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Greatest Novel of All-Time

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by EStreetJoe, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. tonysoprano

    tonysoprano Member

    My vote would be "Lonesome Dove"
  2. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    This is, indeed, a fascinating feeling. I'm starting to get old enough where I can now read a book I first read 15 or 20 years ago. And yes, reactions do change. In some cases, quite a bit.

    But it's thrilling when your initial feelings hold up.
  3. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    I'm much the same way, at least in terms of how I don't read novels.

    I read a ton, but it's almost exclusively non-fiction history stuff. Fuck, I can endlessly fascinate myself just reading random shit on Wikipedia.

    I've never had any interest whatsoever in fiction, which is bizarre because I have a major appreciation for it in another arts, especially film.
  4. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    You aren't the only one. I just don't like Catcher in the Rye at all.

    A few people mentioned that Faulkner should be on the list, but nobody suggested a particular novel of his. I read a few of them all in one summer for a class (huge mistake on my part. Faulkner is not something to read when you have to go quickly), and I'm not sure which I'd put up there.

    Regarding Moby Dick, I get that there was some point to all the other crap in the book, but Melville needed a damn editor in the worst way. I absolutely love some parts of it, but others had me wanting to invent a time machine just to go back and kick his ass.
  5. Dash 7

    Dash 7 Member

    I suppose this is as good a place as any for my first post.

    Heretic alert, but many of the classics don't quite do it for me. I'm sure it has something to do with my age (24), but most of my favorite novels are fairly recent. I would say my favorite novel is Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. Which is interesting, because it is an inherently religious work of art, and I am very much not religious.

    I find myself gravitating towards non-fiction more often recently. Either sports writing or learning about science and nature.
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I like modern fiction, too, but what I love about the classics is this reminder that our human experiences - emotions, relationships, challenges - did not begin yesterday. That we share so much with our ancestors, even the ancients. It can be quite humbling.
  7. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Who would win a fight between Wonder Woman and Beta Ray Bill?
  8. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Postwar American 'best' still has to be 'Lolita.' Maybe.

    Here's a question that's easier/harder:

    What's the 'best' American novel of the 21st century? (NB: neither 'Infinite Jest', '96, nor 'Underworld', '97, are eligible. Depending how you count centuries, neither is 'Kavalier and Clay', '00.)
  9. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Best novel since 2000 contenders, in order of preference:

    The Corrections
    Cloud Atlas
    The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao
    Olive Kitteridge
    The Road
    The Yiddish Policeman's Union
    On Beauty
    The Namesake
  10. waterytart

    waterytart Active Member

    I have read or hope to read most of those. I haven't and won't read The Road, because of an aversion to dystopian literature. I'm curious if you think that quirk would disqualify Cloud Atlas for me, DD.
  11. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    I'll add Little Children to the list.
  12. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    That's interesting, Az. I liked Little Children a great deal and think it's Perrotta's best work. (The final scene/lines are perfect.) I think it's a beautiful slice of suburban angst and melancholy -- and I think you could certainly make the case that's an important aspect of modern American life to ponder -- but your might be the first time I've seen someone argue it deserves a seat at the table among the great works of the decade.

    I don't necessarily disagree, I just haven't given it proper consideration in that context.

    A lot of people would demand Empire Falls make this short list, but I felt like that book (for all it's grandiose ambition) left me a little unsatisfied. Both Nobody's Fool and Staight Man were better, IMO.

    Tart, Cloud Atlas is unlike any fiction written in the last 50 years. Mitchell has an incredible mind. It's not really dystopian literature, so to speak. It's more of a creative writing experiment in mimicry that somehow blows your mind when it's over. The dystopian section was actually my favorite, and it doesn't occur until the middle section of the book.

    A Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet might actually be a better book, if you want to give Mitchell a chance. But the experimental nature of Cloud Atlas is pretty amazing.
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