The list author says: "Attempting to compare and "grade" great novels is not only an exercise in hubris (guilty as charged), but one of great futility. I doubt there is a person alive who has created such a list without later reviewing and wondering "what the HELL was I thinking!" But it is still among life's great pleasures: to read, to rate, to compare, and to argue the joys and relative merits of various books. And no matter what delusional position your English teachers may have held, fiction IS for fun, period. When it becomes focused on something else, it is in great danger of becoming diatribe (Rand). At which point it ironically loses both its impact and its audience. These books are NOT in any order; they are all A-List and cannot be fairly compared to each other. Apples and Oranges."
"Dreadfully slow to develop, this intellectual love story is not an easy read... but it is oooooh so satisfying! Byatt never cheats us a single time, answering every question, tying up every lose end, delivering on every promise. (Her other novels are equally difficult but not equally worth the effort.)"
"Few people realize that this is the sequel to Cannery Row. And a completely worthy effort, equal in genius to the first. Note that the Nick Nolte movie titled Cannery Row, is actually the plot from Sweet Thursday."
"Wicked funny and absolutely unforgettable semi-autobiographical tale of a young man and his pals in communist dominated Hungary. A Booker Prize winner. (Unlike America's Pulitzer, England's Booker prize is awarded for great fiction rather than socio-political relevance.)"
""The Last Temptation of Christ" by Kazantzakis was downright orthodox compared to this fascinating alternative view of Jesus. Graves is a solid scholar and carries it off, even if we disagree with his assumptions and conclusions."
"A slave ship gets more than they bargained for when they attempt to transport a unique package back to America. Charles Johnson takes us to a time and place and - more importantly - a way of thinking that has been long lost. Spooky great."
"This is Maugham's best book. Fast paced, intellectually and emotionally engaging, completely satisfying in the end. The movie with Bill Murray got it right, despite what critics may say. This is a classic of English Lit that HAS to go in your bucket list."
"In my opinion this classic "young man grows up" story is Kipling's best novel. All the mystery of the sea, the nobility of people, the richness of life. Don't pass it off as being for kids; it is for you too."
"Kozinski is more famous for other books, but I like this one by far the best. A crime thriller with all his usual intellect, his bizarre philosophy, and a complex plot that zings you right through to the end."
"By FAR Clavell's best book. It is a monster, but don't let that scare you off. The pace is fast as he carries you deeper and deeper into the plot. Everything is resolves to our complete satisfaction - if not our complete wishes."
"Never heard of it, have you? One of the most satisfying tales of "downtrodden guy makes good" I have ever read. I really do not understand how this one so effectively avoided the fame it deserves. You will love the Dork, love what he, love what happens."
"If you have never read it you should be ashamed of yourself? Stop with the excuses, put down whatever tripe you have in your hand, and read this great American masterpiece. There may be great books that are boring, but this for sure is not one of them."
"A wicked story about young thugs in near-future London. Burgess almost goes too far with the social commentary, but overcomes it with linguistic fireworks. Alex's narrative voice is unique first in all of fiction. NOT FOR THE EASILY OFFENDED!"
"Series begins with Master and Commander. For sheer captivating pleasure I cannot recommend any series more highly. If you prefer more action, with less thought, less character, less history, and less historical veracity, you will prefer Hornblower: you will also prefer Starsky and Hutch to Sherlock Holmes."
"This story is about a black woman in the South who runs off with a black man who founds a black town, with himself as the Big Man. Great characters, great story, no self-pity. Zora Neale Hurston was at the center of the Harlem Renaissance."
"If you are going to read one Science Fiction novel, this is it. Herbert's plots and characters NEVER fall into cliche. Dune starts slow, but stick with it! Once it starts to move it just keeps accelerating. NOTE: All the sequels in the series are great. Avoid the Brian Herbert "prequels." Garbage."
"Even though he never wrote a book - or a series - as good as Dune, Heinlein is a better SF writer than Herbert. Stranger is his most famous book, and probably his best. Loaded with controversial sex and religion, the real hook is the characters. From the first paragraph you are hooked on the people; what they say, who they are, and where they are headed. You WILL want more!"
"Tolkein is the father of all fantasy, and a must read in your bucket list. The new movie is great, but NOT true to the books and does not count. No Tom Bombadill? Outrageous! No Battle of the Shire? RIDICULOUS!!! If you do not know that Merry and Pippin's return to the Shire was more important than Aragorn's crowning as king, there is really nothing I can do for you..."
"Toole committed suicide because no one would publish this book. Genuine thanks to Walker Percy for correcting that greivous mistake. It is absolutely at the top of the list of funny novels. Ignatius J Reilly is forced to get a job and his home city of New Orleans suffers the consequences. Completely lacking in theology and geometry. Who produced this abortion?!!!"