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:

Robinson Crusoe
Pride and Prejudice
The Scarlet Letter
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Great Expectations
Fathers and Sons
Anna Karenina
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
Nineteen Eighty-Four
The Catcher in the Rye
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Handmaid's Tale
David Copperfield
Love Medicine
As I Lay Dying
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Sun Also Rises
Sons and Lovers
The Naked and the Dead
Portnoy's Complaint
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Treasure Island
Rabbit, Run

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.


Lezlie said...

>>The Hound of the Baskervilles (seriously, who didn't read this in high school?)<<

Umm. . . Me? Honestly, I don't know what we did in high school English, because we certainly weren't reading anything. I only realize that now when I look at all these great lists and see the ones that should be old news to me. On the upside, I get to read them now, when I actually care!

Looking forward to your crankiness! :-)

Anonymous said...

It didn't help that we had a British teacher that read that book out loud. Remember?

I think you are insane. Write your book and save your reading time for fun stuff.


Kristin Dodge said...

Leave it to you, MH, to be blunt. Don't worry... with this online teaching job finalized, I'll have much more time. At least until the kids get out of school.

Reading replaced TV a long time ago.

Bibliolatrist said...

Good luck!

I see Meditations is in the fridge...that was one of my first reviews; it brings back memories. Good times.

Anyway, I've given up on challenges. I always ignore people who force me to do things, even myself. In fact, of all the people who ignore me, I'm the best of them all, so self-induced challenges are a failure before I even start.