Thursday, October 08, 2009

Good and Bad

The following are two lists. The first is a list of, in my opinion, of the best novels I have ever read. The list after that is of the worst novels I have ever read.

My Choices for best novels are:

Cover of novel Anna Karenina

1, Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. In my opinion the BEST novel ever! Certainly the best novel about adultery and its effects but it is more than that. Much more!

2, The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu. 1000 years old but whoa!! The depth of psychological insight displayed by the author is amazing.

3, Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais. Ribald fun. If you like your novels crude and also very erudite this is it. Read it to find out why a goose is good toilet paper.

4. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy. Nothing else to say. Part novel, part history and part psychology it pays huge dividends to read despite its length.

5. Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift. Viciously misanthropic. My favorite section the Land of the horses. Who knew someone who despised mankind so much could be so much fun.

6. Surfacing, by Margaret Atwood. Cruel fun. Yes Ms. Atwood has a sense of humour. It is impossible to describe just how cruel and funny this work is.

7. As for Me and My House, by Sinclair Ross. Despairing but yet hopeful. About how love both blinds and enables you to see.

8. Bleak House, By Charles Dickens. Mr. Dickens under some sort of control. A caustic attack on people playing false with each other.

9. The Breast, by Philip Roth. Unbelievably silly and funny. Well it is about a guy turning into a giant human breast.

10. The Story of the Stone, also called The Dream of the Red Chamber, by Cao Xueqin. and Gao E. Rise and fall of a Chinese family. Considered the pinnacle of Chinese novels.

11. Cousin Bette, by Honore de Balzac. Revenge gone to gangrene. About how revenge is soul destroying and ultimately fruitless.

Now, ugh!!, for the worst novels I’ve read:

Cover of novel Hannibal

1. Hannibal, by Thomas Harris. In all fairness NO ONE should ever read this novel. If giving plot details DON'T have a spoiler warning, because if knowing what happens in the novel prevents some people from reading it; then you have done a good deed.

2. The Carpetbaggers, by Harold Robbins. Mr. Robbins cements his reputation has the worst novelist of the Twentieth century with this bloated mess. Novel defines turgid. Has line "His whitehot shaft". Enough said.

3. Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Suzanne. Ms. Suzanne makes popping pills into a coma preferable to reading this novel. The grade Z movie made of this novel lives down to its non-existent quality.

4. American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis. Grade Z slasher film as a novel. Contains much pointless description of atrocities. Author has major case of epater le bourgeoise. Novel is of the same level of child defecating in public for attention.

5. Silas Marner, by George Eliot. Ms. Elliot manages to pack many thousands of pages of boredom into less than 250 pages. Read any ten pages and you will find out how to make anything you write turgid and dull to the max.

6. The Portrait of the Artist has a Young Man, by James Joyce. Stunningly self indulgent. Mr. Joyce convinces reader that Stephen is better off dead.

7. Stranger in the Mirror, by Sidney Sheldon. This is a ur story about the "real" Hollywood. So over the top its unintentionally risible. The prose is beyond moronic; just read the descriptions of sex.

8. Birthright, by Nora Roberts. Ms. Roberts seems to write one Romance Novel a month and it shows. Every hideous romance novel cliché is in this book. Fortunately Ms. Roberts does not take herself too seriously as a writer.

9. Hotel, by Arthur Hailey. Anything by Mr. Hailey would do, but this one because it inspired a bad prime time soap will do as a example. Mr. Hailey is basically a Harold Robbins wannabe but whereas Mr. Robbins is turgid, very very heavy turgid; Mr. Hailey is turgid lite, but still unreadable.

10. Naked Came the Stranger, by Mike McGrady et al. A spoof trying to parody bad novels. Despite best efforts fails to be intentionally has bad as so many of these dreadful novels are unintentionally. Even as a parody it is still dreadful.

11. A Pilgrims Progress, by Paul Bunyan. One reading of this ponderous tome has great success in converting people to Atheism. It is also incredibly boring, heavy handed and morally repugnant. Yes abandoning your wife and kids is alright!?

Pierre Cloutier

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