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The Votes Are In For The Next 5 Novels

This is one of my favorite parts of the 101 Books project–picking the next five books to read. You guys helped me out with it this time around.

The votes from over the weekend are in. As you know, I picked An American Tragedy and The Bridge Of San Luis Rey. The top vote getters from you guys was Atonement, Invisible Man, and The Grapes of Wrath.

Here’s a little about each book.

The Bridge Of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (1927): One of the older books on the list. Tells the story of several interrelated people and how they came to die on the collapse of a rope bridge in Peru.

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (1925): Another old and LONG one. Bare with me when I get around to reading An American Tragedy, please. It’s 880 pages. It’s the story of Clyde Griffiths, a midwestern preacher’s boy who leaves home and gets in a lot of trouble, including committing murder.

Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001): Thought to be McEwan’s best novel, Atonement is the story of a young girl, an aspiring writer, who makes a fateful decision one day that has life-changing consequences for several people–including her sister and a childhood friend.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952): One of the preeminent novels about racial issues in America. The story is told by a nameless, African-American narrator who considers himself to be socially invisible. He tells the story looking back on his past–his childhood in the South, getting expelled from a “Negro College,” and moving to New York City. I read this novel in college about 15 years ago, so Invisible Man will be a re-read for me.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939): This will be another re-read for me. The Grapes of Wrath is a true classic by any definition. Set during the Great Depression, Steinbeck’s story follows the Joad family as they move from impoverished Oklahoma to a better life in California.

Great choices! I’m excited about this batch of novels.

Remember, I still have Things Fall Apart to read after Wide Sargasso Sea, which I will review on Wednesday. So I probably won’t start the first novel from this batch for another couple of weeks.

Any positives or negatives about the next five?

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17 Comments Post a comment
  1. An American Tragedy is long, but it isn’t especially dense or difficult to read. The story is interesting. I will say more when you review it, but don’t be daunted by its length.

    Like

    May 21, 2012
    • That’s good to hear. I’ve heard it wasn’t great, but the story sounds very interesting to me.

      Like

      May 21, 2012
  2. Good set of books. The Bridge on San Luis Rey is a new one on me, so I’ll have to pick up a copy. I think it’s great you put it out to the vote too. Thanks Robert.

    Like

    May 21, 2012
  3. J. #

    Nice! Two of my three made it! All five will make for some good reading.

    Like

    May 21, 2012
  4. I agree with Emily about An American Tragedy. Long, but a great read. The only other book in your next five I’ve read is San Luis Rey, which I read many, many years ago in high school. Didn’t like it. By the end of the book, I didn’t really understand the point. Wilder’s putative point was to understand why those five were chosen. However, I didn’t think he came to any particular conclusion, and I felt cheated by the end. Most likely, the subtleties of the book were over my head at that time, so I’ll be most interested in your understanding of this book.

    Like

    May 21, 2012
    • If San Luis isn’t a great book, at least it’s short!

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      May 21, 2012
  5. The Bridge over San Luis Rey and Atonement were both pretty great, and Wrath is obviously a classic. I don’t envy you for tackling An American Tragedy, as I said before, I hate that book with a deep and abiding passion. I suggest drinking while reading it.

    Like

    May 21, 2012
  6. writesandrights #

    SO excited to read your thoughts on Atonement. It is one of my all-time favorites.

    Like

    May 21, 2012
    • I second this! Atonement got my vote and I’m looking forward to reading your posts about it.

      Like

      May 21, 2012
    • Yes, I’m definitely looking forward to that one. I’ve heard it’s pretty awesome.

      Like

      May 21, 2012
      • well, I found it just about ok for about 3/4 ths of the book. It is the ending that really elevates the book.

        Like

        May 22, 2012
  7. Bravo!It’s easier to continue with a path sort of laid out for you with informed consultation, and your own previous experience as a writer and obvious reader. I reflected this morning after you finish this list; What will be the effect on your writing? Imagine 101 books, some remebered better than others, but all inert at this time words blending together. As if you are construction your own dictionary of plot, character, narrative etc. of course it will be you writing it, but I want to bet you 5 dollars (suffering student) that your style and characters will change. The insight will flow into melodius trip into a…catch my drift. I mean you are a writer. How can your writing not be affected by all of this reading. You say you are a professional writer? More will be revealed. It will be difficult to not be incensed about a lot of everything going on today and ten years ago. Prepare. Journal perhaps.

    Like

    May 21, 2012
  8. I am reading Grapes of Wrath right now, myself. Enjoying it quite a bit but I find that it is one of those novels where I stop and think more often than I read a page.

    Like

    May 21, 2012
  9. Grapes of Wrath is amazing but possibly the most depressing book I’ve ever read. So worth it though..

    Like

    May 21, 2012
  10. I feel like such a contrarian right now! I can’t stand Steinbeck and I’m the only person on the planet who hated Atonement. Hated isn’t strong enough. Despised, loathed, wanted to throw in a toilet. But your reviews are so enjoyable, I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on them anyway!

    Like

    May 21, 2012
  11. I’ve read four of the five. An American Tragedy is waiting for me to be read this July. Regarding the other four, I think the worst among them is Invisible Man in terms of theme and style. I’m not saying that it’s bad, it’s just that Atonement, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and The Grapes of Wrath are stellar.

    Like

    May 21, 2012

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