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Pedro Cerrano

Your "Must-Read Classics" List

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In no particular order...

1. The Great Gatsby

2. Lolita

3. Cannery Row

4. The Moon and Sixpence

5. The Catcher in the Rye

6. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

7. A Confederacy of Dunces

8. The Lord of the Rings

9. The Old Man and The Sea

10. Swann's Way

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I will third Killer Angels. Phenomenal.

Invisible Man (Ellison)

A Farewell to Arms

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

To Kill A Mockingbird (has any lawyer not read this? ;))

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

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I think favorite novels are an idiosyncratic, subjective thing. I wouldn't argue that my favorite/most important novels are the greatest of all time, but these are the ones I love in no particular order of favorites, but numerically, just to confuse you all:

1. Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis (of course).

2. Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov (and standing in for Lolita and Ada, or Ardor).

3. The Sportswriter, Richard Ford.

4. London Fields, Martin Amis.

5. Jesus' Son, Denis Johnson. (Short stories).

6. The Girl w/ Curious Hair, David Foster Wallace (which isn't as good as the 1/3 of Infinite Jest that I love, but better top-to-bottom).

7. The Great Gatsby, FSF.

8. The Fall, Albert Camus. (Standing in for Myth of Sisyphus, which isn't fiction, but is probably the central book in my intellectual education.)

9. The Sun Also Rises, E. Hemingway (read this the summer before 9th grade and my imitation of EH's staccato sentences almost made me fail the state writing test).

10. The Moviegoer, Walker Percy.

These are the books I feel lucky to have read. True classics, I read because I need to, in order to understand the world I live in (in part because they achieved classic status, and thus reflect the culture that turned them into monuments). These offered something more personal.

Edited by Lucky Jim

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I will third Killer Angels. Phenomenal.

Invisible Man (Ellison)

A Farewell to Arms

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

To Kill A Mockingbird (has any lawyer not read this? ;))

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Hah. I did a book report on that when I was in 7th Grade. I was pestering my dad about it, looking for a book, and as a joke he pulled it off his shelf and gave it to me. My teacher just stared at me blankly as I presented my report to the class.

I clearly introduced the concept of a gulag to Elkton Middle School's seventh grade.*

*I think I probably understood about one in ever three words. I can't say that the report was very good.

Edited by Lucky Jim

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I think favorite novels are an idiosyncratic, subjective thing. I wouldn't argue that my favorite/most important novels are the greatest of all time, but these are the ones I love in no particular order of favorites, but numerically, just to confuse you all:

1. Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis (of course).

2. Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov (and standing in for Lolita and Ada, or Ardor).

3. The Sportswriter, Richard Ford.

4. London Fields, Martin Amis.

5. Jesus' Son, Denis Johnson. (Short stories).

6. The Girl w/ Curious Hair, David Foster Wallace (which isn't as good as the 1/3 of Infinite Jest that I love, but better top-to-bottom).

7. The Great Gatsby, FSF.

8. The Fall, Albert Camus. (Standing in for Myth of Sisyphus, which isn't fiction, but is probably the central book in my intellectual education.)

9. The Sun Also Rises, E. Hemingway (read this the summer before 9th grade and my imitation of EH's staccato sentences almost made me fail the state writing test).

10. The Moviegoer, Walker Percy.

These are the books I feel lucky to have read. True classics, I read because I need to, in order to understand the world I live in (in part because they achieved classic status, and thus reflect the culture that turned them into monuments). These offered something more personal.

This brings up a question for me - why did I really love A Farewell to Arms and hate The Sun Also Rises? I almost didn't read the former because I disliked the latter so much. Of course, I read Sun as required reading in school and read Farewell much later on my own, which could be the only reason. But are there any significant differences in style? Maybe I'll give Sun another shot one of these days.

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This brings up a question for me - why did I really love A Farewell to Arms and hate The Sun Also Rises? I almost didn't read the former because I disliked the latter so much. Of course, I read Sun as required reading in school and read Farewell much later on my own, which could be the only reason. But are there any significant differences in style? Maybe I'll give Sun another shot one of these days.

For me, Sun was really my introduction to "great literature": exotic settings, wounded protagonist, hot women with androgynous names. Etc. My love for it wasn't very critical.

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6. The Girl w/ Curious Hair, David Foster Wallace (which isn't as good as the 1/3 of Infinite Jest that I love, but better top-to-bottom).

What is the 1/3 of IJ that you love, or the 2/3 that you don't? There were parts of IJ that I thought were a little over-the-top (<--this is totally the wrong word), but I loved most of it.

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