Books Magazine

Ranking The First 60 Novels

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

It’s time for me to explain my highly subjecting and totally pointless rankings.

As you may know, I go through my rankings after every five novels. It’s a nice way to close out some of my recent reads and explain why I ranked them where I did. It’s also a great way for you to bash me in the comments and tell me how stupid I am.

So let’s take a look at the last five novels:

Ragtime (Current rank: 47): Ragtime felt a little like an episode of some sort of celebrity reality show. Just a bunch of random historical people thrown into a historical novel. I appreciated E.L. Doctorow’s effort, but I couldn’t get into Ragtime.

Portnoy’s Complaint (Current rank: 51): Love Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, but not a big fan of this one. The novel was funny, but the repeated, graphic nature of the novel eventually just wore me down.

All The King’s Men (Current rank: 11): Outstanding political novel. Willie Talos (or Stark, depending on which version you read) is most of the slimiest characters in literature. And he’s a politician. So no surprise there.

The Crying of Lot 49 (Current rank: 35): If you asked where I would place this book before I read it, I would have probably said I’d put it much higher. But I didn’t love the novel as much during my second read through. Maybe I’ll have more luck with Gravity’s Rainbow.

A Death in the Family (Current rank: 4): I’ve praised this book a lot recently. And, this novel, more than most, might prove how truly subjective my highly subjective rankings are. I loved James Agee’s writing style and how he tells this story, but I also think I read this novel at just the right time in my life to truly appreciate it.

You already know I’m currently reading A Passage To India. But if you’re playing along at home, just a reminder that my next three reads after it will be Ubik by Philip K. Dick, The Sotweed Factor by John Barth, and Loving by Henry Green, in no particular order.

Here’s my full rankings if you’re interested.

So…how much do you hate my highly subjective rankings? Do tell!

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