Ranking The First 51 Books
So, as you may know, Time Magazine chose not to rank the 100 All-Time novels when they created this list, but I thought I’d be a dove and help them out. So I rank each novel after I’m finished with it. I like to call these my totally meaningless and highly subjective rankings.
After every 5-6 books, I take a little time to explain why I ranked each book as I did. It’s my way of staying accountable to you and letting you rain down hate upon me in the comments section, if you so choose.
So, here’s how I ranked books 46 through 51:
Book 46: The Grapes of Wrath (current rank: 14): Outstanding Steinbeck novel worthy of all the praise it receives. For me, the preachy tone kept it lower in the rankings than it might have been. Still, it’s a classic.
Book 47: Atonement (current rank: 26): This one is almost right square in the middle of my rankings. McEwan is a wonderful writer. The story in Atonement is solid, but several turning points in the book feel too forced, too Hollywood. Atonement is so close to being a top 10 novel, but I didn’t like the way it seemed the story was written with a Hollywood script in mind.
Book 48: Invisible Man (current rank: 8): You can’t go wrong with Invisible Man. It’s a novel that makes a social statement without being too preachy. Loved it.
Book 49: A Handful of Dust (current rank: 12): The story is somewhat predictable, but it’s fast paced and enjoyable nonetheless. Tony Last is one of the more memorable characters I’ve encountered. One of the few black spots for A Handful of Dust is the crappy alternate ending included in my version of the book. If your version has the alternate ending, skip it.
Book 50: The Great Gatsby (current rank: 1): We’ll, there you go. The Great Gatsby was my favorite novel before I started the list, and it’s still my favorite novel, edging out To Kill A Mockingbird. If I had one novel to read the rest of my life, this would be it.
Book 51: A Dance To The Music of Time (current rank: 51): I just realized that I reviewed my bottom-rated book right after my reviewing and reading my top-rated book. How about that? I guess I’m a man of extremes. I’m tired of talking about A Dance. Most of you know I hated it. If you’d like to find out why, go here.
In all, that was a pretty good set of books–with the exception of A Dance.
I currently have all 5 of the other novels rated in the top half of my rankings, and I’m wondering if I might have been a little too harsh on Atonement, putting it at #26. It really was a great story with a few faults. Major faults, in my view, but only a few.
Anyway, if you’re keeping score at home, my upcoming novels (after Pale Fire) are The Golden Notebook and Snow Crash.
Here is my complete totally meaningless and highly subjective rankings if you are interested.
Okay, go ahead and tell me how stupid my rankings are. Fire away!