The Modern Library 100 Best Novels Challenge discussion

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message 1: by Silver (last edited Dec 14, 2010 04:15PM) (new)

Silver 1. ULYSSES by James Joyce
2. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce
4. LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
5. BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
6. THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner -Could not finish
7. CATCH-22
8. DARKNESS AT NOON by Arthur Koestler
9. SONS AND LOVERS by D.H. Lawrence
10. THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
11. UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
12. THE WAY OF ALL FLESH by Samuel Butler
13. 1984 by George Orwell
14. I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
15. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
16. AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
17. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
18. SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
19. INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
20. NATIVE SON by Richard Wright
21. HENDERSON THE RAIN KING by Saul Bellow
22. APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA by John O'Hara
23. U.S.A. (trilogy) by John Dos Passos: 1/3 read
24. WINESBURG, OHIO by Sherwood Anderson
25. A PASSAGE TO INDIA by E.M. Forster
26. THE WINGS OF THE DOVE by Henry James
27. THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James
28. TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald
29. THE STUDS LONIGAN TRILOGY by James T. Farrell
30. THE GOOD SOLDIER by Ford Madox Ford
31. ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
32. THE GOLDEN BOWL by Henry James
33. SISTER CARRIE by Theodore Dreiser
34. A HANDFUL OF DUST by Evelyn Waugh
35. AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
36. ALL THE KING'S MEN by Robert Penn Warren
37. THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY by Thornton Wilder
38. HOWARDS END by E.M. Forster
39. GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin
40. THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Graham Greene
41. LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
42. DELIVERANCE by James Dickey
43. A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series) by Anthony Powell
44. POINT COUNTER POINT by Aldous Huxley
45. THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
46. THE SECRET AGENT by Joseph Conrad
47. NOSTROMO by Joseph Conrad
48. THE RAINBOW by D.H. Lawrence
49. WOMEN IN LOVE by D.H. Lawrence
50. TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller
51. THE NAKED AND THE DEAD by Norman Mailer
52. PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT by Philip Roth
53. PALE FIRE by Vladimir Nabokov
54. LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
55. ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
56. THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett
57. PARADE'S END by Ford Madox Ford
58. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton
59. ZULEIKA DOBSON by Max Beerbohm
60. THE MOVIEGOER by Walker Percy
61. DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP by Willa Cather
62. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY by James Jones
63. THE WAPSHOT CHRONICLES by John Cheever
64. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
65. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
66. OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
67. HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
68. MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis
69. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH by Edith Wharton
70. THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET by Lawrence Durell
71. A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA by Richard Hughes
72. A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS by V.S. Naipaul
73. THE DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathanael West
74. A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
75. SCOOP by Evelyn Waugh
76. THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark
77. FINNEGANS WAKE by James Joyce
78. KIM by Rudyard Kipling
79. A ROOM WITH A VIEW by E.M. Forster
80. BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh
81. THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH by Saul Bellow
82. ANGLE OF REPOSE by Wallace Stegner
83. A BEND IN THE RIVER by V.S. Naipaul
84. THE DEATH OF THE HEART by Elizabeth Bowen
85. LORD JIM by Joseph Conrad
86. RAGTIME by E.L. Doctorow
87. THE OLD WIVES' TALE by Arnold Bennett
88. THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
89. LOVING by Henry Green
90. MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN by Salman Rushdie
91. TOBACCO ROAD by Erskine Caldwell
92. IRONWEED by William Kennedy
93. THE MAGUS by John Fowles
94. WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys
95. UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch
96. SOPHIE'S CHOICE by William Styron
97. THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
98. THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE by James M. Cain
99. THE GINGER MAN by J.P. Donleavy
100. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS by Booth Tarkington


message 2: by Silver (new)

Silver The Great Gatsby

The first time I read this book was in high school, and than later I read it again for one of my college courses. It is a great book and an enjoyable, entertaining read about American culture during that period of the 20's, a time of glamor and glitz marked by flashy frivolously parties and the empty hollow lives of the wealthy, trying to feel the void with their material gains.

Rating: 4/5 stars


message 3: by Silver (new)

Silver A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Though I acknowledge the literary value within this book, and Joyce is not by any means a bad writer, in fact some of his prose is almost poetic and quite beautiful, the book itself I found to be a chore to get through and it is not the most riveting thing to read.

It is written in a sort of stream of conscious type style, which at times can be an interesting and effective narrative technique but in this instance, I found the repetition used was distracting, for it always made me feel as if I was reading the same sentence over and I had to keep stopping to check to make sure I didn't and at parts there is a disjointedness which is hard to follow. I found myself not really engaged with the characters or really caring much about what happened to them.

And for anyone who is not familiar with Irish history and politics it is worthwhile to research some of the names and events mentioned in the book to gain a better understanding of what they are referencing, and the backdrop in which the story is being told.

Rating: 2/5 stars


message 4: by Silver (new)

Silver Lolita


I have to say I was quite disappointed in this book. I heard all this hype about how great and brilliant everyone thought this book and what a fantastic writer Nabokov is, but for I found it lacking.

The prose I did not find to be that engaging, and at times I felt as if the book dragged on a bit, and was slow reading, and difficult to get through. I found as I was reading this book that at points my attention would start to wonder.

It is interesting in the way in which it lets the reader see through the eyes of Humbert, and seeing his justifications for himself and his actions and his own perceptions and world view, but a lot of the time it seems he rambles on about insignificant nonsense.

I just failed to be enchanted the way it seems everyone else was.

Rating: 3/5 stars


message 5: by sara keleny (new)

sara keleny | 3 comments I agree. The second half of the book did drag a bit. And I, too, was a bit disappointed after hearing about it being such a "classic".


message 6: by Silver (new)

Silver Brave New World

I generally love dystopia so I was really looking forward to reading this one, and I have to say something about it fell a little flat for me. It was not as good as I would have hoped it would be. The story and the characters did not really grip my attention. Though it did have some rather disturbing elements in the possible future world view which it presented.

Rating 3/5 stars


message 7: by Silver (new)

Silver Catch-22

I thought this was a great book. It takes a rather unique look upon WW2 and one of the things I really enjoy about it is the way in which it does bring humor into the tragic events of the war. The book is filled with a cast of curious, eccentric and all around odd ball characters and recounts thier adventures, and misadventures and experiences in the war. Each one a truly unique personality.

Rating 4/5 stars


message 8: by Silver (new)

Silver Sons and Lovers

I love D.H. Lawrence and he has come to be among my favorite authors. I think he is a fantastic writer, and while Sons and Lovers is not among my favorites of his works, it is still a remarkable read.

One of the things which I enjoy so much about D.H. Lawrence is the raw honest he displays in the emotions of his characters, he captures the true feelings and doubts many of us may have in our relationships but never acutally express. There is a brutalities in his writing, as it seems he takes the inner thoughts and projects them outward.

Sons and Lovers is the story of a boy who feels he is trapped in an inescapable bond to his overbearing mother who refuses to let her son go, and demands she always come first with him and fears to loose him. And becasue of his mothers influence, Paul, struggles with his own relationships and is locked in inner turmoil with himself torn between his mother and the need and desire for independence.

Rating: 4/5 stars


message 9: by Silver (new)

Silver The Grapes of Wrath

Steinbeck admittedly is not one of my favorite writers, because I have to say personally I think sometimes he spends far more time than needed to give unnecessarily long descriptions of scenery and landscape, so I was not really looking forward to reading this one.

I have to admit that for a Steinbeck it was actually better than I thought it would be, I feared it would be a complete drag to have to read through, but all in all it was actually quite good.

The story is about the great depression in which a great drought known as the "Dust Bowl" forced farmers across the south to have to leave their farms because they could no longer afford them, because of the bad crops. and so they migrate to the west in which there are promises abound for a better life. Though upon arriving, they don't find the utopia they expect but finds the reality to be full of hardships, experience prejudice from the locals for being "Oakies."

Rating: 3/5 stars


message 10: by Silver (new)

Silver 1984

I really enjoyed this book, it painted such a chilling and stark picture. Such an overwhelming sense of utter hopelessness was captured within the book and there are some truly distributing elements which are presented within the book. One of the things that makes for really good dystopia, is that however unbelievably far fetched it might seem there is always something which bears a glimmer of truth reflected within modern society which really makes one stop and think just how unrealistic of far away is this future that Orwell presents to us.

Rating 4/5 stars


message 11: by Silver (new)

Silver I, Claudius

Overall this was an interesting history of ancient Rome. The story is narrated by Claudius, told in the form of his memoir as he recounts his experiences, and the treasons, treacheries, curtly he witnesses while himself is looked down upon by the family for being physically weak, though looked upon as an idiot he becomes an avid scholar and manages to survive through the many intrigues, rivalries and dangers which besot him and Rome itself. Though it has a tendency at times to be a bit tedious or read a bit dry, it was still an interesting and story.

Rating: 3/5 stars


message 12: by Silver (new)

Silver To the Lighthouse

I quite enjoyed this book. It is written in a somewhat stream of conscious way, and it portrays the lives of an interesting cast of characters as they revolve around Mrs. Ramsey the matriarch of the family and a figure that presented the "ideal Victorian Woman" an image of Woolf's own mother and one in which she rebelled against. In many ways the story works through the complicated emotions Woolf had for her own mother, as well as the struggle she had with her own identity.

Rating 4/5 stars


message 13: by Gregory (new)

Gregory Rothbard (polycarp55) Silver wrote: "To the Lighthouse

I quite enjoyed this book. It is written in a somewhat stream of conscious way, and it portrays the lives of an interesting cast of characters as they revolve around Mrs. Ramse..."


I also love that book. Especially the impressionistic like feeling of the boat and the light house and the people involved in that scene. It was beautiful in its vividness.


message 14: by Silver (new)

Silver Slaughterhouse-Five

There were a couple of things which I really liked about this book, it was quite a bizarre, quirky and unusual story which was part sci-fi, part dystopic, and part comic.

Slaughterhouse-Five traces the adventures of Bill Pilgrim, highlighting both his tragic experiences within the war, which was dubbed "The Children's Crusade" and his exploits in traveling through time and space in which he lives a double life on an Alien Planet.

Rating: 3/5


message 15: by Silver (new)

Silver Native Son

A very proactive novel about racism. It deals with some very controversial issues and is very brutally honest. It is an open and honest book which does not hold back. One of the things of which I particularly enjoyed about the book is the way in which it was structured, which I found to be quite clever.

Rating 4/5 stars


message 16: by Silver (new)

Silver Henderson and the Rain King

I really enjoyed this story. I thought it was quite interest, and I do have a particular interest in Africa, this is a really good travel novel about a man feeling dissatisfied with is life, sets out on a journey into Africa. There he has some rather interesting encounters and adventures with the native tribes.

Rating 4/5 stars


message 17: by Silver (new)

Silver Winesberg Ohio

I loved this book I thought it was quite brilliant and cleverly done and I loved the disturbing elements which work behind this book giving it an almost horror like feeling to it.

The story looks at a typical small town and explores the truth, lies, and secrets which lie just beneath the outer service exposing the truth for what it is and uncovering the outer facade of rural America. Each of the characters within the book is hiding something or has their own perversions and this book takes the reader on a journey to see what really does happen behind closed doors.

One of the interesting things about this story is the way in which it is told through a collection of several short stories each focusing on a different character in the book. Any of the stories could be read on its own, but at the same time they are all interconnected and work together to tell a completed story about this town.

Rating: 5/5 stars


message 18: by Silver (last edited Nov 10, 2010 09:44PM) (new)

Silver A Passage to India

I loved this book and this far I think it is the best thing which Forster has written. It is presently my favorite work of his. It is truly a brilliant story with so much depth and a richness of culture and it captures the deep understanding which Forster has for human nature and the differences and similarities which make us all human.

I have a long standing interest in India and the culture of the east and I particularly find interest in the period of the British colonization in India, which I think is a fascinating period of history. Forster does a skillful job of exploring this period through the eyes of both sides and he brings such a sense of humanity into his work.

He displays both a pride in his English roots, while still being critical of their ideas and practices and having sympathetic views for the Indians and demonstrates his love for their culture.

The theme for the need of humans to form connects to each other, and the great lengths they will go through to try and do so, and the need for communication which is so often hampered by miscommunications, misunderstandings, misperceptions, misadventures, threads through the pages of many of his books. In A Passage to India it plays a key role in many of the characters lives in the way in which he highlights the culture clash between the British and the Indians.

The ending of this book is brilliant and there is a deep spirituality which stirs through the pages.

Rating: 5/5 stars


message 19: by Silver (new)

Silver The Ambassadors

I quite enjoy the writing of Henry James, but he can be quite a difficult writer at times. He is a highly psychological writer, and really explores the minds, motives, and inner workings of heir characters. I have read several of his short stories and novellas, but this was my first novel of his.

It is a difficult read, and hard to truly grasp what Henry James is saying and understand all the deeper meanings within the story. I appreciated the writing of the story, and I think it was quite a brilliant work, even if there were parts of it which left me quite baffled. It is a book I think that would be worth, and benefit from a 2nd visiting and I think it would be a particularly good book to read in a group setting.

I will look forward to it if this or any other group I belong to elects it for group discussion.

Rating: 4/5 stars


message 20: by Garlan ✌ (new)

Garlan ✌ Silver, you may enjoy The Master by Colm Tóibín The Master by Colm Toibin. Its based on James, and is written in much the same style that James wrote (or so I hear). I didn't finish this one, but I really enjoyed reading it at the time. Toibin is a very skilled writer, but the book just wasn't reaching me for some reason. I'll probably get back to it at some time...


message 21: by Silver (new)

Silver Garlan wrote: "Silver, you may enjoy The Master by Colm Tóibín The Master by Colm Toibin. Its based on James, and is written in much the same style that James wrote (or so I hear). I didn't fini..."

Thank you for the recoemendation, it does sound interesting and I will have to look into it.


message 22: by Silver (new)

Silver Animal Farm

I did not like this one as much as 1984. For one thing it took me longer to really get into it, for the first couple of chapters sounded almost just like a recitation of the Communist Manifesto so it was a bit slow and somewhat annoying because I was not a huge fan of the Manifesto, but once it got past that I was able to get more into the story and it did get to be better.

It was quite a disturbing book in a way that was good, because that is what was intended. I also did really enjoy the characters of the different animals, for the most part I thought Orwell actually did quite a good job giving the animals personalities which seemed to fit the natural characteristics of the types of animals they were. I loved the cat particularly. I do have to admit though even though I know the book was all meant to be metaphorical, I still felt that he did do a slight injustice in his portrayal of the horse.

Rating 3/5 stars


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