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

Friday, May 21, 2010


I have a confession to make: I've been cheating on Finnegans Wake.

Rose City Reader's Battle of the Prizes (American Version) Reading Challenge tasked me with reading three books: a Pulitzer Prize winner (I read the wonderful Angle of Repose) and a National Book Award winner (I read the long-winded The Adventures of Augie March), and a book that won both awards. Unfortunately (and inexplicably), none of these 'double dippers' were on the ML 100 list, so I had to read one that wasn't on the list. I chose Alice Walker's The Color Purple.

I have to say I am indebted to Reader for creating this challenge so I would find this book. It's fabulous. I cannot comprehend how a list of the Top 100 books of the last century could include banal tomes like Loving but not include a book this good. It's just not right.

I'll be posting my review of The Color Purple either later today or tomorrow. And then it's back to Finnegan. Sigh.


  1. All things considered, The List is critically skewed toward male writers and male readers. Books like The Color Purple are worthy regardless of the author's gender, but seriously? Couldn't they have spared a couple of books by James or Lawrence or Conrad for a few good voices of the female persuasion?

  2. I'm glad I gave you a break from FW!

    I read Color Purple in college and really liked it. I agree with you that it could definitely take the place of something like Loving, which did not capture my attention at all. And Dormouse is on to a great idea about skipping on of the many Henry James books!

    Of course, to get on the ML list, the book had to be published by ML, right? It's been a while since I thought about it, but I think that was the case. They didn't pick from every book in the 20th C., just those titles in their own catalog. Fair enough -- their list.

  3. Oh, I forgot. Thanks for the link. I look forward to your review.

    And congratulations for finishing the challenge! Will you be doing a wrap up post? Please let me know if you do and I will add a link to that one as well.

  4. I guess that's the downside of a publisher's Best list, huh? Silly me for thinking they might actually mean ALL of last century's literature, not just their own. No wonder the entire Henry James catalogue made it on the list. They were probably scraping the bottom of the barrel just to find 100 books worth going on any list! That explains a lot!

    I have the sinking feeling I'm about to be unfaithful to Finnegan AGAIN...only this time, it'll be with Book #76....

  5. Just checked in through the blog hop. I like your challenge of reading the top 100. Sadly, all lists seem to leave off some "greats."
    My husband and I have challenged ourselves to read a book a week this year...our blog:

  6. You gave yourself an intriguing challenge! I stopped by on the blog hop, but feel compelled to become a follower, just so I can vicariously experience this challenge. Good luck!