Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The best book.

Over the next couple of weeks, I have to write an essay defining my personal criteria for a good novel and then choose one novel that I think is the best. With such a broad topic, I'm at a loss for what novel to write about. How is it possible to pick one? That's like asking what kind of bear is best- there's no right answer!

Right now my top contenders are:

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

They all have something unique about them and makes it hard to select one as the champion. Salinger's humor over Morrison's symbolism? Martel's plot over Twain's puns?

HELP ME DECIDE. (Especially you, Abby Pratt.)



    i've read that book like 5 times and feel something different for holden each time... so dynamic, so laced with teenage angst! THE coming-of-age novel all coming-of-age novels want to be!

  2. Not Huck Finn. The ending sucks. Way to take away all of Huck's character development by bringing back the deplorable Tom in a coincidental, deus-ex-machina sort of way, Mr. Clemens! And it's racist. a lot of the racism is deliberate (namely the language), but the fact is that Jim is a shadow of a character. He is constantly subservient to Huck. He gathers food for Huck. He waits around constantly for Huck while Huck goes on his little adventures. He accepts what Tom and Huck put him through at the end with little complaint. He is little more than a caricature, albeit a very kind and likeable one.

    sure, it's entertaining. I particularly like the duke and king. and i was struck by the brutality of the feud scene when Huck sees his friend die. But other than Huck's development of a personal code of morality, which is completely for naught when he resorts to falling back into his old ways with Tom,the book has little to offer.

  3. First, I'm super impressed that The Color Purple made it on your list. Really enjoyed that book, even though it was so hard to read.

    My thoughts: if you want to go with a classic bildungsroman (with a slightly less lovable character), go with Catcher. However, if you want to show how the novel has evolved in the postmodern sense--with an author who draws heavily on the foundations that Faulkner and Woolf established--I'd go with Beloved. It is more beautiful than Catcher, although it may be less appealing to your average teenager.

  4. thanks for your input! I'm still deciding but better make up my mind quick...


So...what's up?


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