Sunday, May 22, 2011

Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century

I've been reading Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March and have stumbled upon another way to assign myself a D

In this case, it concerns the Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century edition I have, a gold and tannish six by nine with quality paper for pages--you've probably seen these around

Anyway, in the beginning they list the twenty books in the series, and as it turns out, I've read thirteen of them--so that's good for a 65, and you can see where this is headed

Well, which ones you ask? The ones by Delillo, Kafka, Pynchon, Kerouac, Golding, Conrad, Morrison, Proust, Steinbeck, Joyce, Marquez, Ford (as in Ford Maddox), and Cather

And who have I failed to read a particular novel of? Wharton, Bellow (as said, am reading, and perhaps ironic that aside from Delillo or possibly Kafka, I've read more of his work than any other writer on the list), Coetzee, Greene (as in Graham), Rushdie, and Lawrence

If you think "Big Book," you can guess the exact title pretty easily for most of these although the Joyce selection is Portrait of the Artist, not what you were thinking, and, yes, this works in my favor

Overall though, to me, this list seems decidedly more "central to the canon" than some of the other lists I've seen floating around the web, and for the most part, the book chosen is absolutely the right one for each author

Or so says this humble D student, relieved to have passed a literature test

PS--My periods have led several other poignant pieces of punctuation on a work stoppage, and I can't have this held against me!

Arghh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (says the man reduced to the exclamation point)

PPS--I feel a need to confess that I was assigned William Golding's Lord of the Flies three times from grades 8 to 12, got it as a birthday present, and also had it assigned once in college and am almost sure I've read that [redacted] five times! Or, one less than the total number of Bellow's novels I've read (but to an extent, I cheated by dallying about the shorter ones here)

PPPS--Palmetto bug spotted--a huge [redacted]--no doubt from Kafka, his way of reminding me he never would have been a blogger! Or at least not one who overused his exclamation points!!!

PPPPS--[redacted] you, Kafka! At least I've read a title by all but three on the list (Greene, Coetzee, and Kesey)--possibly that means I'm counting a short story by D H Lawrence, yes, okay, I see what you mean, but I wanted to point out that I've read Alan Paton's Too Late the Phalarope, and if I expire tonight I wouldn't mind that this would be the last novel I ever mentioned

PPPPPS--Please God, don't turn me off now, when I was just getting warmed up! Pretty please!!!

PPPPPPS--Oy I really feel I've jinxed myself now

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