Literary Sundae: Fruit, Nuts, a Little Whipped Topping

candied-coconut-sundaejpg-01b9a12712b7c5acIt’s a cold, rainy day here and I find myself reviewing some of my reading from the last twenty some-odd years. I notice that several of my most well-thought-of titles were read more than once, generally because of an online reading group selection or possibly a new translation or even reading in the original as well as in translation. I suppose it’s possible I reread a book or two just for the fun of it but that would be unusual since I tend to discard or trade-away anything I’ve already read.

I thought it would be interesting to make a list of the top four titles I read for each year. I won’t vouch for the ranking or even whether a book would interest me today, but generally I consider most of these books to be highly recommended.

What do you think? The full list of twenty titles per year is at Best-By-Year.

2018 (To Date)
How German Is It — Walter Abish
The Years, Months, Days — Yan Lianke
Sundays In August — Patrick Modiano
A General Theory of Oblivion — José Eduardo Agualusa

2017
It Can’t Happen Here — Sinclair Lewis
The Western Lands — William S. Burroughs
New Grub Street — George Gissing
Naphtalene — Alia Mamdouh

2016
The Republic of Wine — Mo Yan
Wind, Sand and Stars — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Near To the Wild Heart — Clarice Lispector
Tropisms — Natalie Sarraute

2015
The Obstacles — Eloy Urroz
Submission — Michel Houellebecq
The Dalkey Archive — Flann O’Brien
Mercier et Camier — Samuel Beckett

2014
The Forsyte Saga [A Man of Property, In Chancery, To Let] — John Galsworthy
The U. S. A. Trilogy [The 42nd Parallel, 1919, The Big Money] — John Dos Passos
Desert — J. M. G. Le Clézio
Giles Goat-Boy — John Barth

2013
The Master and Margarita — Mikhail Bulgakov
The Adventures of Augie March — Saul Bellow
The 42nd Parallel — John Dos Passos
Mercy of a Rude Stream: Diving Rock on the Hudson — Henry Roth

2012
Absalom, Absalom! — William Faulkner
The Radetzky March — Joseph Roth
Wonderful Wonderful Times — Elfriede Jelinek
60 Stories — Donald Barthelme

2011
Under the Volcano — Malcolm Lowry
The Sound and the Fury — William Faulkner
The Inquisitory — Robert Pinget
Parade’s End — Ford Madox Ford

2010
La Vie mode d’emploi – Georges Perec
Waiting For Godot – Samuel Beckett
Mulligan Stew – Gilbert Sorrentino
Libera Me Domine – Robert Pinget

2009
Madame Bovary — Gustave Flaubert
I’m Not Stiller — Max Frisch
Homo Faber — Max Frisch
AVA — Carole Maso

2008
Le Voyeur — Alain Robbe-Grillet
The Flight of Icarus — Raymond Queneau
At Swim-Two-Birds — Flann O’Brien
Mumbo Jumbo — Ismael Reed

2007
Notre Dame des fleurs — Jean Genet
Life, A User’s Manual — Georges Perec
Middlemarch — George Eliot
The Dubliners — James Joyce

2006
A La Recherche du Temps Perdu — Marcel Proust
Our Lady of the Flowers — Jean Genet
Europe Central — William T. Vollmann
The Temple of the Golden Pavilion — Yukio Mishima

2005
Finnegans Wake — James Joyce
The Tale of Genji — Murasaki Shikibu
A Dance to the Music of Time — Anthony Powell
To the Lighthouse — Virginia Woolf

2004
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy — Laurence Sterne
Don Quixote — Miguel de Cervantes
JR — William Gaddis
Le Voyeur — Alain Robbe-Grillet

2003
Agape Agape — William Gaddis
Mrs. Dalloway — Virginia Woolf
The Forsyte Saga — John Galsworthy
 [The Man of Property, In Chancery, To Let]
Waiting For Godot — Samuel Beckett

2002
The Snopes’ Trilogy — William Faulkner
 [The Hamlet, The Town, The Mansion]
The Trilogy — Samuel Beckett
 [Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable]
ABC of Reading — Ezra Pound
Beowulf — Seamus Heaney

2001
A Dance to the Music of Time — Anthony Powell
The Tin Drum — Günter Grass
East of Eden — John Steinbeck
Sentimental Education — Gustave Flaubert

2000
War and Peace — Leo Tolstoy
The Last Temptation of Christ — Nikos Kazantzakis
The Human Stain — Philip Roth
Droll Stories — Honoré de Balzac

1999
Ulysses — James Joyce
I, Claudius — Robert Graves
David Copperfield — Charles Dickens
To the Lighthouse — Virginia Woolf

1998
Mr. Sammler’s Planet — Saul Bellow
La Belle Captive — Alain Robbe-Grillet with René Magritte
Stones from the River — Ursula Hegi
A Widow For One Year — John Irving

1997
The Cairo Trilogy — Naguib Mahfouz
 [Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street]
Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austin
The Odyssey — Homer
The Snows of Kilimanjaro — Ernest Hemingway

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