The list seemed very Brittish. I missed a lot of American books I think are worthy of such a list.
And there were quite a few clasics that I’ve tried to read, but found an utter waste of time and dropped: e.g. Huxley’s Brave new World.
The survey was carried out by Waterstone’s and Channel 4 in the UK, so a British bias is to be expected.
I’ve read 24, but some of the books on that list makes me wonder. Books like It, The Stand and Jurassic Park might be enjoyable, well-written and popular, but 20th century classics? Nahh. And as for The Rainbow – well, that is one of the worst, most overblown books I’ve ever had the misfortune to read.
Yep, guess it it is very British. The New York Times pubilshed a similar list at the same time, and the two lists had about 30 books in common, if I remember correctly. So there is a lot of difference in opinion.
“Brave New World” is one of my favourite ‘Dystopia’ books. ( Along with Fahrenheit 451, Clockwork Orange, 1984 etc…) You should try to perservere.
Crusoe, I think it was readers votes list, so Stephen King got more books voted for than any other writer. Enid Blyton was second, Agatha Christie third. Its not a literary critics list by any means. I think they took a book from each ‘catagory’ to add in somewhere, hence Delia’s cook-book being included.
Only 22. (And I majored in English lit. But my focus was 19th century Romantic poets, so there.)
Yeah, it’s very UK-centric. You’ve got to be kidding me, though, ranking Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting at 10, HHGTG at 24, On The Road at 14, but Nabakov’s Lolita gets a lowly 31? 31??? And Master and the Maragrita at 63! Hey I love Douglas Adams and all, but sorry, he’s no Bulgakov,
Give me a freakin’ break. I mean, zheesh, even friggin “High Fidelity” makes the top 100, yet not one Hemingway or Faulkner novel?
Ah…missed your post, Aro. But if it’s a readers list, how does Ulysses get on at number 4? I know it’s the “greatest novel of the 20th century,” sure, but even the avid readers I know tend to shy away from it.
Would people have been happier if I had posted this list? (by the board)
It has more of an American slant to it.
On this list (By the Board, not the readers) I have read only 17 books. In fact, there are books on it I have never even heard of.
I never realised there would be such a gulf between the US and Europe in Western Literature opinions. Mmmmm…
Ugh, post got eaten. I’ve read 17 on the list, some on the list suprised me like The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Master and Margarita that I did not expect to be there. Reading some of the childrens books,mostly from Dahl helped too.
Yes, I’d recommend Atlas Shrugged, but the material has to be put in context. At a time when it seemed downright plausible that communism was going to take over the world (or at least make one hell of an attempt), Rand argues for embracing capitalism. In the post-Gorbachev world, her work might seem outdated and even a bit silly, but it couldn’t sneak onto a list containing High Fidelity and The Horse Whisperer? The list is bull-plop. Bull-plop!
27 on the UK list, 28 on the Modern Library Board’s list, and 32 on the Modern Library readers’ list, plus each list had about 10 books each (or overlapping titles) that are sitting on my bookshelves waiting to be read. My count on each list will go up by one shortly, as I started Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh last night.
I’ve read 21 from each of the Modern Library lists and no, neither of them struck me as noticeably better than the Waterstones one. If we’re comparing lists, there’s also The Radcliffe List, Anthony Burgess’s list and, if you’re really in the mood for self-improvement, Philip Ward’s list. ( This last is not just of 20th century books).