Guardian Top 100 books

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ariettyspaghetti
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Guardian Top 100 books

Post by ariettyspaghetti » Sun Sep 30, 2007 20:56

I found this from 2002, it's a top 100 books compiled by writers:

Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart
Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales and Stories
Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice
Honore de Balzac Old Goriot
Samuel Beckett Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
Giovanni Boccaccio Decameron
Jorge Luis Borges Collected Fictions
Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights
Albert Camus The Stranger
Paul Celan Poems
Louis-Ferdinand Celine Journey to the End of the Night
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote
Geoffrey Chaucer Canterbury Tales
Joseph Conrad Nostromo
Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy
Charles Dickens Great Expectations
Denis Diderot Jacques the Fatalist and His Master
Alfred Doblin Berlin Alexanderplatz
Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Possessed; The Brothers Karamazov
George Eliot Middlemarch
Ralph Ellison Invisible Man
Euripides Medea
William Faulkner Absalom, Absalom; The Sound and the Fury
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary; A Sentimental Education
Federico Garcia Lorca Gypsy Ballads
Gabriel Garcia Marquez One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera
Anon The Epic of Gilgamesh
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust
Nikolai Gogol Dead Souls
Günter Grass The Tin Drum
Joao Guimaraes Rosa The Devil to Pay in the Backlands
Knut Hamsun Hunger
Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea
Homer The Iliad; The Odyssey
Henrik Ibsen A Doll's House
Anon The Book of Job
James Joyce Ulysses
Franz Kafka The Complete Stories; The Trial; The Castle
Kalidasa The Recognition of Sakuntala
Yasunari Kawabata The Sound of the Mountain
Nikos Kazantzakis Zorba the Greek
DH Lawrence Sons and Lovers
Halldor K Laxness Independent People
Giacomo Leopardi Complete Poems
Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook
Astrid Lindgren Pippi Longstocking
Lu Xun Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
Anon Mahabharata
Naguib Mahfouz Children of Gebelawi
Thomas Mann Buddenbrooks; The Magic Mountain
Herman Melville Moby Dick
Michel de Montaigne Essays
Elsa Morante History
Toni Morrison Beloved
Murasaki Shikibu The Tale of Genji
Robert Musil The Man Without Qualities
Vladimir Nabokov Lolita; Njal's Saga
George Orwell 1984
Ovid Metamorphoses
Fernando Pessoa The Book of Disquiet
Edgar Allan Poe The Complete Tales
Marcel Proust Remembrance of Things Past
Francois Rabelais Gargantua and Pantagruel
Juan Rulfo Pedro Paramo
Jalalu'l-Din Rumi The Mathnawi
Salman Rushdie Midnight's Children
Sheikh Saadi of Shiraz The Bostan of Saadi (The Orchard)
Tayeb Salih A Season of Migration to the North
Jose Saramago Blindness
William Shakespeare Hamlet; King Lear; Othello
Sophocles Oedipus the King
Stendhal The Red and the Black
Laurence Sterne The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
Italo Svevo Confessions of Zeno
Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels
Leo Tolstoy War and Peace; Anna Karenina; The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories
Anton Chekhov Selected Stories; Thousand and One Nights
Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Valmiki Ramayana
Virgil The Aeneid
Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass
Virginia Woolf Mrs Dalloway; To the Lighthouse
Marguerite Yourcenar Memoirs of Hadrian

Only read a handful of these, most of them seem to be fairly heavy going to be honest. Glad to see Anna Karenina there, I love that book.
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Post by InMyPlace » Fri Oct 05, 2007 19:11

Ive read maybe ten percent of those. Hah!
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Post by let it ride » Sat Oct 06, 2007 00:06

hah! i have read ONE of those, and only because it was for uni last year.


although tons of those are on my 'to read'-list, so at least i am vaguely attempting it.

still though. brrr.
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Post by Elvistears » Sat Oct 27, 2007 16:58

Not sure that the Shakespeare should be included. Obviously they felt as if they had to stick some in, but surely they belong in a list of plays, not books.

I've read (or attempted) four of these - both the Garcia Marquez ones, which are stunning (particularly Love in the time of Cholera) and both the Thomas Mann ones which, to be frank, are fucking dull.

This list smacks of "shoulds" rather than what people actually like.

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Post by Martijn » Sat Oct 27, 2007 21:16

I've read three: Kafka's 'The Trial', Orwell's '1984' and Hemingway's 'The Old Man And The Sea'. Well, that's not really a contribution to the discussion, but I never know what to think of lists like these. I only read Hemingway because we had to read so many English books in school and I was running out of time and this one is very thin. I didn't really like it, but hey, I was 16 or 17. I was impressed by '1984' around that time, but after all, it might be better as a political statement/prediction/metaphor than as an actual story. Kafka was impressive too, but not really my kind of thing.

Last year, The Observer had a list of English-Irish-or-Commenwelthish books of the past 25 years, also compiled by authors. I like that more, in general recent novels appeal more to me. lt made me read the number one Coetzee and I didn't regret that. Apart from that I read both Ishiguro books in the top 10 and I have most of the others on my to-read-list.

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Post by lynsosaurus » Sat Oct 27, 2007 22:41

I think I've read sixteen from that list, which surprises me. I also tend to be more interested in recent novels, and of the ones on the list above which I haven't read, there are maybe six that I have any intention of reading, ever.

I think a lot of these books are still considered classics just because people continue to read them just because they feel they should, or because they remain on reading lists just because it's easier than trying to redefine the list. I'm sure that's not true of all of them, of course. I think Hemingway is the most boring fucker ever to put pen to paper, though, and almost the entire world rates him, so maybe the joke's on me.

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Post by Elvistears » Sun Nov 04, 2007 17:16

ooh, I didn't notice 1984 there, that makes FIVE - and half of Wuthering Heights.

If Wuthering Heights is there, Jane Eyre should be there.

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Post by Contravene » Sun Nov 04, 2007 17:46

Seven, When I first graduated and I was temping, I took to buying them cheap Penguin classics books and just ploughed through them to avoid talking to people at lunch

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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by Joanne » Sun Nov 18, 2007 09:47

I've read 10 1/2 (only read bits of the Canterbury Tales) but maybe another 10 of them are things I want to read, like Pedro Paramo and Things Fall Apart. Maybe this'll make me more likely to do so. On the other hand, it does just read like a shorten version of a 'Classics' publisher's releases.

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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by Carys » Mon Jun 16, 2008 19:40

I'm surprised that I've actually read 18 from the list. Of the ones I haven't, none particularly appeal. In fact, of the ones I have, there were a majority that I didn't enjoy (with 1984 and The Trial as the most notable exceptions).

I reckon the Anorak voted list would be better.

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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by wrapyrtroubles » Mon Jun 16, 2008 21:07

Here's What I Think:
Lists are fun! They provide a framework for, and promote discussion around, a given topic.
Lists suck! They make you feel inadequate and they miss out loads of good shit.

Lists reinforce established ideas of what's good
Lists are an opportunity to reinvent ideas of what's good

I don't like the sense of being told what to read or what's worth reading
I do like... thinking about what to read next!

More of My Fascinating Opinions:
I hate Ovid
I couldn't be bothered to finish Don Quixote or Ulysses
I'm reading Confessions of Zeno and it's not gripping but neither is it 600 pages long so I will keep going.
War and Peace is not difficult to read, only long, and it's very enjoyable
Life is too short to read Remembrance of Things Past in its entirety.
Where is Carson McCullers? Where are all the other books I love? Stupid bloody list.

Something Else I Don't Like About This List:
Not enough short stories. They include some collections of short stories or essays but overall it gives the impression that novels are much more important.

Also: I can pretty much guarantee you that no one person at the Guardian has read all of those.

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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by let it ride » Mon Jun 16, 2008 21:21

Oh I just looked again and I have at least read four... there are some that I can't remember if I've read or not, haha! Hmm, maybe they weren't so great in that case..?
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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by linus » Mon Jun 16, 2008 21:27

no timothy lea? no sven hassel? no roger hargreaves? no james herbert?

what a load of old fanny

come on, guardian, what do you read under the covers? nevermind what you show off on your shelves

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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by Carys » Mon Jun 16, 2008 21:34

I often feel that these lists are books that people think ought to be read, rather than being anyone's favourite books.

The thing is, no book ought to be read. If you want to read it, read it. If you hate Don Quixote after the first 100 pages (I challenge anyone not to), then you shouldn't feel obliged to like it or to carry on.

Stupid list stupid. :D

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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by jayen_aitch » Mon Jun 16, 2008 21:34

linus wrote:come on, guardian, what do you read under the covers?
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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by gloom button » Mon Jun 16, 2008 21:43

Virginia Plain wrote:
The thing is, no book ought to be read. If you want to read it, read it. If you hate Don Quixote after the first 100 pages (I challenge anyone not to), then you shouldn't feel obliged to like it or to carry on.
No way! If I'd given up on Catch 22 or other things the first or second time through I'd have been much the poorer for it. A bit of struggle makes you a better Christian, as my, um, geography teacher used to say.

Why am I remembering my geography teacher's bad jokes? Hmph.
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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by jayen_aitch » Mon Jun 16, 2008 21:51

There is only one book I can think of that I gave up on... and it is on that list... but so are plenty of other books I loveAnd d.

I plan to return to the book I gave up on one day.

But people are right when they mention all the ace books which are missing.

I don't think I could even try to come up with a 100 greatest books - but if I did it would not be so... canon.

Maybe we're all destined to become our geography teachers.

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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by schlump » Mon Jun 16, 2008 23:08

i've given up on more books than anyone else has ever read. this is maybe almost true, as a measure of how often i read fifty pages and then get distracted. but while i think that you shouldn't blindly persevere with something you aren't enjoying, i think it's a separate thing from coming back to something that you just didn't finish - because it was too hard, because you read something else, because you want to read something quick, or aren't in the right place. i've given up on catch 22 and am still at the stage of not having read it, but i'm sure i will some day. i guess i don't think of giving up on a book as a grand gesture, because there's often the intention to come back. but reading something that i'm not enjoying: nuh-uh.

it's kind of annoying when you go back to something after a period of time; too long to remember well enough the characters and happenings so that you might easily continue, but having read it recently enough that going over things you're pretty familiar with is arduous.

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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by Carys » Mon Jun 16, 2008 23:12

No way! If I'd given up on Catch 22 or other things the first or second time through I'd have been much the poorer for it. A bit of struggle makes you a better Christian, as my, um, geography teacher used to say.

Why am I remembering my geography teacher's bad jokes? Hmph.
I don't know. I've started books and not finished them, then have been pleased to go back to them - I did this with Patrick Hamilton's Hangover Square recently and thought it was brilliant - but I maintain that obligation is a bad reason to read anything. It makes me sad when people say "I should have read that" - it's impossible to have read everything, and people feeling bad for what they haven't read seems really negative to me.

I've never finished "The Master and the Margarita", mind you. Maybe I ought to.

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Re: Guardian Top 100 books

Post by let it ride » Mon Jun 16, 2008 23:31

Heh, that one is on my sister's favourite books list.

Instead of going by the '100 books to read before you die' type lists, I asked Jayen Aitch and my family to make top 5 lists of their favourite books, (although Jonny mentioned ten he loves) just because I find it fun to see what people I like enjoyed reading.

I try to go by 'what i want to read' territory, but it can be hard. I have found myself over recent years going through a lot of unintelligent reads, only to find myself reading something great and think that I should read more books that I actually love and believe rather than stuff I can predict from page 1.

I try to go for a lot of random reads too! I loved that I got paid for being a Campus Guide at my university with book vouchers, it was brilliant! I bought lots of nice books.
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