Finding a good novel …



I enjoy a good story. Drama. A good movie, or a novel.

Recently, I have been disappointed. It is difficult selecting a good novel to read. I can’t always rely on the critics or friends. For me, picking a good novel is like buying wine. I don’t know much about wine, so I pick the bottles with the labels I like best. And, I do something similar with books. If the cover looks good, it must be good. Right?

For a period, I only read emerging novelists. First time novels. I have book shelves filled with nice covers but few entertained, enlightened, or inspired me in any way.

Last evening, I watched The Equalizer with Danzel Washington, a 2014 movie that was met with mixed reviews. The most interesting part, at least for me, was when Robert McCall, the lead character, revealed he was reading novels from the “100 Best Novels” list published by Modern Library.

What a terrific idea.

I have known of the list, and others like it, but never paid much attention. It includes classics, as selected by a board of prominent thinkers – some I have read but many I kept overlooking. I’m going to start with #1, Ulysses by James Joyce, and work my way down. And, I’m going to read library copies. I may even try electronic versions. That would be a first for me.

I’ll read other works for sure. Notice there are no books on cycling listed.

How long do you think this may take? Do I still have time left?

Chas: “As long as it doesn’t cut into our time.”

6 thoughts on “Finding a good novel …

  1. There is a blog you might like.
    It’s Robert’s blog, a place where he reads and writes about Time Magazine’s 100 greatest novels. Ulysses is part of the list.
    A great idea indeed. I’m just afraid of tackling English classics. I have done it all with French literature and I will take a while to recover. 😀

  2. I see Ian Rankin on your shelf — he’s one of my favourites. I have read Ulysses twice; would you like to borrow my marked-up copy with notes in the margins? 😉

    My reading history is the opposite of yours. As a former English Lit major, I have read many classics and not so many contemporary authors. However, I just finished a book by Wally Lamb that I much enjoyed (_We Are Water_) and am 1/3 of the way through Joseph Boyden’s _The Orenda_ which is a fascinating glimpse into the early days of European colonization in this country.

    Good luck with Ulysses, it can be tough going! I’m glad I read it in school with the guidance of a Joyce scholar. As for classics, another favourite of mine is _Crime And Punishment_ by Dostoevsky. Let us know if you discover any good ones that capture your imagination!

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