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Ranking The First 35 Novels

So it’s time to dive in the wonderful world of my highly subjective and completely pointless rankings of the first 35 books I’ve read from the Time list.

If you’re interested, you can see previous updates through book 31: Never Let Me Go.

Now, to somehow justify my rankings for books 32-35.

Book #32: Watchmen: Ranked 24th. And that’s honestly higher than I thought I would’ve ranked it before reading it. I easily see why Watchmen is considered a ground-breaking graphic novel. I enjoyed reading it, but not enough to rank it in the top half, or make me want to read more graphic novels.

Book #33: Lolita: Ranked 31st. Oh, man. We’ve argued and debated about this one a lot. I know, for many of you, the subject matter wasn’t an issue. But I could never get past it. That said, I thought Nabokov was a brilliant writer, and the fact that he made me so uncomfortable while reading Lolita speaks to his talent. This is one of those novels that really touches on the personal taste issue we discussed on Friday.

Book #34: American Pastoral: Ranked 6th. Brilliant book. I love Philip Roth as a writer and as a thinker. Roth tells an emotional, tragic story with this novel. It’s one of those novels that consumes you and is just hard to put down. I thought it was similar to The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. Highly recommend it.

Book #35: Death Comes For The Archbishop. Ranked 27th. Again, another great writer. And, again, another story that just didn’t do much for me. It’s a quiet story without much plot. And, honestly, it’s bland and boring.  My overall feeling of Death Comes For The Archbishop: “Meh.”

Here are my complete rankings, if you are interested.

As you can tell, with the exception of American Pastoral, I wasn’t too fond of the last four novels. I’m sure many of you probably disagree with me on Lolita, but so it goes. Feel free to send hate mail or berate me in the comments below.

The next three books are The Power And The Glory (currently reading), Native Son, and Dog Soldiers. After that, I’ll pick five more.

So, what’s up with my rankings? Great? Awful? Decent?

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lori #

    You are going to LOVE Native Son – I’m thinking it will be in your top 5. I enjoyed Lolita quite a lot, but maybe that was because I listened to it on CD and it was read by Jeremy Irons who did a stupendous job. I took the subject matter for what it was. Whether we like it or not some people have different sexual tastes than others – some sexual tastes are considered immoral, cruel, or downright against the law. But the tastes do exist and Nabokov displayed honesty in dealing with this subject matter.


    January 30, 2012
    • Great. Looking forward to Native Son. I’ve heard good things.


      January 30, 2012
  2. I agree with your rankings – although I have not yet read American Pastoral. Based on your recommendation for AP, I’ll have to get to it soon.

    BTW, I’m half-through Dog Soldiers and though this is a book I would normally go lengths to avoid, I’m enjoying Stone’s insights and glad to be reading it. I think you will like it, too.


    January 30, 2012

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