Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Changing the Inner World

Conversational Reading invites debate on the list of Top 40 Most Important Works in the World, 1927 - present posted on the World Literature Today website.

So much on this list I haven't read (to my shame and ever increasing bookguilt), but I'd place Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, Grass' The Tin Drum, Lessing's The Golden Notebook, Solzhenitsyn One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich on a list of books that changed my inner world forever.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd only read 6 of the books, and using that as a basis, I tried to figure out what was the common thread. The answer came very quickly. Each book I read (Eliot, Faulkner, Achebe, Nabakov, Calvino and Marquez) was incredibly intelligent and had depth. Each piece challenged the human comfort zone and attempted to shake you out of your complacency. None of these books seemed to follow a typical storytelling formula. Every single story/poem would lead you down one train of thought and then WHAM, deal you with a punch (actually many punches) until you no longer knew what you were reading except that it was something real and alive and touched your raw nerves.

There are all kinds of books, and you really wouldn't want to read the WHAM books back to back - way too exhausting. But these are the ones that stay with you.

Of course I can think of many other writers who should have been there. Kundera is definitely WHAM material, and other more recent authors. Naturally I have to vote in Murakami. I think Kunzru is a budding one.

Animah

The Visitor said...

i've read only TWO!

a third was half-read.

maybe it is becos i spent my early years engrossed in pulp fiction.

bibliobibuli said...

My score's 11 though I've read other works by many more of the writers listed. But still bookguilty about the yet unread others ... gotta make an assault on the list.

animah - agree with you ... also for sure Kundera should be there - can't get The Unbearable Lightness of Being out my head ...

The Great Swifty said...

Anyway, I've only read Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. I'm so uncultured.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I want someone to tell me what is important and what is not. What makes these books more important and other books less important ?

bibliobibuli said...

Porty - that's what's up for debate ... I think every reader will have a different view of what should be on the list. Readers though, like lists. (Maybe with the exception of yourself?) We're always measuring ourselves against them.