Ranking The First 45 Novels
Not long after I started this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to start ranking the books based on my opinions.
When I interviewed Lev Grossman, he explained why Time didn’t rank the books, which makes sense. But I’ve kept at it anyway, fully realizing these are completely subjective and, most likely, pointless rankings.
Every five books, I take a little time to explain my thoughts on where I’ve ranked each novel. This last batch of five was one of the best groups of books I’ve read yet.
Three of the five are in my top 10, with Under The Volcano being the only real stinker of the bunch.
Here’s how I broke them down:
Book #41: Under The Volcano (Current Rank: 39): I read this one while on vacation at the beach. I pretty much hated it. It’s a dense, heady novel that I might have appreciated had I not read it on vacation. On the bright side, I learned a lot about Malcolm Lowry while researching Under The Volcano.
Book #42: Wide Sargasso Sea (Current Rank: 22): About as middle of the road as it gets. Having not read Jane Eyre, it’s hard for me to compare this prequel to its inspiration. As a stand-alone novel, it wasn’t bad, but I doubt I’ll ever read it again.
Book #43: Things Fall Apart (Current Rank: 4) Brilliance. I love Achebe’s simple style. Combine that with an engaging story that provides a glimpse of a culture most of us will never experience. Wonderful novel.
Book #44: An American Tragedy (Current Rank: 7) This is a novel that people either love or hate. I loved it, despite it’s antiquated style. An American Tragedy has been called the “worst written classic novel in literature.” And that sums it up. Dreiser is a wordy and stiff writer, but he tells an amazing story. Surprisingly, his writing style didn’t bother me like I thought it might.
Book #45: The Bridge Of San Luis Rey (Current Rank: 10) Outstanding, short novel. On the heels of the Aurora tragedy, The Bridge Of San Luis Rey really struck a chord with me. Thornton Wilder tells a complex story with very few words. Great stuff.
So that’s how I see the last five novels. Visit the My Rankings page for my complete rankings.
Upcoming reads look like this: Currently reading book #46, The Grapes of Wrath, as you probably know. Book #47 will be Atonement by Ian McEwan. Book #48 will be Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.
After that, I’ll select the next five books. The only one that will definitely be in the next five is The Great Gatsby, which I’ve saved for the halfway point at #50.
So do you agree or disagree with my current rankings?