about transforming into the serpent.... yet

    ITA with giz - Hardy (one of my all-time favorites) should be on that list, as should Bulgakov.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  9. #19
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Critical
    D@mn! I gotta find a couple of short ones on that list so I can quick jump ahead of her!
    I was going to recommend knocking out the Poe, but I see I'm too late.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  10. #20
    Lah
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    Personally I'd take Virginia Wolf out of there (most over-rated writer ever, classist and dull) and put in maybe Isaac Bashevis Singer and Bulgakov's Master and Margarita.
    Yes to The Master and Margarita. No to Woolf being overrated and dull, personally.

    And I'm not even a poetry fan. If you play the literary interpretation game, poetry is much too difficult for that exercise--it's chock-a-block full of literary allusions, indecipherable metaphors and experiences that are personal to the poet. Just my two cents.)
    Not all poetry, just modern poetry. And yet lit critics have strived and continue to strive for meaning in it, so some meaning must be attainable in all those literary allusions and internal symbolism. If we don't try to interpret them, then what's the use? Half the fun would be gone out of experiencing the alchemy of those words.

    It's not for the faint of heart though, I agree. Another great one for the obscure references is Ezra Pound.

    Oh, and things I've read from the list that other people likely have also read:

    Jane Austen, England, (1775-1817), Pride and Prejudice
    Emily Bronte, England, (1818-1848), Wuthering Heights
    Geoffrey Chaucer, England, (1340-1400), Canterbury Tales (okay, not all of it, just whatever I needed to scrape by in my lit class, shame shame)
    Charles Dickens, England, (1812-1870), Great Expectations
    Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881), Crime and Punishment (my favourite work of the Russian novelists)
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Colombia, (b. 1928), One Hundred Years of Solitude (love!!)
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Colombia, (b. 1928), Love in the Time of Cholera (more love!!)
    Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC), The Iliad
    Homer, Greece (c 700 BC), The Odyssey
    Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece, (1883-1957), Zorba the Greek
    William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616) Hamlet (so influential in modern literature, and my favourite of his works)
    William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616) King Lear
    William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616) Othello
    Sophocles, Greece, (496-406 BC), Oedipus the King
    Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910), Anna Karenina
    Anton P Chekhov, Russia, (1860-1904), Selected Stories (not all, but most)
    Mark Twain, United States, (1835-1910), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    Virginia Woolf, England, (1882-1941),Mrs. Dalloway
    Virginia Woolf, England, (1882-1941),To the Lighthouse
    George Orwell, England, (1903-1950), 1984
    Edgar Allan Poe, United States, (1809-1849), The Complete Tales (some, including the Cask and Fall of Usher)
    William Faulkner, United States, (1897-1962), The Sound and the Fury (a slog, but well worth it)

    And less common reads:

    Honore de Balzac, France, (1799-1850), Old Goriot (Balzac has gone of out favor within the last, oh, hundred or so years, which is sad, as this is one of his best)
    Louis-Ferdinand Celine, France, (1894-1961), Journey to the End of the Night (one of the granddaddies of fin de siecle postmodernism, it seems less raw and savage...and gasp, even dated?...now that we have Vonnegut and Miller and the like.)
    The Book of Job, Israel. (600-400 BC) (Yes, I read the bible. Gah.)
    Jalal ad-din Rumi, Afghanistan, (1207-1273), Mathnawi (beautiful, but anything by Rumi is)

    I've got a degree and I worked in two very good bookshops for 12 years (Canada and England) and have never heard of Aghani dude from the 13th century. That's just showing off having him on there! Typical Guardian
    What? With your literary pedigree you haven't heard of Rumi? I'm surprised. He's the equal of Gibran, Rilke, maybe even Tagore imo. I'm afraid his being on the list is less indicative of The Guardian's anally-accomodating pc tendencies and more because, well, Rumi simply rocks socks. Pick up "The Essential Rumi" as a starter guide.

    Also: I'm surprised they'd choose Chekhov's stories (good as they are) over his much more groundbreaking plays; similarly, Beckett's trilogy over his Godot, Conrad's Nostromo over HofD, Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea over The Sun Also Rises, the Book of Job over Song of Songs, Kawabata's The Sound of the Mountain over The Snow Country, Morrison's Beloved over Song of Solomon or Sula, and Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children over THe Satanic Verses.

    I also feel they should've included Mishima or Murakami instead of Ysunari Kawabata and Murasaki, personally, if they're going for token consideration of the Asian authors.

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