The Best English-Language Novel of the 20th Century

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by AM28143, Nov 25, 2007.

  1. AM28143

    AM28143 Semi-Pro

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    So............
     
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  2. Kirko

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    The Fixer ***************
     
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  3. KoreanHB

    KoreanHB Guest

    "i hope they serve beer in hell" by tucker max. hahaha
     
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  4. Mickey Finn

    Mickey Finn Rookie

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    Some novels that spring to mind: Infinite Jest (Wallace); Ulysses (Joyce); Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald); On the Road (Kerouac); The Secret Agent (Conrad); The Quiet American (Greene); and Gravity's Rainbow (Pynchon).
     
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  5. heycal

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    "The Great Gastby" and "An American Tragedy".
     
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  6. Freedom

    Freedom Professional

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    Ha I read a funny review on Ulysses; it was something along the lines of how it was the most overrated book ever written since its about 1000 pages of a guy walking around Dublin and nothing else happens.
     
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  7. chroix

    chroix Rookie

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    The Good Earth.
     
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  8. AmericanTemplar

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    The Magus, by John Fowles.
     
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  9. chess9

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    "The Age of Innocence", by Edith Wharton. She was the first female writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, and won it for that book, though she had already written "Ethan Fromme", another fine book. The movie adaptation of "The Age of Innocence" was very very good and was relatively true to the book.

    -Robert
     
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  10. max

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    Love in the time of Cholera. I was shocked it's on Oprah's book club list nowadays.
     
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  11. yodudedudeyo

    yodudedudeyo Guest

    harry potter.
     
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  12. serve/and/volley

    serve/and/volley Rookie

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    Marquez is a Colombian who wrote the book in Spanish. I don't think the original poster counts English translations.
     
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  13. serve/and/volley

    serve/and/volley Rookie

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    "The editors of the Norwegian Book Clubs, with the Norwegian Nobel Institute, polled a panel of 100 authors from 54 countries on what they considered the “best and most central works in world literature.” Among the authors polled were Milan Kundera, Doris Lessing, Seamus Heaney, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, John Irving, Nadine Gordimer, and Carlos Fuentes. The list of 100 works appears alphabetically by author. Although the books were not ranked, the editors revealed that Don Quixote received 50% more votes than any other book."
    - from http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0934958.html

    Also check out this article from UK's Guardian: http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,711688,00.html

    This list forgot to include The Da Vinci Code.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2007
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  14. ilovecarlos

    ilovecarlos Professional

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    Pillars of the Earth....Ken Follet
    Have read it twice....
    couldn't believe Oprah gave it away as one of her favorite things last week (the whole audience got autographed copies)...it's not a new book:shock:
     
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  15. Bad Dog

    Bad Dog Semi-Pro

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    That astonishing book also serves as a primer on male-female relationships – and by the end, the danger of lust losing love.
     
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  16. tricky

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    1) Atlas Shrugged -- Ayn Rand
    2) Fountainhead -- Ayn Rand
    3) Battlefield Earth -- L Ron Hubbard

    Says who? Say this. John Travolta would endorse this list.

    http://www.randomhouse.com/modernlibrary/100bestnovels.html

    The thinking goes that Ulysses is the happy medium between Portrait and Finnegan's Wake. You might as well say Finnegan's Wake is your favorite book ever, since most people who would agree with you have never finished it. :D
     
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  17. leonidas1982

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    Paris Hilton's book was somewhat decent. Its either that or Playboy, says my roommate.
     
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  18. leonidas1982

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    But in honesty, I can't recall any books of the 20th century that I've liked or read, besides LOTR.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2007
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  19. chess9

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    That list is missing quite a few very fine poets:

    BLAKE
    YEATS
    THOMAS
    KEATS
    SHELLEY
    BYRON
    T.S. ELIOT
    EZRA POUND
    EMILY DICKENSON
    SYLVIA PLATH

    To name just a FEW.

    I can also think of about 20 novelists I think should replace some of their novelists.

    I'm not sure I'd give that list much credibility. Maybe we should not rely on authors' recommendations? ;)

    -Robert
     
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  20. Mastermind

    Mastermind Rookie

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    LOTR: FOTR
    LOTR: TTT
    LOTR: ROTK all by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    The Road by Cormac McCarthy is really excellent
    Anthem by Ayn Rand
     
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  21. vkartikv

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    The God of all Small Things
     
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  22. JMS

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    To Kill a Mockingbird
     
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  23. CanadianChic

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    Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
     
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  24. AM28143

    AM28143 Semi-Pro

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    If it is alright to answer my own question, my top three are: The Catcher in the Rye (I am a teenager), Catch-22 and A Farewell to Arms.
     
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  25. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    You know, I agree with Leonidas above. The 20th century produced some mighty fine READS, but in terms of a GREAT novel, the 19th century has a real hold on that category. Think George Eliot, Jane Austen, Dostoeyevsky, Melville, James, etc.
     
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  26. AM28143

    AM28143 Semi-Pro

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    You're probably right. However, for many undergrads like me, 19th century literature can be difficult to appreciate. The writing style, historical context and themes are so different from what I'm accustomed to, I get thrown off. When reading many of the authors listed above I’m able to comprehend the storyline, but unable to comprehend the significance. As a result, I read more 20the century novels, despite their inferiority.
     
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  27. CanadianChic

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    Umm...I believe your question was "best" - meaning one. ;)

    Not to be picky, but they are the nineteenth century.
     
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  28. AM28143

    AM28143 Semi-Pro

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    The thread expanded, and everyone started to list a few books, rather than just one. So, I followed the trend. But yes, you're right, I failed to answer my own question directly.
     
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  29. CanadianChic

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    I'm only teasin' you. I actually put some thought into what I felt was the best of the last century - there are certainly many to choose from. (Never take me seriously). ;)
     
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  30. AM28143

    AM28143 Semi-Pro

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    That was his point. He was listing great 19th century novelist.
     
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  31. shwetty[tennis]balls

    shwetty[tennis]balls Rookie

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    LORD OF THE RINGS and all other Tolkein appendages.
     
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  32. CanadianChic

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    It would help if I actually read the post. My bad.
     
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  33. AM28143

    AM28143 Semi-Pro

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    Its alright, I'm just being an ass because I'm bored and tired.
     
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  34. heycal

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    Or Norwegians.

    Don't buy into that rubbish. 20 century literature rocks. Jane Austen can't hold a candle to Fitzgerald or Dreiser.
     
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  35. CanadianChic

    CanadianChic Hall of Fame

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    No, you are right - she holds an entire candelabra in comparison.
     
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  36. CanadianChic

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    I'm sorry? So confused. :confused:
     
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  37. CanadianChic

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    Are you saying that women cannot write Ian?
     
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  38. Ian Paisley

    Ian Paisley Banned

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    mocking people critical of women writers...last words, out.
     
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  39. BeHappy

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    why would you call yourself ian paisley?
     
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  40. tzinc

    tzinc Semi-Pro

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    So many good ones hard to just pick one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2007
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  41. chess9

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    Actually, I like all three, but Jane Austen was possibly the best woman writer of all time, and, IMHO, one of the top 10 writers of all time.

    Perhaps the Irish don't appreciate her as much as a very old American does?

    Btw, in England at least, Jane Austen is highly revered.

    -Robert
     
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  42. Mr. Blond

    Mr. Blond Professional

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    I am kind of a skeptic, but I wonder if some you have read all of the books listed here, because some of them are dreadful......or at least unpleasant at best. I get that often when talking about books....people always want to list 'great' books as if they have read them like William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. It is a horrid book with a catchy title, and a twist in the way he delivered the story, but not worth the time to read it, and it still gets top billing at 'book' conversations.

    I don't mean to sound accousatory about people's reading likes, I just think it is too hard to pin what the OP is looking for. IMHO one of the best books I have ever read was by an author named Bryce Courtenay called The power of One. It sounds like a self help title, but it is really a memoir and a great one at that.
     
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  43. chess9

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    Kyle Onstot had a series of novels set in the 19th century about slavery. "Mandingo" is the most popular. If you want to understand the history of slavery and the many abuses of slaves, I'd recommend his books.

    -Robert
     
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  44. chess9

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    Many of the posters here are young, and probably haven't read many books. Being well-read isn't the Gold Standard of an educated man the way it was 50 years ago, and there are so many good books and other sources of entertainment, posing is inevitable. :)

    -Robert
     
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  45. Mr. Blond

    Mr. Blond Professional

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    I guess it is really easier to sound well read than to actually be well read. I don't consider myself well read and the reason for that is because I have read very few classics in literature. I like to read, I just find myself reading more current books than classics.

    Books are like music though, some of the highest critically acclaimed books are poo, and for the life of me I can't figure out why they get such praise. It is a cooky world I guess.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2007
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  46. Dunlopkid

    Dunlopkid Guest

    Other polls list the LOTR as number one.
     
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  47. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    umm...harry potter????
     
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  48. BabblingPsychopath

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    When these 2 lists came out I decided it was time to read all the books I should have read in High School. I actually read every book - including both lists.
     
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  49. Phil

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    Yeah, the "Reader's List" is pretty much a joke...7 of the top 10 books are by Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard????!!!! Tom Clancy in the Top 100...I think this list was jointly compiled by Tom Cruise and Joey, the college sophomore. I guess there's no accounting for taste.
     
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