The ACTUAL 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century

I took exception with the Modern Library List as there are: 1) multiple entries for the same author, 2) only works written in English, and 3) glaring omissions. This is a work in progress.
1

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4.11 avg rating — 1,676,802 ratings
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2

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3.95 avg rating — 899,528 ratings
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3

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4.01 avg rating — 494,713 ratings
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4

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3.94 avg rating — 389,104 ratings
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5

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3.90 avg rating — 458,849 ratings
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6

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4.24 avg rating — 2,703,084 ratings
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7

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3.97 avg rating — 488,348 ratings
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8

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3.86 avg rating — 2,331,022 ratings
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9

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4.19 avg rating — 65,285 ratings
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10

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3.96 avg rating — 393,820 ratings
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11

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 462,476 ratings
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12

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4.03 avg rating — 24,456 ratings
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13

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3.83 avg rating — 261,108 ratings
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14

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4.03 avg rating — 359,592 ratings
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15

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3.78 avg rating — 1,797,978 ratings
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16

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3.72 avg rating — 95,509 ratings
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17

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3.73 avg rating — 73,168 ratings
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18

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3.87 avg rating — 450,058 ratings
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19

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4.09 avg rating — 43,736 ratings
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20

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3.98 avg rating — 124,554 ratings
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21

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3.59 avg rating — 89,893 ratings
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22

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3.80 avg rating — 15,662 ratings
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23

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4.33 avg rating — 122,118 ratings
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24

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3.96 avg rating — 969,184 ratings
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25

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4.03 avg rating — 359,592 ratings
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26

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4.10 avg rating — 33,062 ratings
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26

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3.95 avg rating — 64,831 ratings
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28

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3.83 avg rating — 21,249 ratings
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29

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4.07 avg rating — 196,327 ratings
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30

by
3.65 avg rating — 242,918 ratings
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31

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3.78 avg rating — 179,885 ratings
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32

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3.97 avg rating — 93,812 ratings
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33

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4.25 avg rating — 17,924 ratings
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34

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3.83 avg rating — 1,677,223 ratings
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35

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3.95 avg rating — 64,831 ratings
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35

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3.62 avg rating — 1,412,471 ratings
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37

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4.03 avg rating — 759,927 ratings
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38

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4.35 avg rating — 17,615 ratings
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39

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3.93 avg rating — 35,354 ratings
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40

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3.93 avg rating — 7,148 ratings
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41

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4.16 avg rating — 6,126 ratings
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42

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4.07 avg rating — 41,830 ratings
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43

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4.05 avg rating — 108,259 ratings
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44

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4.45 avg rating — 102,318 ratings
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45

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3.99 avg rating — 24,946 ratings
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46

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3.74 avg rating — 211,812 ratings
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47

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3.91 avg rating — 19,336 ratings
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48

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4.04 avg rating — 21,452 ratings
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49

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3.69 avg rating — 106,849 ratings
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50

by
4.11 avg rating — 18,309 ratings
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51

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4.03 avg rating — 61,816 ratings
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52

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3.81 avg rating — 1,299,065 ratings
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53

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3.68 avg rating — 440,916 ratings
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54

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3.82 avg rating — 147,358 ratings
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55

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4.05 avg rating — 31,980 ratings
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56

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4.05 avg rating — 16,306 ratings
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56

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3.58 avg rating — 12,606 ratings
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58

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3.98 avg rating — 19,486 ratings
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59

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3.92 avg rating — 39,270 ratings
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60

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4.04 avg rating — 73,048 ratings
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61

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3.82 avg rating — 108,993 ratings
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62

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3.96 avg rating — 27,007 ratings
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63

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3.88 avg rating — 207,607 ratings
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64

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3.97 avg rating — 107,815 ratings
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64

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3.86 avg rating — 59,030 ratings
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66

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3.76 avg rating — 5,107 ratings
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67

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4.11 avg rating — 126,439 ratings
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68

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4.14 avg rating — 1,606 ratings
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69

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4.15 avg rating — 1,396 ratings
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70

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4.51 avg rating — 9,958 ratings
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70

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3.91 avg rating — 29,605 ratings
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72

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3.95 avg rating — 28,297 ratings
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73

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4.18 avg rating — 11,782 ratings
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74

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3.77 avg rating — 19,853 ratings
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75

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3.98 avg rating — 18,309 ratings
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76

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3.65 avg rating — 1,302 ratings
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77

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4.24 avg rating — 69,211 ratings
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77

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3.93 avg rating — 61,330 ratings
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79

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3.94 avg rating — 462 ratings
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79

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3.82 avg rating — 51,134 ratings
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81

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3.87 avg rating — 450,058 ratings
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82

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3.95 avg rating — 2,908 ratings
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82

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4.01 avg rating — 1,799 ratings
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84

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3.85 avg rating — 965 ratings
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84

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3.67 avg rating — 203 ratings
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84

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3.91 avg rating — 23,698 ratings
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87

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3.86 avg rating — 47,081 ratings
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88

by
3.93 avg rating — 8,054 ratings
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88

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4.17 avg rating — 449,545 ratings
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90

by
3.88 avg rating — 11,452 ratings
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91

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3.64 avg rating — 41,407 ratings
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91

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4.04 avg rating — 6,113 ratings
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91

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4.11 avg rating — 142,066 ratings
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94

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3.99 avg rating — 541 ratings
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94

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3.79 avg rating — 18,045 ratings
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96

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4.30 avg rating — 1,251 ratings
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97

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3.82 avg rating — 1,464 ratings
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98

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3.96 avg rating — 340 ratings
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99

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3.91 avg rating — 220 ratings
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100

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3.90 avg rating — 1,198 ratings
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flag this list (?)
108 books · 94 voters · list created April 12th, 2012 by Benjamin (votes) .
39 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Benjamin 718 books
13 friends
Katarina 434 books
5 friends
Margaret 650 books
13 friends
Ed 65 books
1 friend
Paul 498 books
34 friends
Rayroy 540 books
176 friends
Mr.Dedalus 179 books
0 friends
Gus 1052 books
172 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Well some idiot decided to vote for two James Joyce books. Anyone know how to fix this?


message 2: by Ellinor (new)

Ellinor Benjamin wrote: "Well some idiot decided to vote for two James Joyce books. Anyone know how to fix this?"

I'm a Goodreads librarian and could remove one of them if you would like me to. Just tell me which one.


message 3: by Ellinor (new)

Ellinor Albert Camus is on the list twice as well, by the way.


message 4: by Ellinor (new)

Ellinor And so are Lorrie Moore and Ernest Hemingway.


message 5: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Actually, let's see how the list fills out. It might make for a good debate!


message 6: by j. ergo (new)

j. ergo so, if i think that light in august is far better than as i lay dying, i shouldn't vote for it b/c as i lay dying is already on the list? i usually feel exactly the same way about multiples on best of lists, but it's usually when i'm the only one making the list. i think it's a better idea to let it fill out, &nd anyone who themselves votes for 2 books by the same author should be ridiculed for being an idiot. i don't have time to check constantly, so i think everyone should pitch in w/ the ridiculing. i like lists too much. i said that last thing to myself.


message 7: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin J. Ergo wrote: "so, if i think that light in august is far better than as i lay dying, i shouldn't vote for it b/c as i lay dying is already on the list? i usually feel exactly the same way about multiples on best..."

I'd put up both and then use this section to fight it out and narrow it to the final hundred. There will obviousl be more than 100 entries, so I anticipate some good battles.


message 8: by j. ergo (new)

j. ergo Benjamin wrote: "J. Ergo wrote: "so, if i think that light in august is far better than as i lay dying, i shouldn't vote for it b/c as i lay dying is already on the list? i usually feel exactly the same way about m..."

yeah, that's what i meant. i can still ridicule people who list's include the same author more than once, though, rt? i'll just do it in my head.


message 9: by Sky (new)

Sky I am a little disappointed that the first female author is at number 22. Overall, this list is definitely dominated by the great white male author! Not to say they aren't fabulous because they are! But so are their counterparts! Particularly disappointed to see no Atwood on there. Truly one of the best writers of the 20th century.


message 10: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Sky:

Vote Atwood in! Feel free to add whoever. I noticed the same thing the other day. There is a serious deficiency of black authors as well. No Ellison, Wright, Hurston, Morrison, Edward P. Jones. I'm throwing in for Morrison right now!


message 11: by Sky (new)

Sky Hey! Didn't realise I could vote in other books! Thanks for the heads up! :)


message 12: by Mkeesee (new)

Mkeesee Heart is a Lonely Hunter is on there twice


message 13: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Could people please take note that this is a list of the best 20th Century novels. White Tiger and the Year of the Flood (which was awful regardless) are post-2001 novels!


message 14: by j. ergo (new)

j. ergo didn't notice my dumb ass had 2666 at #5, which was published, at earliest, in 2009, though i'm 99% sure he started writing it pre-2001, though i have absolutely no evidence for this, nor will i attempt any research to justify the overwhelming certainty of my claim. yeah, i removed it.


message 15: by j. ergo (new)

j. ergo better add on beauty to yer list of 21st century invaders


message 16: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin j. ergo wrote: "didn't notice my dumb ass had 2666 at #5, which was published, at earliest, in 2009, though i'm 99% sure he started writing it pre-2001, though i have absolutely no evidence for this, nor will i at..."

I think 2666 falls within the 20th. If 'The Way of All Flesh' made it to the myopic Modern Library list because it was published post 1901, then 2666 makes it. It's also an incredible novel; excellent choice!


message 17: by j. ergo (new)

j. ergo well it was certainly published--for the first time--before the white tiger


message 18: by Zardoz (new)

Zardoz Added three more into the mix. Interesting list.


message 19: by Mark (new)

Mark Elliott i like this list better than the modern reader one... i'll check out some of the ones i still need to get to.


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