Maybe it was reading The Telegraph’s list of greatest novels of the 21st Century (we’re only 15 years in, people!) that I found to be absolute bollocks…
Or maybe it was looking back on a post I wrote in this blog’s infancy (pre-spin, when it was just davethenovelist) where I listed what I proclaimed to be the Greatest Novels of All Time (which of course meant the best novels I had read up to that point in my life) and realizing how much I had read in the seven years since then and thinking about what that list would look like today. How many new entries? What would still make the cut, and would the passage of time have colored my opinion on significance, fondness and ordering?
Or maybe it was watching “The English Patient” episode of Seinfeld for the umpteenth time on TV tonight that got me thinking…damn, The English Patient…Ondaatje…that has to be one of the greatest novels ever, right? (Spoiler alert: IT IS!)
At any rate…I’m keeping this one simple and asking you to share your own lists.
What are your favorite novels?
Here are mine:
11. Dracula – Bram Stoker – 1897 – discovered in my pre-teen years
10. Serena – Ron Rash – 2008 – discovered in my 20’s
9. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee – 1960 – discovered in high school
8. A Mercy – Toni Morrison – 2008 – discovered in my 2o’s
7. Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovosky – 2004 – discovered in my 20’s
6. The End of the Affair – Graham Greene – 1951 – discovered in my 20’s
5. Jazz – Toni Morrison – 1992 – discovered in college
4. The Power and the Glory – Graham Greene – 1940 – discovered in my 20’s
3. The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje – 1992 – discovered in my 30’s
2. Light in August – William Faulkner – 1932 – discovered in my 20’s
1. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck – 1939 – discovered in my 20’s
Surprised these didn’t make my list?
- Ulysses – James Joyce – 1922 – discovered in my 20’s – Don’t get me wrong, this probably is the most audacious novel ever and contains the greatest (longest) sentence ever written and inspired me to visit Dublin (well, maybe more so Dubliners did – damn that’s a great short story collection!) but much of it is unreadable.
- Beloved – Toni Morrison – 1987 – discovered in my 30’s – This is a classic no doubt, just not my favorite Morrison.
- Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens – 1837 – “discovered” as a tot – Those who know me know this is one of my favorite “stories” ever, having always been attracted to this classic orphan tale since I was a wee lad…but I’ve only ever known it in film form (having devoured almost all incarnations…even a recent modern spin that transplanted the story to South Africa). I’m afraid to attempt reading it as I found my only other Dickens’ attempt (A Tale of Two Cities) too stamped by the literary mores of its time for my modern mind to get through successfully. One day maybe.
- Something by Kurt Vonnegut! – Geeze, I love me some Vonnegut. Maybe Cat’s Cradle (discovered in my 30’s) would be number 12? Why did I do only 11? Who knows?
- Something by Raymond Carver! – Hey, he’s one of my favorite writers ever…but sadly he never wrote a novel. His short stories are huh-mazing, however.
Written by David H. Schleicher
What would make your list of favorite novels?