Modern Library's Best Books

Just came across Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels and 100 Best Nonfiction, first published in The New York Times on Monday, July 20, 1998, and the Radcliffe’s Rival 100 Best Novels List.

I’ve read few from all three of the lists and wondered what folks think about these “best books” lists.

Of the ones I’ve read, I agree that some belong on a “best books” list but others I just hated reading.

Any thoughts?

I’ve pasted the 100 Best Novels and 100 Best Nonfiction below.

Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels

  1. ULYSSES by James Joyce
  2. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  3. A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce
  4. LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
  5. BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
  6. THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
  7. CATCH-22
  8. DARKNESS AT NOON by Arthur Koestler
  9. SONS AND LOVERS by D.H. Lawrence
  10. THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
  11. UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
  12. THE WAY OF ALL FLESH by Samuel Butler
  13. 1984 by George Orwell
  14. I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
  15. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
  16. AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
  17. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
  18. SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
  19. INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
  20. NATIVE SON by Richard Wright
  21. HENDERSON THE RAIN KING by Saul Bellow
  22. APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA by John O’Hara
  23. U.S.A. (trilogy) by John Dos Passos
  24. WINESBURG, OHIO by Sherwood Anderson
  25. A PASSAGE TO INDIA by E.M. Forster
  26. THE WINGS OF THE DOVE by Henry James
  27. THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James
  28. TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  29. THE STUDS LONIGAN TRILOGY by James T. Farrell
  30. THE GOOD SOLDIER by Ford Madox Ford
  31. ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
  32. THE GOLDEN BOWL by Henry James
  33. SISTER CARRIE by Theodore Dreiser
  34. A HANDFUL OF DUST by Evelyn Waugh
  35. AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
  36. ALL THE KING’S MEN by Robert Penn Warren
  37. THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY by Thornton Wilder
  38. HOWARDS END by E.M. Forster
  39. GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin
  40. THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Graham Greene
  41. LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
  42. DELIVERANCE by James Dickey
  43. A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series) by Anthony Powell
  44. POINT COUNTER POINT by Aldous Huxley
  45. THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
  46. THE SECRET AGENT by Joseph Conrad
  47. NOSTROMO by Joseph Conrad
  48. THE RAINBOW by D.H. Lawrence
  49. WOMEN IN LOVE by D.H. Lawrence
  50. TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller
  51. THE NAKED AND THE DEAD by Norman Mailer
  52. PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT by Philip Roth
  53. PALE FIRE by Vladimir Nabokov
  54. LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
  55. ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
  56. THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett
  57. PARADE’S END by Ford Madox Ford
  58. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton
  59. ZULEIKA DOBSON by Max Beerbohm
  60. THE MOVIEGOER by Walker Percy
  61. DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP by Willa Cather
  62. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY by James Jones
  63. THE WAPSHOT CHRONICLES by John Cheever
  64. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
  65. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
  66. OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
  67. HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
  68. MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis
  69. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH by Edith Wharton
  70. THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET by Lawrence Durell
  71. A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA by Richard Hughes
  72. A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS by V.S. Naipaul
  73. THE DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathanael West
  74. A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
  75. SCOOP by Evelyn Waugh
  76. THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark
  77. FINNEGANS WAKE by James Joyce
  78. KIM by Rudyard Kipling
  79. A ROOM WITH A VIEW by E.M. Forster
  80. BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh
  81. THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH by Saul Bellow
  82. ANGLE OF REPOSE by Wallace Stegner
  83. A BEND IN THE RIVER by V.S. Naipaul
  84. THE DEATH OF THE HEART by Elizabeth Bowen
  85. LORD JIM by Joseph Conrad
  86. RAGTIME by E.L. Doctorow
  87. THE OLD WIVES’ TALE by Arnold Bennett
  88. THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
  89. LOVING by Henry Green
  90. MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN by Salman Rushdie
  91. TOBACCO ROAD by Erskine Caldwell
  92. IRONWEED by William Kennedy
  93. THE MAGUS by John Fowles
  94. WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys
  95. UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch
  96. SOPHIE’S CHOICE by William Styron
  97. THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
  98. THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE by James M. Cain
  99. THE GINGER MAN by J.P. Donleavy
  100. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS by Booth Tarkington

Modern Library’s 100 Best Nonfiction

  1. THE EDUCATION OF HENRY ADAMS by Henry Adams
  2. THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE by William James
  3. UP FROM SLAVERY by Booker T. Washington
  4. A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN by Virginia Woolf
  5. SILENT SPRING by Rachel Carson
  6. SELECTED ESSAYS, 1917-1932 by T. S. Eliot
  7. THE DOUBLE HELIX by James D. Watson
  8. SPEAK, MEMORY by Vladimir Nabokov
  9. THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE by H. L. Mencken
  10. THE GENERAL THEORY OF EMPLOYMENT, INTEREST, AND MONEY by John Maynard Keynes
  11. THE LIVES OF A CELL by Lewis Thomas
  12. THE FRONTIER IN AMERICAN HISTORY by Frederick Jackson Turner
  13. BLACK BOY by Richard Wright
  14. ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL by E. M. Forster
  15. THE CIVIL WAR by Shelby Foote
  16. THE GUNS OF AUGUST by Barbara Tuchman
  17. THE PROPER STUDY OF MANKIND by Isaiah Berlin
  18. THE NATURE AND DESTINY OF MAN by Reinhold Niebuhr
  19. NOTES OF A NATIVE SON by James Baldwin
  20. THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ALICE B. TOKLAS by Gertrude Stein
  21. THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by William Strunk and E. B. White
  22. AN AMERICAN DILEMMA by Gunnar Myrdal
  23. PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell
  24. THE MISMEASURE OF MAN by Stephen Jay Gould
  25. THE MIRROR AND THE LAMP by Meyer Howard Abrams
  26. THE ART OF THE SOLUBLE by Peter B. Medawar
  27. THE ANTS by Bert Hoelldobler and Edward O. Wilson
  28. A THEORY OF JUSTICE by John Rawls
  29. ART AND ILLUSION by Ernest H. Gombrich
  30. THE MAKING OF THE ENGLISH WORKING CLASS by E. P. Thompson
  31. THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK by W.E.B. Du Bois
  32. PRINCIPIA ETHICA by G. E. Moore
  33. PHILOSOPHY AND CIVILIZATION by John Dewey
  34. ON GROWTH AND FORM by D’Arcy Thompson
  35. IDEAS AND OPINIONS by Albert Einstein
  36. THE AGE OF JACKSON, Arthur Schlesinger by Jr.
  37. THE MAKING OF THE ATOMIC BOMB by Richard Rhodes
  38. BLACK LAMB and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West
  39. AUTOBIOGRAPHIES by W. B. Yeats
  40. SCIENCE AND CIVILIZATION IN CHINA by Joseph Needham
  41. GOODBYE TO ALL THAT by Robert Graves
  42. HOMAGE TO CATALONIA by George Orwell
  43. THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN by Mark Twain
  44. CHILDREN OF CRISIS by Robert Coles
  45. A STUDY OF HISTORY by Arnold J. Toynbee
  46. THE AFFLUENT SOCIETY by John Kenneth Galbraith
  47. PRESENT AT THE CREATION by Dean Acheson
  48. THE GREAT BRIDGE by David McCullough
  49. PATRIOTIC GORE by Edmund Wilson
  50. SAMUEL JOHNSON by Walter Jackson Bate
  51. THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X
  52. THE RIGHT STUFF by Tom Wolfe
  53. EMINENT VICTORIANS by Lytton Strachey
  54. WORKING by Studs Terkel
  55. DARKNESS VISIBLE by William Styron
  56. THE LIBERAL IMAGINATION by Lionel Trilling
  57. THE SECOND WORLD WAR by Winston Churchill
  58. OUT OF AFRICA by Isak Dinesen
  59. JEFFERSON AND HIS TIME by Dumas Malone
  60. IN THE AMERICAN GRAIN by William Carlos Williams
  61. CADILLAC DESERT by Marc Reisner
  62. THE HOUSE OF MORGAN by Ron Chernow
  63. THE SWEET SCIENCE by A. J. Liebling
  64. THE OPEN SOCIETY AND ITS ENEMIES by Karl Popper
  65. THE ART OF MEMORY by Frances A. Yates
  66. RELIGION AND THE RISE OF CAPITALISM by R. H. Tawney
  67. A PREFACE TO MORALS by Walter Lippmann
  68. THE GATE OF HEAVENLY PEACE by Jonathan D. Spence
  69. THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS by Thomas S. Kuhn
  70. THE STRANGE CAREER OF JIM CROW by C. Vann Woodward
  71. THE RISE OF THE WEST by William H. McNeill
  72. THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS by Elaine Pagels
  73. JAMES JOYCE by Richard Ellmann
  74. FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE by Cecil Woodham-Smith
  75. THE GREAT WAR AND MODERN MEMORY by Paul Fussell
  76. THE CITY IN HISTORY by Lewis Mumford
  77. BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM by James M. McPherson
  78. WHY WE CAN’T WAIT by Martin Luther King by Jr.
  79. THE RISE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT by Edmund Morris
  80. STUDIES IN ICONOLOGY by Erwin Panofsky
  81. THE FACE OF BATTLE by John Keegan
  82. THE STRANGE DEATH OF LIBERAL ENGLAND by George Dangerfield
  83. VERMEER by Lawrence Gowing
  84. A BRIGHT SHINING LIE by Neil Sheehan
  85. WEST WITH THE NIGHT by Beryl Markham
  86. THIS BOY’S LIFE by Tobias Wolff
  87. A MATHEMATICIAN’S APOLOGY by G. H. Hardy
  88. SIX EASY PIECES by Richard P. Feynman
  89. PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK by Annie Dillard
  90. THE GOLDEN BOUGH by James George Frazer
  91. SHADOW AND ACT by Ralph Ellison
  92. THE POWER BROKER by Robert A. Caro
  93. THE AMERICAN POLITICAL TRADITION by Richard Hofstadter
  94. THE CONTOURS OF AMERICAN HISTORY by William Appleman Williams
  95. THE PROMISE OF AMERICAN LIFE by Herbert Croly
  96. IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote
  97. THE JOURNALIST AND THE MURDERER by Janet Malcolm
  98. THE TAMING OF CHANCE by Ian Hacking
  99. OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS by Anne Lamott
  100. MELBOURNE by Lord David Cecil
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2 responses to “Modern Library's Best Books

  1. I think all of the books I’ve read off of those lists are books I had to read for school and we all know how that can ruin a great book.

  2. :) You know I’ve re-read some books that were required high school reading and they are much better the second time around!

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