Many die-hard readers consider their favorite novels more than mere entertainment. But while curling up with a beloved work of literature might seem a loftier pursuit than guffawing at “Family Guy,” it’s still ultimately a diversion.
And now that summer’s arrived, grabbing a novel to immerse oneself in at the beach is as much a seasonal ritual as gobbling fistfuls of popcorn while watching the latest blockbuster. Accordingly, along with its lists of the All-Time Greatest TV Shows and All-Time Greatest Movies, Entertainment Weekly is getting ready to unveil its list of All Time Greatest Novels.
EW has amassed quite a stately and thoughtful selection. Among the 100 titles cited are predictable classics like “Moby Dick,” “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights,” but there are also contemporary choices and a few credible curveballs. We plucked out five of their more surprising selections that you may not have read:
by Art Spiegelman
The first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize, Art Spiegelman’s disarming allegory of the horrors of the Holocaust depicting the Jews as mice and Germans as cats. “Maus” not only captured the weight of one of history’s darkest chapters, but fully legitimized the graphic novel medium as something well beyond the humble comic book.
by William Gibson
A science-fiction masterpiece and the cornerstone of the “cyberpunk” subgenre, 1984’s “Neuromancer” was William Gibson’s debut novel. It provided an unsettlingly prescient glimpse at a dystopian future of hacking critical information, and is starting to mirror our contemporary, console-reliant culture.
By David Foster Wallace
Slightly lengthier that James Joyce’s epic “Ulysses,” David Foster Wallace’s most celebrated novel is a sprawling postmodern work as complex as it is thick. But for those able to commit, “Infinite Jest” is a rewardingly surreal satire of life in an acronym-addled North American superstate operating within the stranglehold of controlling corporations, in which an elusive copy of a rogue film threatens to undermine the whole system.
'The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy'
By Douglas Adams
A longtime cult favorite and veritable bible for sci-fi geeks, British author Douglas Adams’ first installment of a five-book “trilogy” follows the progress of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and Zaphod Beeblebrox as they embark on an existential quest after learning that the Earth is being demolished to facilitate a hyperspace bypass. Spacily satirical high jinks ensue, including the somewhat anticlimactic revelation of the answer to “life, the universe and everything.” Attempts to capture Adams’ masterpiece have been attempted on screens large and small, but stick with the original novel for best results.
by Bram Stoker
(Archibald Constable and Co.)
While contemporary popular culture has been obsessed with tails of the lusty undead for some time – from the novels of Anne Rice to the “Twilight” saga to TV’s “True Blood” and beyond – all are but pretenders to a dark throne eternally unchallenged, occupied by Bram Stoker’s original Gothic masterpiece from 1897. While Stoker’s characters have been brought to …er… life on the screen innumerable times, the master’s original text remains palpably chilling, even a century and change after its debut.
Tune in TODAY Wednesday to see how Entertainment Weekly ranked these novels in their All Time Greatest list!
Which novels would you put in your top 5? Click on “Talk about it” below and give us your list.