Although I read a fair amount, I have gotten out of the habit of reading novels. I rarely read any contemporary literature, or lately, any novels at all. I thought I might promise myself to attempt ten novels next year. I'm probably most attracted to the classics, so I started surfing the 100 best lists. Modern Library has a list, or rather two lists, one by a panel of supposed experts and the other by the public. The public list is pretty much a joke, as it was obviously hacked by a few flavors of nutcase. Their top ten has four by Ayn Rand and three by L. Ron Hubbard. My skepticism about Hubbard is founded purely on hearsay, but I did force myself a couple of Rand's garbage books.

I can't be too thrilled with the choices of the pros, either. Ulysses leads the list and more Joyce follows not far behind. James Joyce was a genius, no doubt, but his attempt to transcend narrative form was a bad idea that didn't work. I've read a number of books, by no means a majority, on both lists, so I suppose I might pick some more.

I would be interested in recommendations, preferably with a short endorsement. some of my own past favorites: Tom Jones, War and Peace, Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice, Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer.


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