Archive for April, 2007

desert island novels

April 12, 2007

Prompted by a conversation with MLW this evening about the death of Kurt Vonnegut (MLW: what’d he write, then? ME: omigod how can you not know??? Slaughterhouse-5? MLW: ? ME: if I had to name my ten favourite novels of all time, that would be one of them! MLW: what would the other nine be?) I have compiled a list of my ten favourite novels of all time (not ranked though – it was only one glass of red wine):

  • Slaughterhouse-5 by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Tidewater Tales: A Novel by John Barth
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
  • Rabbit is Rich by John Updike
  • The Counterlife by Philip Roth

The first five flowed quite easily. I had to think harder about the next five, and choose some over others:

  • The Biographer’s Tale by AS Byatt
  • Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
  • Happenstance by Carol Shields
  • White Noise by Don DeLillo
  • The Master of St Petersburg by JM Coetzee

I’m aware that 5 of those 10 are books I studied at varsity, and so had a deeper engagement with. The others were just most thoroughly enjoyed. The novels I chose over were:

  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • The Day of Creation by JG Ballard
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein
  • Herzog by Saul Bellow