Monday, June 23, 2008

EW Top 100 New Classics

I was quite thrilled when my issue of Entertainment Weekly arrived in the mail this past week. It's one of my guilty pleasures--a magazine that feeds my pop culture craving. This week's issue is a double issue that offers up the EW staff's top picks of modern classics, movies, TV shows, albums and books that have come out over the last 25 years.

Thom Geier of EW states up front that he expects disagreement with some of their choices. He explains that each of the selections were made with the idea that they have "endured in the public consciousness despite shrugs from academics." They stand out in memory; some pushing the boundaries of what has come before. Regardless of whether we agree or not, it is an interesting list, isn't it? A little bit of everything just about.

Since the EW Top 100 New Classics list (books published between 1983-2008) seems to be making the rounds, I thought I would join in on the fun as well. The titles in bold are ones I have read while those in italics are sitting in my TBR collection waiting to be read.

1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
4. The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)
47. World's Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
98. The Predators' Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)

I noticed several authors I have read made the list, however, not the books of them that I have actually read. Among them being Joyce Carol Oates, Jon Krakauer, Gabriel García Márquez, Edwidge Danticat, and Ann Fadiman. And then there are those I would like to try but which books listed are not ones I actually own (I do own others of their books, however): Haruki Murakami, Charles Frazier, Alice Munro, John le Carré, Ruth Rendell, and David Mitchell.

There are obviously a number of titles missing, ones I might argue should be on the list and others I am still scratching my head over in wonder. What about you? Who do you think should have made the list? Any in particular that raised your eyebrows?


  1. I'll come back to this one, Wendy. Trying to stay awake at 12.35 AM is very tricky now. LOL.

  2. I played along on my blog. I've only read ten - but like you, I've read other works by many of the authors listed.

  3. I too played along on my blog. In all, I think its an interesting mix of stuff. I'm glad to see some nonfiction on the list!

  4. Thanks for sharing. It's an interesting list. I was thrilled to see that His Dark Materials and The Sandman made it! I have to confess that The Da Vinci Code made me raise my eyebrows just for a second, but then I told myself not to be snobbish. I didn't enjoy it much at all, but obviously lots of others did, and it certainly is a memorable book.

    I've read 16 of those. Not very much, but actually more than what's usual for me when it comes to these lists.

  5. Oh goodness! Lot of books to look through. I'm not even sure if I have read them all *grin*...I seen a couple of titles that I'm nodding that have read already. But I may have to come back to this post and take a concentration and clear look at the list, later. Since I'm busy doing other stuff. Thanks for sharing your interesting list :)

    Hope you don't mind but....TAG you're it. It easy one to do, I promise. Take look at my "The 123 Page" meme at my blog :) I fair you have a good day :)

  6. I posted my list Saturday. It's a fun thing to do and to read everyone else's lists:)I was surprised that the Harry Potter choice wasn't the first book and that it wasn't number one

  7. This is not too bad of a list. Some lists make me roll my eyes and gag simultaenously, but this one's OK. Not perfect, but not bad.

  8. Alice - Go to bed! Get some sleep so you will be bright-eyed and full of energy tomorrow! :-)

    Carrie K. - It was interesting to see which works were chosen of the authors I have read.

    Katherine - I was glad to see nonfiction on the list too. It's nice to see some variety even if I don't agree with all of the choices.

    Nymeth - The Da Vinci Code has earned a spot because of the controversy surrounding it, I think. LOL I still think it's all so amusing, the fuss that was made over that book.

    I was glad to see graphic novels make the list--the definitely deserve a place in history.

    Julia - You better get started so you can read them all! ;-)

    Thank you for the tag! I will probably play along on Friday.

    Tracy - It is fun to see what others have read and have to say about the list. Harry Potter has been influential. I am surprised that The Road made #1. I haven't read it yet, but I am sure I'll sun find out what all the fuss is about.

    Bybee - The list was definitely made by a different type of people than most of these lists are put together by. It's nice to see some books get recognized that might not have been otherwise.

  9. I've seen this list a lot recently on people's blogs and I wonder--are these ranked in order? I find it fascinating that The Road is ranked number one! Guess I better get on that. :) I haven't gone through the actual list to see what is "missing" but we all have our opinions, right? I recommend Cold Mountain by Frazier--Thirteen Moons was written just as beautifully but the story just isn't as compelling (for me anyway).

  10. An interesting list. I agree that this one is better than some, but still wonder why some would be considered "classics" and not forgotten in 10 years. Reminds of titles that have been on my TBR list for a while and should be moved up!

  11. Trish - These are ranked in order evidently. I haven't yet read The Road either but I've been meaning to get to it for awhile now.

    I think I have a copy of Thirteen Moons on my shelf waiting to be read. Cold Mountain hasn't really appealed to me (and I never saw the movie), but that could change. I've heard good things about it.

    Jenclair - I was thinking of that too as I read that list--that I should move several up in my TBR pile. :-)

  12. I'm a big fan of these lists for the simple fact that they help me choose some of the books i put on my TBR.

    still, very often, i don't agree with them and i feel that they left out geat titles.


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