The Quest of An Everyday Soccer Mom to Read the Modern Library's 100 Best Fiction Books of the 20th Century.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ranking the 2nd 10 Books....

If I can say one thing about the 2nd ten books I've made it through on the list, it's this: The quality of writing got WAAAAAAYYY better. I had a much harder time ranking the books this go-round because I liked so many of them. Unlike the last ten books, where there are at least five I am all for throwing in the fire pit this upcoming summer, I can say I honestly enjoyed 7 of the 10 of this group. Even the bottom 3 weren't anywhere near as bad as The Magus. It gives me hope that things can only get better, which is why I started reading the list at #100 and working upwards. Hopefully that trend continues!

Unfortunately in the upcoming group of ten, we have the dreaded Finnegans' Wake, plus a Hemingway book (NEWS FLASH: I am not a fan of Hemingway). There are also two Evelyn Waugh books so if I don't love Brideshead Revisited I'm in trouble. So it should be an interesting couple of months.

Here's my ranking, 1 (best) to 10 (worst):

1 Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner
2 The Old Wives' Tale, Arnold Bennett
3 Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
4 The Death of the Heart, Elizabeth Bowen
5 Ragtime, E.L. Doctorow
6 The Call of the Wild, Jack London
7 A Bend in the River, V.S. Naipaul
8 The Adventures of Augie March, Saul Bellow
9 Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad
10 Loving, Henry Green


  1. I liked Augie March, so it would be higher on my list. And Lord Jim would be at the bottom of my 10. But otherwise, I think I agree with you. Looking forward to your take on FW -- don't try to understand it, just try to read the words. And you will probably love Brideshead. I don't know anyone who doesn't. Is Scoop the other EW? I can't remember. It's hillarious.

  2. You know what, looking at the grades I gave Augie and Lord Jim on my reviews, you are absolutely right; I should switch them. Loving still stunk more than Lord Jim. Yep, Scoop is the other Waugh book. Glad to hear both are good. And I am very excited that I have some shorter books in this next group! I need a break from the Chunksters.

  3. Good to know! I just started I, Claudius and my sister-n-law said it was fabulous! Can't wait. Congrats on your accomplishments thus far!!! And, ditto on Hemingway. Thanks God I have 2 Joyce novels down.

  4. ditto also on are inspiring me I am going to have to take a break from writing and do some reading!