mailer and maugham’s favourites


Norman Mailer’s Ten Favorite American Novels

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­1. U.S.A., John Dos Passos

2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

3. Look Homeward, Angel, Thomas Wolfe

4. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

5. Studs Lonigan, James T. Farrell

6. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

7. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

8. Appointment in Samarra, John O’Hara

9. The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M. Cain

10. Moby-Dick, Herman Melville

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W. Somerset Maugham’s Ten Greatest Novels



Alfred Eisenstaedt: Maugham reading on Cape Cod.

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In 1948 the British novelist wrote Great Novelists and Their Novels, which contained the following list of what he considered the ten greatest novels ever written. He acknowledged in the introductory essay that "to talk of the ten best novels in the world is to talk nonsense, " but he went on to analyze what made these novels great in a short essay that became required reading for any would-be novelist. It is difficult to believe that anyone embarking on reading these ten books would not come out of the experience a changed person.

1. Tom Jones, Henry Fielding

2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

3. The Red and the Black, Stendhal

4. Old Man Goriot, Honoré de Balzac

5. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

6. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

7. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

8. Moby-Dick, Herman Melville

9. ­War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

10. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky

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—from Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan (eds.), A Passion for Books: A Book Lover’s Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Lore, and Lists on Collecting, Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books (1999)

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2 Comments

  1. 1. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
    2. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
    3. Other People, Martin Amis
    4. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
    5, The Outsider, Albert Camus
    6. Catch 22, Joseph Heller,
    7. Life After God, Douglas Coupland
    8. Despair, Vladimir Nabokov
    9. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
    10. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
    11. Notes from Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky

    • Paul: nice list, but why not add Lolita, Money and Ulysses? Thanks for your comment! And sorry I’m so late to respond — been swamped with work.


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