The Greatest Books – 21 for 2011

I love books and like lists.  As we roll into a new year, I thought I’d mention a list I came across recently and the top 21 books that are placed there.

The list may be located on a website entitled The Greatest Books.  Shane Sherman took 43 “best of” lists (such as Boston Public Library, New York Public Library, Great Books Foundation, Harvard Bookstore, National Book Foundation… you get the idea) and generated a website to track the lists and keep track of those read.  Shane was kind enough to share the list with the rest of us.  You can see the entire list and links to the “best of” lists at The Greatest Books.

I’ll list the top 21 to read as we enter 2011, but please go the The Greatest Books site to check it out for yourself.  I won’t include brief descriptions or links, since the site is such a wonderful resource.  Please check it out for yourself here: The Greatest Books.

It really is a remarkable work and runs 21 pages with 1005 books listed.  I’m sure many people would argue with the placement of many novels on the list, but that is exactly what makes “best of” book lists fun (at least for me).  There is also a  search function on the site, but I was disappointed to discover that it simply displays the novel, not its placement on the list – just about my only disappointment with the site – it didn’t even bother me (too much… for too long) that my favorite novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany is only #616 on this list (not even in the top half… really?).

Here are the top 21:

#21 – Moby Dick by Herman Melville

#20 – The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

#19 – Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

#18 – On the Road by Jack Kerouac

#17 – To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolfe

#16 – The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

#15 – Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

#14 – The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

#13 – One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

#12 – Middlemarch by George Eliot

#11 – The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

#10 – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

#9 – Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

#8 – In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

#7 – War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

#6 – 1984 by George Orwell

#5 – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

#4 – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

#3 – Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

#2 – Ulysses by James Joyce

#1 – Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Enjoy!

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One response to “The Greatest Books – 21 for 2011

  1. Don, it’s nice to see you back! Hope the new year is good to you. Well, I just read War & Peace this year although it won’t be making my fave list. Lolita is a favorite of mine. As for Owen Meany, I’m trying, really I am, but I’m having a hard time getting into it. I’m only about 150 pages in right now so I’ll keep you posted.

    Hi Stacybuckeye, Thanks for checking in. I just finished my first read of Frankenstein – so different than any movie version I’ve seen and so much better. Our family went to see Gulliver’s Travels for Christmas, so my son and I are reading it now to see how different the book is from the movie version(s). I hope your year is off to a great start. And… hang in there with Owen Meany.

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