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The First 80: A Look Back

I’ve already explained my rankings for the first 80 novels to you, but today I want to hand out a few awards to the novels that have left a mark on me, for better or worse.

Here’s how I break down the good and the bad from the first 80:

Total pages read: 32,965

Favorite book: The Great Gatsby is still numero uno. The Lord of the Rings made a nice run at the top spot and is currently second on the list. (Complete rankings.)

Least favorite book:  This “award” goes to Naked Lunch. I never expected any novel to “top” A Dance to the Music of Time in horridness, but that was before I read Naked Lunch.

Favorite character: It’s still Yossarian from Catch 22, with Janie from Their Eyes Were Watching God coming in second. Not much has changed there.

Least favorite characters:  All the characters in A Dance To The Music Of Time. All of them. They’re like stale grits.

Favorite writer:  F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) over Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and James Agee (A Death In The Family).

Least favorite writer:  William Burgess (Naked Lunch)

Most pleasant surprise: I, Claudius over A Death In The Family and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

Most difficult book: The Sound and The Fury is still tops.

Most depressing book: Here’s the top 5. Same order as last time. 1) A Death In The Family 2) Never Let Me Go 3) Rabbit, Run 4The Grapes of Wrath 5) An American Tragedy

Most graphic/violent book: 1) Naked Lunch 2) Blood Meridian 3) A Clockwork Orange

Most perverted book: Naked Lunch no contest over Money and Portnoy’s Complaint

Most inspirational book: The Bridge of San Luis Rey 

Funniest book: It’s still Catch 22. The Sot-Weed Factor comes in a close second.

Longest read:  A Dance To The Music of Time will not be surpassed in this category. 3,500+ pages. Nothing else is even close.

Shortest read: The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Best opening line: “Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.” (The Blind Assassin)

Most memorable line: Three favorites so far:

  1. “If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk. It’s so many people never seen de light at all.” – Janie (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
  2. “Soon you’ll regret all that sun-tanning. Your face will look like a testicle.” – Iris Chase
    (Iris Chase, The Blind Assassin)
  3. “Hate is a lack of imagination.” (The Unnamed Priest, The Power And The Glory)

Only 21 books to go!

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. thanks for sharing !


    May 6, 2015
  2. Great post. I must say that you are so right about Fitzgerald. Great writer. But I follow him with Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 6, 2015
  3. This is a great overview! I have to admit, your Best Opening Line award is making me want to read The Blind Assassin right now.


    May 6, 2015
  4. Matt #

    So Fitzgerald is your favorite writer. But a question for you: Who is the best writer in the list?


    May 6, 2015
  5. justagirl #

    Good post; I also love The Great Gatsby! And I hope to hear what you think about Brideshead Revisited!!


    May 6, 2015
  6. thanks Robert!!! I use your rankings to know what I would like to read or hear, I will definitely stay far away from Naked Lunch and that 3,000 plus book..goodness 🙂 and I want to get the Bridges of San Luis Rey….P.S and I won’t be sun tanning any time soon… lol


    May 14, 2015
  7. kh1789 #

    I agree with your assessment of The Sound and the Fury as difficult. I haven’t read all of the books on Time’s list, but I did read–or, rather, struggled to read–The Sound and the Fury in high school. It remains the most difficult novel I have ever read, but I can appreciate Faulkner’s talent for getting inside the head of each character and creating each’s unique psyche.


    June 7, 2015

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