Modern Library's Choices

Why am I reading Modern Library's Choices?

My grandfather, Jack Becker, passed away in September 2011 after a long fight with cancer.
I have always been an avid reader (as evidenced by this book blog), and Grandpa Jack knew this and would often recommend books to me. Before he passed away, he gave me a photo-copy of a list he had cut out from the New York Times.This list, Modern Library's Choices had 100 of what it deemed the "best novels" of the 20th century. He had marked off what he had read (twenty one out of the one hundred) and encouraged me to see how many I had read. At that point, sometime during my freshman or sophomore year of high school, I had only read three, The Lord of the Flies1984, and Brave New World. When he passed away, this list was not immediately on my mind. However, few weeks later, I found it, and resolved to complete it as best I could: and so began my journey in finishing Modern Library's Choices (see after the break for my progress). This list that remains on my nightstand table today. While I do not claim that this is the end-all-be-all of lists of great books from the 20th century, finishing (or trying to finish) this list is a tribute to Jack and an effort to read some of the great works of literature.
Grandpa Jack, you are missed.

Modern Library: My progress 
(blog posts tagged with Modern Library's Choices)

1. "Ulysses," James Joyce
2. "The Great Gatsby," F. Scott Fitzgerald ü
3. "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," James Joyce ü
4. "Lolita," Vladimir Nabokov ü
5. "Brave New World," Aldous Huxley ü
6. "The Sound and the Fury," William Faulkner
7. "Catch-22," Joseph Heller ü
8. "Darkness at Noon," Arthur Koestler
9. "Sons and Lovers," D. H. Lawrence
10. "The Grapes of Wrath," John Steinbeck ü
11. "Under the Volcano," Malcolm Lowry
12. "The Way of All Flesh," Samuel Butler
13. "1984," George Orwellü
14. "I, Claudius," Robert Graves
15. "To the Lighthouse," Virginia Woolfü
16. "An American Tragedy," Theodore Dreiser
17. "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter," Carson McCullersü
18. "Slaughterhouse Five," Kurt Vonnegut ü
19. "Invisible Man," Ralph Ellison
20. "Native Son," Richard Wright
21. "Henderson the Rain King," Saul Bellow ü
22. "Appointment in Samarra," John O' Hara
23. "U.S.A." (trilogy), John Dos Passos
24. "Winesburg, Ohio," Sherwood Andersonü
25. "A Passage to India," E. M. Forsterü
26. "The Wings of the Dove," Henry James
27. "The Ambassadors," Henry James
28. "Tender Is the Night," F. Scott Fitzgeraldü
29. "The Studs Lonigan Trilogy," James T. Farrell
30. "The Good Soldier," Ford Madox Fordü
31. "Animal Farm," George Orwell ü
32. "The Golden Bowl," Henry James
33. "Sister Carrie," Theodore Dreiser ü
34. "A Handful of Dust," Evelyn Waugh
35. "As I Lay Dying," William Faulkner ü
36. "All the King's Men," Robert Penn Warren ü
37. "The Bridge of San Luis Rey," Thornton Wilder ü
38. "Howards End," E. M. Forster ü
39. "Go Tell It on the Mountain," James Baldwin
40. "The Heart of the Matter," Graham Greene ü
41. "Lord of the Flies," William Golding ü
42. "Deliverance," James Dickey
43. "A Dance to the Music of Time" (series), Anthony Powell
44. "Point Counter Point," Aldous Huxley
45. "The Sun Also Rises," Ernest Hemingway ü
46. "The Secret Agent," Joseph Conrad ü
47. "Nostromo," Joseph Conrad ü
48. "The Rainbow," D. H. Lawrence
49. "Women in Love," D. H. Lawrence
50. "Tropic of Cancer," Henry Miller
51. "The Naked and the Dead," Norman Mailer
52. "Portnoy's Complaint," Philip Roth
53. "Pale Fire," Vladimir Nabokov ü
54. "Light in August," William Faulkner
55. "On the Road," Jack Kerouac ü
56. "The Maltese Falcon," Dashiell Hammett
57. "Parade's End," Ford Madox Ford
58. "The Age of Innocence," Edith Wharton ü
59. "Zuleika Dobson," Max Beerbohm
60. "The Moviegoer," Walker Percy
61. "Death Comes to the Archbishop," Willa Cather
62. "From Here to Eternity," James Jones
63. "The Wapshot Chronicles," John Cheever
64. "The Catcher in the Rye," J. D. Salinger ü
65. "A Clockwork Orange," Anthony Burgess
66. "Of Human Bondage," W. Somerset Maugham
67. "Heart of Darkness," Joseph Conrad ü
68. "Main Street," Sinclair Lewis
69. "The House of Mirth," Edith Wharton ü
70. "The Alexandria Quartet," Lawrence Durrell
71. "A High Wind in Jamaica," Richard Hughes ü
72. "A House for Ms. Biswas," V. S. Naipaul
73. "The Day of the Locust," Nathaniel West
74. "A Farewell to Arms," Ernest Hemingway ü
75. "Scoop," Evelyn Waugh ü
76. "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," Muriel Spark
77. "Finnegans Wake," James Joyce
78. "Kim," Rudyard Kipling
79. "A Room With a View," E. M. Forster ü
80. "Brideshead Revisited," Evelyn Waugh ü
81. "The Adventures of Augie March," Saul Bellow
82. "Angle of Repose," Wallace Stegner
83. "A Bend in the River," V. S. Naipaul
84. "The Death of the Heart," Elizabeth Bowen
85. "Lord Jim," Joseph Conrad
86. "Ragtime," E. L. Doctorow ü
87. "The Old Wives' Tale," Arnold Bennett
88. "The Call of the Wild," Jack London
89. "Loving," Henry Green
90. "Midnight's Children," Salman Rushdie ü
91. "Tobacco Road," Erskine Caldwell
92. "Ironweed," William Kennedy
93. "The Magus," John Fowles
94. "Wide Sargasso Sea," Jean Rhys ü
95. "Under the Net," Iris Murdoch
96. "Sophie's Choice," William Styron
97. "The Sheltering Sky," Paul Bowles
98. "The Postman Always Rings Twice," James M. Cain
99. "The Ginger Man," J. P. Donleavy
100. "The Magnificent Ambersons" Booth Tarkington

Current total: 40/100

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