Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Best. List. Ever

A link post! First ever, I think. Ah well, lame news aggregator culling descends upon even the Finest of Citizen Journalists. (That's a joke, by the way.)

I simply wished to draw your attention to the Time Magazine Hottest 100 list of the 100 best eng-lang novels from 1923 to now. Ya know I love this kind of rubbish. It's so healthy to let off a bit of steam occasionally.

But really, don't waste any time on that link - just glance it over cursorily enough to glean the context in which to fully appreciate this brilliant, twinkling compilation of one-star Amazon reviews of the aforementioned best books ever.

A sample:

The Great Gatsby (1925)
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

"It grieves me deeply that we Americans should take as our classic a book that is no more than a lengthy description of the doings of fops."

More where that came from - not enough more, though. Matthew Baldwin of Defective Yeti is responsible.


Kent said...

Oh dear. I think my brain escaped while I was asleep and wrote that one for "Tropic of Cancer".

Nice to know some people have their feet firmly on the ground.

Lucy Tartan said...

mmm, yeah. I don't disagree with the sentiment of some of them - it's the idea of reviewing a book that you read four pages of that cracks me up.

Mel said...

Laura, have you seen this on the Guardian's Culture Vulture blog? It's about books you buy to impress other people, but never end up reading yourself.

R H said...

I take this rubbish seriously only in the sense that I failed to laugh at its attempt to be funny. I found it boring. Useless.

The Great Gatsby isn't about the doings of fops at all; it's about their misdoings: a crummy lot of people in jazz-age crime-ridden 1920's America. The extraordinary thing is it took thirty years for critics to realise what it was: a short masterpiece. Well maybe they didn't want to know. Some still don't.

Henry Miller started swearing in the 1930's. Tropic of Cancer was published about 1934. Seventy years later starry-eyed ingenues are believing vulgarity means talent. They're wrong. You can delete every bit of it from T.O.C. and it's still a marvellous book.
Henry could write.

jacqueline said...

I too disagree with the comment about The Great Gatsby! It is most certainly NOT 'a lengthy description of the doings of fops'. In fact, it's quite short.

Also, I found 'The Cherry Orchard' quite Russian.

The Student said...

Can I put in a vote for No Logo as the book most people read 100 pages of and then die of boredom? I am by no means a booksnob, but that thing bred my stupid.

Glad to see that On The Road is there, personal favourite.

The Student said...

*bored me*

R H said...

I find the name 'Jacqueline' very French.

I knew a drag queen named Jacqueline. He was very West Brunswick.

R H said...

He had all the allure of a Salvation Army soup kitchen.

So do you.

Lucy Tartan said...

RH, you're a nasty old sod. Fortunately there's more to life than excelling at allurement.

Mel, thanks for that link. I'm not going to think too hard about why you might have sent it to me ;)

Anyone in the habit of buying books solely or mostly to impress other people might like to know that LTU library recycles glossy dust jackets of new additions to the collection by using them as bin liners in the library rubbish bins. One could always go round collecting the wrappers and putting them round old Readers Digest volumes bought in bulk from the op shop.

Lucy Tartan said...

"bred my stupid" has a ring to it I rather think.

jacqueline said...

Fancy! A comments fight. I've always wanted to be in one. And typical of L to host it - so provocative.

Speaking of my French name, I work for the French; they call me ZhaCLEEN. My other boss calls me Jacques. He's Australian and finds this amusing.

Shall we rag on the French now?

R H said...

Stories are the first things you read, and if you're lucky you'll want to keep at it, all your life. Because that's how you meet the most interesting people.
I've nothing nice to say about the French, but Louis Ferdinand Celine happened to be a Frenchman, and he is the most astonishing writer I've known. I don't say anything is ever perfect, but some passages in Journey To The End Of The Night couldn't be better. I just don't see how.