Top 100 Breakdown

At the turn of the century, the Modern Library, whomever they may be, came out with a list of their Top 100 English Literature novels of the 20th Century. Criticism abounded and many more lists and counter-lists were developed. But I had met a girl who agreed to tackle the whole list with me, plodding slowly but surely along at 3 per year for the first 10 years, then 4 per year from 2012 forward – for what would amount to about 35 years of reading (there are 121 total books on the list). We agreed to do it before we were even engaged.

…………………………………………………….

Here’s how we’re doing, with 1-10 rating as well:

2002

Steve
None

Hoang (The first two are 2 of the shortest on the whole list)
98. The Postman Always Rings Twice (5)
92. Ironweed (7)
13. 1984 (7)

…………………………………………………….

2003

Steve
None

Hoang (Her “Relive 9th Grade English class year)
64. The Catcher in the Rye (8)
65. A Clockwork Orange (10)
41. Lord of the Flies (7)

…………………………………………………….

2004

Steve (My “Let’s Get Going” year)
98. The Postman Always Rings Twice (7)
41. Lord of the Flies (7)
92. Ironweed (8)
88. The Call of the Wild (10)
84. The Death of the Heart (3)

Hoang (Steady as she goes)
88. The Call of the Wild (9)
84. The Death of the Heart (4)
2. The Great Gatsby (8)

…………………………………………………….

2005

Steve (My “Let’s Take a Break” Year)
None

Hoang (Still steady as she goes)
30. The Good Soldier (7)
33. Sister Carrie (7)
55. On the Road (7)

…………………………………………………….

2006

Steve (My “Slowly Getting it Going Again” year)
31. Animal Farm (7)
52. Portnoy’s Complaint (7)

Hoang (Still steady as she goes – finished on 12/31/06)
28. Tender is the Night (6)
45. The Sun Also Rises (7)
52. Portnoy’s Complaint (5)

…………………………………………………….

2007

Steve (My “Back on Pace” year)
28. Tender is the Night (6)
45. The Sun Also Rises (9)
36. All the King’s Men (8)

Hoang (Her “Whoops!” Year)
15. To the Lighthouse (4)

…………………………………………………….

2008

Steve (My “I’m gonna catch up” year)
2. The Great Gatsby (8)
30. The Good Soldier (5)
37. The Bridge of San Luis Rey (4)
62. From Here to Eternity (8)

Hoang (Her “All Caught Up” year) – Finished on 12/30/08
21. Henderson the Rain King (4)
37. The Bridge of San Luis Rey (5)
39. Go Tell it on the Mountain (9)
99. The Ginger Man (5)
56. The Maltese Falcon (6)

…………………………………………………….

2009

Steve
67. Heart of Darkness (7)
99. The Ginger Man (8)
86. Ragtime (7)
21. Henderson the Rain King (3)
39. Go Tell it on the Mountain (7)

Hoang
86. Ragtime (7)
36. All the King’s Men (8)
31. Animal Farm (7)

…………………………………………………….

2010

Steve
64. The Catcher in the Rye (10)
15. To the Lighthouse (1)
22. Appointment in Samarra (8)
73. The Day of the Locust (8)

Hoang
22. Appointment in Samarra (7)
24. Winesburg, Ohio (6)
50. Tropic of Cancer (8)
73. The Day of the Locust (7) – Finished on 12/31

…………………………………………………….

2011

Steve
53. Pale Fire (8)
97. The Sheltering Sky (8)
65. A Clockwork Orange (8)

Hoang
97. The Sheltering Sky (6)
9. Sons and Lovers (8) – Finished on 12/31

…………………………………………………….

2012 – Bumped it up to 4 per year

Steve
24. Winesburg, Ohio (7)
56. The Maltese Falcon (7)
55. On the Road (7)
35. As I Lay Dying (8)

Hoang
48. The Rainbow (7)
94. Wide Sargasso Sea (7)
76. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (6)
35. As I Lay Dying
(8)

…………………………………………………….

2013

Steve
70a. Justine (7)
70b. Balthazar (8)
76. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (8)

Hoang
59. Zuleika Dobson (8)
18. Slaughterhouse-Five (7)
34. A Handful of Dust (9)
80. Brideshead Revisited (8)

…………………………………………………….

2014

Steve
59. Zuleika Dobson (8)
50. Tropic of Cancer (7)
94. Wide Sargasso Sea (8)
13. 1984 (8)

Hoang
91. Tobacco Road
79. Room With a View

…………………………………………………….

Totals as of 10/19/2014:
Hoang – 40
Steve – 37

3 responses to “Top 100 Breakdown”

  1. Aunt Pat says:

    Jez, This looks way too much like schoolwork. In the past three years I have read close to 100 books (I started keeping a log 18 months ago and only counting that I’m at 65). But, I get to pick the books! And most of them are from this current century.

    Classics,smasstics, when I gave myself the goal of reading a book a week last year I ruined some good books for myself because I was forceing it to a schedule. Find the balance. Goals and dicipline are a great tool, but reading should also be a special, personal time. Ticking off a list, somebody elses list, especailly some cultural concensis, averaged, list. Ahem, boring.

  2. Steve says:

    Good points all… but you see, my life is driven by lists. This entire blog is driven by lists. Lists give me comfort and structure. As this is supposedly one of the more well-respected book lists, containing several books we all “should” read, I figured it was a good one to pursue.

    3 per year, I think, gives us plenty of leeway to read other stuff at our leisure – or, if we’re being particularly lazy, allows us to “only” read three books in an entire year!

    Our goal is purposely non-cumbersome; although, truth be told, there have been several “races” to December 31st.

    In the end, we’re reading good books and that can’t be a bad thing.

  3. Aunt Pat says:

    Have you read anything by Craig Childs? He is one of my favorites. As an avid hiker you might enjoy his work. In somewhat the same maddnes that drives you to do MuseumQuest, this guy must traverse deserts, extreem watercourses and the inpassible canyonlands of the Southwest. Perhaps he has a list of what are the most challenging hikes of the region, many of which have never been done before. He puts his life on the line constantly (unlike you). He also writes elequently about his experiences. I would suggest “The Secret Knowledge of Water” as a starter.

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