Aside from my lists on 1001 Best Novels of All Time, completing TIME’s 100 Best Novels since 1923 is also one of my goals as a bookworm. So , despite my demanding job as an ESL teacher , I make sure that I always make time to do it. Also, in order not to get behind the prices of the books on the said list, I go to a flea bookstore four times in a month because sometimes the prices of the second- hand books are soaring.
Out of 100 , I have read 17 so far. Here are the books included on the list :
- All the King’s Men (1946 ) , by Robert Penn Warren. This novel won Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1946 . The story is about William Tallyhoo who wound up an influential politician by default. The novel depicts the moral life of the politician in the political arena. On Goodreads, the world’s largest book club, I gave it 5/5 stars because I liked the concept of the story granted that reading novels about political drama is not my cup of coffee. It is an apotheosis of a politician whose desire to make a difference in politics turns out to be in between two moral choices: to play or to gamble .
- Animal Farm (1946 ), by George Orwell. (Rating: 3/5 stars ) This is one of the books I read this year. Were it not my co-teacher, I could not have read it, for I am not able to buy one at a big book store, nor have I found it at BookSale branches yet . But still, I want to get one as my own.
This is said to be a satire against Communism under Stalinism. George Orwell used anthropomorphic characters to illustrate the animalistic disadvantages of Communism as a form of government at that time over Democracy and Socialism.
- The Assistant (1957 ), by Bernard Malamud. ( Rating : 3/5 stars ) I love Malamud books. I have read his other astounding Pulitzer Prize -winning novel, certainly superior to this one, The Fixer. His works are doubtless worth reading because they reflect in human existentialism. That is why I cannot resist hunting his other works.
The story is about immigrant life of the Jewish in the USA in 1950’s. Malamud wanted to illustrate how the Jewish survived by adapting to the socio-economical life in America.
I will never forget the Jewish protagonist in this novel because he was prejudiced and dumped when he was found “intact” by his American girlfriend.
- Beloved ( 1987), by Toni Morrison. ( Rating 5 / 5 stars )Toni Morrison is one of my favorite authors. I am envious of her skills in and mastery for writing an Anglican novel, whose writing styles are typical of nationalism being a Black American. This book led me to the door discovering her by reading her other novels such as Jazz, Sula, Song of Solomon, and The Bluest Eye. In conjunction with a famous literary web site, she is considered as one of the 50 Best American writers , in parallel with Franz Kafka, William Faulkner, et al. Since then, I have been crazy about her.
As I reviewed on Goodreads , Beloved can never be imitated for its dumbfounding proses. Toni Morrison is such a wizard writer that she created a book readers will never forget. So, If you are a non-native speaker, make sure that you read it in a nook with serene ambience. This is somehow a hard book to absorb.In addition, to understand it more, I suggest you watch its movie adaptation which one of the main characters is Oprah Winfrey.
The novel certainly pertains to Black American life, but you will end up finding it a little gothic.
- The Blind Assassin (2000), by Margaret Atwood . ( 4 / 5 stars ) I want to read Atwood’s other novels , particularly her the-talk-of-the-town Handmaid’s Tales before she could be one of my favorite authors. But please, forgive me for exclaiming this, just I tend to get overwhelmed whenever her name is brought up, “ Holy Moses! This writer is not human. She is a mental harasser. “ When I read The Blind Assassin , I had a hard time connecting all the different characters from the different plots. It was like I was manipulated or prevaricated , or to put it , drawn away ; but yet, I was attached to it.
- The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927), by Thornton Wilder. ( 4/ 5 stars )I have not written my review of this book yet; I have just finished it recently. This is not that as thick as Twilight by Alice Meyer , but its content is sooo philosophical that it is dangerous to criticize. I have still been pondering over the quotes appealed by the protagonist.
- The Corrections (2001) , by Jonathan Franzen. ( Rating : 4/ 5 stars )A perfect example of a modern novel written with classical writing finesse which paints a portrait of a disintegrating American family life. Admittedly, I had a never-to-put-a-book-aside bout with this. There were times that I had to lay it down from time to time when I could not get some sentences through my head. Still, I enjoyed it because there are some quirky themes. In addition, I liked its unforgettable ending as though I had just finished watching a movie.
- The Day of the Locust (1939), by Nathanael West. Among 17 books this is the only one that received 2 /5 stars from me on Goodreads. I did not enjoy the story much despite that it has a literary value in a sense that N. West wanted to limn how it is like when one dreams of Hollywood. In fact, it had not received much more critical acclamation before it was put on a pedestal.
The novel also emphasizes mobcracy, the power of a mob to demolish a certain bad situation.
If you give it a try, make sure that its cover is hard bound and not as small as pocket book.
- Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927), by Willa Cather. ( Rating: 3 / 5 stars ) I read this book during Lenten season a year ago.
This is compelling because the story is about a moral church against the immoral church and the state.
- The Great Gatsby (1925), by F. Scott Fitzgerald. ( Rating : 2/ 5 stars )An Americanized novel. That is why it is part of American studies. This has become more popular when the famousHollywood actor, Lionardo DiCaprio played the role of the Great Gatsby for its movie adaptation in 2013.
- Invisible Man ( 1952), by Ralph Ellison .( Rating : 5 / 5 stars ) A novel that I was too overwhelmed to have given it 5 /5 stars on Goodreads. I was astounded at R. Ellison’s writing craft that he was able to shed the light on division among blacks apart from the effects of racism.
- Lord of the Flies ( 1955 ), by William Golding. ( Rating: 5/ 5 stars ) Definitely, this is my most favorite novel so far because most of the main characters are all young boys.
The story is about a group of young students who are cast away on a remote, uncharted island when the plane they will be riding on a trip crashes. The group will have a leader, but a member greedy for power will take over him in a dictator way.
There are some scenes that tend to linger on in my mind as well as break my heart when this book is brought up such as what happens to the group of Ralph and Piggy, when how Simon is mistaken for a monster by killing him to death- let alone when how Piggy is killed with a large boulder.
The story could be more heart-breaking if you see its colored movie adaptation. Break a leg!
- Mrs. Dolloway ( 1925), by Virginia Woolf. ( Rating : 4 / 5 stars ) I was always intrigued by this then. I wondered why it is such an immortal among the literati. In fact, the line taken after the title is very popular, “ Mrs. Dolloway! Mrs. Dolloway!” Besides, it is just all about throwing a dinner party. Nevertheless, there is something philosophical behind the story.
- Native Son ( 1940 ), by Richard Wright. ( Rating: 5 /5 stars )The novel I could not stand posting on my facebook then that this almost knocked me off my socket. The story is kind of suspense that the faint-hearted are not advised to read it.
Wright was so genius that he wrote such a novel intended to show the psychology of racism. As a matter of fact, he is one of my most favorite authors although I have not read all his other works yet. But reading this is enough to impress me.
- A Passage to India ( 1924 ),by E. M. Forrester. ( Rating : 5 / 5 stars ) A novel that paints a portrait of British government authority over Indian sovereignty.
- The Power and the Glory ( 1939 ), by Graham Greene. ( Rating : 5/ 5 stars ) A novel illustrates how the real image of the Catholic church is dictated by a state.
- To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), Harper Lee. ( Rating: 5 / 5 stars ) Aside from the fact that this deals with abject injustice among the blacks, I find the main character, Atticus, an epitome of a rough in the diamond. I will never forget this novel; it awoke my innocent childhood.
There you have it! I have not read the half of the list yet, so I will have to keep on reading the rest.
Have the list, too. ^^