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Some Thoughts On The 27 Remaining Novels

Let’s take a look at the 27 books I have left to read from the Time list, shall we?

Here’s what’s left:

  1. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), by Muriel Spark 160
  2. The Berlin Stories (1946), by Christopher Isherwood 256
  3. The Heart of the Matter (1948), by Graham Greene 297
  4. Housekeeping (1981), by Marilynne Robinson 219
  5. Lucky Jim (1954), by Kingsley Amis 256
  6. The Painted Bird (1965), by Jerzy Kosinski 234
  7. Play It As It Lays (1970), by Joan Didion 240
  8. To the Lighthouse (1927), by Virginia Woolf 272
  9. Under the Net (1954), by Iris Murdoch 256
  10. At Swim-Two-Birds (1938), by Flann O’Brien 336
  11. Brideshead Revisited (1946), by Evelyn Waugh 368
  12. Herzog (1964), by Saul Bellow 400
  13. Naked Lunch (1959), by William Burroughs 320
  14. On the Road (1957), by Jack Kerouac 304
  15. The Sheltering Sky (1949), by Paul Bowles 352
  16. Tropic of Cancer (1934), by Henry Miller 318
  17. White Noise (1985), by Don DeLillo 336
  18. The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), by William Styron 480
  19. Midnight’s Children (1981), by Salman Rushdie 446
  20. White Teeth (2000), by Zadie Smith 464
  21. The Adventures of Augie March (1953), by Saul Bellow 536
  22. A House for Mr. Biswas (1962), by V.S. Naipaul 576
  23. Light in August (1932), by William Faulkner 512
  24. The Man Who Loved Children (1940), by Christina Stead 576
  25. Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), by Thomas Pynchon 784
  26. The Recognitions (1955), by William Gaddis 976
  27. Ulysses

Some things that jump out at me.

  • I still have two Saul Bellow novels remaining (Herzog and The Adventures of Augie March). Interesting that I’ve avoided him to this point. Mere coincidence, really.
  • The Recognitions is nearly 1,000 pages. That one is going to be a beast.
  • I have another Woolf novel (To The Lighthouse) and Faulkner novel (Light in August) still to read. Considering my first experience with those two authors wasn’t very good, it’s safe to say I’ve been procrastinating.
  • In total, I still I have several novels remaining from authors with more than one book on the list—including Graham Greene, Woolf, Faulkner, Evelyn Waugh, Bellow, and Thomas Pynchon.
  • I’m particularly dreading Tropic of Cancer and Naked Lunch.
  • I’ve heard great things about Brideshead Revisited, so I’ve actually been saving it until later on the list.
  • In my mid-20s, I often said On the Road was my favorite novel. I haven’t read it since then, so I’m interested to see how I respond to that one.
  • And, of course, as a reminder, I added Ulysses to the Time list to make the 101 number. With that, it will be the final novel I read during this project.

So those are some quick, off-the-cuff thoughts about what’s left. I’ve already decided which five novels I’ll read next, and I’ll let you guys know that on Monday.

Anything from the remaining novels stand out to you?

25 Comments Post a comment
  1. Teresa #

    I think you’ll find Tropic of Cancer easier to get through than you fear. But you’re on the mark with Naked Lunch. I tried reading twice when I was younger and gave up. At some point I saw bits of the movie and found it fascinating and it helped me to visualize the swirl of words in the book.


    September 10, 2014
  2. I don’t blame you for procrastinating on Woolf, I can’t stand her!
    I really enjoyed The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, so I’m really interested to see your take on it.


    September 10, 2014
  3. 1banjo #

    I preferred Waugh Sword of Honour trilogy to Brideshead Revisited, but the later is still a splendid achievement.


    September 10, 2014
  4. Gosh, what a ponderous list. I would have put these titles off to the end as well. I did enjoy Brideshead Revisited, but I’m pretty sure the Time editors and I have differing opinions on great books!


    September 10, 2014
  5. I would suggest that you break the list up. Surround the really hard ones and long ones with two or three of the shorter ones. That way you’ll be able to last. Maybe tackle Recognitions and the ones you are really dreading sooner than later because you don’t want the experience of reading it to leave you with a dry taste for the list.

    You may find that there are some real surprises in there. You may very well like some of the ones you’re dreading or dislike some of the ones you thought might be fun.

    I loved The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene. I read it in college. After that, I went on to read just about everything he wrote. And he wrote quite a few novels. The thing I think you’ll learn about Greene is he took a very professional approach to his writing. When he ran out of material, he would choose another part of the world and go there and begin his search for ideas for the next book.


    September 10, 2014
  6. Hello. I am new here and am going to enjoy reading along with you I am presently on a Faulkner binge! Light in August is one of my least favorites; Flags in the Dust my fav so far. I love Faulkner! I must constantly remind myself that everything presented is a symbol for something else, however.


    September 10, 2014
    • Awesome. Welcome and thanks for reading!


      September 10, 2014
    • Light in August is actually my favorite Faulkner, though I have not read much of him. I think you will find it highly preferable (in that it is comparatively straightforward and narrative) to The Sound and the Fury!

      Housekeeping is a good read and a short one you can bang out sometime when you feel the need to make some headway. I think I read it in an afternoon.


      September 15, 2014
  7. It sticks out to me that Zadie Smith’s White Teeth made the list. It is a great book, but it really says something that she’s Time’s list.


    September 10, 2014
  8. Sissy #

    Good luck with To the Lighthouse. If you’re not a Virginia Woolf fan, this is definitely not the book for you. I’m usually not one to call books pretentious, but…


    September 10, 2014
  9. I read Tropic of Cancer when I was 19. The stream of conciousness is laboring but there is something that keeps you reading…even though Miller is not exactly likable. I think you might like it more than you think. I was crazy and even read Tropic of Capricorn afterwards.


    September 10, 2014
  10. Don’t be daunted by Ulysses. I read it on an e-reader for Banned Books Week last year (you can read about that experience herehere) and hated it. However, it’s grown on me. I find myself thinking about the subtleties and nuances and constant historical references and allusions. When I first completed it, I considered it a colossal waste of time. Now, It’s in my top 15. Assuming you take your list in order, I’m glad you’ve saved it for last!


    September 10, 2014
  11. I am almost positive I’ve read White Noise but if I did it was a long time ago because it doesn’t come up as one I’ve read in Goodreads. Even that red and white cover on Goodreads looks familiar. I might have it on my bookshelf at home. Now you’ve made me curious. I’ve tried Ulysses like three times. Infinite Jest I tried twice. They defeat me. They just defeat me. Maybe I’ll try Ulysses with you when you go at it. Naked Lunch also looks fracking familiar. I really wish Goodreads existed years and years and years ago. Or that in its absence I kept better records of what I read.


    September 10, 2014
  12. sylviazul #

    Reblogged this on Blog de Nuevas Tecnologías de la Comunicación.


    September 10, 2014
  13. I worked a paper route once and listened to an audio version of On The Road.


    September 10, 2014
  14. I had to read Ulysses in college and it was tough to get through, but perhaps that’s because we only got two weeks. It’s a novel you really have to take your time with and absorb or you’ll miss a lot. Enjoy!


    September 11, 2014
  15. Ugh I read “To the Lighthouse” in high school and absolutely detested it. I felt the same way when I read “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” by Joyce as a senior. Stream-of-consciousness must be the worst writing style ever!


    September 12, 2014
  16. Liz #

    My favorite of the ones I’ve read is White Noise. It’s just awesome. To the Lighthouse I think I’m glad I missed in college and read later when I’d had other stream of conscious under my belt because I remember enjoying it more than I thought I would. And House for Mr. Biswas, had to force myself to get through that one. Kept renewing it out of the library because I was unwilling to admit defeat.


    September 12, 2014
  17. Heart of the Matter sticks out for me as one of the best on the list. Like many of his books it’s quite dark.


    September 13, 2014
  18. I don’t blame you putting off the Faulkner — I just can’t get his style down. Its too inaccessible to me. I tend to be thinking…wait, what just happened. I think anything by Evelyn Waugh should be enjoyable. Ullyses will be a beast, although I haven’t tackled that myself. Ugh. That’s on the list I’m trying to tackle — the Guardian’s 1000 best novels. The Sheltering Sky is supposed to be very readable and good. Good luck!!! Awesome challenge!


    September 13, 2014
  19. I’ve only read a few on your list.Pretty aggressive goal.Looks like you have a few dragons to slay.


    October 9, 2014

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