Specially for Bibliophiles

Posted by M ws On Monday, October 1, 2012 1 comments
This post is about is the Top 100 Best Novels as selected by various websites. I have added a reaction/ comment about my personal experience with those I have read. It is interesting how each site assesses the books differently and there are many books which are in all three lists.

 I have used the following key:
**read and like
*** read and love
^ have not read
?gave up for one reason or another

 According to the book  The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books by J Peder Zane:


***Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
***The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
^In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
?Ulysses by James Joyce
^Dubliners* by James Joyce
***One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
^The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
***To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
^The complete stories of Flannery O’Connor
^Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov


***Anna Karenina* by Leo Tolstoy
***Madame Bovary* by Gustave Flaubert
***War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
***The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
***The stories of Anton Chekhov
***Middlemarch* by George Eliot
*Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
***Great Expectations* by Charles Dickens
***Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
***Emma by Jane Austen


William Shakespeare — 11
*never read any of his booksWilliam Faulkner — 6
Henry James — 6
Jane Austen — 5
Charles Dickens — 5
Fyodor Dostoevsky — 5
Ernest Hemingway — 5
Franz Kafka — 5
(tie) James Joyce, Thomas Mann, Vladimir Nabokov, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf — 4


Leo Tolstoy — 327
William Shakespeare — 293
James Joyce — 194
Vladimir Nabokov — 190
Fyodor Dostoevsky — 177
William Faulkner — 173
Charles Dickens — 168
Anton Chekhov — 165
Gustave Flaubert — 163
Jane Austen — 161

Here's a list by The Best 100 lists.

**read and like
*** read and love
^ have not read
?gave up for one reason or another

***To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
***1984 by George Orwell
***Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
***The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
***The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
***The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
***Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
***Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
***Animal Farm by George Orwell
***Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
***Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
^The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
***Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
***War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
***Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
***The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
***Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
***The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
***Lord of the Flies by William Golding
?Ulysses by James Joyce
***Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
***A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
***Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
***Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
***Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
***East of Eden by John Steinbeck
***One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
^Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling - I am NOT a Harry Potter fan.
***The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
***The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
***Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
**Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
***Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
**The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
***A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
***The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
***The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
***The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
***The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
***Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
***Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
^The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
***One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
*Moby Dick by Herman Melville
^Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
***The Stranger by Albert Camus
**Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
***A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
^The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
***Watership Down by Richard Adams
^His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
*The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
^On the Road by Jack Kerouac
***Dracula by Bram Stoker
^The Stand by Stephen King
*The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
***The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
^The Road by Cormac McCarthy
*Dune by Frank Herbert
***Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
***Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
***Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
***Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
***Life of Pi by Yann Martel
***Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
***Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
*David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
?A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
***A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
***Middlemarch by George Eliot
***For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
***Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
***Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
***The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
?Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
?Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
?The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
***Persuasion by Jane Austen
***Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
*The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
***To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
***The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
**A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
?As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
?The Trial by Franz Kafka
***The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
^The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
^Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
*The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
***Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
***The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
***Emma by Jane Austen
***A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
***Siddharta by Hermann Hesse
*The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
***Atonement by Ian McEwan
***Beloved by Toni Morrison
**The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
^Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
***The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne


• This list of the 100 best books of all time was prepared by Norwegian Book Clubs. It is also listed in Wikipedia and The Guardian.

My reaction:
**read and like
*** read and love
^ have not read
?gave up for one reason or another

***1984 by George Orwell, England, (1903-1950)

***A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, Norway (1828-1906)

^A Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880)

^Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner, United States, (1897-1962)

***The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, United States, (1835-1910)

^The Aeneid by Virgil, Italy, (70-19 BC)

***Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910)

http://www.thebest100lists.com/best100novels/Beloved by Toni Morrison, United States, (b. 1931)

^Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin, Germany, (1878-1957)

^Blindness by Jose Saramago, Portugal, (1922-2010)

^The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa, Portugal, (1888-1935)

*The Book of Job, Israel. (600-400 BC)

^The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)

^Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann, Germany, (1875-1955)

?Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, England, (1340-1400)

^The Castle by Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924)

^Children of Gebelawi by Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt, (b. 1911)

^Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina, (1899-1986)

^Complete Poems by Giacomo Leopardi, Italy, (1798-1837)

^The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924)

?The Complete Tales by Edgar Allan Poe, United States, (1809-1849)

^Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo, Italy, (1861-1928)

***Crime and Punishment by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)

^Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, Russia, (1809-1852)

^The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910)

^Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, Italy, (1313-1375)

^The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Joao Guimaraes Rosa, Brazil, (1880-1967)

?Diary of a Madman and Other Stories by Lu Xun, China, (1881-1936)

**The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Italy, (1265-1321)

***Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain, (1547-1616)

^Essays by Michel de Montaigne, France, (1533-1592)

***Fairy Tales and Stories by Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark, (1805-1875)

^Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany, (1749-1832)

^Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais, France, (1495-1553)

*Gilgamesh Mesopotamia, (c 1800 BC)

?The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, England, (b.1919)

***Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, England, (1812-1870)

***Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, Ireland, (1667-1745)

^Gypsy Ballads by Federico Garcia Lorca, Spain, (1898-1936)

*Hamlet by William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616)

^History by Elsa Morante, Italy, (1918-1985)

^Hunger by Knut Hamsun, Norway, (1859-1952)

^The Idiot by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)

***The Iliad by Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC)

^Independent People by Halldor K Laxness, Iceland, (1902-1998)

***Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, United States, (1914-1994)

^Jacques the Fatalist and His Master by Denis Diderot, France, (1713-1784)

^Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Celine, France, (1894-1961)

**King Lear by William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616)

^Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, United States, (1819-1892)

^The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne, Ireland, (1713-1768)

***Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Russia/United States, (1899-1977)

***Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia, (b. 1928)

***Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880)

^The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, Germany, (1875-1955)

?Mahabharata, India, (c 500 BC)

^The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil, Austria, (1880-1942)

^The Mathnawi by Jalal ad-din Rumi, Afghanistan, (1207-1273)

^Medea by Euripides, Greece, (c 480-406 BC)

^Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar, France, (1903-1987)

*Metamorphoses by Ovid, Italy, (c 43 BC)

**Middlemarch by George Eliot, England, (1819-1880)

?Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, India/Britain, (b. 1947)

**Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, United States, (1819-1891)

***Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, England, (1882-1941)

^Njaals Saga, Iceland, (c 1300)

^Nostromo by Joseph Conrad, England,(1857-1924)

***The Odyssey by Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC)

***Oedipus the King Sophocles, Greece, (496-406 BC)

^Old Goriot by Honore de Balzac, France, (1799-1850)

***The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, United States, (1899-1961)

***One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia, (b. 1928)

^The Orchard by Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sadi, Iran, (c 1200-1292)

**Othello by William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616)

^Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo Juan Rulfo, Mexico, (1918-1986)

^Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, Sweden, (1907-2002)

^Poems by Paul Celan, Romania/France, (1920-1970)

^The Possessed by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)

***Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, England, (1775-1817)

^The Ramayana by Valmiki, India, (c 300 BC)

*The Recognition of Sakuntala by Kalidasa, India, (c. 400)

^The Red and the Black by Stendhal, France, (1783-1842)

***Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust, France, (1871-1922)

^Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih, Sudan, (b. 1929)

***Selected Stories by Anton P Chekhov, Russia, (1860-1904)

***Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence, England, (1885-1930)

^The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, United States, (1897-1962)

^The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata, Japan, (1899-1972)

***The Stranger by Albert Camus, France, (1913-1960)

^The Tale of Genji by Shikibu Murasaki, Japan, (c 1000)

***Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Nigeria, (b. 1930)

***Thousand and One Nights, India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt, (700-1500)

^The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass, Germany, (b.1927)

***To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, England, (1882-1941)

^The Trial by Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924)

^Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett, Ireland, (1906-1989)

?Ulysses by James Joyce, Ireland, (1882-1941)

***War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910)

***Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, England, (1818-1848)

^Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece, (1883-1957)


The following is the best 100 books prepared by Modern Library.
1. "Ulysses," James Joyce
*Gave up halfway but will try again. I could not understand or accept the fact that Joyce wrote such a thick book based on one day in the life of the protagonists. Paul Lewis described it as a long account of a single day in the lives of a group of Dubliners becomes a metaphor for the human condition and the author experiments with language almost to the point of unintelligibility -

2. "The Great Gatsby," F. Scott Fitzgerald
*One of my favourite books. I have read it three times and watched the movie starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow more than 20 times!!! *coughs* Off-track comment : I am a die-hard fan of Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp, Jake Gyllenhaal

3. "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," James Joyce
*I first read this book in 1977 and laboured over it in an attempt to understand Joyce's stream of consciousness technique. It was only twenty years later that I really appreciated the book when I read it for the fourth time.

4. "Lolita," Vladimir Nabokov
*Regular blog readers would know I have blogged at least four times about this book. Definitely another must read!!!

5. "Brave  New World," Aldous Huxley
*Unbelievably far ahead of his time when he wrote this book in 1931!!! A futuristic novel that is not my cup of tea.

6. "The Sound and the Fury," William Faulkner

7. "Catch-22," Joseph Heller
*Another must read that everyone should have in their collection.

8. "Darkness at Noon," Arthur Koestler

9. "Sons and Lovers," D. H. Lawrence
*I red this book after I studied "The Rainbow" for  my sixth form literature class and must say Lawrence is a gifted writer.  This is surely Lawrence's best work and a masterpiece to be treasured. My seniors in sixth form were lucky as their text was this novel!

10. "The Grapes of Wrath," John Steinbeck
*Definitely another must read!!!! I read it in 1972 when my father bought a set of hard cover classics that had in the collection "Lord Jim", "Rebecca", "Of Human Bondage", "Gone with the Wind" etc. It was an expensive set and almost four decades down the road, the books are still in mint condition with the exception of its slightly yellowed pages.

11. "Under the Volcano," Malcolm Lowry

12. "The Way of All Flesh," Samuel Butler

13. "1984," George Orwell
*A book that everyone must read!

14. "I, Claudius," Robert Graves

15. "To the Lighthouse," Virginia Woolf
Ahhhhhhhhh - my favourite of all her books!!!!

16. "An American Tragedy," Theodore Dreiser

17. "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter," Carson McCullers

18. "Slaughterhouse Five," Kurt Vonnegut
*It took me three years to finally get my hands on this book. Tough read but well worth the effort!

19. "Invisible Man," Ralph Ellison
*Read this when I was in school and I believe it is the first book that made me question who I am and aspects of communism even at a young age.

20. "Native Son," Richard Wright

21. "Henderson the Rain King," Saul Bellow

22. "Appointment in Samarra," John O' Hara

23. "U.S.A." (trilogy), John Dos Passos

24. "Winesburg, Ohio," Sherwood Anderson

25. "A Passage to India," E. M. Forster
*Slow and draggy but the contrasts used so skilfully by Forster makes it worthwhile ploughing through the thick book.

26. "The Wings of the Dove," Henry James

27. "The Ambassadors," Henry James

28. "Tender Is the Night," F. Scott Fitzgerald
*Anything by Fitzgerald is a firm favourite but this one is too melancholic :-( because it was his last book written during the saddest moments of his life.The title does not show the harsh painful bleakness of the story or his experiences but once you read it...sighs...

29. "The Studs Lonigan Trilogy," James T. Farrell

30. "The Good Soldier," Ford Madox Ford

31. "Animal Farm," George Orwell
Need I say more? Everyone MUST read this one!

32. "The Golden Bowl," Henry James

33. "Sister Carrie," Theodore Dreiser

34. "A Handful of Dust," Evelyn Waugh

35. "As I Lay Dying," William Faulkner

36. "All the King's Men," Robert Penn Warren

37. "The Bridge of San Luis Rey," Thornton Wilder

38. "Howards End," E. M. Forster
Yesssss! A Must Read!!!

39. "Go Tell It on the Mountain," James Baldwin

40. "The Heart of the Matter," Graham Greene
*I have this book and a couple of others by Greene but all - not read yet.

41. "Lord of the Flies," William Golding
*Another masterpiece to be savored and appreciated!

42. "Deliverance," James Dickey

43. "A Dance to the Music of Time" (series), Anthony Powell

44. "Point Counter Point," Aldous Huxley

45. "The Sun Also Rises," Ernest Hemingway

46. "The Secret Agent," Joseph Conrad

47. "Nostromo," Joseph Conrad

48. "The Rainbow," D. H. Lawrence
*I studied this book for my sixth form literature class. Tough read but fortunately, I had a fantastic teacher who brought to life the themes, characters and significance of his writings and how each were linked to what he had in mind.

49. "Women in Love," D. H. Lawrence
*The sequel to "The Rainbow" which provides a glimpse of English society in the pre-WWI days.

50. "Tropic of Cancer," Henry Miller

51. "The Naked and the Dead," Norman Mailer

52. "Portnoy's Complaint," Philip Roth

53. "Pale Fire," Vladimir Nabokov

54. "Light in August," William Faulkner

55. "On the Road," Jack Kerouac

56. "The Maltese Falcon," Dashiell Hammett

57. "Parade's End," Ford Madox Ford

58. "The Age of Innocence," Edith Wharton
*The only Edith Wharton book I could finish apart from "Ethan Frome"....She uses her typical recipe of social tragedy in terms of plot.

59. "Zuleika Dobson," Max Beerbohm

60. "The Moviegoer," Walker Percy

61. "Death Comes to the Archbishop," Willa Cather

62. "From Here to Eternity," James Jones

63. "The Wapshot Chronicles," John Cheever

64. "The Catcher in the Rye," J. D. Salinger
*LOVE IT. Cannot believe it was banned!!!

65. "A Clockwork Orange," Anthony Burgess
*Love this and the movie!!

66. "Of Human Bondage," W. Somerset Maugham
*Have read this about four times and I love love love this book and many of his other writings!

67. "Heart of Darkness," Joseph Conrad
*One that everyone must read before they reach adulthood. It is three stories about the three stages of life. Short, meaningful and impactful.

68. "Main Street," Sinclair Lewis

69. "The House of Mirth," Edith Wharton
*I don't like Edith Wharton's books with the exception of "The Age of Innocence". I forced myself to finish her Ethan Frome. *gulps* Too depressing!

70. "The Alexandria Quartet," Lawrence Durrell

71. "A High Wind in Jamaica," Richard Hughes

72. "A House for Ms. Biswas," V. S. Naipaul

73. "The Day of the Locust," Nathaniel West

74. "A Farewell to Arms," Ernest Hemingway
*Yet another favourite of mine from the 1970's. Planning to read it again soon.

75. "Scoop," Evelyn Waugh

76. "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," Muriel Spark

77. "Finnegans Wake," James Joyce
Nil but I have the book

78. "Kim," Rudyard Kipling
Love it!!

79. "A Room With a View," E. M. Forster
*A book which has to be read very slowly to fully appreciate its magnificence.

80. "Brideshead Revisited," Evelyn Waugh
*Read it but did not like it.

81. "The Adventures of Augie March," Saul Bellow

82. "Angle of Repose," Wallace Stegner

83. "A Bend in the River," V. S. Naipaul

84. "The Death of the Heart," Elizabeth Bowen

85. "Lord Jim," Joseph Conrad
*I read this when I was 12 in a bid to drown myself in words to assuage the pain and grief I suffered when my mom passed away. I should read it again.

86. "Ragtime," E. L. Doctorow

87. "The Old Wives' Tale," Arnold Bennett

88. "The Call of the Wild," Jack London
*Another favourite from my younger days.

89. "Loving," Henry Green

90. "Midnight's Children," Salman Rushdie
*There are only two books I could not really understand - "Ulysses" and this book but I daresay this one is more readable and easier to understand than "Ulysses" I made myself read it a few times but never went beyond page 60. By the time I reached page 30, I had forgotten what had happened in the earlier parts. :-(

91. "Tobacco Road," Erskine Caldwell

92. "Ironweed," William Kennedy

93. "The Magus," John Fowles

94. "Wide Sargasso Sea," Jean Rhys

95. "Under the Net," Iris Murdoch

96. "Sophie's Choice," William Styron
LOVE THIS ONE!!! Read it in mid 1980s.

97. "The Sheltering Sky," Paul Bowles

98. "The Postman Always Rings Twice," James M. Cain
I prefer the movie to the book...

99. "The Ginger Man," J. P. Donleavy

100. "The Magnificent Ambersons," Booth Tarkington

Happy Reading!!!! Please leave a comment to share your thoughts/response/recommendations about your favourite books. Thanks!

1 comments to Specially for Bibliophiles

  1. says:

    CLY You should try to read one the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I am not a Harry Potter fan too but I wanted to find out what made it so interesting to my son. It was the first storybook he bought(with my money). He was in Primary 5 and was only interested in comics.
    Of course the plot was predictable despite the twist and turn, it was the language that amazed me. It was written in such a way that I could see images of the characters and the scene, even though I have not watched any of the movies. Reading through the thick book, it was like watching a movie in my mind. It is a few words that painted a thousand pictures. It was magical. I did watch a HP movie later but it was not as exciting as what I saw in my mind.
    But that was the only Harry Potter book I read.

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