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Ranking the 1st 10 Books…

December 3, 2009

Ten books in, I’m not quite sure I knew what I was signing up for when I started this blog. I know for certain that I would never have bought any of these books, or read them, had I not seen the Modern Library list and decided to do this, so for sure this challenge has opened my eyes to new literary vistas.

I think I also had very high expectations for this list….maybe too high. Several times I’ve begun a book on this list, expecting (hoping?) it will be this unbelievable tome of classic literature that will change my life forever, and then I’ve ended up disappointed and disillusioned by the end of it, always asking the same question: How the he** did this book get on a list like this? There have GOT to be better books out there from the last century than Under the Net!!!

What’s been interesting is going to other sites like and and reading other people’s reviews of the books after I’ve read them. It’s so crazy how the same book can evoke such different responses in people. Here’s a quote from a reader reviewing The Magus on “It changed my life in so many ways and without my realising, pushed me into the career that I’m in. I’ve visited it again and again so many times.” Not only do I shiver to think about what career path The Magus would inspire someone to start (cult member? porn star? flight attendant?), but I know for sure the only way I would ever visit The Magus again and again would be to use it as a doorstop. 🙂

Here’s my ranking of the first ten books, from best (1) to worst (10).

1 Tobacco Road
2 Ironweed
3 Sophie’s Choice
4 The Magnificent Ambersons
5 The Postman Always Rings Twice
6 Wide Sargasso Sea
7 The Sheltering Sky
8 The Magus
9 Under the Net
10 The Ginger Man

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