The 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century

I came across this list of the supposed best novels of the last century at Modernlibrary.com:

On July 21, 1998, the Radcliffe Publishing Course compiled and released its own list of the century’s top 100 novels, at the request of the Modern Library editorial board.

Here’s the first 25:

  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  6. Ulysses by James Joyce
  7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  9. 1984 by George Orwell
  10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
  12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  13. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
  23. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Victoria has read at least 5 of the top 25 this year as part of her 9th grade reading plan and on her own (1984, The Catcher in the Rye, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird).  I’m not sure how many she’s read of the next 75.

My own tally for how many I’ve read is shockingly low… about ten that I remember.  Several were on my reading lists in college and I managed to completely BS my way through all of the discussions, tests and essays without ever reading them.  College was a terrible time for me to actually try to learn anything, since I was so overwhelmed with life during that time.  I started college at 16, was married by 18, worked full time and then some, and navigated a rather brutal few years of tragedies (my aunt’s murder, my mother’s prolonged terminal illness, my own miscarriages, finding my long-lost father after he’d already died, and so on).  Heart of Darkness just wasn’t a priority, even if it was supposed to be.

Perhaps I ought to make up for it now and finally get to some of those novels.  🙂

What about you?  How many have you read?  Which ones would you add?

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