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Sunday, August 30. 2015
TE Lawrence's 7 Pillars would be on my list. It's sort-of a novel.
The twenty greatest English-language novels
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:43 | Comments (29) | Trackbacks (0)
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Any such list that fails to distinguish between the two halves of Huck Finn and omits The Great Gatsby is incomplete.
because nothings says "great literature" like tales of victorian social problems.
To Kill A Mockingbird
Gone With The Wind
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that would include Dune, although I would add the caveat that all six novels be treated as a single entry.
Dune is a great example of how lightning only strikes once.
Agreed. The first was magical, I couldn't finish God Emperor.
Second vote on that. Some of the followup books by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson were interesting, not great but readable.
Come to think of it I don't think I've reread Dune since the fire, have to get a copy.
Seven Pillars? Really? Aside from one or two insights to the landscape and experience of the desert, I found it to be a blizzard of people and place names that were too numerous to fully categorize. And for a military history to be devoid of maps is outside experience. I may also be influenced by the wretched job of binding for the volume that I bought. The book literally fell apart before I finished it.
Seven Pillars? Needed a good editor and maps. The edition I read had commentary in the form of a lengthy introduction that provided interesting context. Originally, it was a lecture by Lawrence and included pictures as well as maps. And I seem to remember he lost his notes and wrote from memory.
I really like Watership Down (Richard Adams). I know it is has been out only 40 years, and is really enjoyable to read (and re-read), but I don't think that should disqualify it. Basically, The Aeneid, with rabbits.
I want to know how Moby Dick keeps making these lists?
Does everyone just assume that it's good because it is supposed to be because I can't believe that anyone that's actually tried to read it would say that.
Got half, no quarter (almost) of the way through it. Worst case of mental plaque I've ever had.
I was surprisingly impressed with 'The autobiography of Malcolm X'
which I was reading at the same time. In high school at the time I hadn't met any black people (yes, really) so I that was probably the highest regard and sympathy for the blacks in America I ever achieved.
"I can't believe that anyone that's actually tried to read it would say that."
Thank you! I have tried to read Moby Dick 4 times now. I find the first part great, a very interesting read as Melville is introducing the characters, etc. I so want to hear what adventure they are about to embark on.
But, then, a great big yawn! The book becomes a cure for insomnia.
I read somewhere once that he wrote adventure stories based upon his real life experiences when he was younger. And he was quite successful at them. Then he published Moby Dick and all the critics said that he should stick with adventure stories. I'll second that!
I found Mellville impossible to read. I couldn't even finish Billy Budd.
Opening (Pick up) line to future spouse, upon observing her looking at Moby Dick: "Are you really reading THAT?"
19th Century travelogue with a neat description of the whaling industry....wow.....Gregory Peck was great as Captain Ahab!
Oh, did I mention Gatsby?
And dittoes on Lonesome Dove, read it about five times and each time it was hard to put down.
Serious literature ain't.
Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Children's, and Comic reading are nearly always under-represented on these lists. People who like The Way of All Flesh and the like can't be bothered. If it's popular, it must not be any good.
sci fi: A Canticle for Leibowitz, On Basilisk Station
fantasy: The Drawing of the Dark, The Once and Future King
children: The Wind in the Willows, Dandelion Wine, Puck of Pook's Hill
comic: Catch 22, The Princess Bride , anything by Terry Pratchett
Well, I liked the ones on this list that I've read, so I've taken a chance and ordered "The Drawing of the Dark" and "On Basilisk Station." Here's hoping I like them better than your favorite (from above) "Dune," which I detested!
let me know what you think. OBS is military sci fi, a study of command. DotD of about a special kind of dark.
Moby Dick is great. I've read it multiple times.
There's one or two other books I might have on my list.
Catch-22, for one.
The author that has had and always had the greatest impact on me was Heinlein.
Any list without Heinlein is meaningless.
"The Man who traveled in Elephants". Period, full stop. Some days I HAVE to read the story. And those are the days I think about my late wife.
Any assertion about the meaninglessness of any list without Heinlein is meaningless.
You're a man after my own heart. But there's no point recommending Heinlein to people. You either like him or you don't. Personally, I own all two dozen or more of his novels and re-read them in a more or less continuous cycle, the pleasure never diminishing. They remind me of my father.
Lonesome Dove is a novel MANY know as being awesome.
As for Dickens - nothing beats David Copperfield IMO.
Anna Karenina and Brothers Karamazov - sigh.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - double sigh.
Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
and finally IMO the most essential novel all in our times MUST be familiar with - Orwell's 1984.
Absolutely loved "Lonesome Dove." Quite fond of "Jane Eyre," too.
Seven Pillars would be a favourite for me too.
In those days long before MSWord and back-ups, Lawrence lost almost the entire first manuscript on a train and had to write it again.
I've enjoyed the comments on this post. I've added several books to my to-read list.
How about Sherlock Holmes? I reread them as soon as I think I've forgotten enough to enjoy them. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, anything by Steinbeck, A Tale of Two Cities, The Killer Angels. 20 books is too limiting.
Also, Pillars of the Earth. I love a story with characters you hate so much you wish you could murder them.