Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What I Read: The Moviegoer and Classics Club Update

Access to Stockholm University's library has done a lot for my Classics Club goals. This might finally be the year I finish my list! (Why do I feel like I've been saying that every year since 2011 or 2012?)

I don't have a lot to say about The Moviegoer. I liked Percy's writing and didn't mind the meandering non-plot of things, but I guess I'm not adept at understanding human subtlety because I'm not sure what happened between Binx and his aunt at the end, or how I was supposed to feel about it?

This was an interesting book to read coming off The Day of the Locust, another book that remains first and foremost a character study until a rather tumultuous climax near the end. Both books center on men and their relationship to women, but the difference between them is that The Moviegoer manages to avoid the crudest, most uninspired stereotypes. Arguably it turns around and simply engages in slightly more nuanced takes on other, less overtly hostile stereotypes (the Overbearing Family Matriarch, the Mentally Unstable Manic Pixie Dream Girl), but time for a controversial opinion: if you're a competent writer, and can create an interesting/memorable/unique character nonetheless founded in a trope or stereotype, I'll let you off the hook. The Moviegoer's Kate is (moderately) interesting; The Day of the Locust's Faye is not.

Still, I didn't connect to it the same way that other people, for example Book Slut, got from it, so . . . meh.

What is more interesting for me is the controversy surrounding The Moviegoer's National Book Award. Nothing like good ol' fashioned awards drama!

I suppose now is as good a time as any to look more closely at my Classics Club / TIME Top 100 list!

Last I posted this, I had finished 79 books. As of today, I'm at 96, including the tweaks and changes I've made over the years.

Books Left to Go

1. An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser (I might substitute Sister Carrie in for this one, since it's available for free on Amazon Kindle.)

2. The Berlin Stories, Christopher Isherwood (I just can't find this book anywhere, and I've already seen Cabaret, so maybe I should take this off the list and include something else instead?)

3. The Man Who Loved Children, Christina Stead (I'm slowly reading an ebook version right now, and I'm not impressed, but Adam over at Memento Mori really loved this book and I trust his taste, so . . . I'm conflicted!)

4. Play it As it Lays, Joan Didion (This one is also impossible to find, it seems!)

5. Native Son, Richard Wright (I have no excuse for this one. None.)

The Whole List
(with links to reviews when possible!)

1. The Adventures of Augie March, Saul Bellow
2. All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren
3. American Pastoral, Philip Roth
4. An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser
5. Animal Farm, George Orwell
6. Appointment in Samarra, John O'Hara
7. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume
8. The Assistant, Bernard Malamud
9. At Swim-Two-Birds, Flann O'Brien
10. Atonement, Ian McEwan
11. Beloved, Toni Morrison

12. The Berlin Stories, Christopher Isherwood
13. The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
14. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
15. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
16. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
17. The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Thornton Wilder

18. The Radiance of the King, Camara Laye
19. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
20. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

18 / 20

21. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
22. The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron
23. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
24. The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
25. Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Patton

26. The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West
27. Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather
28. A Death in the Family, James Agee

29. The House in Paris, Elizabeth Bowen
30. A House for Mr Biswas V. S. Naipaul
31. The Mandarins, Simone de Beauvoir
32. The House of the Spirits, Isabell Allende
33. The French Lieutenant's Woman, John Fowles
34. Martha Quest, Doris Lessing
35.Giovanni's Rooms, James Baldwin
36. The Gravedigger's Daughter, Joyce Carol Oates
37. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
38. Please Look After Mother, Shin Kyung-sook
39. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
40. The Jungle, Upton Sinclair

20 / 20

41. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
42. Native Speaker, Lee Chang-rae
43. The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri

44. Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson
45. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
46. I, Claudius, Robert Graves
47. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
48. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
49. Light in August, William Faulkner
50. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
51. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
52. Lord of the Flies, William Golding
53. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
54. Kokoro, Soseki Natsumi
55. Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis

56. The Man Who Loved Children, Christina Stead
57. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
58. Money, Martin Amis

59. The Moviegoer, Walker Percy
60. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

19 / 20

61. Naked Lunch, William Burroughs
62. Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco

63. Native Son, Richard Wright
64. Neuromancer, William Gibson
65. Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
66. 1984, George Orwell
67. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
68. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
69. The Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosinski

70. The Last Word, Hanif Kureishi
71. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
72. Play It As It Lays, Joan Didion
73. We Need New Names, NoViolet Buwayo
74. Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
75. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark
76. Rabbit, Run, John Updike
77. Ragtime, E.L. Doctorow

78. The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene
79. Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett
80. Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates

18 / 20

81. The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles
82. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
83. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

84. Possession, AS Byatt
85. The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
86. Your Republic is Calling You, Kim Young-ha
87. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, John le Carre
88. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
89. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
90. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
91. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
92. Sons and Lovers, D. H. Lawrence

93. Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
94. Ubik, Philip K. Dick
95. Under the Net, Iris Murdoch
96. Villa Incognito, Tom Robbins
97. Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

98. White Noise, Don DeLillo
99. White Teeth, Zadie Smith
100. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys

20 / 20

95 / 100

So, there you have it! Do you have any suggestions when it comes for the books I'm thinking about replacing? A Tale for the Time Being is definitely under consideration, but other than that, I'm not sure. What should I add to my list?

No comments:

Post a Comment