Monday, October 23, 2006

Random Top Ten

Random Top Ten!

Top Ten Novels

My favorite novels, the stack that would remain if I had to winnow my library down to just ten novels, no more, no less:

10. Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson – Hard, epic science fiction that made me believe, not just that we might colonize Mars someday, but that we already had.

9. Never Let Me Go, Kashiro Iguro – A chilling, remarkably subtle portrayal of a not-to-distant future.

8. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver – A virtuoso display of research and narrative control, with four sisters alternately telling the story of their families missionary move to Africa.

7. The Stand, Stephen King – Still the high-water mark of apocalyptic fiction.

6. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon – A sweet, wildly entertaining, funny, sad tale of brother comic book artists making their mark in the golden age of the industry.

5. The Green Mile, Stephen King – King’s Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is easily his finest novella, and this close to his finest novel – how long before he goes back to the prison well?

4. Watership DownA>, Richard Adams – It’s a cliché at this point to insist that this novel about a community of bunny rabbits is brilliant and insanely gripping. But it is.

3. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving – Irving’s best, a hilarious and off-kilter tale of a fated disabled young boy. Maybe top on my list of books I’ve only read once but need to read again.

2. The Known World, Edward P. Jones – I’ve read the number one book below six times, and it’s long been my go-to favorite-ever novel. And yet I seriously considered putting this first. It’s only a few years old and I’ve already read it twice – and I certainly will read it again.

1. It, Stephen King – King’s statement novel, the one that puts in one place all of his main themes and preoccupations. At nearly 1,200 pages, it should feel bloated, but the logical and sturdy structure keeps it from feeling so.

Until Whenever


Jaquandor said...

Have you read Green Mars and Blue Mars? Lots of people find Robinson's characterization cold, but I loved that whole series. As you say, it's one of few near-future SF novels that feels really plausible.

You might also like Michael Flynn's "Falling Stars" series. It starts with "Rogue Star", if I remember right.

Tosy and Cosh said...

I did - I also read The Martians, the book of short stories set in that world. i wanted to put in the trilogy as one long novel, but felt that would be cheating. The Mars trilogy is probably just after Owen Meany as the "novel I most need to re-read." And yes, it feels wholly real, even some of the more far-out stuff like the end of aging cure. At times it reads like a science textbook and not a novel, but in a god way.

Never heard of Flynn - in teh same vein as Robinson?

EM said...

I'm in the middle of Years of Rice and Salt right now. It's my first exposure to Robinson and it's made me eager for more.

Tosy And Cosh said...

Years of Rice and Salt is ingeniously constructed; it's like no novel I've ever read. A great book. But Mars is even better.

EM said...

I guess that means I've got a new book to seek out! Thanks!

Kelly Sedinger said...

Flynn's series is a lot more "near-future" than Robinson's, and I found his characterization stronger than Robinson's. I rate them about equally, although Flynn seems to write from a libertarian stance opposite Robinson's staunch socialist stance.

But with Flynn as in Robinson, reading it you really get the feeling that this is how it really could all unfold.

jult52 said...

Funny - you've included one of my favorite books (The Poisonwood Bible) with one of the worst I've ever read (The Stand).