Pipistrella recently stumped me with a reasonable sounding question… “What is your favorite novel of all time?” This was a disarmingly difficult question for me for two reasons. Firstly, much to the horror of many friends, I generally prefer non-fiction over fiction. Also, I’m just plain bad at playing favorites with songs, art, writing, etc. Even when I tried to consider the question as “If you could only have one novel with you on a desert island, what would it be?” I floundered and was only able to spout a few half-hearted potentials. Have I really got a gapping whole in my memory regarding all those high school and college classic novels I had to read?
With that possibility (or a particularly focused version of Alzheimer’s at work) in mind, I decided that I should revisit novels and make re-familiarizing myself an ongoing project. But where to start? Everyone has an opinion, often conflicting, about what the “greatest novels” are.
So in my hour of need/curiosity who can I turn to? That’s right, the internet and my friends. ;-)
After weeding out some search engine debris, I found these two promising looking lists:
- Pulitzer Prize Novel/Fiction List (I mean, its the Pulitzer Prize list after all!)
- Random House Top 100 Novels (Admirably non-partisan)
Both seem to have done a pretty good job of representing the “heavy hitters” of the last century and might not be bad checklists for my little project. I ultimately decided not to reference the New York Times bestseller list because it follows primarily commercial success rather than literary success.
That leaves one more vital source. I’d love to hear what YOU think should be added (or dropped off!). Remember, novels/fiction only.* Hopefully I’ll have the makings of a 50-100 book list by the end of the week. After that, it should take what? Maybe a few nights to read them all? ;-)
* If you dare to recommend anything by Robert Jordan or Dan Brown and I WILL find you!