The older you get, the less you try to acknowledge evidence of the ever-more rapid passage o time. Yet, being human and a typical example of the ugly American, I did scan the various end of year lists (and some end of decade lists) on the internet: best books, worst movies, and even those whom we lost. As far as movies and television are concerned there are fewer and fewer celebrities available for me to revere other than as a distant memory.
Living as I am with my daughter’s family I have noticed that more and more of my most mundane references are met with black stares and rolling eyes. Help! And grandpa isn’t even senile. My heroes are being forgotten.
But I still have books!
Interestingly, despite having read some excellent contemporary fiction, my end-of-year lists are dominated by the more established, classical fiction of Dumas, Lawrence, Stendhal, Dos Passos, Zola, Virgil. Note my highly subjective Best of List:
- Women In Love — D. H. Lawrence
- The Years — Annie Ernaux
- Nana — Émile Zola
- The Recognitions — William Gaddis
- The Big Money — John Dos Passos
- Wolf Solent — John Cowper Powys
- The Count of Monte Cristo — Alexander Dumas
- Between the World and Me — Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Nostromo — Joseph Conrad
- The Famished Road — Ben Okri
- The Swimming-Pool Library — Alan Hollinghurst
- The Monk — Matthew Lewis
- The Mysteries of Udolpho — Ann Radcliffe
- The Aeneid — Virgil (Fagles)
- The Charterhouse of Parma — Renate Stendhal
- Sputnik Caledonia — Andrew Crumey
- Infinite Jest — David Foster Wallace
- Eyes — William H. Gass
- The Dead Girls — Jorge Ibarguëngoitia
- Bend Sinister — Vladimir Nabokov