Wednesday, March 23, 2022

All-TIME Best 100 English-Language Novels -- BOOK LIST


In 2005, TIME Magazine critics Richard Lacayo and Lev Grossman picked the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923, the year TIME began publishing. Lacayo offers a thorough explanation of their process on the magazine's website, along with descriptions of each book.

As Lacayo said in his article, "Lists like this one have two purposes. One is to instruct. The other of course is to enrage." Everyone can argue about books they think should have made this list and others that should have been left off. 

Personally, I'd prefer seeing Mary McCarthy, Barbara Pym, and Penelope Lively on this list and jettison Pynchon, Kosinski, and DeLillo. I've read 88 of the 100 books on this list so far, but I may never finish all 100. I know I'm never going to read Infinite Jest, for example. And I will probably never read Gravity's Rainbow

How about you? What are your thoughts?

Here is the complete list in alphabetical order, with notes if I've read it, it's on my TBR shelf, or if it is available as an audiobook from my library. 

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

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

American Pastoral by Philip Roth FINISHED

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser FINISHED

Animal Farm by George Orwell FINISHED

Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara FINISHED

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

The Assistant by Bernard Malamud (reviewed hereFINISHED

At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien TBR SHELF

Atonement by Ian McEwan FINISHED

Beloved by Toni Morrison FINISHED

The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood TBR SHELF

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler FINISHED

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood FINISHED

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy FINISHED

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh FINISHED

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder FINISHED

Call It Sleep by Henry Roth FINISHED

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller FINISHED

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger FINISHED

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess FINISHED

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron FINISHED

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen FINISHED

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon FINISHED

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

The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West FINISHED

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather FINISHED

A Death in the Family by James Agee FINISHED

The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen FINISHED

Deliverance by James Dickey FINISHED

Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone FINISHED

Falconer by John Cheever TBR SHELF

The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles FINISHED

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing FINISHED

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin FINISHED

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell FINISHED

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck FINISHED

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon ON OVERDRIVE

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald FINISHED

A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh FINISHED

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers FINISHED

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene FINISHED

Herzog by Saul Bellow FINISHED

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson FINISHED

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

I, Claudius by Robert Graves FINISHED

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace ON OVERDRIVE (but 56 hours!)

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison FINISHED

Light in August by William Faulkner FINISHED

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

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov FINISHED

Lord of the Flies by William Golding FINISHED

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

Loving by Henry Green FINISHED

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis FINISHED

The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead ON OVERDRIVE

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (reviewed hereFINISHED

Money by Martin Amis (reviewed hereFINISHED

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy FINISHED

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf FINISHED

Naked Lunch by William Burroughs FINISHED

Native Son by Richard Wright FINISHED

Neuromancer by William Gibson ON OVERDRIVE

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro FINISHED

1984 by George Orwell FINISHED

On the Road by Jack Kerouac FINISHED

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey FINISHED

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

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov FINISHED

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster FINISHED

Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion (reviewed hereFINISHED

Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth FINISHED

Possession by A.S. Byatt FINISHED

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene FINISHED

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark FINISHED

Rabbit, Run by John Updike FINISHED

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow FINISHED

The Recognitions by William Gaddis

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett FINISHED

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates FINISHED

The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles FINISHED

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (reviewed hereFINISHED

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson TBR SHELF

The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth TBR SHELF

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (reviewed hereFINISHED

The Sportswriter by Richard Ford FINISHED

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

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway FINISHED

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston FINISHED

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe FINISHED

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee FINISHED

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf FINISHED

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller FINISHED

Ubik by Philip K. Dick ON OVERDRIVE

Under the Net by Iris Murdoch FINISHED

Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry FINISHED

Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

White Noise by Don DeLillo ON OVERDRIVE

White Teeth by Zadie Smith FINISHED

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (reviewed hereFINISHED


Updated October 26, 2023. This is a repost of the list I first posted back in 2009. The links needed refreshing. 

1 comment :

  1. I'm way behind you -- though, like any similar list, it's going to have points of contention. I.E, for Faulkner, everyone lists Light in August and pretty much leaves it there. For me, his best book is Absalom, Absalom. It seems to sum up everything he was writing about over all those years. I'd like to count Go Down, Moses and put that as number two.


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