Literature Favorite Novels

To those of you voracious readers who might be getting tired of the "serious stuff", I recommend leafing through one of Tom Sharpe's novels.

Warning : some of the anecdotes can be crudely farcical (or just plain crude, for that matter). Do not expect anything "classical". His novels do not rank among any "top 100" list.

This said, the English itself is blithe, supple, rich, and unlike some of the contents, elegant. And, more importantly, it's hilarious, insane stuff!

I'd suggest The Throwback or Wilt as appetizers. Ever so British!!
 
I know that I am wronging many great authors - classical and otherwise - and their works.
This is an incomplete and personal list, but if I had to bring titles of the twentieth century literature that actually left me something important inside, I would definitely quote


Andrić, The Bridge on the Drina

Buzzati, A Love Affair

García Márquez, Memories of My Melancholy Whores

Eco, The Name of the Rose

Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

Márai, Embers


 
The Possessed - Dostoevsky
War and Peace - Tolstoy
Crime And Punishment - Dostoevsky
The Way We live Now - Anthony Trollope
The Go Between - L.P. Hartley
The Return Of The Native - Thomas Hardy
The Falls - Joyce Carol Oates
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles
Far From The Madding Crowd- Thomas Hardy
 
I've read and enjoyed many of the books on the lists above, and was pretentious enough as a teen to read the novels of Samuel Beckett. But recently I've been intrigued by the free content available on Kindle. This has allowed me to find and read many of the lesser novels of the 19th and early 20th century; London, Stevenson, Burroughs, Morris, Haggard, Marryat. While not great literature, I enjoy these because of the insight they give to their times. It is also interesting to imagine the reaction of a midwestern American boy to the strange adventures of a Tarzan, a Pimpernel, or a Bengal Lancer.
 
Now, if I had the option of starting a new thread, it would be "Secret Sins," the trashy novels you love to read even though they're not great literature. I'm a ****** for naval topics so Patrick O'Brien is my sin. LOR is the sin I'd prefer my wife didn't know about (yes, she mocks me).
 
Now, if I had the option of starting a new thread, it would be "Secret Sins," the trashy novels you love to read even though they're not great literature. I'm a ****** for naval topics so Patrick O'Brien is my sin. LOR is the sin I'd prefer my wife didn't know about (yes, she mocks me).

LOR isn't a literary sin. If that is then so are the Narnia Chronicles. :)

The "trashy" novels I like to read are detective stories/crime procedurals.

I like Elizabeth George, P.D. James, Tana French, Stieg Larson, Gianrico Carofiglio, Antonio Manzini, Andrea Camilleri

I also like historical fiction and spy novels of the LeCarre type.
 
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I love detective novels, especially the classics: Christie, Sayers, Ngaio Marsh. I love that their characters are so real, even Whimsey. Of course I've read all of Conan Doyle and the early detective fiction of Poe. I must admit I'm not much good at solving the mystery, though I have figured out that with Christie, it is almost always the least obvious character that did the deed.
 
Dune, originally published in 1965, is the number one best seller on Amazon, due, no doubt, to the release of the movie, of which, as I've said, I'm not excessively fond.

Science fiction is my other guilty passion, and Dune is my favorite science fiction novel. I've read it numerous times, because I think it's dense enough that you don't understand everything, if you ever really can, from a first reading.

My you tube feed turned up this free audio version of it. Those who haven't read it, and even those who have should give it a try.

Dune (1965) by Frank Herbert | Audiobook | Part 1 of 2 - YouTube
 
The Castle by Franz Kafka
Yellow Flowers in the Antipodean Room by Janet Frame
Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
Murphy by Samuel Beckett
 
The Castle by Franz Kafka
Yellow Flowers in the Antipodean Room by Janet Frame
Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
Murphy by Samuel Beckett

What an interesting list; very intriguing!

I haven't read the three I highlighted so I will definitely check them out. I'm afraid the first book of Nabokov's I read was Lolita, and despite the undoubted artistry, the subject matter so put me off that I never read anything else by him.

Your choices for Dickens and Jane Austen are particularly intriguing, given how Mansfield Park, for example, is often considered one of her duller and less nuanced works. If you have the inclination, it would be interesting to know your reasons.
 
I chose one novel per author, but in the case of Kafka, Frame, Dickens and Austen I could have said all of them are favorite novels. I decided to pick titles that are not the obvious ones, but there are others I could just as easily have named.

Janet Frame is New Zealand's best known author since Katherine Mansfield. I like her writing because it has a surreal, poetic quality.

Dickens wrote so many great novels. Martin Chuzzlewit is one of his more comic works, and I particularly like the American chapters based on Dickens own travels around the US during the 1840s.

Mansfield Park was the first Austen novel I read. Fanny may not be the strongest Austen heroine, but I think the novel explores different themes. I found it interesting that she was desperately unhappy when she was first removed from her family and sent to Mansfield Park, but when she later visits her family in Portsmouth she seems dismayed by the chaotic and noisy household of her parents and is glad to return to Mansfield Park.

One thing I like about about Nabokov's Pale Fire is the inventiveness of writing a novel in the form of footnotes to a poem by an academic colleague. Most of the footnotes have nothing to do with the poem, and their author is an unreliable narrator who is possibly insane.

Murphy is an early comic novel by Samuel Beckett, influenced by his friend James Joyce. I admit I'm not familiar with many of Beckett's later novels that were written in French and apparently tend towards minimalism.
 
I chose one novel per author, but in the case of Kafka, Frame, Dickens and Austen I could have said all of them are favorite novels. I decided to pick titles that are not the obvious ones, but there are others I could just as easily have named.

Janet Frame is New Zealand's best known author since Katherine Mansfield. I like her writing because it has a surreal, poetic quality.

Dickens wrote so many great novels. Martin Chuzzlewit is one of his more comic works, and I particularly like the American chapters based on Dickens own travels around the US during the 1840s.

Mansfield Park was the first Austen novel I read. Fanny may not be the strongest Austen heroine, but I think the novel explores different themes. I found it interesting that she was desperately unhappy when she was first removed from her family and sent to Mansfield Park, but when she later visits her family in Portsmouth she seems dismayed by the chaotic and noisy household of her parents and is glad to return to Mansfield Park.

One thing I like about about Nabokov's Pale Fire is the inventiveness of writing a novel in the form of footnotes to a poem by an academic colleague. Most of the footnotes have nothing to do with the poem, and their author is an unreliable narrator who is possibly insane.

Murphy is an early comic novel by Samuel Beckett, influenced by his friend James Joyce. I admit I'm not familiar with many of Beckett's later novels that were written in French and apparently tend towards minimalism.

Yes, Fanny is definitely not a very strong character, and I don't find as much of Austen's sardonic humor in it, so it's not my favorite Austen novel by far, but the social observation is even clearer than in other Austen novels.

I will definitely take a look at the three selections which are new to me.

Thank you for the explanation; intriguing, as I said. :)
 
Getting into Wally Lamb. Read "I Know This Much Is True" after watching the series of it with Mark Ruffalo. So much better, as usual. Then read She's Come Undone, which I liked even more.

Now I'm reading his much simpler and more upbeat, and SHORTER Christmas story: Wishin' and Hopin'. :)
 

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