Friday, January 9, 2009

List: All-TIME 100 Novels

In 2005, TIME Magazine critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo picked the 100 best English-language novels from 1923, the year TIME began publishing. Lacayo offers a thorough explanation of their process on the magazine's website, which is also a good resource because the official list includes links to the original TIME reviews.

This list differs from the Modern Library Top 100and Radcliffe Top 100lists in a couple of ways, mostly because of the date range covered. Because it includes only novels published from 1923, it leaves off many significant earlier novels, for better (Henry James) or worse (Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce).

Likewise, it includes several books published after 1999, the cut off for the other lists. Some of these, such as Never Let Me Go and Atonement, I think are worthy of the distinction. But I wonder if some of the more recent books will stand the test of time (pardon the pun).

Finally, not necessarily related to the date range, this list is heavy on science fiction, which will probably prevent me from finishing it any time soon.

This is the complete list in alphabetical order. Those in red are the ones I have read. Those in blue are on my TBR shelf.

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (reviewed here)

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (reviewed here)

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

The Assistant by Bernard Malamud (reviewed here)

At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

Call It Sleep by Henry Roth

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell (discussed here)

The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

A Death in the Family by James Agee

The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen

Deliverance by James Dickey

Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone

Falconer by John Cheever

The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

Herzog by Saul Bellow

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul

I, Claudius by Robert Graves

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Light in August by William Faulkner

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Loving by Henry Green

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (reviewed here)

Money by Martin Amis (reviewed here)

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Naked Lunch by William Burroughs

Native Son by Richard Wright

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

1984 by George Orwell

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski (I finished as much as I could stand)

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion (reviewed here)

Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

Possession by A.S. Byatt

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

The Recognitions by William Gaddis

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (reviewed here)

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (reviewed here)

The Sportswriter by Richard Ford

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carre

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Ubik by Philip K. Dick

Under the Net by Iris Murdoch

Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

White Noise by Don DeLillo

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (reviewed here)


Updated June 26, 2021.


If you would like to be listed here, please leave a comment with your links to any progress reports or reviews and I will add them here.


  1. I had to come and check out your blog when you commented at Books and Border Collies that you were on a Dickens kick!
    I love lists. They are so subjective and yet so irresistable! I'm envious that you have so many of Time's list under your belt.

  2. CR -- thanks for visiting. The next Dickens book I have a mind to read is Great Expectations. It is loaded on my iPod.

  3. Wow! I am so impressed with how many you've read. I love lists too even though I never seem to make much of a dent in them.

  4. I've read about the same percentage you have, though not many of the recent ones. I read so much N-F now I don't have much time for novels. But put The Golden Notebook high on your TBR list. It may have spoiled a little, but I thought it was great when I read it years ago.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...