The 100 best novelsThe 100 best novels of the 20th Century

The editorial board of the Modern Library, a division of publishing giant Random House, selected an interesting list of books which give you as good a list as you could hope for. The books were chosen without regard to publisher according to a New York Times article.

Predictably it is an heavily American list and there is nothing on the list from Australasia unless you count Samuel Butler! Christchurch City Libraries has, at last check, 99 out of the 100 titles.

Whether you need to reacquaint yourself with these classics or read them for the first time, the only time to start is now.

  1. Ulysses James Joyce
  2. The great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald
  3. Portrait of the artist as a young man James Joyce
  4. Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
  5. Brave new world Aldous Huxley
  6. The sound and the fury William Faulkner
  7. Catch-22 Joseph Heller
  8. Darkness at noon Arthur Koestler
  9. Sons and lovers D. H. Lawrence
  10. The grapes of wrath John Steinbeck
  11. Under the Volcano Malcolm Lowry
  12. The way of all flesh Samuel Butler
  13. 1984 George Orwell
  14. I Claudius Robert Graves
  15. To the lighthouse Virginia Woolf
  16. An American tragedy Theodore Dreiser
  17. The heart is a lonely hunter Carson McCullers
  18. Slaughterhouse five Kurt Vonnegut
  19. Invisible man Ralph Ellison
  20. Native son Richard Wright
  21. Henderson the rain king Saul Bellow
  22. Appointment in Samarra John O'Hara
  23. U.S.A. John Dos Passos
  24. Winesburg Ohio Sherwood Anderson
  25. A passage to India E. M. Forster
  26. Wings of the dove Henry James
  27. The ambassadors Henry James
  28. Tender is the night F. Scott Fitzgerald
  29. Studs Lonigan James T Farrell
  30. The good soldier Ford Madox Ford
  31. Animal farm George Orwell
  32. The golden bowl Henry James
  33. Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  34. A handful of dust Evelyn Waugh
  35. As I lay dying William Faulkner
  36. All the king's men Robert Penn Warren
  37. The bridge of San Luis Rey Thornton Wilder
  38. Howards End E. M. Forster
  39. Go tell it on the mountain James Baldwin
  40. The heart of the matter Graham Greene
  41. Lord of the flies William Golding
  42. Deliverance James Dickey
  43. Dance to the music of time Anthony Powell
  44. Point counter point Aldous Huxley
  45. The sun also rises Ernest Hemingway
  46. The secret agent Joseph Conrad
  47. Nostromo Joseph Conrad
  48. The rainbow D. H.Lawrence
  49. Women in love . H. Lawrence
  50. Tropic of Cancer Henry Miller
  51. The naked and the dead Norman Mailer
  52. Portnoy's complaint Philip Roth
  53. Pale fire Vladimir Nabokov
  54. Light in August William Faulkner
  55. On the road Jack Kerouac
  56. The Maltese falcon Dashiell Hammett
  57. Parade's end Ford Madox Ford
  58. The age of innocence Edith Wharton
  59. Zuleika Dobson Max Beerbohm
  60. The moviegoer Walker Percy
  61. Death comes for the Archbishop Willa Cather
  62. From here to eternity James Jones
  63. The Wapshot chronicle John Cheever
  64. The catcher in the rye J D Salinger
  65. A clockwork orange Anthony Burgess
  66. Of human bondage Somerset Maugham
  67. Heart of darkness Joseph Conrad
  68. Main Street Sinclair Lewis
  69. The house of mirth Edith Wharton
  70. Alexandria quartet Lawrence Durrell
  71. A high wind in Jamaica Richard Hughes
  72. A house for Mr Biswas V S Naipaul
  73. The day of the locust Nathanael West
  74. A farewell to arms Ernest Hemingway
  75. Scoop Evelyn Waugh
  76. The prime of Miss Jean Brodie Muriel Spark
  77. Finnegan's wake James Joyce
  78. Kim Rudyard Kipling
  79. A room with a view E M Forster
  80. Brideshead revisited Evelyn Waugh
  81. The adventures of Augie March Saul Bellow
  82. Angle of repose Wallace Stegner
  83. A bend in the river V S Naipaul
  84. The death of the heart Elizabeth Bowen
  85. Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  86. Ragtime E. L. Doctorow
  87. The old wives' tale Arnold Bennett
  88. The call of the wild Jack London
  89. Loving Henry Green
  90. Midnight's children Salman Rushdie
  91. Tobacco road Erskine Caldwell
  92. Ironweed William Kennedy
  93. The magus John Fowles
  94. Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys
  95. Under the net Iris Murdoch
  96. Sophie's choice William Styron
  97. The sheltering sky Paul Bowles
  98. The postman always rings twice James M. Cain
  99. The ginger man J. P. Donleavy
  100. The magnificent Ambersons Booth Tarkington