I have read 60 (or maybe more?) of the ones on the left-side "formal" list. Most of those are from the top 75 or so.
At the top of the list is Ulysses by James Joyce. I liked that book so much that I went to Ireland for a year.
I do truly admire Willa Cather -spare language that paints a complex textured picture.
But ... remember that this list was compiled by Random House - a bunch of old guys - for the Modern Classics series. And they did not tell us their criteria - so I am not inclined to accept this list unequivocally.
Why are all the authors American or English? (And yet nothing by Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen, the Brontes, Pearl Buck?)
Clearly this list does not reflect world literature - it is just the favorites of a few old white American guys, and, for the most part, I would ignore it. There is far more left off the list than is on it.
And the reader's favorite list
Well, when I was 25, I though Ayn Rand was the tops. But then I realized her premise is to destroy the planet in the name of progress, so I rejected her.
When I was 35, I liked Robert Heinlein and his science operas, but then I outgrew him, also. Why is there so much science fiction on this list? I like sci-fi, but I wonder why so many readers find it among the best literature (I should say that to me, literature should be reflective of the human condition, not human fantasy.)
I cannot even comment on Stephen King being on this list.
I love books but don't read that many anymore. I think I read by average 2-4 books a year. I also have in my hands quite a number of books (mostly from library) but I tend to read only some small parts of them like one chapter or few pages here and there. My favorite authors from the randomhouse list are H. Miller, Saul Bellow, D. H. Lawrence and Nabokov. Of them all I like Bellow most. From other then English literature I admire Dostoyewski. Other books I like: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter Thompson ( I hope I spell it right), Jerzy Kosinski's Painted Bird and Hermit from 69th street ( Kosinski belongs to the big league in my opinion) Also Eva Hoffman's Lost in Translation.
Okay I saw almost all of these as movies...does that count. It's not that I don't like to read. When I was young and discovered the library, I would go weekly,pick up as much as I could carry or they would allow to loan out and soon had read everything in the childrens section so they allowed me to go to the adult section. Yet all my books I read, ask me names of characters, authors, I do not remember. Only the story. I also never was into heavy stuff as War and Peace etc. I do remeber reading Rich man Poor man. Im sure you guys probably don't consider that a top 100 to read but I enjoyed it.
Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like.
"The Modern Library's panel, a division of Random House, included Cerf, Daniel J. Boorstin, A.S. Byatt, Shelby Foote, Vartan Gregorian, Edmund Morris, John Richardson, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., William Styron and Gore Vidal -- seven men and one woman. "
But the article reminded me of Toni Morrison Song of Solomon and other titles - truly a wonderful writer.
Why? Both - writing and living against many odds especially in a time when women were allowed to do much less than they are today; a dynamic sense of place in their writing. At first glance, it seems that Cather went on to do much more with her writing than Sandoz... However, Sandoz accumulated a body of nonfiction work that deals with the Great Plains.
GM If you like Cather and Sandoz ( I do too!), have you tried Mary Clearman Blew (All but the Waltz) and Kim Barnes (titles seem to escape me this morning - sorry)? I reccommend them both. And Jaga if you are reading this - both are from Idaho! Blew writes about Montana and Barnes writes about Idaho. I also reccomend Ivan Doig (English Creek and This House of Sky) as well.
For anybody interested in immigrant experience (in that case Polish one from Krakow in Canada) I highly recommend Eva Hoffman's book. A must read for any relocated person!!
What happens to language when a person changes country? The author vividly describes the loss of language, from everyday words, the ability to hold an audience of friends with a story. An outgoing, garrulous person is reduced to monosyllabic watcher.
Froza, I have the Hoffman book on my pile of to be read books. At the moment I am reading Polish House by Sikorski. I am finding House to be a wonderful - I love the way he weaves the restoration of the manor house with polish history. Has anyone read Polsih House? I think it was published as Dom Polska in Poland and as Full Circle in the states.