Monday, July 13, 2009

100 BEST

A ver, como llegamos a la conclusión que la pasada lista es una mierda (por incluir a Hubbard), les dejo aqui otra, que hace más justicia de unos cuantos libros, aunque deja de lado una vez más a los Latinos.

Ah no! si pone a Pedro Páramo. Y pone los viajes de Gulliver que recomienda Harry Papaley. Habrá que leerlo.

También pone al final a Zorba (alguien vió la película, es mi favorita de todos los tiempos, se las recomiendo muchísimo, una actuación soberbia de Anthony Queen).

100 best.

1. Absalom, Absalom, William Faulkner
2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
* Also on the Sybervision list. Great boys' story, much better than Tom Sawyer.
3. The Aeneid, Virgil
* Also on the Sybervision list. I had to do bits of this for school Latin. Stirring stuff but one does find the mind-set just a little difficult to grasp.
4. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
* On all three lists. I recently read it for the first time, and found the main plot theme absolutely gripping, though I got a bit weary of Levin, the character who represents Tolstoy himself.
5. Beloved, Toni Morrison
* (September 2006) A bit morbid.
6. Berlin Alexanderplatz, Alfred Doblin
7. Blindness, Jose Saramago
* (April 2007) Amazingly done; you feel simultaneously dislocated and immersed in the catastrophe. Recommended.
8. The Book of Disquiet, Fernando Pessoa
9. The Book of Job, Anon
* Surely the greatest of the stories in the Bible (at least taken as literature), despite the introduction of the unnecessary Elihu by an ancient editor.
10. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor M Dostoyevsky
* (September 2006) I found the grand sweeping philosophical monologues rather skimmable, but it is otherwise pretty engaging.
11. Buddenbrook, Thomas Mann
12. Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
* Also on the Sybervision list. Since Chaucer didn't finish it, the modern reader has difficulty in doing so! But it's all good stuff, except perhaps the Priest's rather dull contribution.
13. The Castle, Franz Kafka
14. Children of Gebelawi, Naguib Mahfouz
15. Collected Fictions, Jorge Luis Borges
* Obviously of interest to me as a science fiction fan. Superb inventiveness.
16. Complete Poems, Giacomo Leopardi
17. The Complete Stories, Franz Kafka
* I have read a huge "Collected Stories" of Kafka, which may even have been complete. A gripping set of accounts of alienation; while most of them are timeless, fans of the Hapsburg Empire will particularly enjoy.
18. The Complete Tales, Edgar Allan Poe
* Again I've dipped into Poe, though I must admit he appealed to me rather less; call me shallow but I actually prefer H.P. Lovecraft.
19. Confessions of Zeno, Italo Svevo
20. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor M Dostoyevsky
* (January 2006) Engrossing. On all three lists.
21. Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
22. The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories, Leo Tolstoy
23. Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio
* As with Canterbury Tales, since the author didn't finish it the reader has difficulty in doing so. More digestible somehow than Chaucer, possibly because the stories are on the whole shorter and vary less in setting.
24. The Devil to Pay in the Backlands, Joao Guimaraes Rosa
25. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, Lu Xun
26. The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri
* Also on the Sybervision list. I've got most of the way through Hell but a lot of the contemporary allusions escape me.
27. A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen
* Also on the Sybervision list.
28. Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
* Surprisingly approachable, for Great Literature, but very long. Don Quixote himself is gloriously delusional, and of course unwittingly plays a satirical role in exposing the workings of society. The distance between his society of 1605 and ours of 2004 somehow seems much less than the distance between 1605 and the medieval world of chivalry which he imagines himself to inhabit. Lots of romantic sub-plots, and the geopolitical tension of Spain vs the Islamic world of North Africa is eerily reminiscent of Cold War fiction. However, I'm not utterly convinced that this really is the best novel of all time. Perhaps if I ever get around to the second half it will make more of an impact on me. Also on the Sybervision list and the McCrum list. Voted top book of all time on this list. [first half read August 2004]
29. Essays, Michel de Montaigne
30. Fairy Tales and Stories, Hans Christian Andersen
* I wonder how many of the 100 authors from 54 countries actuall read all 168 stories?
31. Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
* Also on the Sybervision list.
32. Gargantua and Pantagruel, Francois Rabelais
33. Gilgamesh, Anon
* (May 2007) Incomplete, but raw and powerful.
34. The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing
35. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
* On all three lists. Great stuff - I remember finding a children's adaptation in the school library, devouring it, and then hunting down the "adult" (ie original) version.
36. Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
* Also on the Sybervision list. Swift's glorious satire on politics, religion and humanity.
37. Gypsy Ballads, Federico Garcia Lorca
38. Hamlet, William Shakespeare
* Also on the Sybervision list, excluded of course from the BBC list because it's a play. Probably Shakespeare's masterpiece.
39. History, Elsa Morante
40. Hunger, Knut Hamsun
41. The Idiot, Fyodor M Dostoyevsky
42. The Iliad, Homer
* Also on the Sybervision list.
43. Independent People, Halldor K Laxness
44. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
45. Jacques the Fatalist and His Master, Denis Diderot
46. Journey to the End of the Night, Louis-Ferdinand Celine
47. King Lear, William Shakespeare
* Excluded of course from the BBC list because it's a play. Grim tale of betrayal, madness and death.
48. Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
49. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Laurence Sterne
* I think this book is brilliant, though not everyone sees the humour.
50. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
* Likewise; despite the rather troubling subject matter, Nabokov's villain seems human as well as monstrous.
51. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
* Also on the BBC list.
52. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
* Also on the Sybervision list. A great tale of people, provincialism and passion.
53. The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann
54. Mahabharata, Anon
55. The Man Without Qualities, Robert Musil
56. Mathnawi, Jalal ad-din Rumi
57. Medea, Euripides
58. Memoirs of Hadrian, Marguerite Yourcenar
59. Metamorphoses, Ovid
* Again, I did this for Latin at school, and although I was already familiar with a lot of the subject matter I was pretty impressed with the way Ovid puts it together - which survives even in translation.
60. Middlemarch, George Eliot
* On all three lists, and I think would get my vote as the best read of the lot.
61. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
* Also on the BBC list. Who says fantasy novels can't break into the mainstream? A superb story of the history of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as magically paralleled in the lives of the children born at midnight on the day of independence.
62. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
* Also on the Sybervision list. A fantastic novel, combining whale lore (some doubtless made up) with a convincing portrayal of the multi-cultural but obsessive life of the whalers, and of course in Captain Ahab one of literature's great creations.
63. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
* (September 2006) Very short, but very good.
64. 1984, George Orwell
* Also on the BBC list. A classic political dystopia, and one that perhaps has retained its relevance better than Animal Farm. (Re-read August 2006)
65. Njaals Saga, Anon
66. Nostromo, Joseph Conrad
67. The Odyssey, Homer
* Also on the Sybervision list.
68. Oedipus the King, Sophocles
* Also on the Sybervision list.
69. Old Goriot, Honore de Balzac
70. The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
* Also on the Sybervision list.
71. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
* Also on the BBC list. Superb work of magical realism.
72. The Orchard, Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sadi
73. Othello, William Shakespeare
* Also on the Sybervision list.
74. Pedro Paramo, Juan Rulfo
75. Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren
76. Poems, Paul Celan
77. The Possessed, Fyodor M Dostoyevsky
78. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
* On all three lists. This would have been in the category of "19th century girly books I never felt like reading" except that I was persuaded to give it a try by Anne, my wife. Of course, she was absolutely right and I really enjoyed it; and now will have to go back to all the other 19th century girly books I never felt like reading to give them a fair shot.
79. Ramayana, Valmiki
80. The Recognition of Sakuntala, Kalidasa
81. The Red and the Black, Stendhal
* Also on the Sybervision list.
82. Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust
* Working through it: Vol 1 (April 2007), Vol 2 (May 2007), Vol 3 (September 2007).
83. Season of Migration to the North, Tayeb Salih
84. Selected Stories, Anton P Chekhov
85. Sentimental Education, Gustave Flaubert
86. Sons and Lovers, DH Lawrence
87. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
88. The Sound of the Mountain, Yasunari Kawabata
89. The Stranger, Albert Camus
* Oddly enough one I have read in the original French at the urging of a then girlfriend. Masterly portrayal of a really unsympathetic narrator.
90. The Tale of Genji, Shikibu Murasaki
91. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
* (May 2006) Gripping and tragic.
92. Thousand and One Nights, Anon
* As with Hans Christian Andersen, of course I've read a few - more than a few - of these but couldn't with any honesty claim to have read the lot. Some of them - eg The Young Woman and Her Five Lovers, The Historic Fart of Abu Hasan - are unlikely to make into the children's editions!
93. The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass
* (January 2007) Fascinating.
94. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
95. The Trial, Franz Kafka
* (June 2005) Tricky to get into, but once I found the right gear I really liked it..
96. Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, Samuel Beckett
97. Ulysses, James Joyce
* Also on the BBC list. I'm a defender of Ulysses, I have read it twice and found it pretty absorbing. A few months ago I was contacted by Matthew Creasy at Oxford to pick my brains on the significance of Sir Robert Ball in the novel.
98. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
* On all three lists (of course). My former boss claimed that having read it he didn't need to read any more novels. It's certainly a huge endeavour; it took me a stay in a Finnish monastery to read it.
99. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
* On all three lists - one of two on all three lists that I hadn't read when I first compiled these pages. At first I wondered what all the fuss was about, but in fact the graphic, often violent images do linger in the mind, and Heathcliff is grimly believable.
100. Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis

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