Modern Fiction and Verse

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch

Dr. Grant’s best of Modern Fiction and Verse.

1. Oxford Book of English Verse, Arthur Quiller-Couch (partially read)

2. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

3. The Father Brown Stories, G.K. Chesterton

4. Witch Wood, John Buchan

5. The Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot

6. The Space Trilogy, C.S. Lewis

7. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

8. The Four Men, Hilaire Belloc

9. Penhally, Caroline Gordon

10. Collected Stories, William Faulkner

11. The Wizzard of Oz, L.Frank Baum

12. Charlotte’s Web
, E.B. White

13. Scaramouche, Rafael Sabatini

14. The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco

15. Kristen Lavransdatter, Sigrid Undset

16. Love in the Ruins, Walker Percy

17. The Velvet Horn, Andrew Lytle

18. The Footsteps at the Lock, Ronald Knox

19. The Weekend Wodehouse, P.G. Wodehouse

20. Falling, Colin Thubron

21. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingles Wilder

22. The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers

23. Song of the Lark, Willa Cather

24. Possession, A.S. Byatt

25. At Home in Mitford, Jan Karon

I’ve read
I plan to read

Questions that arise:

1.  Where, oh where, is Wendell Berry?
2.  Really, where is Wendell Berry?
3.  Who else is missing, in your humble opinion?
4.  Which ones have you never heard of? (Colin Thubron and A.S. Byatt for me)
5.  Of the books on this list which would be your favorite?
6.  Don’t you just love talking about books?

14 thoughts on “Modern Fiction and Verse

  1. I agree about Berry being an conspicuous omission. I had only read two on the other list (non-fiction), but I’ve read – or am in the process of reading – six of these titles, with Kristin and Mitford being my favorites. Of course, I’m only in the middle of volume 2 of Kristin.
    I’ve seen Possession on many lists – it’s on my to-be-read list, but I can’t rememer what it’s about!

  2. I fall flat here…..not having read many at all. 
    Definitely Laura Ingalls Wilder and Jan Karon.  I think it’s funny that Karon is on the list.  Her stories are charming, but I dont think they’ll be around years from now.  I think she’s on there because she came to Franklin Christian (can you say *fundraiser*?).
    My excuse for being so poorly read in this category is that I read lots of French and German literature (in French and/or German)….those were my minors in college.  BTW – Did you see Cindy’s rant about college educations? 
    You, on the other hand, are very well read. 
    Look at that list on your sidebar!!

  3. I recognized much more on this list and have read several.I would definitely get rid of the Karon – ick.   Okay, so I’ve probably insulted the rest of your readers, but I just didn’t like them at all.   I’ll swap those for Cadfael any day.I do no recognize: A.S. Byatt, Hilaire Belloc, Rafael Sabatini, Ronald Knox, or Colin Thubron.Robert Frost comes to mind as being on my list.   Would Twain be considered ‘modern’ since Wilder is?   A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is very good and I would add in L’Engel’s Time trilogy and Buechner’s Brendan.I cannot pick one favorite… here’s my three.  Tolkien, Lewis, and Eco.  All three great choices.I do love talking about books and this was very fun!

  4. About Wendell Berry…
    At Grant’s site, in the paragraph before the list, he says many authors are not listed…there’s not enough room.  And in World Magazine, Grant’s 1996 lists contains Berry.  So, I think it’s safe to say that Grant likes Berry 🙂
    I have only read one essay by Berry….and it was on healthcare. 

  5. About reading in French or German….I didnt mean to *brag*  It just means that I was reading Kafka or Mann and Voltaire or Moliere and not more English/American types.  Furthermore, there’s so much translating (mental or actual) when reading in a second language that I’ll have to admit to remembering not enough of the story lines.
    Happy Saturday!
    Dana in GA

  6. Hmmm–there are a LOT on that list i’m unfamiliar with! But i do love the Tolkien, and most anything by CS Lewis–and “A Day In the Life” sounds intriguing to me.
    The youngest of my 3 daughters just graduated from San Francisco State with a degree in English Lit, and she has quite a list of books she still wants to read–i have to say, i run more to just anything that sounds good with a good story line and thorough character development, whether it’s a thriller or historical novel or whatever…

  7. This looks like a great list. Chesterton and Wodehouse are definitely two of my favorites. I’ve read the Eco book a couple of times–it’s a fascinating read. I haven’t read “Song of the Lark,” but Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop” is one of my favorites. I’d add some Graham Greene works to the list.

  8. I don’t care for Karon either for the reasons given by a recent letter to the editor in World Mag. Dana, I wouldn’t look on reading in french and German as bragging. We accept what we can do and know what we cannot do. There’s nothing braggadocious about that. I admire people who have worked hard at something and are reaping the benefits; it’s inspiring.  My second son loves Sabatini. Lots of his books are available through the books online.But my real reason for commenting was to comment about the state of Quiller-Couch’s desk. Did he really work at a desk with that little space and with flowers and candlesticks?  It would make me nervous to work around things that could be toppling around me if I made a wrong move.

  9. On Greene: I’d start with “The Power and the Glory.” I also really enjoyed “Our Man in Havana.”Oh, and dittos for me on thumbs-down for Karon. I wanted to like the books, but they were just a little too sweet and sentimental.

  10. Hi Carol,I have always loved Grant’s reading lists.  They introduce me to new authors and reminds me of books I have been meaning to read.I will put in a plug for Karon.  She may not be high brow lit, but I enjoy her writing.  A few passages of her books are treasures in my reading journal.  Plus, she is a friend to Grant.  It’s a sign of human affection that he would include a friend’s work in his list.  I’d like to think I would do the same for a friend, should anyone care about my favorites list (-:  Having one friend who is an author, there is something very nice about read ing passages of fiction, dialog between characters perhaps, and seeing familiar parts of your friend.  I often wonder what is fiction and what is autobiography.  I wouldn’t fault him for leaving some authors out.  How can we include them all?  It reminds me of the scene in A Thousand Splendid Suns, when Laila’s father is trying to choose what books to take…we assume we won’t have to make that decision (the infamous, “What five books would you take to a desert island?”  I’m glad that it’s all a game for now.  Perhaps on another day he would have include dear Berry?  Who knows (-:I’ve only read twelve on the list.  I’ve added Possession, The Song of the Lark and The Anubis Gates to my current “to be read” list.  Happy Autumn!  Happy Monday!Diane

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