17 August 2015

One man's list

Robert McCrum has opinions. Here are 100 of them. [The Guardian identifies him as an associate editor of the Observer. He was born and educated in Cambridge. For nearly 20 years he was editor-in-chief of the publishers Faber & Faber. He is the co-author of The Story of English (1986), and has written six novels. He was the literary editor of the Observer from 1996 to 2008.]

Besides being a very English list, the books on McCrum's list tend to be "insider's" books. In order to make sense out of them, you have to learn about very specific cultural and intellectual environments, i.e. you have study literature. I've read 18 of his 100 best. You?

The 100 best novels written in English: the full list
Here are McCrum's top ten:
  1. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1678)
  2. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719)
  3. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)
  4. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (1748)
  5. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (1749)
  6. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (1759)
  7. Emma by Jane Austen (1816)
  8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
  9. Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock (1818)
  10. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)...
Do you have your own "Top 10" (or Top 100) list? Want to share it with this little bit of the world? Send it to me. I'll work on getting it posted, while I procrastinate about posting my own reading and non-reading.

1 comment:

Ken Wedding said...

Dale Stahl wrote from his bit of vacation to note that he's "​read 29 [of the 100]. My favorites are the Chandler and Hammet books.

I read a fun Stephen King novel the other day, Mr Mercedes, not literature but good suspense I liked the main characters. King also has a nice liberal sensibility he works into his later novels. He wrote one called Joyland printed under the hard case crime series that I enjoyed as well. Set in a North Carolina amusement park. A coming of age novel with just a little of the King creepiness.

In that book they referenced some other hard case crime novels and I saw the author James M Cain, so I read The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, and Mildred Pierce. I really enjoyed them, the tragedy of people scheming or trying to make something out of their lives during the depression era.