Tuesday, April 29, 2008
"Of course, the open secret is that 'The Novel 100' isn't really about pigeonholes. Nor is it an invitation to a fistfight.
"Its purpose is to start readers off on a lifetime friendship with great books. And what are a few small differences of opinion between friends?" - Dr. Daniel S. Burt
I'm already putting up my dukes because To Kill a Mockingbird didn't make his top 100 - it's in the honorary mentions (100 more books). Pshaw. I think this will be fun.
What I like about this book - and I can't believe I'm saying this - is that Burt stands on no pretense, yet comes across as the kindest literary professor. I'd like to think of myself as the kindest literary professor, but we all know I'm just a big ol' grump.
To keep the continuity of my crankiness and quirkiness, I vow to write my reviews of the books *before* reading Burt's reasoning. After reading about 100 Years of Solitude, I thought, "He's right. Wow. I didn't know that. This is an incredible book. I didn't do it justice." But Burt has the inside information pieced together from author interviews and other reviews. Most of us read books without the crib notes. I write my reviews for you.
So, split into two sections, the Top 100 and a Second Hundred (honorary mentions), I've noted that I've read the following:
Pride and Prejudice
The Scarlet Letter
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Fathers and Sons
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Hound of the Baskervilles (seriously, who didn't read this in high school?)
The Great Gatsby
A Farewell to Arms
The Sound and the Fury
Gone With the Wind
Their Eyes Were Watching God
The Grapes of Wrath
The Catcher in the Rye
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Handmaid's Tale
As I Lay Dying
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Sun Also Rises
Sons and Lovers
The Naked and the Dead
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
33 down. 167 to go. And, to put a fun spin on it, 167 books need to be read by May 1, 2009.
And the clock... begins... now.