The List of Books

    We awarded points for each selection – 10 points for a first place pick, nine points for a second place pick, and so on. Then we totaled up all the points and ranked them accordingly. Here are all the books ordered by the number of points each earned. In the parentheses are the initials of the authors that selected them and the points earned. Click on their initials to see their list. 

    Cities of the Red Night by William S. Burroughs (1981). This  novel follows various plot strands – including 18th century pirates seeking to live lives of freedom according to articles written by Captain James Mission; a present-day detective, “Clem Snide, Private Asshole,” investigating the ritual sex murder of young boys, and the rise of a radioactive virus that may involve the CIA. An opium-infused apocalyptic vision from the legendary author of Naked Lunch, it is the first of the trilogy with The Places of the Dead Roads and his final novel, The Western Lands.

    Total Points: 7 (IWelsh 7)


    Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (1949). A broken Everyman, Willy Loman is about to be fired from his job as a traveling shoe salesman. In response he clings to fantasies—that he is “well liked” and that his troubled sons, Hap and Biff, are bound for greatness. A withering assault on the American Dream, the play is an affecting portrait of a man unable to understand the forces that have shaped his life.

    Total Points: 7 (CE 3) (AT 4)

    Disturbing the Peace by Richard Yates (1975). A meticulous, relentless account of failure and depression, this mordant novel examines the American pursuit of success in accents that echo Fitzgerald and O’Hara. Its protagonist, John Wilder, is a prototypical Yates underachiever: an advertising salesman misled by delusions of an artistic career (as a movie producer) and hampered by inherited weaknesses, a hopeful yet doomed marriage made during the glamorous Kennedy era, and a series of breakdowns that reveal his irreversible ordinariness. Not quite tragedy, but memorable indeed for its uncompromising, compassionate bleakness.

    Total Points: 7 (AMH 7)

    Either/Or: A Fragment of Life by Søren Kierkegaard (1843). In Either/Or, using the voices of two characters - the aesthetic young man of part one, called simply 'A', and the ethical Judge Vilhelm of the second section - Kierkegaard reflects upon the search for a meaningful existence, contemplating subjects as diverse as Mozart, drama, boredom, and, in the famous Seducer's Diary, the cynical seduction and ultimate rejection of a young, beautiful woman. A masterpiece of duality, Either/Or explores the conflict between the aesthetic and the ethical - both meditating ironically and seductively upon Epicurean pleasures, and eloquently expounding the noble virtues of a morally upstanding life.Siri Hustvedt observes: “This is either the novel as philosophy or philosophy as the novel by the master of irony himself. It is, in all events, a long work of prose fiction, written under a pseudonym with a fictional editor’s introduction. Diabolical in its wit, passionate, and sly, it is a book at once immensely difficult and deeply pleasurable to read.”

    Total Points: 7 (SHust 7)


    Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais (four books published between 1532 and 1552).

    Appreciation of François Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel by Fred Chappell

    The stories of the giant Gargantua and his giant son Pantagruel, of their birth, nurture, education, and heroic feats of arms; of Pantagruel’s voyages through strange lands and exotic cultures in search of ultimate wisdom; of their companions Rondibilis, Frère Jean, and the irrepressible, inexpressible Panurge; of their arriving at last in the abode of the Priestess Bacbuc whose oracular Bottle utters the final truth they have sought—these stories are impossible to summarize and set in order.

    It would be presumptuous even to try to do so, since one of the great themes of François Rabelais (1494?–1553) is glorious, raucous, exasperating, exhilarating, universal disorder. The author, a maverick cleric and observant physician, gave our modern world, at the moment of its birth in the Renaissance, its first comprehensive picture of what it was and what it could become. The world borrowed his name for its most treasured and common kind of humor: Rabelaisian, meaning rowdy, rude, satirical, unsparing, obscene, and sometimes cruel.

    As Rabelais invented a new literary form, the exorbitant picaresque satire, he invented a new language to express it. His pages are a Babel of polyglot puns, monkish obscurities, legalisms, overblown fustian, and street demotic. Lists abound: diseases and cures, body parts, herbs, geographical oddities, and cusswords in droves.

    Here is fantasy rooted in folktale, offering what only the great literary fantasies—­The Faerie Queene, The Tempest, Paradise Lost, Orlando Furioso, The Time Machine, and a few others—can: a vision of humanity in its relationship with the cosmos and with eternity. At the same time, it presents an earthy panorama of daily concerns and relationships. Unique among the great visionary works, Gargantua and Pantagruel is the only slapstick comedy. Among all comedies, it is one of the best.

    Total Points: 7 (FC 7)

    Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen (1890). Like Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary, Hedda Gabler is trapped in a loveless marriage, which she entered into for security and cannot leave for fear of scandal. Though she is “crowing for life,” societal norms constrict her, making Hedda a manipulative and frustrated woman. The appearance of her former lover—a brilliant, debaucherous writer—unspools a string of betrayals that end in death in this feminist play that showcases Ibsen’s ability to dramatize the burning social issues of his day.

    Total Points: 7 (PCle 3) (VV 4)

    Herzog by Saul Bellow (1964). Moses Herzog has two problems: his book on imagination and the intellect has stalled and his second wife has run away with his best friend. In response to his loneliness and alienation he writes letters—funny, scathing, ruminant, intensely self-aware—to people living and dead (including Friedrich Nietzsche and Willie Sutton) about his Jewish upbringing, old friends and lovers, and the world’s mad hypocrisy. Through Bellow’s prose, philosophically rich yet sprightly antic, the novel takes on this quest: “The dream of man’s heart, however much we may distrust or resent it, is that life may complete itself in significant pattern.”

    Total Points: 7 (ST 7)

    Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886). A coming-of-age story filled with high adventure and Scottish history, this is the story of David Balfour, an orphan sent in 1751 to live with his greedy uncle. To steal David’s inheritance, his uncle has him kidnapped and taken aboard a ship to America to be sold into slavery. David and another captive escape the ship. Then, while fending off a charge of murder, David heads back to the Highlands where he hatches a clever plan to expose his uncle’s wrongdoings.

    Total Points: 7 (AMS 7)

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868). Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: for girls who grew up reading about these four sisters, the names run together as readily as John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Maybe the magic of foursomes explains this novel’s enduring appeal. Readers get their pick of heroines: motherly Meg, harum-scarum Jo, goodness-personified Beth, or naughty Amy. Cared for by their saintly mother, Marmee, while their father is away fighting in the Civil War, the sisters get into scrapes, go on larks, find love, and suffer loss. It’s the ultimate bildungsroman for girls.

    Total Points: 7 (RFD 7)

    London Fields by Martin Amis (1989). Nicola Six, a psychic femme fatale in a soul-sick, lightly futuristic London, has a premonition that one of two men she’s just met will murder her, and then she works to make that happen. All of Amis’s tropes—the coming apocalypse, the self-consciousness of authorship, and hilarious clashes of sexes and classes—get full play in this sprawling romp of a novel.

    Total Points: 7 (TBiss 6) (RW 1)

    McTeague by Frank Norris (1899). Gritty realism, social conscience, and American dreams power this tale of an oafish mineworker who becomes an unlicensed dentist in San Francisco. He marries a young woman and together they share a happy life, until she wins a small fortune in the lottery. This luck enflames their greed and the envy of their friends, leading to ruin for all and to one of the most memorable climaxes in literature: two men—one alive, one dead—handcuffed to one another in Death Valley.

    Total Points: 7 (SK 7)

    Metamorphoses by Ovid (8 c.e.). Shining through Ovid’s poetic encyclopedia of myths involving the transformations of gods and humans is this Heraclitean truth: existence is change. His versions of Orpheus, Narcissus, Pygmalion, and Hercules have been etched in our collective memory. Yet he was, as a critic once said, “counter-classical”—fun rather than imperial, personal rather than grave. Of all the Latin authors, Ovid, who also wrote a sex manual, is the one who never once reminds you of a marble bust.

    Total Points: 7 (AB 7)

    Nightwood by Djuna Barnes (1936). Following the painful end of an eight-year lesbian relationship, Barnes crafted this avant-garde novel that explores love, desire, and obsession in rich lyric prose. Set mostly in Paris during the years between the world wars, Nightwood revolves around the mysterious Robin Vote and the two lovers she abandoned: her German husband, Baron Felix Volkbein, and an American woman, Nora Flood. Heartbroken and confused, the spurned lovers seek advice from a most unlikely source, an alcoholic transvestite named Dr. Matthew Dante O’Connor, whose solipsistic stream of consciousness ramblings suggest the mysteries and miseries of romantic love.

    Total Points: 7 (AF 7)

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (1962). In Ken Kesey’s first novel, the insane asylum becomes an allegory for the larger world as the patients are roused from their lethargy by the arrival of Randall Patrick McMurphy, a genial, larger than life con man who fakes insanity to get out of a ninety-day prison sentence. By the time McMurphy learns that he is now under the cruel control of Nurse Ratched and the asylum, he has already set the wheels of rebellion in motion. Narrated by Chief Broom Bromden, an Indian who has not spoken in so long he is believed to be deaf and mute, McMurphy’s rebellion is a spectacular foretelling of what the 1960s were to bring.

    Total Points: 7 (MCon 7)

    Phineas Finn: The Irish Member by Anthony Trollope (1869). A handsome, romantically profligate young Irishman, Phineas Finn leaves his sleepy home and secret fiancée for the political world of London. As he charts the rise and fall of his calculating yet endearing hero, Trollope plunges us into the machinations of the day (especially “the Irish question”) and, for good measure, introduces not one, not two, but four fascinating love interests. The novel—the second in the Palliser series—is long. But Trollope reminds us that sometimes more is more.

    Total Points: 7 (CS 7)

    Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (1811). Austen doubled her heroines here, giving us the down-on-their-luck Dashwood sisters. Elinor, the cool-headed elder, seems to embody common sense, while Marianne is “eager in everything.” The novel’s joy comes from watching the girls shape-shift their way through their love troubles, trading back and forth between their roles and natures. As each girl is by turns hardheaded and hot-hearted, Austen’s novel reveals the fluid nature of identity.

    Total Points: 7 (DM 7)

    Stories of Mavis Gallant (1922–2014). Expatriate experience and cultural contrasts energize the knowing, roomy fiction of the native Canadian, sometime Parisian, master. Praised for her story sequences (such as the semiautobiographical Linnet Muir tales and those focused on aging French author Henri Grippes), Gallant also excels in generously detailed depictions of an unwanted arranged marriage (“Across the Bridge”), a German POW’s survival skills (“Ernst in Civilian Clothes”), and numerous other vivid dramatizations of displacement and rootlessness (such as “The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street,” “The Four Seasons”).

    Total Points: 7 (ML 2) (FP 5)


    The Beans of Egypt, Maine (1985), Letourneau’s Used Auto Parts (1988), Merry Men (1994), a trilogy by Carolyn Chute. These grimly naturalistic novels, set in an inland “world” of house trailers and logging camps, depict the harsh lives and quiet dignity of the rural poor in Maine. The trilogy moves outward: The first novel creates a series of characters that are real grotesques, offering vignettes of adultery, drunkenness, and destroyed dreams. Life gets no easier in the second novel, but Big Lucien Letourneau, who runs an automobile junkyard, displays a rare and generous compassion. The third novel, which has the most political overtones, echoes the legend of Robin Hood to suggest how Egypt, Maine, and her people have been exploited.

    Total Points: 7 (MSB 7)

    The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939). This is the first novel featuring hard-boiled Los Angeles private eye Philip Marlowe, a tough guy with a fast gun and a quick wit. Noting that he “was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it,” Marlowe goes to work for a dying L.A. oil tycoon whose two lusty daughters have fallen prey to an array of drug dealers, pornographers, and bootleggers intent on separating the old man from his money.

    Total Points: 7 (CH 4) (RBP 3)

    The Burning Plain and Other Stories by Juan Rulfo (1953). Like Ernest Hemingway, Rulfo found men who are shaped by violence too fascinating to judge or condemn. Set in the period around the Mexican Revolution, his short stories use pared down prose to portray peasants who are seized sometimes by historical forces and given the opportunity to create and destroy on a mass scale. More usually, they decimate or are decimated in miserable increments.

    Total Points: 7 (SC 7)

    The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982). As if being black weren’t hard enough, Walker’s Pulitzer Prize– winning novel shows how bad life can get if you’re also a woman. Wondrously, Walker gives voice to the unlikeliest of heroes—a barely literate teenager named Celie who writes letters to God as an escape from life with her monstrous stepfather. After raping and impregnating her, he forces her to marry Mr., a cruel older man. Hope comes in the form of Shug, Mr.’s lover, and together the two women begin to loosen the shackles of race and gender.

    Total Points: 7 (BMC 3) (ED 3) (SMK 1)

    The Comedians by Graham Greene (1966). The poverty and desperation of Papa Doc Duvalier’s Haitian dictatorship inform this cynical tale of failed individuals trying to hustle something from a failed state. The comedians—who hide their true identities behind masks—include Mr. Brown, a failed art swindler and now inheritor of a waning imperial hotel, Mr. Jones, a con man, and the oblivious Mr. Smith, who dreams of establishing a vegetarian center on the troubled island. As Greene contrasts these schemers with men combating Duvalier, he delivers a gripping geopolitical novel that packs a moral punch.

    Total Points: 7 (CH 7)

    The Evening of the Holiday by Shirley Hazzard (1966). Over the course of a festive summer in the Italian countryside, Sophie, who is half English and half Italian, has an affair with Tancredi, an Italian who is separated from his wife and family. Hazzard’s first novel displays the talents and interests that mark her career: luminous prose, the tension between desire and morality, the necessity of choice, and the inevitability of endings.

    Total Points: 7 (PCam 7)

    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (1940). After his roommate of ten years becomes mentally ill, the deaf-mute John Singer moves to a boarding house, where he serves as an emotional buffer for a host of isolated “grotesques” who project their own longing onto him. This inspiringly sad story of misfits in a working-class Georgia town is attuned to the racial and social dynamics of the Depression-era South. Yet, McCullers also conveys a pervasive loneliness and desperation broader than any given historical moment.

    Total Points: 7 (GDG 7)

    The Hours by Michael Cunningham (1998). This Pulitzer Prize–winning novel describes three women whose lives resonate with Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway. There is Woolf herself, contemplating suicide even as she imagines her great novel; an American housewife in 1949 who can’t quite fathom her discontent; and a contemporary woman, a lesbian in a long-term relationship, whose great love, a man, is dying of AIDS. Melancholy, hope, and endurance suffuse this intimate novel that suggests, “There’s just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined. . . . [Still] we hope, more than anything, for more.”

    Total Points: 7 (AS 7)

    The legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. These tales of medieval chivalry, romance, and high adventure composed primarily from the twelfth through fifteenth centuries feature a host of iconic characters: Sir Galahad, Lancelot, Mordred, Guinevere, Merlin, and the Lady of the Lake. These are stories that gave us Camelot, the Round Table, and the search for the Holy Grail. Versions abound but the best place to start is with Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur.

    Total Points: 7 (JSalt 7)

    The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (1971). This picture book is a poignant environmental fable about a beautiful forest of Truffula trees destroyed for the sake of the mass production of curious garments called Thneeds. Long after the forest has been destroyed, the Once-ler who destroyed it comes out of his “Lerkim on top of his store” to tell this cautionary tale to children.

    Total Points: 7 (LMill 7)

    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (1954–56). An Oxford medievalist, Tolkien drew on his vast knowledge of mythology, theology, and linguistics to imagine this epic trilogy. The books chronicle the hobbit Frodo’s attempt to destroy the magical ring of Sauron, Lord of Darkness. “The Fellowship of the Ring” introduces the men, dwarves, and elves summoned by the wizard Gandalf to protect Frodo. In “The Two Towers,” Frodo and his companion Sam continue their quest toward Mount Doom, while the rest of the fellowship are brought into the battle detailed in “The Return of the King.”

    Total Points: 7 (CD 6) (RPow 1)

    The Messiah of Stockholm by Cynthia Ozick (1987). In this novel from Ozick’s mystical period, Lars Andemening, a mousy, fortyish book reviewer for a Swedish daily, has a grandiose fantasy: that he is the son of Bruno Schulz, a Polish writer murdered during World War II by a Nazi officer. But when a woman turns up in Stockholm also claiming to be Schulz’s child and with a copy of Schulz’s long-lost novel The Messiah, Lars’s quest to learn about Schulz turns Oedipal.

    Total Points: 7 (TCB 7)

    The Once and Future King by T.H. White (1958). This retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance, and magic. Lev Grossman calls it “the perfect boys’ book.”

    Total Points: 7 (RG 3) (LG 4)

    The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch (1980). The beautiful princess Elizabeth is about to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon destroys her castle, burns her clothes and kidnaps Ronald. The clothes-less Princess—and proto-feminist heroine—dons a large paper bag and hunts down the dragon and her cherished prince. She outwits the dragon but Ronald is not too happy because she is not “dressed like a real princess.”

    Total Points: 7 (JPico 7)

    The Radiant Way by Margaret Drabble (1987). While the title suggests a rational universe, this novel focuses on the jarring dislocations of three women who meet at Cambridge in the 1950s. The psychiatrist and mother Liz Headland—who ties together the trilogy The Realms of Gold, The Radiant Way, and A Natural Curiosity—­is joined by her friends Alix Bowen, a do-gooding teacher, and Esther Breuer, an art scholar. Their experiences run the gamut, from comfortable wealth to family problems to labor unrest to a grisly murder, as they reflect Drabble’s interest in characters trying to reach beyond their bourgeois lives.

    Total Points: 7 (DC 7)

    The Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald (1995). An idiosyncratic chronicle of a walk along England’s eastern coast, this novel moves between physical encounters and prolonged meditations on history and memory. As the narrator visits derelict estates and slumbering villages, he ponders among other things Thomas Browne’s skull, Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson, Conrad’s journey into the heart of the Congo, the battle of Waterloo, and a villager’s model of Herod’s temple. Seemingly unrelated, the sketches weave a strange tapestry of grief, tranquility, nostalgia, and despair.

    Total Points: 7 (EH 7)

    The Story of the Stone by Cao Xueqin (c. 1760). This bawdy, funny, surreal, and encyclopedic Chinese classic stretches across 120 chapters. Reality and illusion shift constantly in the world of Jia Baoyu, scion of the wealthy but declining Jia family. He is a master at the arts of poetry, philosophy, and love but meets his match in his frail, beautiful cousin Lin Daiyu, one of the twelve beauties of Jinling.

    Total Points: 7 (AGold 7)

    The Tale of Genji by Shikibu Murasaki (c. 1001–1010 c.e.). Reputedly the world’s oldest novel, this immense epic romance chronicles the (mostly amorous) adventures of Japanese Prince Genji, a lowborn youth who is adopted by an emperor and grows into a handsome prodigy both irresistible to women and obsessively preoccupied with them. Genji’s peregrinations outside the hermetic world of the imperial court stimulate an elaborate panorama of the life of the period; the author’s depictions of Genji’s various and ingenious sexual conquests still dazzle.

    Total Points: 7 (KJF 7)

    The Thin Red Line by James Jones (1962). Green recruits become hardened soldiers, their eyes reflecting the “thousand yard stare” of those who have seen too much, in this novel set during World War II’s battle for Guadalcanal. Narrated from the perspective of various soldiers assigned to Charlie Company, the novel reflects the complexity of war—the horror and heroism of its licensed murder—while navigating the “thin red line between the sane and the mad.”

    Total Points: 7 (DFW 7)

    The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov (1901). In this gloomy Russian drama, the youthful hopes of siblings Olga, Masha, and Irina Prozorov curdle with time into the desperate sins and bitter resentments of later life. Often called a play in which nothing happens, The Three Sisters—one of four major dramas written by Chekhov at the end of his life—is actually a masterly study in dramatic texture, its voices and themes counterpointing each other as if they were notes in an orchestral piece.

    Total Points: 7 (MD 7)

    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carré (1974). This is the first novel in Le Carré’s Karla trilogy featuring aging, meticulous, self-effacing British spy George Smiley. Smiley is called out of forced retirement to root out a traitorous “mole” placed in the London headquarters of British intelligence by Soviet spymaster Karla. Working alone and without his agency’s resources for fear of alerting the mole, Smiley methodically sets about unmasking his quarry in this quintessential Cold War cloak-and-dagger yarn.

    Total Points: 7 (IP 7)

    U.S.A. trilogy by John Dos Passos (1938). Infused with the radical politics of the 1920s and 1930s and littered with newspaper excerpts, stream of consciousness prose, and biography, this triptych weaves an epic American narrative tapestry. Comprised of the novels The 42nd Parallel, 1919, and The Big Money, U.S.A. follows a host of divergent Americans from childhood on up in their unique attempts to find a place in a nation teetering on the verge of social unrest. Mixing newspaper reportage with fiction long before the word postmodern gave academics something to write about, U.S.A. reads like a newsreel and a dream.

    Total Points: 7 (NM 5) (RBP 2)

    Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry (1947). It’s the Day of the Dead in Mexico, and Geoffrey Firmin, a British ex-diplomat and professional alcoholic, is eager to oblige, embarking on a self-destructive bender like no other in literature. Lowry, who left hospitalization for his own drinking problem on the day the novel was published, recounts it all with a searing stream of consciousness that nods to Faulkner and Joyce and which Martin Amis called “drunkenness recollected in sobriety.”

    Total Points: 7 (WK 7)

    Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966).  Carolyn Leavitt writes:  “Suicidal and alcoholic Jean Rhys wrote shatteringly spare books about women being beaten down by life. Rhys takes the classic story of “Jane Eyre” and spins it on its head, telling it from the viewpoint of none other than Mrs. Rochester, the mad wife locked in the attic.  Instead of being just the symbolic shadowy presence she was in “Jane Eyre,” she becomes a full-blown fascinating character in her own right. A Creole woman taken away from her beloved Island life, her sexuality repudiated by her husband, she’s torn from the things and the person she loves, and she goes slowly mad.  Rhys said the fame this book brought her, at age 70, came too late.  Truly, an essential read.”

    Total Points: 7 (CL 7)

    Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (1983). One winter night, Peter Lake—master mechanic and second-storey man—attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks it is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the affair between a middle-aged Irish burglar and Beverly Penn, a young girl dying of consumption. It is a love so powerful that Peter Lake, a simple and uneducated man, will be driven to stop time and bring back the dead.

    Total Points: 7 (TJ 7)

    A Disaffection by James Kelman (1989). Patrick Doyle is a 29 year old Glasgow teacher in an ordinary school. Disaffected, frustrated and increasingly bitter at the system he is employed to maintain, Patrick begins his rebellion, fuelled by drink and his passionate, unrequited love for a fellow teacher. 

    Total Points: 6 (IWelsh 6)

    A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley (1968). A cross between Charles Bukowski and John Kennedy Toole, this harrowing, hilarious autobiographical novel portrays a raw and likable barstool dreamer. He is a slovenly, all-American misfit headed for the psychiatric institution, who fills his head with all-American fantasies of fame, wealth, and beautiful women. He doesn’t live life but watches it; his great passion is California golden boy Frank Gifford of the New York Giants, who symbolizes his hopes and whose injury triggers his self-reckoning.

    Total Points: 6 (GP 6)

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (1595). The summit of Shakespeare’s early romantic comedies, this play explores the troubled course of love leading to the marriages of King Theseus of Athens and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, and two young aristocratic Athenian couples. The trouble begins when the king of fairies interferes with the Athenian couples via his agent Puck, who administers love potions to the wrong characters. The ensuing confusion is finally resolved in the fifth act as the royal marriage is celebrated by the performance of a hilarious piece of nonsense staged by simple guildsmen led by Bottom the weaver, whose dream gives the play its name.

    Total Points: 6 (KJF 6)

    A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959). Hansberry’s award-winning play was the first by a black woman to be produced on Broadway. It focuses on the Youngers, a struggling African American family in 1950s Chicago, who must decide how to spend the $10,000 insurance money Mama collects from her deceased husband. Mama wants a home, her daughter Beneatha an education, and her son Walter a business. What ensues is a generational debate over values and whether or not African Americans can realize the American Dream.

    Total Points: 6 (PCle 6)

    A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (1908). While the Brits might be repressed at home, they seem to lose their heads (and sometimes their clothes) in hot, hot Italy. This eagle-eyed satire of the Italian effect stars the wealthy and young Lucy Honeychurch, who switches hotel rooms in Florence with a lower-class British father and son and then fights her mounting attraction to the son as well as her building rebelliousness against the corset of Victorian manners.

    Total Points: 6 (RR 6)

    A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859). It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.... These well-known and loved lines begin Dickens's novel set during the bloodiest moments of the French Revolution. When former aristocrat Charles Darnay learns that an old family servant needs his help, he abandons his safe haven in England and returns to Paris. But once there, the Revolutionary authorities arrest him not for anything he has done, but for his rich family's crimes. Also in danger: his wife, Lucie, their young daughter, and her aged father, who have followed him across the Channel. His salvation may be his uncanny resemblance to the dissolute yet nobel Sydney Carton.

    Total Points: 6 (EF 6)

    A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859). It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.... These well-known and loved lines begin Dickens's novel set during the bloodiest moments of the French Revolution. When former aristocrat Charles Darnay learns that an old family servant needs his help, he abandons his safe haven in England and returns to Paris. But once there, the Revolutionary authorities arrest him not for anything he has done, but for his rich family's crimes. Also in danger: his wife, Lucie, their young daughter, and her aged father, who have followed him across the Channel. His salvation may be his uncanny resemblance to the dissolute yet nobel Sydney Carton.

    Total Points: 6 (EF 6)

    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (1929). Remarque drew on his military experience to craft this seminal antiwar novel. At the outset of World War I, Paul Baumer and his fellow Germans are gung-ho. As the senseless bloodbath continues, hope turns to disillusionment, and death comes to seem a welcome reprieve in this gritty and poignant tale.

    Total Points: 6 (SV 6)


    New List

    David Mitchell

    1. The Duel by Anton Chekhov (1891).
    2.1984by George Orwell (1948).
    3.Heart of Darknessby Joseph Conrad (1899).
    4.Sense and Sensibilityby Jane Austen (1811).
    5.The Master and Margaritaby Mikhail Bulgakov (1966).
    6.As I Lay Dyingby William Faulkner (1930).
    7.Tom Jonesby Henry Fielding (1749).
    8.Labyrinthsby Jorge Luis Borges (1964).
    9.W, or The Memory of Childhoodby Georges Perec (1975).
    10.The Makioka Sistersby Junichiro Tanizaki (1943–48).
    Wild Card:Lolly Willowesby Sylvia Townsend Warner (1926).


    Classic List

    Top Ten African-American Works

    1. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952). 
    2. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987). 
    3. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977). 
    4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937). 
    5. Native Son by Richard Wright (1945). 
    6. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959). 
    7. Another Country by James Baldwin (1962). 
    8. Cane by Jean Toomer (1923). 
    9. Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid (1990). 
    10. Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown (1965). 


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