Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mid-week open thread or something that points out my profound hubris

I must think I'm something else if I'm presenting an "open thread" (a place to post discussion for you newbies). However, since I'm taking my imps Northahere to visit The Babe (as Trusty so appropriately called her in comments for the last post), I figured I'd throw something up since I may not be posting until Sunday.

A post on The News Blog a week or so back pointed me to this NYT article, in which,
...the Book Review's editor, Sam Tanenhaus, sent out a short letter to a couple of hundred prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages, asking them to please identify "the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years."

The results were:

Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)

Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy (1985)
Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels, John Updike
American Pastoral, Philip Roth, (1997)

A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole (1980)
Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson (1980)
Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin (1983)
White Noise, Don DeLillo (1985)
The Counterlife, Philip Roth (1986)
Libra, Don DeLillo (1988)
Where I'm Calling From, Raymond Carver (1988)
The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
Mating, Norman Rush (1991)
Jesus' Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
Operation Shylock, Philip Roth (1993)
Independence Day, Richard Ford (1995)
Sabbath's Theater, Philip Roth (1995)
Border Trilogy, Cormac McCarthy (1999)
The Human Stain, Philip Roth (2000)
The Known World, Edward P. Jones (2003)
The Plot Against America, Philip Roth (2004)

I won't comment much here - I'll follow up on any comments you, dear reader, leave for this discussion thread. Do you agree with the list for the most part? Any glaring ommissions? Have you even read any of these books? What would your #1 be if you don't agree that Beloved was all that terrific (or why was it also your choice)?

But as I said, you can also consider it an open thread and you can talk about whatever moves you.

PS - (RE: my last post) I appreciate all the back pats (and shame on those of you who chose to use back-patting as an opportunity to cop a cheap feel) regarding my last post but I have to tell you it was pure snark and just an excuse to post cute pics. I really, REALLY was not being self-pitying or anything - life is wonderful. But I was flattered by the comments, anyway.


landismom said...

I have to say that when I saw this on the cover of the Book Review, I actually sat down and counted the number of women who participated, because I was so dumbfounded by the disparity between male and female authors on the list.

Miss Cow is a Cow said...

Oh you know you loved us copping feels (okay, I kept my hands to myself that time ;-) )


I have not read any of those books. Perhaps I should. That's my other addiction, books. *sigh* Music and books. Could be worse! hahaah

chasmyn said...

I haven't read a single one of those books. And I read. A lot. I thought. But none of those. Hm.

Sterfish said...

I guess I should feel bad that I have not read a single book on that list, although I have read books by some of the authors.

Nino the Mindboggler said...

Landismom - yes, I agree although when I thought of the best female authors of the last 30 years, few on my list were from the US (which counts them out, here).

The rest - holy crap, I've never considered myself particularly well read but there's maybe THREE books on that list I haven't read. Hmmmm...

IMO, Beloved should be on the list but not at the top - I'd put Blood Meridian there. I also think White Noise is superior to Underworld. And just not that enamoured with Philip Roth.

More, later?

Mamacita said...

I haven't read any of those books. And I read four or five books a week.

Not even counting all the YA and kiddie lit I review.

As for copping a cheap feel. . . . you know full well that there was nothing cheap about it.


Edna Sweetlove said...

Updike and Roth are the only authors there that Edna would touch with a bargepole. And most glaring omission: Angela’s Ashes.

trusty getto said...

The only on the list that I've read was Underworld, which I must say was a fine book.

So, I can neither agree nor disagree with the list.

aka_monty said...

I remember that I loved Beloved when I read it so many years ago...but the memories of it are dim now.

As for the rest...I'm not a huge Updike fan, and I guess I only read crap because I'm unfamiliar with most of those particular works.
And like Mamacita, I read at least 4 or 5 books a week. I ate three this weekend alone. ;)

Is it too late to cop a feel? Because I'd like to get in on that.

Nino the Mindboggler said...

Yeah, I also loved Beloved but not to the point that it would be #1 on my list. I was telling The Babe that I think that with DeLillo, Roth, and Updike, #1 votes were spread across several novels - cancelling votes out. Morrison lucked out.

Trusty, the jury is still out on Underworld with me although I have strong memories of that novel (which says something to me); still, I liked White Noise much more.

And Monty, it's NEVER too late ;-)