The 100 Best Novels Written in English – Reaction

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0:00 the top 100 novels list
0:30 how do we decide what makes the list?
1:30 objective vs subjective canon
3:00 the value of book lists
4:00 books 100-90
11:48 books 89-80
19:54 books 79-70
29:30 books 69-60
35:55 books 59-50
41:42 books 49-40
45:15 books 39-30
49:26 books 29-20
53:00 books 19-10
57:45 the top 10
01:04:20 wrap-up thoughts

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Comments

Benjamin McEvoy says:

Update – Hey guys, the list is arranged chronologically, not ranked by which books are the best. This makes some of my outrage at the placement of certain books comically misplaced πŸ˜‚ But it was still a fun thought-experiment nonetheless. Perhaps one could dispute a few books being there, but overall the list had a ton of great books that are definitely worth reading! Let us know which ones you agree with, and which books you think should have made the list. Happy reading!

Paul Hanrahan says:

What would you think of adding The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt?

linki san says:

Many thanks friend 🌺

Frank Morlock says:

Am I the only one who is troubled by the omission of Walter Scott ? He was certainly the most influential novelists of all time, and left many to choose from but my personal favorite is The Heart of Midlothian. And I would think that a novel by Smollet should be included as well. In modern times what about Anthony Powell' novels ?
I was reading his Music of Time series around the same time that I was reading The Prime of Muriel Spark's Miss Jean Brodie. I only got about half-way through that series but I think some of the novels should be on the list. And also what about Durrel's Alexandria Quartet ?
On the American side it seems to me there are 4 novels that should not be omitted.
First of all, James Fenimore Cooper whatever his faults was still a great novelist and
like Scott invented a whole genre of Frontier fiction. My favorites however are Myles Wallingford and Afloat and Ashore which are epic in nature. Next, Mrs. Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin which is a book that changed the world forever. That is, to my mind a major omission. I also think that Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe belongs on any list of great English novels. And finally Mitchell's Gone With the Wind which is probably a controversial choice these politically correct days, but it is still a very important book.

Audiobooks for free says:

Thanks great

tom kennedy says:

I think I might get crucified for this… but I don't really like Orwell! I have recently read Down and Out in Paris and London (which I got a moderate amount of enjoyment out of), Road to Wigan Pier and 1984. I found that 1984 was brimming with fairly obvious, didactic, portentous moralizings that frankly made me slip into an ennui-induced coma. I also found the plot rather unsatisfactory and didn't form a relationship with any of the characters. Graham Greene, on the other hand, is an author who writes stories con brio. I find that Greene is an author who doesn't, in the modern day, get the credit he deserves. Sorry if I have been a little harsh on good old Orwell!

Florin N says:

U realized at the start that this is chronological and then completely erased it from your mind. :)) I will prioritize Clarissa and Middlemarch. Their length scares me, but at least I should try them.

Krzysamm70 says:

Would love to see your list

Fahad says:

What’s your favorite translation of War And Peace?

Mishellyloves Books says:

These lists claiming to be the best- as in the best for everyone drive me nuts! Assuming everyone needs the same set of books and stories in their lives. It should say such and suches favorite books. Everyone has different opinions

Ana Wallace Johnson says:

What a treat this was to watch!

Mico Samson says:

Glad to see Housekeeping on the list.

alex chen says:

Hi I love your videos. You got me curious when speaking about Heart of Darkness. Which Beethoven pieces do you like?

Phili Hareg says:

Sir Ben! πŸ™‚ Just stumbled upon this video. Glad I did! Thanks for the 'reaction' and for some of the title suggestions beyond this list. It would also be great to see your 'Top 10s' across genres (including short stories). Liked and subscribed. Look forward to checking out your other videos! πŸ™‚

Axl Oswaldo RamΓ­rez says:

Yesterday was my birthday and literally this video was like a present to me. Great job, it’s good to know many new recommendations and authors to add to my TBR list.
By the way, as I enjoy reading English novels, especially Victorian books, your opinion of each book here was so compelling. πŸ˜„

Greetings from Mexico, my friend! πŸ‘‹

Ellan Nelly says:

Ulysses, Clarissa are definitely added to the tbr ….
It was fun watching this 1 hour long video !! Would love to see more content like this

Thomas Taylor says:

To Kill A Mockingbird was compulsory reading in my high school in the UK.

I know it's not a list, but the majority of what everyman library has published is worth reading.

Raphael NK says:

Compile your own list of the 100 best novels you've read. Would love to watch that

Kaif Tintoiwala says:

3:06

Kaif Tintoiwala says:

2:55

Kaif Tintoiwala says:

2:24love this line

Sophie Follower of Jesus says:

Thank you Ben for this really interesting and entertaining video! I love how you can so aptly talk about these different books, being as well read as you are! I have been inspired by your videos, and am reading Anna Karenina (about halfway through now). I have especially enjoyed other Russian classics like Crime and Punishment and Brothers Karamazov, too.

The thing I want to thank you for, is in a video about Anna Karenina, I believe you talked about taking it slow, and that such a book is to be lived with, not read through quickly! I am not very fast at reading, and never have been. But when you said that I felt the pressure was taken away from being like 'I need to get through this succinctly and quickly! And preferably get through a huge stack of 50-100 books in a year'! So, thanks again for these really intelligent and insightful, yet entertaining videos!

1siddynickhead says:

Klara and the Sun was a waste of time for me. It was unfortunately my first Ishiguro and I was surprised by how banal it was. I think he was aiming for something like Stephen Spielberg's Ai based on the Asimov short stories but fell so short it was embarrassing.

Frederick Damian Baptist says:

Good to see that you caught on that the list is chronological and hence there's no need for me to point it out although you may which to re-shoot this to remove all references to the rankings and devote more time to talking about the books themselves as the ranting took up quite a lot of time. I agree though that as the list maker only restricted themselves to one book per author some of the choices were mind-boggling. For some time now I have been going down this list and I'm almost done but I'm also looking at the similar list that the Telegraph put together which I also find controversial for the choices. With regards The Guardian list many of the books I like but I have to say I really despised Henry James' Golden Bowl. All classics should have warning labels on them for example: "This book is the author pleasuring himself and trying to show off; quite likely you are not interested in watching him do this as unlike Joyce or Woolf showing off and largely succeeding, this book is unreadable, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. If he had died before releasing this he would have been doing the world a favour. You are not the audience for this "novel" (navel?) unless you are a scholar that James felt he had to impress. You have been warned!" But seriously, James had the audacity to criticise Dostoevsky but from the evidence of this guff I can safely say he isn't even worthy of cutting Fyodor's toenails. Sorry for ranting but I had to get this off my chest. The "Golden" Bowl really sucks to me.

Sharmila Nakulan says:

I have started reading Anna Karenina and le mis

Sawyer Wright says:

Benjamin! Excellent video as always. Wanted to tell you that your videos rekindled my love of reading. Currently reading Don Quixote on your recommendation. You’re genuinely the literary mentor I’ve always wanted. Keep up the great work! πŸ™‚

a DIE says:

Great books stand the test of time.

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