A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the s | Literary HubActually, constructing a canon of any kind is a little weird at the moment, when so much of how we measure cultural value is in flux. Its supposed permanence became the subject of more recent battles, back in the 20th century, between those who defended it as the foundation of Western civilization and those who attacked it as exclusive or even racist. But what if you could start a canon from scratch? We thought it might be fun to speculate very prematurely on what a canon of the 21st century might look like right now. We asked each of them to name several books that belong among the most important works of fiction, memoir, poetry, and essays since and tallied the results. The purpose was not to build a fixed library but to take a blurry selfie of a cultural moment. Any project like this is arbitrary, and ours is no exception.
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You said: Because Becky Sharp is the greatest female lead character in English literature. History is a circle. A profoundly tender love story about deep despa. Jerome Liwt of the funniest English books ever written.
The play, set in Denmark. Author Vladimir Nabokov's selection of the Top 4 greatest prose works of the 20th century. The Betrothed Alessandro Manzoni Buy the book.
Some books are flashes in the pan, read for entertainment and then left on a bus seat for the next lucky person to pick up and enjoy, forgotten by most after their season has passed. Others stick around, are read and re-read, are taught and discussed. Of course, hindsight can also distort the senses; the canon looms and obscures.
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One key to being a good writer is to always keep reading—and that doesn't stop after you've been published. Here are 25 authors' favorite reads. Who knows, one of these books might become your new favorite. Papa Hemingway once said "there is no friend as loyal as a book," and in a piece published in Esquire , he laid out a list of a few friends he said he would "rather read again for the first time It wasn't the first reading list he'd made; just a year earlier, Hemingway had dashed off a list of 14 books for an aspiring writer who had hitchhiked to Florida to meet him. It included a few of the same books above, plus two short stories by Stephen Crane.