New York : Facts on File, c2004.
Rates and evaluates one hundred noteworthy novels, from the medieval Japanese "Tale of Genji" to contemporary works, and provides summaries, details about their origins, critical opinions, and an account of their impact.
LibraryThing member Stbalbach
I own and have browsed many books like this, but The Novel 100 is the only one I've read straight through cover to cover, as a testament how good it is. Each of the 100 essays is an infectious rhapsody to the power and beauty of great novels. Burt's insights range from the historically contextual, aesthetic merits, existential meaning, summary, and just plain old personal recommendation. While the list doesn't offer any great surprises (#1 Don Quixote, #2 War and Peace, #3 Ulysses etc..) what it does offer is motivation to actually read these works. Or for me, motivation on which ones to skip (for now) because they are too dark, complex or esoteric. As Harold Bloom once said, the trick is not what to read, but what not to read. About 25 books I've already read, about 26 Burt convinced me are worth reading yet, and the rest, well, maybe one day I'll get to Finnegans Wake. Overall this is one of the better guides to the classics I've come across, at least those in the arbitrary 100 or 1000 list-type. It also contains a runner-up of 100 additional books in an appendix.
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