The mission statement

This is a blog I’ve decided to maintain as I traverse my way through Time Magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels published since the magazine’s first issue. The posts here won’t be reviews or full-blown essays so much as observations, just one active reader’s thoughts as he makes his way through the Canon of 20th Century American/English literature. I am not the first person to try this, nor the second, but I think it might be worthwhile nonetheless.

The list was released in 2005, so it covers just more than a hundred years of novels, but the starting date of 1923 necessarily cuts off several titles that otherwise no doubt would have made the cut — as they have on most other like-minded lists — such as Ulysses, The Age of Innocence, and Heart of Darkness, among others.

Why am I doing this? I’ve noticed an abundance of classics sitting on my bookshelves that I’ve been meaning to read but keep putting off. I figured the structure of an organized list would motivate me to get moving on them.  Plus it’s a way for me to revisit some of the books I read in high school and college, and see if my adult self, with hopefully a more refined reading taste, agrees with my younger self.

In addition to the 100 titles in the Time list, I’ve added some books that either fell outside the list’s purview (i.e., published between 1900-1923) or were left out of the list altogether.  If I happen to read any of those books, I’ll write about it here.

Once I clear my reading docket, I’ll get to work on the first title, which is…still left to be decided.


  1. Welcome aboard Michael! Always good to hear others are reading this same list. That makes four that I know of; there’s also Matt at

    Hope you find it as intersesting and fun as I have over the past 18 months! What are you reading first?

    • Hi, Bryan, thanks for the well-wishes! I’ve added you to the blogroll and look forward to having some good conversations as we read through the list.

      I’m thinking something light to ease my way into the list, so I’ve checked “Lord of the Flies” out of the library. Somehow I’ve managed never to read that one until now.

  2. Good luck with the list, it’s Bowes, by the way, Matt Bowes. Try not to think about how much the guy on the cover of Lord of the Flies looks like Mark Hamill, aka. Luke Skywalker, as it might colour your perceptions of the book. Have fun!

    • I corrected the link…my apologies.

      The copy I’m reading is actually a more updated, “special anniversary” edition, but the Luke Skywalker cover is so distinctive I couldn’t resist. At any rate, I look forward to getting my feet wet with the list. Thanks for the message!

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