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Ranking The First 65 Novels

It’s time for me to talk about my utterly meaningless and completely subjective rankings of the recent books I’ve read from the Time list.

If you’re new to the blog, this is a little exercise I do after every five novels. It allows me to explain why I ranked each novel where I did, with the understanding that, ultimately, ranking a list of novels like this is a pretty pointless endeavor. But I do it anyway, ’cause it’s fun.

So let’s take a look at the last 5 novels.

Book #61: A Passage To India (Current Rank: 55) The pacing in this novel is horribly slow. When I read about the plot, I expected to like it much more than I did. So I was disappointed after reading 500 pages of a novel that could have been cut in half length-wise.

Book #62: Loving (Current Rank: 54) I didn’t realize I ranked these two novels right next to each other until right now. This was another yawner for me. The only positive was the length. It was a much shorter novel, around 200 pages, than A Passage To India. Loving was Downton Abbey before Downton Abbey was cool. But I personally find Downton Abbey much more interesting.

Book #63: The Sot-Weed Factor (Current Rank: 18) With The Sot-Weed Factor, I had a completely opposite experience than the previous two novels. I didn’t expect to like this novel at all, and I actually liked it very much. It’s witty, a bit shocking, and undeniably creative. With all that, The Sot-Weed Factor was a much better novel, and I made it through its 700 pages, much faster than I expected.

Book #64: Ubik (Current Rank: 27) I’m the guy that pretty much hates science fiction novels, so when I rank Ubik at 27, which is slightly higher than middle of the pack, then that’s saying something. In other words, this was a pretty good novel. I would definitely read more of Philip K. Dick.

Book 65: Call It Sleep (Current Rank: 24) This is a sad, sad novel. But, as I’ve always said, any writer who can provoke emotion in you–even if it’s sad–is doing his job as a writer. That’s why terribly sad, depressing books can be incredible books. And Call It Sleep fits right in that mold. Henry Roth makes you just want to pick little David up and tell him everything’s going to be okay while throwing his abusive father through a window.

So that sums up the last five novels.

Agree or disagree with where I placed these five? Go here to see my full rankings.

More to come tomorrow about The Day of the Locust.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. For the record, I like your rankings.


    January 8, 2014
  2. I am ashamed to admit I have never ‘got’ EM Forster at all….I found Passage To India v dull when I read it admittedly years ago despite what sounded to be a v interesting plot. I was interested to read what you thought of Ubik….not a Sci Fi fan either but I have read When Androids Dream.. by him and it was fab.
    I then looked at your overall rankings and was intrigued to see I,Claudius at number3. I recently read Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves ( and wrote about it on my blog!) I had thought a book about Ancient Rome sounded a bit tedious but will now definitely have to give it a go!!


    January 8, 2014
    • I thought I, Claudius was amazing. Great novel. Plan on reading it again one day.


      January 8, 2014
      • Well that is some recommendation !!! Will def have to read now! His memoir of WW1 is incredible to …..a very modern ‘voice’ if you know what I mean. Looking forward to your next books ….


        January 8, 2014
  3. cool list…im not too much into sci-fi either, but ive read 2 Phillip K. Dick books (however, one was his realist-paranoid writing, Voices from the Street), and I do enjoy him. My wife recently read Ubik, and she absolutely loved it.


    January 8, 2014
  4. Delilah #

    ‘before Downton Abbey was cool.’ While I haven’t ever watched an episode, I can completely understand your ranking just by that comment.


    January 8, 2014
  5. Of the five, I have only read three. Must say I thoroughly enjoyed Passage to India and Loving. Didn’t care much for Ubik.


    January 8, 2014
  6. I like your ranking system as well! It’s helpful, even it is is subjective and “meaningless.”


    January 11, 2014
  7. this book is well deserved for its rank


    October 27, 2014

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