Listen up! (please)
These sorts of lists are kind of a joke as far as actually being the 100 best of anything. If you can find the formula that actually demonstrates that one book is superior to another beyond any doubt, please show it to me. Ultimately, no matter how much the academics scream and posture, it’s all just opinion.
That said, I really hope we can agree that Don Quixote is superior to Snooki’s autobiography. I don’t have the formula to show you, but I could probably come with a pretty entertaining venn diagram.
The eclectic list that follows below comprises what I consider the best 100 novels for me. The most moving, the funniest, most memorable, beautiful, or sad. Books that I know I’ll be compelled to read again.
Some of them would be right at home on a grad student’s literature list. Others would be scoffed at and spat upon by “serious readers.” Oh well. The experience of reading every book on the list was near-perfect for me. These are the books that shut the world out better than any others.
Once the list is complete, it will change as I read new books and reread those on the list.
The more that your own opinions overlap with this list, the greater the chance the we’re either soulmates or were separated at birth.
(list in progress) 100 novels I wish everyone would read, in no order
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
1984 by George Orwell
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Moby Dick by Herman Melville (at least read the Ahab sections!)
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester
Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaniel West
The Stand by Stephen King
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
The Plague by Albert Camus
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (not absolutely a novel, but I’m leaving it)
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson