EW 100 Best Books since 1983 (plus movies for no extra charge!)
Apparently Entertainment Weekly has taken time out from its busy schedule of doing whatever it is that it does to compile a list of the 1,000 best things of the last 25 years, broken down by categories. That includes a list of the 100 best books between 1983 and now, according to the esteemed authorities at EW. Note: These are not all novels.
So just for kicks let's do this meme style:
Bold the ones you've read.
Underline ones you started but didn't finish.
As always, I will make snarky comments as needed.
As a comment on one of the books listed, wordweaverlynn wrote Oh, for the love of God. Like the world needs another ten-pound novel whining about the miseries of middle-class white people. I think I have an impression (possibly wrong/unfair) that most modern mainstream fiction is like that. Also, I generally seem to prefer to read about people in different cultures/times than my own. So I tend to avoid mainstream fiction and haven't read a lot of the books listed.
1. The Road, Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000) I kind of didn't want to enjoy the Harry Potter books but I really did.
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) Retained comment: Superb.
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997) ----- I haven't read this, but I have read Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, which I liked; I probably will eventually read others.
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997) B
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87) Wanted to like but didn't.
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) Retained comment: This was not supposed to be a political handbook.
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) ------- I have this but haven't read it yet.
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) Enjoyed
26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984) Liked writing style, thought plot was lame
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
29. Bel Canto, Ann 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) ----- I want to read this
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000) Liked a whole lot
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) ----- I would have this at number 1.
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 Malcolm (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992) Liked
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) I love this. I have it on audio and have listened to it about six times, which is about five times more than I ever read or listen to anything. I'm not quite sure why I love it, because it's about kinds of people I normally don't care about.
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) I've read the parts of it that showed up in Harpers or The New Yorker or wherever. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it's important work. On the other hand, there's something about "journalist pretends to be some other kind of person in order to understand their suffering" that I have found shallow ever since some student at the college I went to spent a night sleeping on a park bench and then wrote a long article for the school newspaper about what it's like to be a homeless person.
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) ----- I have this on audio and will listen to it. The movie was pretty good.
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006) Retained comment: Brilliant and painful.
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004) ---- I have this on audio
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) I have no idea how accurately this portrays the condition in question but I thought it was an interesting read
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) Retained comment: Subtle, restrained look at creeping evil.
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984) ----- I can't remember if I read this or not.
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) ----- What the fucking fuck is this doing in here?
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)
1. Pulp Fiction (1994) Gave up about 20 minutes in because I didn't care about the characters
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03) They did a great job creating the visual aspects of the story, but I really hated how they added stuff to the plot, and I didn't like how they changed some stuff around to make it more "exciting" or "action-oriented." For example, in Fellowship there is a battle in the Mines of Moria with a troll. In the book, the battle lasts maybe a page. In the movie, my girlfriend got up after the battle had been going for a while, picked her way out of the middle of a row (it was opening night and the theater was sold out), went halfway across the whole cinema complex to the bathroom, came back, picked her way back into her seat, and the troll battle was still going on.
3. Titanic (1997) Fun water effects
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995) I thought the kid who took apart his toys and put them back together in odd combinations was being creative rather than being a creepy psychopath, and I resented that they portrayed him as the latter. Otherwise good.
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) Enh. I had started stopping liking Woody Allen by then.
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
9. Die Hard (1988) Alan Rickman as a suave international criminal! Say no more!
10. Moulin Rouge (2001) The offspring of an unholy union between an Italian opera, MTV, and Dr. Demento.
11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) I really don't like this genre of movie for some reason.
12. The Matrix (1999) I liked this quite a bit, but I also agree with this retained comment: Dear Wachowski Brothers: Please go back to making movies like Bound.
13. GoodFellas (1990)
14. Crumb (1995) I really liked this
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
16. Boogie Nights (1997)
17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989) From the Wikipedia article on this movie: "For many viewers, one of many questions at the end of the film is whether Mookie 'does the right thing' when he throws the garbage can through the window, thus inciting the riot that destroys Sal's pizzeria. The question is directly raised by the contradictory quotations that end the film, one advocating non-violence, the other advocating violent self-defense in response to oppression. However, Lee himself has stated that only white viewers ask this question."
19. Casino Royale (2006) I loved this. Bond the way he should be!
20. The Lion King (1994) It has some good songs but mostly I don't like it.
21. Schindler's List (1993)
22. Rushmore (1998)
23. Memento (2001) Well-done gimmick if you could suspend disbelief
24. A Room With a View (1986) Enjoyable costume drama
25. Shrek (2001) This had what I considered a positive body-image message - all the monsters looked very different and that was quite OK. I enjoyed it, although the first time I watched it was right after my cat died, so I burst into tears at the end when the little girl said "Kitty."
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
27. Aliens (1986) I liked the first one better, but this was good too.
28. Wings of Desire (1988) My favorite movie of all time.
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004) The Bourne movies are good action romps.
30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989) I used to love this but for me it hasn't aged very well. (Partly because Ephron's subsequent flicks were a lot worse, IMO.)
31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
32. Fight Club (1999) I enjoyed it, but it ended up feeling kind of gimmicky.
33. The Breakfast Club (1985) ----- I can't remember if I've seen this or not.
34. Fargo (1996)
35. The Incredibles (2004) Meh. Too much fat-phobia.
36. Spider-Man 2 (2004) Quite good. Also, it has a hyphen in the title!
37. Pretty Woman (1990) Retained comment: I refuse. I dislike Julia Roberts, and I freaking loathe the buy-me-a-woman trope.
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
39. The Sixth Sense (1999) Superb movie. Why have all his other movies sucked?
40. Speed (1994)
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995)
43. Gladiator (2000) ----- I can't remember if I saw it or not.
44. The Player (1992)
45. Rain Man (1988) ----- I don't want to watch movies about people with mental disabilities of this kind
46. Children of Men (2006) Well made but dreary and emotionally exhausting
47. Men in Black (1997) Fun
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) I'm glad Western audiences are finally getting to enjoy Hong Kong style movies.
50. The Piano (1993)
51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988)
53. The Truman Show (1998) I liked it largely because of the Philip Glass score.
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
55. Risky Business (1983) Ptui
56. The Lives of Others (2006) LOVED IT
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
58. Ghostbusters (1984) Loads of fun
59. L.A. Confidential (1997) Good, but not as good as the book.
60. Scream (1996)
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
62. sex, lies and videotape (1989) Pretentious
63. Big (1988) The OH loves this. I like the way the kid in a grown-up body acts like a lot of geeks I know.
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
65. Dirty Dancing (1987)
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
68. Witness (1985) I enjoyed this a lot although it didn't stand up so well to viewing a decade later.
69. All About My Mother (1999)
70. Broadcast News (1987)
71. Unforgiven (1992) Well made but ugly.
72. Thelma & Louise (1991) [sigh]
73. Office Space (1999) Fun
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
75. Out of Africa (1985) I don't remember it very well, although I remember the "safari style" that it spawned for a season.
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986) Ew
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) Classic!
79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
81. Moonstruck (1987) Great movie
82. Lost in Translation (2003) I really liked that the movie had a romantic friendship in it that was not sexually consummated. I didn't like that the characters were so fucking whiny.
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
84. Sideways (2004)
85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
91. Back to the Future (1985) Fun
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987) I used to have a thing for Stanley Kubrick movies. But I think the existence of Eyes Wide Shut, which I didn't see, made it go away.
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
97. Glory (1989) Quite good.
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999) Kinda funny in parts but most of the humor was too adolescent for my taste