Philistines at the stacks

Knee deep in literature Posted by Picasa

J-Pod sets off the Korner Kidz by linking to the Time magazine list of the 100 Best Novels (in english) since 1923:

One of Time magazine’s 100 Best Books in the English language published since 1923 is, I kid you not, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume. It’s bad enough that latter-day nonsense like David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections is on the list alongside Fitzgerald, Dreiser, Amis, Waugh, Bellow and Roth, among others. But Judy Freakin’ Blume? Richard Lacayo and Lev Grossman, who compiled the list, have joined the ranks of the silliest people on the planet with this pick. (Oh, and there’s a comic book on there too, called Watchmen, which I am sure Jonah will inform me is a staggering work of genius.)

The list can be found here.

In reviewing it, I figure that I have read 46 of the selections (I can’t remember if I ever finished The Spy Who Came In From The Cold).

Ones that I haven’t read, but know that I should:

Revolutionary Road, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, The Berlin Stories, and Play It As It Lays.

Ones I will probably never read:

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, The Sot-Weed Factor, and Gone With The Wind.

Now, some quibbles:

I would not have selected Morrison’s Beloved, but would have chosen Song of Solomon instead.

Great picks: Confessions of Nat Turner, All the Kings Men, Day of the Locust, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, The Great Gatsby, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Dog Soldiers.

Books I would have considered (keeping in mind that these are off the top of my head):

Russell Banks Continental Drift
Wallace Stegner Angle of Repose
Flannery O’Connor Wise Blood
John Irving The World According to Garp (which would take The Corrections spot)
Richard Adams Watership Down (in the LOTR spot…oh shut up.)
JM Coetzee Waiting for The Barbarians
Raymond Carver Cathedral: Stories
Ethan Canin The Palace Thief: Stories
Mark Harris Bang The Drum Slowly
Tim O’Brien Going After Cacciato
Barry Unsworth Pascali’s Island
Cynthia Ozick The Shawl
Brian Moore The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
William Boyd Brazzaville Beach
Jonathan Lethem Fortress of Solitude
I would also include an Anne Tyler novel, but I can’t decide which one. Possibly Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant.
And if they are going to include science fiction, how could one not take Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale or Samuel R. Delany’s Dahlgren or Ursula K LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness?

Books that I am thankful are not on the list:

A Confederacy of Dunces
Cold Mountain
The Killer Angels

Anything by Robertson Davies, TC Boyle or Rick Moody

You may now argue amongst yourselves in the comments because that’s what these lists are for…

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