100 Top Novels

1 Don Quixote 1605, 1630 Miguel de Cervantes Catholic
2 War and Peace 1869 Leo Tolstoy Russian Orthodox
3 Ulysses 1922 James Joyce Catholic (lapsed)
4 In Search of Lost Time 1913-27 Marcel Proust Jewish Catholic
5 The Brothers Karamazov 1880 Feodor Dostoevsky Russian Orthodox
6 Moby-Dick 1851 Herman Melville Transcendentalist
7 Madame Bovary 1857 Gustave Flaubert Catholic
8 Middlemarch 1871-72 George Eliot Anglican; agnostic
9 The Magic Mountain 1924 Thomas Mann Lutheran
10 The Tale of Genji 11th Century Murasaki Shikibu Buddhist/Shinto culture
11 Emma 1816 Jane Austen Anglican
12 Bleak House 1852-53 Charles Dickens Anglican
13 Anna Karenina 1877 Leo Tolstoy Russian Orthodox
14 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 1884 Mark Twain Presbyterian
15 Tom Jones 1749 Henry Fielding
16 Great Expectations 1860-61 Charles Dickens Anglican
17 Absalom, Absalom! 1936 William Faulkner Presbyterian
18 The Ambassadors 1903 Henry James Anglican
19 One Hundred Years of Solitude 1967 Gabriel Garcia Marquez Catholic
20 The Great Gatsby 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald Catholic
21 To The Lighthouse 1927 Virginia Woolf Neo-pagan
22 Crime and Punishment 1866 Feodor Dostoevsky Russian Orthodox
23 The Sound and the Fury 1929 William Faulkner Presbyterian
24 Vanity Fair 1847-48 William Makepeace Thackeray
25 Invisible Man 1952 Ralph Ellison
26 Finnegans Wake 1939 James Joyce Catholic (lapsed)
27 The Man Without Qualities 1930-43 Robert Musil Catholic
28 Gravity’s Rainbow 1973 Thomas Pynchon Catholic; agnostic
29 The Portrait of a Lady 1881 Henry James Anglican
30 Women in Love 1920 D. H. Lawrence
31 The Red and the Black 1830 Stendhal Catholic
32 Tristram Shandy 1760-67 Laurence Sterne Anglican (Church of Ireland clergyman)
33 Dead Souls 1842 Nikolai Gogol Russian Orthodox
34 Tess of the D’Urbervilles 1891 Thomas Hardy
35 Buddenbrooks 1901 Thomas Mann Lutheran
36 Le Pere Goriot 1835 Honore de Balzac Catholic
37 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 1916 James Joyce Catholic (lapsed)
38 Wuthering Heights 1847 Emily Bronte Anglican
39 The Tin Drum 1959 Gunter Grass Catholic
40 Molloy; Malone Dies; The Unnamable 1951-53 Samuel Beckett Church of Ireland (Anglican)
41 Pride and Prejudice 1813 Jane Austen Anglican
42 The Scarlet Letter 1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne Transcendentalist
43 Fathers and Sons 1862 Ivan Turgenev Russian Orthodox; agnostic
44 Nostromo 1904 Joseph Conrad Catholic; atheist
45 Beloved 1987 Toni Morrison
46 An American Tragedy 1925 Theodore Dreiser Catholic; Congregationalist; Chrisitan Science
47 Lolita 1955 Vladimir Nabokov Russian Orthodox
48 The Golden Notebook 1962 Doris Lessing
49 Clarissa 1747-48 Samuel Richardson
50 Dream of the Red Chamber 1791 Cao Xueqin
51 The Trial 1925 Franz Kafka Jewish
52 Jane Eyre 1847 Charlotte Bronte Anglican
53 The Red Badge of Courage 1895 Stephen Crane Methodist
54 The Grapes of Wrath 1939 John Steinbeck Episcopalian
55 Petersburg 1916/1922 Andrey Bely Russian Orthodox; Theosophy; Spiritualism
56 Things Fall Apart 1958 Chinue Achebe
57 The Princess of Cleves 1678 Madame de Lafayette
58 The Stranger 1942 Albert Camus Catholic; Existentialism
59 My Antonia 1918 Willa Cather Episcopalian
60 The Counterfeiters 1926 Andre Gide
61 The Age of Innocence 1920 Edith Wharton
62 The Good Soldier 1915 Ford Madox Ford Catholic; agnostic
63 The Awakening 1899 Kate Chopin Catholic
64 A Passage to India 1924 E. M. Forster
65 Herzog 1964 Saul Bellow Orthodox Jew (lapsed); Anthroposophist
66 Germinal 1855 Emile Zola Catholic
67 Call It Sleep 1934 Henry Roth Jewish
68 U.S.A. Trilogy 1930-38 John Dos Passos Catholic
69 Hunger 1890 Knut Hamsun
70 Berlin Alexanderplatz 1929 Alfred Doblin Catholic
71 Cities of Salt 1984-89 ‘Abd al-Rahman Munif
72 The Death of Artemio Cruz 1962 Carlos Fuentes Catholic
73 A Farewell to Arms 1929 Ernest Hemingway Catholic
74 Brideshead Revisited 1945 Evelyn Waugh Catholic
75 The Last Chronicle of Barset 1866-67 Anthony Trollope Anglican
76 The Pickwick Papers 1836-67 Charles Dickens Anglican
77 Robinson Crusoe 1719 Daniel Defoe Protestant Dissenter (Presbyterian)
78 The Sorrows of Young Werther 1774 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Deist
79 Candide 1759 Voltaire raised in Jansenism; later Deist
80 Native Son 1940 Richard Wright Seventh-day Adventist; Communist
81 Under the Volcano 1947 Malcolm Lowry Methodist; Anglican; agnostic
82 Oblomov 1859 Ivan Goncharov
83 Their Eyes Were Watching God 1937 Zora Neale Hurston
84 Waverley 1814 Sir Walter Scott Anglican
85 Snow Country 1937, 1948 Kawabata Yasunari
86 Nineteen Eighty-Four 1949 George Orwell Anglican
87 The Betrothed 1827, 1840 Alessandro Manzoni Catholic
88 The Last of the Mohicans 1826 James Fenimore Cooper Episcopalian
89 Uncle Tom’s Cabin 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe Episcopalian; Congregationalist
90 Les Miserables 1862 Victor Hugo Catholic
91 On the Road 1957 Jack Kerouac Catholic; Buddhism
92 Frankenstein 1818 Mary Shelley
93 The Leopard 1958 Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa Catholic
94 The Catcher in the Rye 1951 J.D. Salinger Jewish Catholic; Scientologist
95 The Woman in White 1860 Wilkie Collins
96 The Good Soldier Svejk 1921-23 Jaroslav Hasek Catholic
97 Dracula 1897 Bram Stoker Church of Ireland (Anglican)
98 The Three Musketeers 1844 Alexandre Dumas agnostic; Catholic
99 The Hound of Baskervilles 1902 Arthur Conan Doyle Catholic; Spiritualist
100 Gone with the Wind 1936 Margaret Mitchell Catholic

My Favorites

My Favorite Movies:

  1. Magnolia
  2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  3. All the Real Girls
  4. There Will Be Blood
  5. Bleu
  6. Sweet and Lowdown
  7. The Family Man
  8. The Big Lebowski
  9. Cast Away
  10. Unbreakable

[On the Bubble: Gattaca, Big Fish, Jerry Maguire.] I wish there were more critically respectable films on this list, but it is what I like and I can defend the hell out of these films.

[I filled out a longer movie questionnaire found here]

My Favorite Bands:

  1. Radiohead
  2. The Veils
  3. Sigur Ros
  4. The Flaming Lips
  5. Explosions in the Sky
  6. K-os
  7. Aimee Mann
  8. Godspeed! You Black Emperors/ A Silver Mt. Zion
  9. Andrew Bird
  10. Neutral Milk Hotel

Recent favorites: The National, The New Pornographers, Band of Horses,

Older favorites: Remy Zero, Our Lady Peace, Guster, Jimmy Eat World

Favorite Poets (I rank only the dead b/c the living are still working):

  1. E. E. Cummings
  2. Robert Frost
  3. Maria Rainer Rilke
  4. Pablo Neruda
  5. Wallace Stevens
  6. Robert Creeley
  7. Walt Whitman
  8. W. H. Auden
  9. Odysseus Elytis
  10. Robert Lax

I ranked my Top Ten Books from both Modern and Dead Poets.

Books of Poetry (Bought & Given) : 2008

  • Divine Comedy: Journeys Through a Regional Geography by John Kinsella
  • Black Maria by Kevin Young
  • To Repel Ghosts by Kevin Young
  • Dear Darkness by Kevin Young
  • After a Spell by Nance Van Winkel
  • 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda Tr. by Gustavo Escobedo
  • Sea Change by Jorie Graham
  • God Particles by Thomas Lux
  • Burnt Island by D. Nurkse
  • Poems and Prose by Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Natural Birth by Toi Dericotte
  • Captivity by Toi Dericotte
  • Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey
  • On the Ground by Fanny Howe
  • Rules of the House by Tsering Wangmo Dhompa
  • Outside History by Eavan Boland
  • Skirts and Slacks by W.S. Di Piero
  • Goest by Cole Swenson
  • Otherwise by Jane Kenyon
  • Seventy Prepositions by Carol Snow
  • The Orchard by Brigit Pegeen Kelly
  • The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
  • Loose Woman by Sandra Cisneros
  • Uproar: Antiphonies to Psalms by Brooks Haxton
  • Evohe by Cristina Peri Rossi
  • Given Sugar, Given Salt by Jane Hirshfield
  • Recyclopedia: Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge by Harryette Mullen
  • Selected Poems 1966-1987 by Seamus Heaney
  • Far Side of the Earth by Tom Sleigh
  • Here, Bullet by Brian Turner
  • Garbage by A.R. Ammons
  • Radio, Radio by Ben Doyle
  • Portable Kisses by Tess Gallagher
  • Splay Anthem by Nathaniel Mackey
  • Collected Poems by W.H. Auden
  • Collected Poems 1975-2005 by Robert Creeley
  • The Last News of Mr. Nobody by Emmanuel Moses
  • Interglacial by James Richardson
  • Itinerary by Reginald Shepherd
  • DaZE by Matthew Cooperman (for review & reviewed)
  • Discount Fireworks by Wendy Taylor Carlisle (for review, forthcoming)
  • Invisibility Exhibit by Sachiko Murakami (for review, forthcoming)

Poetry Foundation’s Best Poetry Books of 2008

Their teasers for their list of favorite books is here.

Creatures of a Day : Reginald Gibbons

Twigs and Knucklebones : Sarah Lindsay

The Fifty Minute Mermaid : Nuala Ni Dhomhnail

George Oppen : Collected Poems

Sleep’s Powers : Jacqueline Risset

my vocabulary did this to me The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer

King Driftwood : Robert Minhinnick

The Walking-Away World : Kenneth Patchen

The Essential George Johnston

Kyotologic : Anne Gorrick

The Alphabet : Ron Silliman

Crabwise to the Hounds : Jeramy Dodds

Elephants & Butterflies : Alan Michael Parker

Bosston : Ed Barrett

For All We Know : Ciaran Carson

Selected Poems 1969-2005 : David Harsent

Aphorisms by Roger Ebert

Ebert gives his best quips here.

A sample:

I have often asked myself, “What would it look like if the characters in a movie were animatronic puppets created by aliens with an imperfect mastery of human behavior?” Now I know. — “Friends and Lovers”

This movie doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.

She and Daredevil are powerfully attracted to each other, and even share some PG-13 sex, which is a relief, because when superheroes have sex at the R level, I am always afraid someone will get hurt. — “Daredevil”

Best Poems By Month from Poetry Magazine


Jan: Moose Dreams by William Johnson

Feb: Ross: Children of the Ghetto by George Szirtes

Mar: Conversion Comedy by Ange Mlinko

Apr: What is it to be human? by Waldo Williams

May: Seawater Stiffens Cloth by Jane Hirshfield

June: An Aubade by Joel Brouwer

July/Aug: My Moses by Wendy Videlock

Sept: Clary by Atsuro Riley

Oct: Tell the Bees by Sarah Lindsay

Nov: Ernesto Cardenal and I by Roberto Bolano (n/a)

Dec: Ad Hominem by Nicky Beer

Best Issue of 2008: April (Translation Issue)