Thursday, August 07, 2003

The Forgotten Ones

So, to recap, hereís my list of the 10 books left off the lists of the 100 best of the 20th century:

1. The Hearing Trumpet, Leonora Carrington
2. In watermelon Sugar, Richard Brautigan
3. Radio Free Albemuth, Philip K. Dick
4. Siddhartha, Herman Hesse
5. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
6. Another Roadside Attraction, Tom Robbins
7. Labyrinths, Jorge Luis Borges
8. The Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll Pataphysician, Alfred Jarry
9. The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
10. Illuminatus!, Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea

My friend and regular correspondent, Jason offered an alternative list, though with the caveat that these sorts of lists are highly flexible and are apt to change from day to day.

1. Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut
2. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
3. Radio Free Albemuth, Philip K. Dick
4. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
5. Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
6. 60 Stories, Donald Barthelme
7. Mason & Dixon, Thomas Pynchon
8. Steppenwol, Herman Hesse
9. Transparent Things, Vladimir Nabokov
10. Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Heck, I made a substitution or two along the way and while writing the reviews, thought of a dozen more that I could have mentioned in their place. Best Of lists are, by their nature, subjective. I donít think anyone but the most egregious egomaniac would dispute this fact.

You may have noticed we both included Radio Free Albemuth, which I suppose makes us Dick heads. His list has Mason & Dixon, while mine almost had The Crying of Lot 49. I just thought it didnít fit into the top ten. Itís certainly in the top twenty though, along with Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed and another Vonnegut classic, the Sirens of Titan.

The great thing is that there is such a wealth of wonderful literature from the 20th century that this list could go on forever. So far the 21st century isnít shaping up too hot but hey, itís just started and I havenít published my novel yet, so thereís still hope.


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