26 May 2007

Books that defined their era

The Guardian published a list of fifty books, selected by a panel of booksellers, editors and other (mostly) book-related people, that defined the twentieth century - from three to seven books for each decade, from the 1900s through the 1990s.

They were asking people to vote for the single book "that defined the century," but unfortunately the closing date was 25 May and I didn't find out about it until the 26th. The winner, however, will be announced on 2 June.

The complete list:
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Interpreting Dreams, Sigmund Freud
Kim, Rudyard Kipling

Howards End, EM Forster
The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford
The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry, edited by Jon Silkin
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell

Lady Chatterley's Lover, DH Lawrence
Relativity, Albert Einstein
The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
The Waste Land, TS Eliot
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Brighton Rock, Graham Greene
Right Ho, Jeeves, PG Wodehouse
The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

1984, George Orwell
The Diary of a Young Girl, Ann Frank
The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer
The Outsider, Albert Camus

From Russia With Love, Ian Fleming
Look Back in Anger, John Osborne
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
The Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

Ariel, Sylvia Plath
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Portnoy's Complaint, Philip Roth
Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John le Carré
Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann

Carrie, Stephen King
The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M Persig

A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
Money, Martin Amis
The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe
The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks

Birthday Letters, Ted Hughes
Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby
No Logo, Naomi Klein
The Buddha of Suburbia, Hanif Kureishi

The page linked to above has links to other pages that describe the books and talk about how they were selected.

Looking at the list, I can say that I've read six or seven of them. There are even more than that, that I don't think I've ever heard of....

H/T to Betsy.

1 comment:

Monica Edinger said...

Actually, Betsy picked it up from me, Monica:) And if anyone reading this is interested in attempting to come up with a children's book version of this, stop by!