Friday, August 1, 2008

The New Classics

Sara H.P., one of my all-time favorite bloggers, invited me to participate in a reading challenge based on Entertainment Weekly's 100 "New Classic" books, part of their June 2008 special issue on the 1000 best books, movies, innovations, style moments, and more of the past 25 years.

Of the 100 books on the list, I have read the following:

3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)*

That leaves 75 books deemed important, provocative, and classic by EW. Of those 75, I have started, lost interest, and put down another 10, and read the back covers of at least another 20 still. That left me with at least 40 books to consider reading. The challenge is to pick six books to read between now and January. Here are my picks:

18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)

Some of my picks made the list because they are a genre I have never read (#24), a recommendation from a friend that has been filed away in my mental to-read list (#27), because I love mysteries (#30), or because he's Gabrial Garcia Friggin Marquez, for Dios' sake! I'm going to start with Lonesome Dove because summer seems like the perfect time to read a Western classic.

*Technically, I did not read this one. I listened to it in the car on a road trip with an ex-boyfriend. Said boyfriend's mysterious behaviors made Robert Langdon's journey seem like a walk in the park, so I'm keeping it on the list. I earned that classic.