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 Hamlet, The Town, The 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 Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar 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”
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 101books.net. 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.
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.