"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, April 15, 2024

The Twelve Best Novels? Take a look. What do you think?

Plus: Top Ten Tuesday Freebie Post (I am off-topic today!)

I stumbled upon this intriguing headline: "Twelve of the Best Books We've Ever Read, Hands Down." Now that is such a teaser I had to click to see if I agreed with their choices. Take a look for yourself at the original posting here.

Here is the list of "The Twelve Best Books" (with a little commentary from me) in reverse order:

12. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • Why: "[R]eaders can almost picture themselves within the story. The narrative is heartfelt and will stay with readers long after they turn the final page."
  • Me: I haven't read The Sound and the Fury but I read Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and I thought it was awful. Awful. So awful I am hesitant to read anything else by this author.

11. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
  • Why: "This short book consists of beautiful symbolism. Everyone can find joy in this story, whether old or young."
  • Me: I agree this is one of the most wonderful little books which should not be missed and must be reread often.

10. The Waves by Virginia Woolf
  • Why: "It is a remarkable novel written masterfully. The voices of all the characters blend and intersect. This emphasizes the fluid identity of humans and their connections."
  • Me: I confess I've never read anything by Virginia Woolf but I want to read Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. I've never even head of The Waves before. I wonder why this one was picked over her other more famous selections.

9. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  • Why: "With the help of Siddhartha’s journey, the writer shows the worth of every individual on earth."
  • Me: My husband has been telling me for years that every man needs to read this book. Now I'm curious if it speaks to women also.

8. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Why: "The commentary on humanity’s brutal tendencies shows their indifferent attitude towards nature."
  • Me: I read this in the late 1970s. I barely remember it. I guess it is time for a reread to see if it deserves to be on this list of the twelve best.

7. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Why: "This is a narrative about transition. It consists of everyday family dramas but adds a unique layer of teenage angst...[yet] it manages to maintain sensitivity and respect."
  • Me: I remember being absolutely blown away by this book when I read it. Not sure it is one of the 12 best books of all time, but it is very good.

6. The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Why: "Adams takes an ordinary guy and tosses him into space. The rest is just an observation of what happens. It is about accepting what life presents you with: patience, humor, and a cup of tea."
  • Me: I love this book. In fact, just the other day the whole family started a conversation about how this book answers the big question of the universe. And it is a number. Ha! Yes, I think this book is one no one should miss.

5. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • Why: "Reading this book will alter a person’s view of good and evil. It reshapes readers’ perception of humanity."
  • Me: It took me 10 months to slog my way through this book. By the time I finished I was quite impressed with it but it took me months to get to that point. 

4. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Why: "It captures the essence of the human condition during its most horrific moments."
  • Me: I feel daunted by books written by Russians. They, to my mind, are all so long and complicated. Yet, when I read short stories by the same authors I don't feel that way. I think it is time for me to tackle a book by Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. I admit I do wonder why this book is on the list and not Tolstoy's War and Peace. BUt I haven't read either, so what do I know?

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Why: "The writing in this book is hauntingly poetic and meaningful. Most interestingly, the tale is narrated by no one other than Death himself! "
  • Me: This is a very powerful book with a unique narrator. I was very moved by it.

2. 1984 by George Orwell
  • Why: "This book effectively raises important existential questions all of us should contemplate."
  • We: So many times these days I think we are living the reality of 1984. Read it!

1. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Why: "Out of all of Jane Austen’s works, many consider Persuasion the most mature. It fills the readers with tenderness and longing that becomes a part of them."
  • Me: I love all Jane Austen books and Persuasion is one of my favorites. (It shares the spot in my heart with Pride and Prejudice.)

So what do you think? Are any of these books ones that you think deserve the designation as top twelve books, hands down?

If I were making a list of top books, one by Jane Austen would definitely be on it, but I'd probably prefer Pride and Prejudice. I'd also include a book by Tolstoy (Anna Karenina) and Dickens (Great Expectations) because of their reputations. And of course, something by Toni Morrison. I think Bluest Eye is better than her more famous Beloved because it is more accessible.  I also would include To Kill a Mockingbird and A Handmaid's Tale. I would include some fantasy and Sci-Fi. How about Lord of the Rings and Dune to represent those genres? Though 1984 does fill the Sci-Fi niche and is a good choice, too. I'd also want to include more world lit. Good options would be One Hundred Years of Solitude, Things Fall Apart, and The God of Small Things. The Little Prince is so wonderful, I'd leave it on my list. And I'd round out my list with something directed toward teens or children. How about Charlotte's Web or A Wrinkle in Time? Though The Book Thief is considered a YA novel, so it would be a solid choice for this category, too.

What books would you include on a best books of all time list?

Start a discussion topic at Feed Your Fiction Addiction or It Starts at Midnight


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