Twenty-Six Years of the Best

Back in 2012 I stopped to list what I considered the best bools I had read over the last few years. Now a decade or more has passed and I’m repeating the effort. I suppose it makes for an interesting list but for those looking to expand their own reading, there is a great deal of quality literature listed below.

The current top of the 2023 list: A Glastonbury Romance — John Cowper Powys

  • 2022. À la recherche du temps perdu — Marcel Proust
  • 2021. The Transylvania Trilogy [They Were Counted; They Were Found Wanting; They Were Divided] — Miklós Bánffy
  • 2020. The Man Without Qualities — Robert Musil
  • 2019. Women In Love — D. H. Lawrence
  • 2018. How German Is It — Walter Abish
  • 2017. It Can’t Happen Here — Sinclair Lewis
  • 2016. The Republic of Wine — Mo Yan
  • 2015. The Obstacles — Eloy Urroz
  • 2014 The Forsyte Saga [A Man of Property, In Chancery, To Let] — John Galsworthy
  • 2013 The Master and Margarita — Mikhail Bulgakov
  • 2012  The Radetzky March — Joseph Roth
  • 2011  Under the Volcano — Malcolm Lowry
  • 2010  La Vie mode d’emploi — Georges Perec
  • 2009  Madame Bovary — Gustave Flaubert
  • 2008  Le Voyeur — Alain Robbe-Grillet
  • 2007  Notre Dame des fleurs — Jean Genet
  • 2006  A La Recherche du Temps Perdu — Marcel Proust
  • 2005  Finnegans Wake — James Joyce
  • 2004  The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy — Laurence Sterne
  • 2003  Agape Agape — William Gaddis
  • 2002  The Snopes’ Trilogy — William Faulkner
    [The HamletThe TownThe Mansion]
  • 2001  A Dance to the Music of Time — Anthony Powell
  • 2000  War and Peace — Leo Tolstoy
  • 1999  Ulysses — James Joyce
  • 1998  Mr. Sammler’s Planet — Saul Bellow
  • 1997  The Cairo Trilogy — Naguib Mahfouz     [Palace WalkPalace of DesireSugar Street]

The original list seemed like a preponderance of French literature but I was very surprised at the diversity of the added titles (only England had more than one entry added).

  • 6 French
  • 4 American
  • 4 English
  • 3 Irish
  • 2 Austrian
  • 2 Russian
  • 1 Egyptian
  • 1 German
  • 1 Mexican
  • 1 Hungarian
  • 1 Chinese.

2 thoughts on “Twenty-Six Years of the Best

  1. Hey Mike!
    A decade or so ago I was on a quest to read all of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Greats Novels. I had no background in literature, but found Robert Bruce’s website It was nice to meet a fellow fool, but it was your insightful comments that stayed with me to this day and helped me decipher some of the novels.
    I’m happy to see you still going strong and reading.


  2. I loved the fact that “The Glastonbury Romance” was at the top of your list, as he is one of my favourites too. I love Joyce, Moby Dick, and several others on this list. I have Snopes waiting and this post has reminded me that I must get to it. The only problematic writer for me here is Proust, and I suppose it’s time I give him another try. I firmly believe e that there ard rimes in your life for a book, and they hut you hard if you read them at that time, other times they miss the mark. So, maybe this year will be the year. Best wishes.


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