The Modern Library 100 Best Novels Challenge discussion

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message 1: by Shawn (last edited Mar 02, 2017 10:43AM) (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
My current progress through the books. Note, I've sorted alphabetically and removed beginning "A ", "THE ", and trailing "by ..." in order to remove duplicates.

35 of the 168 books complete and a few in progress.

1984
ABSALOM, ABSALOM!
ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH
AGE OF INNOCENCE
ALEXANDRIA QUARTET
ALL THE KING'S MEN
AMBASSADORS
AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY
ANGLE OF REPOSE
ANIMAL FARM
ANTHEM
APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA
ARROWSMITH
AS I LAY DYING
AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS
AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS
ATLAS SHRUGGED
BATTLEFIELD EARTH
BELOVED
BEND IN THE RIVER
BLOOD MERIDIAN
BRAVE NEW WORLD
BRIDESHEAD REVISITED
BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY
CALL OF THE WILD
CATCH-22
CATCHER IN THE RYE
CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY
CLOCKWORK ORANGE
CUNNING MAN
DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series)
DARKNESS AT NOON
DAY OF THE LOCUST
DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP
DEATH OF THE HEART
DELIVERANCE
DOOR INTO SUMMER
DOUBLE STAR
DUNE
ENDER'S GAME
FARENHEIT 451
FAREWELL TO ARMS
FEAR
FIFTH BUSINESS
FINNEGANS WAKE
FOUNTAINHEAD
FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
GINGER MAN
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
GOLDEN BOWL
GONE WITH THE WIND
GOOD SOLDIER
GRAPES OF WRATH
GRAVITY'S RAINBOW
GREAT GATSBY
GREENMANTLE
GUILTY PLEASURES
HANDFUL OF DUST
HANDMAID'S TALE
HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE
HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER
HEART OF DARKNESS
HEART OF THE MATTER
HENDERSON THE RAIN KING
HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA
HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS
HOUSE OF MIRTH
HOWARDS END
HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER
I, CLAUDIUS
ILLUSIONS
INVISIBLE MAN
IRONWEED
IT
KIM
LIGHT IN AUGUST
LITTLE COUNTRY
LOLITA
LORD JIM
LORD OF THE FLIES
LORD OF THE RINGS
LOVING
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS
MAGUS
MAIN STREET
MALTESE FALCON
MEMORY AND DREAM
MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN
MISSION EARTH
MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS
MOONHEART
MOVIEGOER
MULENGRO
MY ANTONIA
MYTHAGO WOOD
NAKED AND THE DEAD
NAKED LUNCH
NATIVE SON
NOSTROMO
OF HUMAN BONDAGE
OLD WIVES' TALE
ON THE BEACH
ON THE ROAD
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
ONE LONELY NIGHT
PALE FIRE
PARADE'S END
PASSAGE TO INDIA
POINT COUNTER POINT
PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY
PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE
PUPPET MASTERS
RAGTIME
RAINBOW
RECOGNITIONS
ROOM WITH A VIEW
SATANIC VERSES
SCOOP
SECRET AGENT
SHANE
SHELTERING SKY
SISTER CARRIE
SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE
SOMEPLACE TO BE FLYING
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION
SONS AND LOVERS
SOPHIE'S CHOICE
SOUND AND THE FURY
STAND
STARSHIP TROOPERS
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND
STUDS LONIGAN TRILOGY
SUN ALSO RISES
SUTTREE
TENDER IS THE NIGHT
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE
TOBACCO ROAD
TOWN LIKE ALICE
TRADER
TROPIC OF CANCER
TRUSTEE FROM THE TOOLROOM
U.S.A. (trilogy)
ULYSSES
UNDER THE NET
UNDER THE VOLCANO
V.
WAPSHOT CHRONICLES
WATERSHIP DOWN
WAY OF ALL FLESH
WE THE LIVING
WIDE SARGASSO SEA
WINESBURG, OHIO
WINGS OF THE DOVE
WISE BLOOD
WOMEN IN LOVE
WOOD WIFE
WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP
WORM OUROBOROS
YARROW
ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE
ZULEIKA DOBSON


message 2: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
Finished "The Sheltering Sky" by Paul Bowles early this morning. Below is my writeup:

I kept asking myself “Why do I like this book?” as I was reading, and never really found an answer-- I just did. The third person omniscient view point was used differently than most novels imbibing it with an anomalous feeling akin to the 1900s north African desert landscape portrayed. The prose wasn’t particularly vivid, the plot not entirely engrossing, the author certainly didn’t write the characters to be genial. Symbolism abounds, though, and through the machinations of fate’s crucible like focus love and regret are finally brought to the forefront.

It brought back the feeling of being a stranger, alone, in 3rd world countries and knowing that with some disputable choices one could easily end up conjoined with these somnolent characters: A left turn here; two rights; a little less common sense; sprinkle in some pride and you’ve arrived at this story’s vertiginous awaking.

Throughout it all you wonder, will they solve their problems before they run out of time? I won’t spoil the ending...


message 3: by Garlan ✌ (new)

Garlan ✌ Shawn, I really like your review. This is one of those books that I've been "meaning to read" for far too many years. I'll have to see if the local library has a copy.


message 4: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
Garlan wrote: "Shawn, I really like your review.

Thanks, Garlan! If you get a moment, please "like" the review on the books description page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24... (You'll have to sort the reviews by newest).


message 5: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
Finished Appointment in Samarra.

I found it a strangely engrossing novel of the downward spiral that is the protagonist’s, Julian English, life. Set in the year right before the market crash, it’s one of those novels that makes you want to scream out at the characters to mend their fences. The introduction by Updike indicated that this yarn was based in a great deal on the author’s own life. Either way, although a morose tale, it was a quick, interesting read. 2/5 stars..


message 6: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
“Stranger in a strange land” is the book that brought the word grok into the English language-- and as strange as that is, the book becomes even more eccentric with its pandering down into sophism and the “martian” view of idyllic gender relations. It does, however, have all of the elements that make a good science fiction novel: new technological ideas, world building, and parallax reflections.

While purportedly a science fiction book, I don’t think it’s possible to read this book without coming to the conclusion that the author was writing about the situation of a Martian being on Earth to describe, explain, and examine the societal structures that aren’t otherwise regularly questioned. There were many John Galt-ian like speeches by the Jubal character that were utterly fascinating.

This version of the book had 50,000 words that were trimmed in the original inserted back in-- It’s a real shame as while reading the book I kept feeling that a good editor could have trimmed all sections of this book by at least a quarter without removing the core messages. It would have then been a stunning work-- as it is, the rambling length impeded what I felt was its purpose.


message 7: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
Finished Mulengro.

Mulengro was a fantasy novel set in the Romany culture. While not a bad novel, it wasn’t excellent either. While the book had many characters, through whose eyes we saw the word, it had but one plot that built to a crescendo which was then adequately resolved.

I found it personally interesting having lived next to Gypsies at one time and seeing how they lived outside of the system with a myriad of names and matching ID cards from a variety of states. However, my time with them didn’t leave me with the rosy view of them that this book portrays.

2/5 stars.


message 8: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
Finished Henderson the rain king.

O Henderson, you hapless lackey, you seeker, you thoughtful one, you Gran-tu-Molani. A gem of a book: A Pensive, ponderous perusal of one man's palaver.

My favorite authors are those who have mastered characters (Dostoevsky, Dickens), but a close second to these are those that have subjugated their language, making it bend to their will in the full color of available descriptions. While he doesn’t always hold himself to the level he achieves at the beginning and end of the book that which is there is worth reflection.

The first person narration took a little getting used to but eventually you see the journey through Henderson’s eyes and as we’re told: travel is mental travel.

4/5 stars.


message 9: by Garlan ✌ (new)

Garlan ✌ Shawn wrote: "Finished Henderson the rain king.

O Henderson, you hapless lackey, you seeker, you thoughtful one, you Gran-tu-Molani. A gem of a book: A Pensive, ponderous perusal of one man's palaver.

My favor..."


This has always been one of my favorites from Bellows, mainly because its a bit more accessable than some of his others (Herzog", The Dean's December", etc..). He definitely writes "big" characters.


message 10: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
Finished A Farewell to Arms.

2/5


message 11: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
Forgot to post I finished room with a view.
1/5


message 12: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
Finished Lord of the flies. 3/5.


message 13: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
Finished Catch-22. 4/5.


message 14: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
Finished Wise blood. 1.5/5.


message 15: by Shawn (new)

Shawn (sounix) | 133 comments Mod
Finished Heart of Darkness: 3.5/5.


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