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100 Cool Novels

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #78: A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway, 1929

By On March 18, 2010

A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway, 1929. It is very possible that Ernest Hemingway’s true métier was the short story, a form in which he excelled. In fact, In Our Time went… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #79: Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis, 1922

By On March 5, 2010

Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis, 1922. It’s rare that a novel or one of its characters enters everyday language. Most people can identify Captain Ahab or Hester Prynne, and their circumstances or personalities may… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #80: A Fan’s Notes, Frederick Exley, 1968

By On February 24, 2010

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #80: A Fan’s Notes, Frederick Exley, 1968. This fictional memoir is as breathless and manic as its author surely was when couch-surfing his way across Eisenhower’s America,… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #86: Sula by Toni Morrison

By On April 24, 2009

Sula, Toni Morrison, 1974. This wonderful short novel might seem to draw influence from the Magic Realism trend in South American literature (then growing in popularity), but despite apparent affinities with the… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #81: Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust

By On July 17, 2008

The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West, 1939. Considered one of the century’s best novels—it made the Modern Library 100—it is also regarded as one of the great novels about Hollywood, displaying… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #82: Loving by Henry Green

By On May 16, 2008

#82: Loving, Henry Green, 1945. Henry Green (Henry Vincent Yorke) is a dark horse among modern novelists. He never enjoyed placement in the first rank alongside Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, or James… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #83: My Life as a Man by Philip Roth

By On May 8, 2008

My Life as a Man, Philip Roth, 1974. Like many unabashedly ambitious novelists, Roth can be dazzling and exasperating by turns, sometimes, like Faulkner, simultaneously. There is little question that he is… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #84: Native Son by Richard Wright

By On April 18, 2008

Number 84 on our top 100 countdown: Native Son, Richard Wright, 1940. A gripping, scathing, infuriating novel. Arnold Rampersad described Bigger Thomas, the sullen young murderer at the center of the novel,… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #85: Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

By On April 10, 2008

Number 85 on our top 100 countdown: Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson (1919). This is a book that has fallen on hard times. Upon its debut, it was considered a bold and even… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #87: Ask the Dust by John Fante

By On April 1, 2008

Number 87: Ask the Dust, John Fante (1939). The first real Beat, Fante had it stylistically over most of those who would call themselves “beat” in the following decades (most of whose… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #86: The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis

By On March 18, 2008

Number 86 on our top 100 countdown: The Rachel Papers, Martin Amis (1973). This is a precocious, sly, and maddeningly provocative debut by the son of England’s greatest immediately postwar novelists, Kingsley… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #88 (TIE): Willa Cather’s My Antonia and Flannery O’Connor’s “The Displaced Person”

By On February 22, 2008

Number 88 (TIE): My Antonia, Willa Cather (1918) AND “The Displaced Person,” Flannery O’Connor, The Sewanee Review, v. 62, n. 4, Autumn 1954, later in A Good Man is Hard to Find… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #89: Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim

By On February 14, 2008

Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis (1954). This novel deserves to be on the list simply because it inspires the reader to literally laugh out loud, a simple pleasure that eludes the novel’s lead… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #90: John Updike’s Rabbit Books

By On January 28, 2008

Number 90: Rabbit, Run (1960); Rabbit Redux (1971); Rabbit is Rich (1981); Rabbit at Rest (1990), John Updike. This is my second quaternary, and it might seem like I’m cheating, but as… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #91: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit

By On January 10, 2008

Number 91: The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien (1937). Given the extraordinary ease with which today’s readers have surrendered to the infantilizing pressures felt in most other parts of our culture, I feel I… Read More

100 Cool Novels

E-Verse Top 100 Cool Novels #92: Norman Mailer’s Naked and the Dead

By On January 3, 2008

#92: Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer (1948). This is a powerful and surprising debut from the 26-year-old Mailer, and it shows how compelling he could be before he transformed into a… Read More

100 Cool Novels

Ernie’s Top 100 Cool Novels, #93, Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves

By On December 10, 2007

Top 100 Cool Novels #93: Goodbye to All That, Robert Graves (1929). This is one of the most powerful summations of the disillusionment that set in among the English after the carnage… Read More

100 Cool Novels

Top 100 Cool Novels, #94, Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell

By On December 4, 2007

Top 100 Cool Novels #94 is Pictures from an Institution, Randall Jarrell (1954). Although his greatest achievement was his precise and humane literary criticism, followed only by his intense war poems, Jarrell… Read More

100 Cool Novels

Top 100 Cool Novels, #95, GUT Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson

By On September 21, 2007

Top 100 Cool Novels, #95: GUT Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson (1997). This book really stands in for Winterson’s entire oeuvre, which must be read in toto to be fully appreciated. Her record… Read More

100 Cool Novels

Top 100 Cool Novels, #96, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

By On September 6, 2007

Ernie’s Top 100 Cool Novels #96: In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (1965). It is quite remarkable to think that a writer as prominent and well-regarded as Capote—he is certainly one of the… Read More

100 Cool Novels

Top 100 Cool Novels, #97, Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

By On August 23, 2007

Cool novel #97: Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole (1980). Well, if we want to weigh in on heart, one of our five criteria for “coolness” in a novel, this book has… Read More

100 Cool Novels

Ernie’s 100 Cool Novels, #99, Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

By On August 7, 2007

#99: Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee (1999): Advanced and agile style married to profound emotional insights on flashpoints of race, age, social standing, sex, gender, violence, and justice; a powerful read from a powerful… Read More

100 Cool Novels

Top 100 Cool Novels #100, Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford

By On July 24, 2007

Welcome to the first installment of E-Verse’s 100 Cool Novels. This is an informal list of E-Verse’s favorite novels written in English in the last century and is meant to be more… Read More