Friday, March 26, 2010

The New Classics

So I have no personal inspiration, I gank other people's. Don't judge me, it works out. I saw a super keen website of book reviews that I now adore. As it turns out, she is reading the New Classics from a list by Entertainment Weekly, posted back in 2008 - there must be some new classics by now, right?

For whatever it's worth, I thought I would go through and see which ones I had read. Sadly, I have no actual recollection of WHAT I read, just that I've read it. So moving forward, perhaps, I'll review new books as I read them. Perhaps not, but there's my random thought of the morning.

I read a lot. To what end? Clearly I need to read more.

Le list (and some thoughts in red (and yeah, I could have given links, but you have Google. Use it)):
1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006) READ IT. Woof heavy. Neat writing style.
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000) READ IT. Who hasn’t, really?
3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987) READ IT. Reading dialects gets tiring after awhile.
4. The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991) READ IT. Had another Spiegelman book for awhile, In
the Shadow of No Towers, about 9/11. Both provoking reads.
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997) I TRIED, I just couldn’t get interested in the book.
May try again because hey, the movie was pretty great.
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997) READ IT. Also saw the movie. Wow. That is all.
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998) READ IT. This was a tough read for me. The writing style
was really dense and hard to follow, but worth it by the time I finished.
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87) READ IT. Eh.
14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000) I TRIED, not as in I gave up, but I just never got into it. I think it did some weird split thing in the middle? Worth trying again.
16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986) READ IT. Along with most of Atwood’s
other offerings. Swoon.
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988) I TRIED but OMG this was
impossible for me – I don’t think I made it more than a chapter in.
18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998) READ IT. This is a classic? What are the
criteria? Not to say I didn’t love it, I did. But classic? This is my raging disbelief.
21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000) I’ve read all of his fiction, I have to read his non-fiction
too? Jeeze.
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985) READ IT sometime when I was a teenager. I have NO recollection of the story. I think there were cowboys...and whores.
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989) READ IT. I have an unnatural affection for Amy Tan
books. But it’s probably because of the culture she writes about more than her writing.
26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984) It’s definitely on my list.
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997) READ IT. Loved it. It’s FABulous.
29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001) READ IT. Oh, Anne Patchett, I don’t know why I love
you, but I do.
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005) I think this sat on my shelf for awhile and then tottered off to the used book sale, unread.
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002) READ IT. Her other books should be so good. Oy.
35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000) READ IT. Want to read them again. The
world was so engrossing I’d like to go back for a visit.
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996) READ IT. All of them, repeatedly. You should too.
47. World's Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985) READ IT. I don’t remember a lick about this book, but
I do know I was on a serious E.L. Doctorow kick in the mid 90’s.
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998) READ IT. Sharon likes Kingsolver better than I do, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001) I TRIED! Picked it up a few times, I may do
51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992) Do we have to if we saw the movie?
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006) READ IT. Honestly I picked it up because it was
about a West Virginia girl. It was so good – like a friendly kick in the teeth. Painful at times,
but, you know, friendly. Great writing.
56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003) I saw the movie and I WANT to read the book. I
have A Thousand Splendid Suns on the shelf waiting right now.
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003) READ IT.
Listened to it, rather. I don’t know if I love Mark Haddon, but I was crushing for a bit.
73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989) READ IT. Among many other John Irving
masterpieces. Did they limit this list to one book per author? Tsk.
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989) Haven’t read this one, but I did read Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro and if that’s any indicator, I should read this one too.
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002) READ IT. Listened to it. Enjoyed it and really want to see
the movie adaptation. There were things about the book I didn’t love, but as a total package it
was REALLY well done.
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987) Saw the movie?
87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995) Saw the movie and read some other book by Hornby
about suicide. I like his style.
89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003) READ IT. A classic? Really?
97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
98. The Predators' Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004) Skimmed it. I laughed, but that skim
is all it’s going to get.


Kate said...

Some I agree are modern classics like Joy Luck Club (if you like that, I just finished Empress by Shan Sa, here's my review), but some like Eat Love Pray strike me as just skimming the bestseller list instead of post by literary value.

Jariris said...

Kate, so true. I'm curious as to what makes a "New Classic" in the mind of the general public.

I think we hold ourselves to a bit higher standard than we are given credit for!

Annapants! said...

Love hearing your thoughts...

#1 favorite Amy Tan book...
The Hundred Secret Senses (1995)
#2... The Bonesetter's Daughter (2001)

missbuck said...

while we're talking about Amy Tan, who read Saving Fish From Drowning? Really different kind of story, in my opinion. and still full of the stuff that makes Amy Tan, well, Amy Tan.

Jariris said...

You're right Missbuck, about Saving Fish from Drowning. Not like Amy Tan, but SO like Amy Tan. I liked the point of view of the storytelling.