The Guardian’s “1000 novels must read” list


Quite an impressive feat of bookish attention:

“Selected by the Guardian’s Review team and a panel of expert judges, this list includes only novels – no memoirs, no short stories, no long poems – from any decade and in any language. Originally published in thematic supplements – love, crime, comedy, family and self, state of the nation, science fiction and fantasy, war and travel – they appear here for the first time in a single list.”


Here’s a link to the complete list at a glance: The Definitive List.

One could spend forever with a list like this. One of my personal favorites is the Comedy section:

“Comedy is not humour. You shouldn’t expect to be laughing all the way through these novels. Sometimes you will be, but at other times you will be crying. Every comic, it is said, wants to play Hamlet, and many comic novelists — Evelyn Waugh, archetypally — have a serious purpose. The world’s hypocrisies and deceptions are targets that must be attacked, comedy the literary weapon of choice. The greatest comic novels — Don Quixote, Tristram Shandy, Oblomov, Bouvard et Pécuchet, Dead Souls, A Handful of Dust, Pnin — demonstrate that the comic mode can sustain the very greatest writing. Comic writing can be a brutal, unforgiving business, yet it can produce great and multi-layered prose, combining comedy, pathos and satire.”

1000 novels everyone must read: Comedy (part one)

1000 novels everyone must read: Comedy (part two)

1000 novels everyone must read: Comedy (part three)

1000 novels everyone must read: Comedy (part four)

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