Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Penguin UK Best 100 Books

What? No Spice Girls biographies? Penguin UK has compiled its list of the 100 greatest books.

Here are some snippets from their opinion:

THE BEST JOURNEYS

On the Road, Jack Kerouac
The Odyssey, Homer
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

THE BEST CRAZIES

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
The Diary of a Madman, Nikolai Gogol
Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Notes From Underground, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

THE BEST SEX

Story of the Eye, Georges Bataille
A Spy in the House of Love, Anaïs Nin
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D. H. Lawrence
Venus In Furs, Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch
The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer

THE BEST REBELS

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X
The Outsider, Albert Camus
Animal Farm, George Orwell
The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Les Misérables, Victor Hugo

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9 comments:

jenni said...

I agree with most of those choices -- at least with the ones I've read. I always loved Animal Farm, it was one of the first novels I read, I think I was maybe twelve. What I love about it now isn't the same thing as what i loved about it then -- I love it now because it's a book a kid and an adult can read and still appreciate -- that's freakin hard to do!

Lee Herrick said...

Very true. Kind of like Tolkien. I love Orwell, too, and I was especially glad that Kesey and Dostoyevsky's books were there.

Lyle Daggett said...

I like a lot of the books on the list, though one thing that disappointed me about it was how heavily it leaned toward European and U.S. writers.

Also, except for the Iliad and the Odyssey, I didn't spot any poetry books on the list.

A half dozen books that would be on my list, and aren't on the Penguin list, just off the top of my head:

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

The Story of the Stone (also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber) by Cao Xueqin (or Ts'ao Hsueh-ch'in)

Njal's Saga, author unknown (medieval prose epic of Iceland)

Popol Vuh, author unknown

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Canto General by Pablo Neruda

Midaregami (Tangled Hair) by Yosano Akiko

Lee Herrick said...

True, Lyle. It reminds me of how Major League Baseball calls its championship the "World Series," when in fact there are only one or two teams from Canada; otherwise it's purely North America only. These lists unfortunately revolve around publisher dollars.

But yes, Canto General would make my own list, as would Neruda's Book of Questions and Residence on Earth. I would also put Maxine Hong Kingston's Woman Warrior and the poems of So Chong Ju on the list. And no Octavio Paz?

Jenny Boully said...

Thanks for the well wishes for my trip to Thailand! I was an amazing time. Seems like the groupings/subject headings for the Penguin books are more about marketing than anything else. But that's publishing for you.

Sheryl said...

I don't have time to read the list carefully, but I have to say I like their categories, especially "best crazies" and "best sex".

Maybe that's about marketing too. I mean about the short attention span.

Thanks, Lee!

Lee Herrick said...

Jenny, I'm glad Thailand was good. I was there about five years ago and really enjoyed it. The food is unreal.

Sheryl, I liked the categories, too. I wonder what books bloggers would come up with under those titles!

Kimberly said...

ooooh perfect timing as i swear i'm going to the library soon!

Michael Parker said...

Very interesting! So much for thinking I'm caught up on reading...