New York Times Top 100 Books of All Time

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I believe that reading good books makes one a better writer. In 2014, I googled "Top 100 Best Books Ever Written" and was shown the New York Times list below. I had read about a dozen on the list, but I decided to read as many more as I possibly could.  I shared the list with my friend, Bob Waite, who had a PhD in English and knew literature so well that he taught classes on the topic. He took issue with some of the books on the list and was particularly dismayed that his #1 book, Moby Dick, was not on it at all. I still clearly remember what he told me: "You will be a better person for having read these books."  

Today, having read nearly half of the books, I am pleased that I began the journey. I am reading authors I would have otherwise never discovered (Evelyn Waugh, for example), and I am learning from the varied writing styles. My favorites so far?  Catch-22, Slaughterhouse Five, Sophie's Choice, all of Waugh's books, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, All the King's Men, The Great Gatsby, and The Adventures of Augie March.    Whether or not you agree that these 100 are the best books ever written, I encourage you to jump in and read some that you haven't.

 

    Rank and Title                                                   Author                       Year Published

1.       Ulysses                                                     James Joyce               1922

2.       The Great Gatsby                                    F. Scott Fitzgerald      1925

3.       A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man     James Joyce           1916

4.       Lolita                                                        Vladimir Nabokov     1955

5.       Brave New World                                     Aldous Huxley           1932

6.       The Sound and the Fury                          William Faulkner       1929

7.       Catch-22                                                 Joseph Heller            1961

8.       Darkness at Noon                                   Arthur Koestler         1940

9.       Sons and Lovers                                      D. H. Lawrence         1913

10.    The Grapes of Wrath                               John Steinbeck          1939

11.    Under the Volcano                                   Malcolm Lowry         1947

12.    The Way of All Flesh                                Samuel Butler            1903

13.    1984                                                       George Orwell          1949

14.    I Claudius                                                Robert Graves           1934

15.    To the Lighthouse                                   Virginia Woolf          1927

16.    An American Tragedy                               Theodore Dreiser      1925

17.    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter                    Carson McCullers      1940

18.    Slaughterhouse Five                                  Kurt Vonnegut          1969

19.    Invisible Man                                           Ralph Ellison            1952

20.    Native Son                                              Richard Wright          1940

21.    Henderson the Rain King                         Saul Bellow               1959

22.    Appointment in Samarra                           John O' Hara            1934

23.    U.S.A.  (trilogy)                                      John Dos Passos         1938

24.    Winesburg Ohio                                      Sherwood Anderson  1919

25.    A Passage to India                                    E. M. Forster            1924

26.    The Wings of the Dove                            Henry James             1902

27.    The Ambassadors                                    Henry James             1903

28.    Tender Is the Night                                  F. Scott Fitzgerald      1934

29.    Studs Lonigan Trilogy                              James T. Farrell          1935

30.    The Good Soldier                                    Ford Madox Ford     1915

31.    Animal Farm                                           George Orwell          1945

32.    The Golden Bowl                                    Henry James             1904

33.    Sister Carrie                                             Theodore Dreiser      1900

34.    A Handful of Dust                                   Evelyn Waugh           1934

35.    As I Lay Dying                                        William Faulkner       1930

36.    All the King's Men                                   Robert Penn Warren  1946

37.    The Bridge of San Luis Rey                       Thornton Wilder       1927

38.    Howards End                                          E. M. Forster            1910

39.    Go Tell It on the Mountain                       James Baldwin           1953

40.    The Heart of the Matter                            Graham Greene        1948

41.    Lord of the Flies                                      William Golding        1954

42.    Deliverance                                             James Dickey            1970

43.    A Dance to the Music of Time                   Anthony Powell         1951 - 1975

44.    Point Counter Point                                 Aldous Huxley           1928

45.    The Sun Also Rises                                  Ernest Hemingway    1926

46.    The Secret Agent                                      Joseph Conrad          1907

47.    Nostromo                                               Joseph Conrad          1904

48.    The Rainbow                                           D. H. Lawrence         1915

49.    Women in Love                                       D. H. Lawrence         1920

50.    Tropic of Cancer                                      Henry Miller              1934

51.    The Naked and the Dead                          Norman Mailer         1948

52.    Portnoy's Complaint                                Philip Roth               1969

53.    Pale Fire                                                  Vladimir Nabokov     1962

54.    Light in August                                        William Faulkner       1932

55.    On the Road                                            Jack Kerouac             1957

56.    The Maltese Falcon                                  Dashiell Hammett      1929

57.    Parade's End                                           Ford Madox Ford     1924-1928

58.    The Age of Innocence                              Edith Wharton          1921

59.    Zuleika Dobson                                      Max Beerbohm         1911

60.    The Moviegoer                                        Walker Percy             1961

61.    Death Comes to the Archbishop               Willa Cather              1927

62.    From Here to Eternity                              James Jones              1951

63.    The Wapshot Chronicles                          John Cheever            1957

64.    The Catcher in the Rye                              J. D. Salinger             1951

65.    A Clockwork Orange                               Anthony Burgess       1962

66.    Of Human Bondage                                 W. Somerset Maugham 1915

67.    Heart of Darkness                                   Joseph Conrad          1899

68.    Main Street                                              Sinclair Lewis            1920

69.    The House of Mirth                                 Edith Wharton          1905

70.    The Alexandria Quartet                             Lawrence Durrell       1957-1960

71.    A High Wind in Jamaica                            Richard Hughes         1929

72.    A House for Mr. Biswas                           V. S. Naipaul             1961

73.    The Day of the Locust                              Nathaniel West          1939

74.    A Farewell to Arms                                  Ernest Hemingway    1929

75.    Scoop                                                     Evelyn Waugh           1938

76.    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie                  Muriel Spark             1961

77.    Finnegan’s Wake                                      James Joyce               1939

78.    Kim                                                        Rudyard Kipling        1901

79.    A Room with a View                                E. M. Forster            1908

80.    Brideshead Revisited                                Evelyn Waugh           1945

81.    The Adventures of Augie March                Saul Bellow               1953

82.    Angle of Repose                                      Wallace Stegner         1971

83.    A Bend in the River                                  V. S. Naipaul             1979

84.    The Death of the Heart                             Elizabeth Bowen       1938

85.    Lord Jim                                                 Joseph Conrad          1900

86.    Ragtime                                                   E. L. Doctorow         1975

87.    The Old Wives' Tale                                 Arnold Bennett         1908

88.    The Call of the Wild                                 Jack London             1903

89.    Loving                                                    Henry Green             1945

90.    Midnight's Children                                 Salman Rushdie         1981

91.    Tobacco Road                                         Erskine Caldwell        1932

92.    Ironweed                                                William Kennedy       1983

93.    The Magus                                              John Fowles              1965

94.    Wide Sargasso Sea                                    Jean Rhys                  1966

95.    Under the Net                                         Iris Murdoch            1954

96.    Sophie's Choice                                       William Styron          1979

97.    The Sheltering Sky                                    Paul Bowles              1949

98.    The Postman Always Rings Twice              James M. Cain           1934

99.    The Ginger Man                                      J. P. Donleavy           1955

100.The Magnificent Ambersons                     Booth Tarkington      1918