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Ranking The First 40 Novels

It’s that time again.  It’s time for me to try and make sense of the last five novels, and attempt to place them somewhere in my meaningless rankings. Never before has such a pointless, inconsequential act been undertaken.

Aren’t you excited now? All right, then. Let’s carry on.

Book 36: The Power And The Glory: Current Rank #9. Great premise executed to near perfection by Graham Greene. This is one of the better spiritually-themed novels I’ve read.

Book 37: Native Son: Current Rank #12. This novel had the potential to be near the top of the list. Great story. Strong characters. But Richard Wright’s preachy, communist undertones made me drop Native Son down a bit. Hindsight is 20/20, but I think we all realize now that Communism isn’t and wasn’t the answer to racism.

Book 38: Dog Soldiers: Current Rank 35: Gritty, dirty, graphic novel. Predictable, stereotyped characters. Somewhat predictable plot. I needed a shower after this one.

Book 39: That’s Not My Monkey: This, of course, is a book that  wasn’t on the list. But I thought it made for a pretty good April Fool’s Joke.

Book 39: Falconer: Current Rank 13: Brutally depressing book. Great writing by John Cheever. Incredibly and uncomfortably graphic in spots. Could’ve been higher if not for a weak, Hollywoodish ending.

Book 40: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter: Current Rank 8: Carson McCullers was 23 when she wrote this. Wow. The light plot is more than made up for by the fabulous, well-developed characters. You’ll remember this book and these characters.

All around, this was a pretty decent batch of novels. Dog Soldiers was the only one that I could’ve done without. You can read the entire list of rankings here.

The top 3 (To Kill A Mockingbird, I Claudius, and Catch 22) has stood strong for awhile now. Will any novel be able to top them?

So how do you think my rankings on the first 40 novels stack up?

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Matt #

    Love the April Fool’s joke! I somehow missed it.


    April 25, 2012
    • Haha. Thanks. I had been thinking about that one for a while.


      April 26, 2012
  2. The best! WONDERFUL blog!


    April 25, 2012
  3. The top three are going to be tough to beat, I think. Infinite Jest stymied me before I hit the magical 400-page mark and I haven’t been able to continue – I got mad at the author, felt like he was taking advantage of me – being intentionally overly clever and forcing me to read page-long paragraphs just because he could. I should probably get over myself and try again.
    But right now, I have children’s books to read! I don’t think we’ll be ranking our top 100 children’s novels – favorite books from childhood are a bit too much like sacred ground for people – and they’re really hard to compare (not that your list is easy to compare – Lolita vs. Margaret….)


    April 27, 2012

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