Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996. She is the author of "News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist," winner of a Minnesota Book Award.

Oooh, another 'top 100 books' list. Let's argue!

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book news, Book reviews Updated: November 3, 2011 - 11:17 AM

 

Ernest Hemingway peruses the list of the top 100 American Novels 1891-1991 and thinks he should have been better represented.

Ernest Hemingway gets only one spot on the list of the top 100 American Novels 1891-1991.

 

Jeff O'Neal over at BookRiot (he also tweets as @readingape) has posted a list of the 100 best American novels.

(He also posted seven tips on how to fake it in book club--my favorite being "Create a diversion," by which he doesn't mean suddenly yell, "Fire!" but change the subject by asking who might play the main character in a movie.)

(Now I seem to be creating my own diversion by bringing up different blog posts. Let's get back to his list.)

He actually posted the list last July, but I first saw it this morning on the place where everybody sees everything nowadays (and the place where you might see this): Facebook. Connie Ogle, books editor of the Miami Herald, had posted a link, saying, "I would argue about the list for a good long time."

 

Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler

I'm always up for a good argument, so I clicked and read the list. I see holes! Big holes!  Do you? (Nice to see Louise Erdrich, but where's Anne Tyler? Or Lionel Shriver?) (Although arguably Shriver's best stuff came after 1991, which is when the list ends.)

 

What else would you include? What would you kick off? Is "American Tragedy" better than "Sister Carrie"? Does "Day of the Locust" deserve to be there over "Miss Lonelyhearts"?

The list is not ranked, but is in chronological order. O'Neal included only books published between 1891-1991. (So, no "Huck Finn," which was published in 1884, for example, and no Franzen, who came later than 1991.)

Here's the list. Argue away:

  • The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)
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  • Maggie, Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane (1893)
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  • The Country of Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett (1896)
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  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin (1899)
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  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)
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  • The Golden Bowl by Henry James (1904)
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  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905)
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  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (1906)
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  • Three Lives by Gertrude Stein (1909)
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  • My Antonia by Willa Cather (1918)
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  • The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington (1918)
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  • Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (1919)
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  • Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (1920)
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  • Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man by James Weldon Johnson (1921)
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  • Cane by Jean Toomer (1923)
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  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
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  • An American Tragedy by Theodore Dresier (1925)
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  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (1926)
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  • The Bridge of the San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (1927)
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  • Home to Harlem by Claude McKay (1928)
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  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (1929)
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  • Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe (1929)
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  • The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (1930)
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  • Flowering Judas and Other Stories by Katherine Porter (1930)
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  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (1931)
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  • Call It Sleep by Henry Roth (1934)
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  • The Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (1934)
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  • Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara (1934)
  •  
  • The USA Trilogy by John Dos Passos (1936)
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  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1936)
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  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
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  • Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West (1939)
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  • The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939)
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  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)
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  • Native Son by Richard Wright (1940)
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  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (1940)
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  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (1943)
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  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)
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  • All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (1946)
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  • Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener (1947)
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  • The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer (1948)
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  • The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles (1948)
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  • The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson (1949)
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  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951)
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  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952)
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  • Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin (1953)
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  • The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (1953)
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  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)
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  • Andersonville by MacKinley Kantor (1955)
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  • On the Road by Jack Keroauc (1957)
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  • Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer (1957)
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  • The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever (1957)
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  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1958)
  •  
  • The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud (1958)
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  • Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth (1959)
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  • Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs (1959)
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  • The Little Disturbances of Man by Grace Paley (1959)
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  • Browngirl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall (1959)
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  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
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  • Rabbit, Run by John Updike (1960)
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  • The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth (1960)
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  • The Moviegoer by Walker Percy (1961)
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  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
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  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (1961)
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  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (1962)
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  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)
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  • A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter (1967)
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  • The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron (1967)
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  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick (1968)
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  • Slaughterhouse-5 by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
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  • House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday (1969)
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  • them by Joyce Carol Oates (1969)
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  • The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford (1969)
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  • Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion (1970)
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  • The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor (1971)
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  • Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed (1972)
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  • Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (1972)
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  • Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (1973)
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  • Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow (1975)
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  • JR by William Gaddis (1976)
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  • Roots by Alex Haley (1976)
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  • Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (1977)
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  • The World According to Garp by John Irving (1978)
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  • Airships by Barry Hannah (1978)
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  • Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (1980)
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  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980)
  •  
  • The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (1982)
  •  
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)
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  • Cathedral by Raymond Carver (1983)
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  • Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (1984)
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  • Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984)
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  • White Noise by Don Delillo (1985)
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  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (1985)
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  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (1985)
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  • City of Glass by Paul Auster (1985)
  •  
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)
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  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (1989)
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  • The Shawl  by Cynthia Ozick (1989)
  •  
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (1990)
  •  
  • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez (1991)

 

 

 

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