NYT Best Fiction Since 1980

Came across this list on Amazon – the NYT Book Review’s choices for the best fiction of the last quarter century.

Of the 22 listed, I’ve read exactly … 0.

I’ve read four out of the twenty, two of which I liked. It looks as if the New York Times Book Review isn’t a very good match for my literary tastes. The Philip Roth worship baffles me. While he writes well enough, I find most of his books to be more annoying than entertaining.

I’ve tried to read one of the Rabbit books and Confederacy of Dunces, but gave up on both of them.

You shouldn’t be blaming the TBR. The results come from a survey of big-name writers.

It’s possible that the selection of big names was biased, but we don’t know that because while they listed the ones who participated, evidently a large number refused to take part in the survey and how many and who are never said.

Just looking at the names listed, though, it seems likely to me that the choices correlate highly with the age of the participants. All the most-named writers were born in the 1930s and I’d guess that the average age of the voters is about the same.

It does seem like a pretentious-asshole-centric list – and just a wee bit light on the female writers, perhaps?

I’ve read five and enjoyed them, particularly Housekeeping and the Ford and Carver collections. Tried to read some of the others but was totally defeated by them.

I’m a plebe. I can recognize “good” writing, but I don’t always enjoy it. Either there’s not enough story, or I can’t relate to the characters.

Guess I’m a plebe, too. My score is also 0.

One-and-a-half-- American Pastoral and I’m in the process of reading The Plot Against America. I loved American Pastoral-- definitely one of my favorite books. I love what Roth I’ve read.

I’ve read four of them (*Beloved, Where I’m Calling From, The Things They Carried, * and The Plot Against America). I liked all of them, especially the Carver, though I think picking that collection is a bit misleading, since it’s a compilation of the best of his stories that he’d written and published over the years, many before 1980.

I think that the list might be somewhat biased by the individuals writing it; while there’s no doubt that Phillip Roth is an excellent novelist, I find it hard to believe that every single one of his books on this list is better than, say, The Handmaid’s Tale–especially when I preferred it to the one of his that I did read.

I’ve only read two (the Toole & the Morrison), but freely admit that when it comes to “literature”, I try to consume (catch-up) on older material. If I read newer things, it’s usually in “genre” fiction (not to say it can’t be literary, but usually those distinctions occur in labeling/organizing/reviewing, etc.)

I’ve read one: The Things They Carried. It was assigned reading at some point in high school, and it holds a place as one of the best two books I’m glad I was forced to read (the other is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, FWIW).

Another zero here.

One and a half for me too.

I just finished Blood Meridian and, as I said elsewhere on these boards, “it’s like Jerzy Kosinski meets the wild west”. Really quite extraordinary - lyrical violence at its best (if you’ll forgive the double oxymoron).

I tried, really, really tried to finish DeLillo’s Underworld. I am quite certain that its first one hundred or so pages are the most captivating, flowing, and astonishing that I’ve ever read. Alas, the next 700 are not. On the contrary, I found them, essentially, impenetrable. But, hey, I guess that’s just me.

Two here. I had no trouble understanding why the Dunce Confederacy book was not published prehumously. I read “Winter’s Tale” maybe twenty years ago and remember it being a delightful fantasy, but Top Ten? Hunh-uhh! (That’s Oklahomian for “no way”.)

Stupid NYT. Where’s the Vonnegut? John Irving? Tom frickin’ Robbins? Stupid NYT.

My take as well.

The Things They Carried is it for me, too, although I definitely liked it. I maintain that a list of best fiction since 1980 should contain at least some science fiction…

I’ve read all the Rabbit books. Read them in fact when I was in my freshman year of high school. Didn’t realize that they were considered classics now. I suppose they were pretty good.

I’m currently reading Underworld, which I will say is some of the best writing I’ve ever read. Unfortunately there’s absolutely no story coming out of that writing, or at least none I can discern.

I had the same thought, but if you think about it, it’s the best books of the last 25 years, which pretty much rules out most of Vonnegut’s best works. I think only Breakfast of Champions would fall under those time restraits.

Or if I could add, I’d realize that 1973 is longer than 25 years ago. Soooo…Breakfast is out, too.

I’ve read one (The Things They Carried). It was assigned reading for college, but I loved it anyway (too many books have been ruined for me by having to read them).