100 (more or less) novels

Will Barnet, Woman Reading
Will Barnet, Woman Reading

This is my alternate list to 100 Books you Should Read  (Gina Barreca) in Psychology Today.  I gave myself an hour to do this. 

I started by going through Barreca’s list and asking myself: If this book were assigned to me to teach or to lead a discussion in book group, would I want to do it? If the answer was no, I struck it. A lot of books disappeared.  I then looked at the books I struck, and tried to come up with an alternate by the same author. Example: Barreca had D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, which I changed to Lady Chatterley’s Lover because I’ve been a part of really interesting discussions about that novel.  

If I couldn’t come up with a novel by the same author, I just went with my instincts. Sometimes alternates that occurred to me made obvious sense (instead of Gone with the Wind, I chose Sacred Hunger); other times I didn’t see a connection, but went with my first impulse anyway.

What I was going for: well put together novels that I liked,  that would lend themselves to discussion on more than one level. And there are not a hundred here, I don’t think. I haven’t counted.

1984 George Orwell

A Room with a View E.M. Forster

A Soldier of the Great War Mark Helprin

A Thousand Acres Jane Smiley

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Betty Smith

American Gods Neil Gaiman

Asylum Patrick McGrath

Bastard Out of Carolina Dorothy Allison

Beloved Ton Morrison

Blue Angel Francine Prose

Catch 22 Joseph Heller

City of Shadows Ariana Franklin

Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons

Cold Mountain Charles Frazier

Collected Stories of Zora Neale Hurston

Dracula Bram Stoker

Dubliners James Joyce

Empire Falls Richard Russo

Ethan Frome Edith Wharton

Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

Far From The Madding Crowd Thomas Hardy

Final Payments Mary Gordon

Go Tell It on the Mountain James Baldwin

Gorilla My Love Tone Cade Bambara

Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents Julia Alvarez

Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

Lolita Vladimir Nabokov

Lonesome Dove Larry McMurtry

Middlemarch George Eliot

My Year of Meats Ruth Ozeki

Mystic River Dennis Lehane

Niccolo Rising Dorothy Dunnett

No Country For Old Men Cormac McCarthy

Orlando Virginia Woolf

Pagan Babies Elmore Leonard

Paris Trout Pete Dexter

Persuasion Jane Austen

Pet Sematary Stephen King

Possession A.S. Byatt

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Muriel Spark

Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier

Sacred Hunger Barry Unsworth

Lady Chatterley’s Lover D.H. Lawrence

Sophie’s Choice William Styron

Straight Man Richard Russo

The Collected Stories of Willa Cather

The Country Girls Trilogy Edna O’Brien

The English Patient Michael Ondaatje

The Fortunate Pilgrim Mario Puzo

The Good Soldier Ford Maddox Ford

The Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad

The Hours Michael Cunningham

The House of Mirth Edith Wharton

The House on Mango Street Sandra Cisneros

The Jungle Upton Sinclair

The Princess Bride William Goldman

The Shape of Things to Come H.G. Wells

The Shipping News Annie Proulx

The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien

The Three Sisters May Sinclair

The Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys

The Witches of Eastwick John Updike

Underworld Don De Lillo

Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray

Waking the Dead Scott Spencer

White Teeth Zadie Smith

Without Fail Lee Child

Wrongful Death Baine Kerr