Another Saturday quiz or two

Someone has come out with a list of 99 of the 100 best novels in the English language, presented alongside a ten-question quiz about their authors and circumstances of publication.  I believe I've read 27 of them, though some were so long ago that I may have confused them with something else.  Others seemed familiar, but probably only from movie treatments.  Some I didn't care for, and wouldn't have finished if they hadn't been assigned to me in school, such as "The Great Gatsby."  One of them I happen to be re-reading with pleasure at this very moment.  As for the associated quiz, I totally bombed it:  2 out of 10.


Grim said...

In a lifetime of reading, I've read only about a dozen of this "100 greatest" in full. I've 'read at' and disliked a number beyond that.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I've read 21 (very strong on the children's and YA), browsed 14. I had not heard of many.

I couldn't find the quiz.

It's an impossible exercise, of course. Most fun to read? Most likely to be life-changing? Best style? Most influence on other writers/intellectual history/historical events? Most quoted?

Then there is the tendency to make the list itself comprehensive. Are there enough women writers here? Did we represent the late 19th C fairly? This makes the list the focus, instead of the worth of any individual work. An effort is made to pick one best work of an author. What if an author wrote six of the best, and another wrote four?

It's not a list that has a solid value; it is a thought-provoker. Which is perhaps better.

james said...

27. Gatsby is one that was assigned--maybe I was too young to appreciate it, but I've never had any interest in returning--whereas I went back to Pride and Prejudice and liked it. Some others are by authors I dislike (e.g. Kerouac). As AVI says, there's no central theme to the collection.

On another site where the topic du jour was "great books" I proposed that there was a broader category of "worthwhile books" that we couldn't know yet were great, but which were useful in stretching the mind or the heart, or in illustrating wisdom. That would be an interesting, and possibly very lengthy, list.

Texan99 said...

Apparently they chose as one of the rules that there would be only one book per author.

The quiz link disappeared, but I finally found it again:

There were plenty of books here I'd never heard of, even a handful of authors whose names didn't ring a bell. There was a surprising amount of chicklit. The list compiler seemed to be going for the comfy read more than scoring status points or acknowledging technical tours de force. I appreciate that. Cracked me up to see "Three Men in a Boat."

I could put together a list of 100 of my own favorite books, but I wouldn't dream of calling it the best books ever, because I'm nowhere near well-enough read to make such a broad judgment.

One of these days I'll have to read "The Way We Live Now." It seems like it would be right up my alley, and if a guy who likes "Jane Eyre" and "Emma" and "Middlemarch" and "Lolita" and "As I Lay Dying" enjoys it, I might too.

Texan99 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grim said...

Speaking of Hemingway, who does get a book in here, I just read The Old Man and the Sea for the first time last week. It didn't turn up on my high school reading lists, but I discovered I owned a copy that I must have picked up somewhere on the intention of reading it eventually.

It was worthwhile. Interesting book.

Texan99 said...

There's another one I've heard about all my life but never read.

I found "The Way We Live Now" online in a Project Gutenberg incarnation, and am reading it now.