Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Right Here!! Right Now!! The Greatest Novel of All Time!!

This is something interesting and fun about a list. Maybe we like to find our favorite "whatever" and see where it falls. Or maybe we like to SCREAM about something on there that in a just world would never be there.

Well, I happened upon this list in an article in the London Telegraph based on a poll. If you mosy over there to read the article, be sure to check out the comments. I think that they make some good points about missing books that should have been included. In that just world mentioned above.
But, for a moment, please let me call your attention to number 5. Yes, right there between 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Wuthering Heights'. I can't bring myself to say the title...but there is no way that book should be on a list of the 50 Greatest Novels of All Time!

Agree...disagree? Any opinions? Any obvious missing ones, horrible inclusions?


1. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
2. Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S Lewis
4. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
5. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
6. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
7. Animal Farm - George Orwell
8. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - JK Rowling
10. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
11. The Time Travellers Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
12. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
13. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kasey
14. Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
15. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
16. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
17. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
18. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
19. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
20. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
21. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
22. Sons and Lovers - DH Lawrence
23. Anna Kareninia - Leo Tolstoy
24. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
25. Emma - Jane Austen
26. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
27. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
28. My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
29. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
30. A Passage to India - E.M Forster
31. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
32. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
33. Atonement - Ian McEwan
34. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
35. In Search of Lost Time - Marcel Proust
36. Middlemarch - George Eliot
37. White Teeth - Zadie Smith
38. To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
39. It - Stephen King
40. Little Women - Louisa M. Alcott
41. Vanity Fair - William Thackeray
42. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
43. The Horse Whisperer - Nicholas Evans
44. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
45. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
46. Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift
47. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
48. Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twin
49. Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K. Jerome
50. The Island - Victoria Hislop

I must agree that 'To Kill a Mockingbird' should be way up there. Number one...maybe.


  1. Great list! I've read 19 of those books.

  2. Thanks for passing this along. Given that this is the result of a survey of 2000 random readers, it's actually kind of a nice balance of popular titles with well-respected literature.

    I've read 22 of them. Absolutely hated two of those (haven't read #5). Several have been on my to-read list for a while.

  3. I did not read The DiVinci Code. I looked at it and read some of it and thought it was very poorly written. Let's not even get to the story....

    Now if, for some reason, a lot of people found it entertaining...ok. Waste your money. But the fifth greatest book of all time. Oh, give me a break!!

    Of course, just my opinion.
    Even if I am right.

  4. I'm astonished at The Da Vinci Code for #5. I enjoyed it (a lot more than many other readers did), but in now way does it have more literary merit than Little Women, Frankenstein, Moby Dick, or really, any of the other books listed. No. No. Just...no.

    Jane Eyre should be higher than #21. Not sure about the inclusion of Harry Potter...love the series, but I don't think I would have put it in the top ten. When I think "Greatest novels of all time", Harry Potter doesn't immediately spring to mind.

    So many of these books haven't been around long enough for their literary merits to be properly judged against most of the classics in the list. The Kite Runner is only four years old! It's an amazing book, certainly, but will people be reading it a hundred years from now? (I hope so, but who knows?) I think two lists -- one for classics and one for modern novels -- would have been a better approach.

    *hops down from classics snobbery soapbox*

  5. Please God no! Why, oh why, would anyone put 'The DaVinci Code' in a list like that. I'm still bitter about the day I spent reading it I'll never get back. Grrrrrr!

  6. Well yes, The da Vinci code certainly doesn't belong there. I read it just to see what the fuss was about, and thought it mediocre at best. Stephen King's It was a nice read, but is not even the best of his books, never mind in the top 50 of all time.

  7. Great List...thanks for posting it! I wrote a post at Letters On Pages about this list this morning (along with my thoughts on the terrible Da Vinci code!)

  8. well, we all agree about DaVinci then!
    And yes Ruth, the Potter books. Granted people love them...but huge sales does not make Great. I mean, how many copies does People Magazine sell, and that ain't great.

    The article also said "The research also found that the average Briton buys at least one new book a month ..."
    Is that a lot? I know I buy more than average...ok, way more than average...but I do wonder what the US average is.

  9. Caite, I would also be curious to see what the average for Americans is. I know many people who don't read at all or who only read 3-5 books per year. I'd also love to see the ratio of occasional readers to voracious readers (folks who read dozens of books per year).

  10. I suspect we American are lower than most Europeans.
    I know in Ireland, books just seem to be such a part of daily culture. Average people actually discuss books...like in public. ;-)
    Even a small town will have a bookstore or a place that sells books along with other stuff. Many cities are..ok, there are not that many cities...full of nice bookstores, small and large.

    I just have to remember that if I buy them, I have to carry them home.

  11. Clearly, I was born in the wrong country. (I do have Irish ancestors, though.) Have you been to Ireland recently?

    I wish my little town had a bookshop. We have a used bookstore, which is fantastic, but I would love a little independent bookstore in town.

  12. I was there for New Years, but it was a fast trip and not too much time for book shopping...althought I think I still bought one or two.

    My aunt says that increased TV viewing there will be the 'death' of book reading and good conversation, which is even more of a loss in her mind. Not sure I agree.
    About which is more important, the loss of books or conversation. I agree about the TV! Evil! ;-)

  13. Other than the obvious joke of including "The Da Vinci Code," the list is about as good as any other such list.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  14. If only I believed it was a joke!

    Yes, I am sure there is no such list I would not find some problem with, but still...Harry Potter? No...
    Granted, take those two away and my objections fall way off.

  15. You know, I loved the book (Da Vinci Code), but don't know that I would include it in the 50 greatest of all time.



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