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top novels

New addition: The Orphan Master’s Son (#11), by Adam Johnson

1 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
2 Beloved – Toni Morrison
3 To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
4 Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
5 Molloy – Samuel Beckett
6 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
7 Underworld – Don DeLillo
8 Middle Passage – Charles Johnson
9 White Noise – Don DeLillo
10 Middlemarch – George Eliot

11 The Orphan Master’s Son – Adam Johnson
12 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
13 Suttree – Cormac McCarthy
14 Housekeeping – Marilyn Robinson
15 Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
16 The Brother’s Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
17 The Plague – Albert Camus
18 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
19 Darkness at Noon – Arthur Koestler
20 Lord Jim – Joseph Conrad

21 The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
22 The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
23 Native Son – Richard Wright
24 All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
25 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
26 On the Road – Jack Kerouac
27 The Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
28 Ceremony – Leslie Marmon Silko
29 Wolf – Jim Harrison
30 Narcissus and Goldmund – Herman Hesse

31 The Master and Marguerita – Mikhail Bulgakov
32 Blindness – Jose Saramago
33 A House for Mr. Biswas – V. S. Naipaul
34 Written on the Body – Jeanette Winterson
35 The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi)- Herman Hesse
36 The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
37 Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
38 The Intuitionist – Colson Whitehead
39 The Bone People – Keri Hulme
40 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

41 The Tin Drum – Gunter Grass
42 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
43 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Alexander Solzhenitzen
44 Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
45 Motherless Brooklyn – Jonathan Lethem
46 Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
47 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Díaz
48 1984 – George Orwell
49 The Fortress of Solitude – Jonathan Lethem
50 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

51 Old School – Tobias Wolff
52 The Uncomfortable Dead: (what’s missing is missing) – Paco Ignacio Taibo II & Subcommandante Marcos
53 Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
54 Mao II – Don DeLillo
55 Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
56 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
57 The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
58 Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
59 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
60 As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner

61 The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
62 A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
63 Neuromancer – William Gibson
64 For Whom the Bell Tolls – Earnest Hemingway
65 Generation X – Douglass Copeland
66 Brave New World – Aldus Huxley
67 The Chosen – Chaim Potok
68 Doomsday Book – Connie Willis
69 Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
70 Fall on Your Knees – Ann-Marie MacDonald

71 Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
72 The Dog of the South – Charles Portis
73 All the Pretty Horses – Cormac McCarthy
74 Dr. Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
75 The Crying of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon
76 Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
77 Gorky Park – Martin Cruz Smith
78 White Teeth – Zadie Smith
79 The Stone Canal – Ken MacLeod
80 Schizmatrix – Bruce Sterling

81 The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. LeGuin
82 The Loved One – Evelyn Waugh
83 The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
84 The Fall – Albert Camus
85 Vineland – Thomas Pynchon
86 Straight Man – Richard Russo
87 A Small Death in Lisbon – Robert Wilson
88 Disgrace – J. M. Coetzee
89 Kindred – Octavia Butler
90 The Road – Cormac McCarthy

91 The Palace of Dreams – Ismail Kadare
92 The Street – Ann Petry
93 The Feast of Love – Charles Baxter
94 Fear of Flying – Erica Jong
95 Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
96 The Old Man and the Sea – Earnest Hemingway
97 The Star Fraction – Ken MacLeod
98 He, She, and It – Marge Piercy
99 The Dispossessed – Ursula K. LeGuin
100 The Shipping News – E. Annie Proulx

101 The Parable of the Sower – Octavia Butler

Okay, I admit I didn’t want to drop The Parable of the Sower all the way off my list, so this list becomes “top novels,” instead of “100 top novels.”

This begs the question, why not add more than 101? Why not make it 200? or 500? So far, the answer is that I don’t want to spend the time on that. Maybe in the future.


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