the best books of the NYT readers

Two years after Le Monde reported on the list of the 101 favourite novels of [some of] its readers, which I found most fascinating as a sociological entry on said readers, rather than a meaningful ordering of literary monuments (!),  even though it led me to read Damasio’s La Horde du Contrevent, as well as Jean-Philippe Jaworski’s Gagner la Guerre [To the victors go the spoils], The New York Times did something similar to celebrate the Book Review’s 125th anniversary. If on a lesser scale, as it only produces

        1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
        2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
        3. 1984 by George Orwell
        4. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
        5. Beloved by Toni Morrison

as the top five books of the last 125th years, Lee’s, Tolkien’s, and Garcia Márquez’s appearing in both lists, if with a different ranking. (The nomination rules were not exactly the same, though, with only novels for Le Monde and only “recent” books and only one per author for the New York Times.) Here is a longer list of the 25 top contenders, from which NYT readers voted [an opportunity I missed!]:

some of which I had never heard of. And not including a single Faulkner’s… Except for One Hundred Years of Solitude, first published as Cien años de soledad, all novels there were originally written in English. Sadly, the number one book, To Kill a Mockingbird, is also one of the most censored by school boards in the USA! (And so are books by Toni Morrison.)

5 Responses to “the best books of the NYT readers”

  1. Gerard Letac Says:

    Ah ah, tu me rappelles que ton post m’avait fait acheter ‘La horde du contrevent’ ouvrage assommant jete a la poubelle apres 100 pages!

  2. IB Singer of course and his great short stories. Missing names might be informative too, and Bayesians are often at ease with missing data problems!

  3. Thanks Christian for your refreshing post on the favourite NYT writers.
    I was glad to see Orwell, Salinger, Steinbeck, Nabokov, Fitzgerald Irwing. Incidentally Ulysses by James Joyce is always top rated but
    also so hard to read!
    Is there a longer list than the one you showed?
    What about Jim Harrison, Philip Roth, Bret Easton Ellis, S Bellow
    among the list of the ones known in France and the tiny sublist that I read.

    • Ah, yes, indeed, Jim Harrison is indeed sadly missing, I wonder why… Also missing is the unique world of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s books.

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