Monday, August 28, 2017

100 Five-Star Books

For what it’s worth . . .  
Old Books by Dead Guys has never posted a “Greatest Books of All-Time” list, and this certainly isn’t one. Such lists are admittedly biased and often annoying, yet they can serve the purpose of making readers aware of good works with which they are unfamiliar. I can’t promise you I’ll never compile such a list, but there are plenty of great books I’d want to read or reread before I attempt such a task. Instead, I humbly offer this admittedly miscellaneous list of 100 outstanding reads. 

Since its inception in January of 2012, I’ve posted 710 reviews on Old Books by Dead Guys. I've finally reached a critical mass of 100 books worthy of a 5-star rating. So browse through the list below, click on the titles to read the complete reviews, and if you find one or two books to add to your reading list, then I’ve done my job. 

Why so much Jack London and Emile Zola, you ask? One of the reasons for starting this blog in the first place was to review the complete works of these authors, and provide some perspective on their more obscure works, which I felt was lacking out in the Googleverse. You’ll also find a few pulp fiction novellas that would certainly never make it onto any list of great world literature, but for what they are, they’re excellent. Each book is judged according to its own genre. Try one and enjoy!

Literary Fiction

  1. Balzac, Honoré de. Cousin Bette
  2. Balzac, Honoré de. Père Goriot
  3. Balzac, Honoré de. Works of Honoré de Balzac (MobileReference Collected Works)
  4. Buck, Pearl S. The Good Earth
  5. Cather, Willa. My Ántonia
  6. Cather, Willa. O Pioneers!
  7. Chesnutt, Charles W. The House Behind the Cedars
  8. Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur. The Great Shadow
  9. Cooper, James Fenimore. Wyandotté
  10. Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo
  11. Haldeman-Julius, Emanuel and Marcet. Dust
  12. Hamsun, Knut. Growth of the Soil
  13. Hugo, Victor. Ninety-Three
  14. Hugo, Victor. Notre-Dame de Paris
  15. London, Jack. The Call of the Wild
  16. London, Jack. The Faith of Men
  17. London, Jack. Martin Eden
  18. London, Jack. Moon-Face
  19. London, Jack. Novels and Social Writings (Library of America)
  20. London, Jack. The Portable Jack London. Edited by Earle Labor
  21. Melville, Herman. Bartleby, The Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street
  22. Moore, Brian. Black Robe
  23. Norris, Frank. Novels and Essays (Library of America)
  24. Norris, Frank. The Octopus
  25. Prus, Boleslaw. The Returning Wave
  26. Reymont, Wladyslaw. The Peasants
  27. Rulfo, Juan. The Burning Plain
  28. Rulfo, Juan. Pedro Páramo
  29. Sienkiewicz, Henryk. The Deluge
  30. Sienkiewicz, Henryk. Pan Michael. a.k.a. Fire in the Steppe or Pan Wolodyjowski
  31. Sinclair, Upton. 100%: The Story of a Patriot
  32. Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle
  33. Vidal, Gore. Creation
  34. Zola, Emile. The Debacle
  35. Zola, Emile. The Earth (La Terre)
  36. Zola, Emile. The Flood
  37. Zola, Emile. Germinal
  38. Zola, Emile. L’Assomoir
  39. Zola, Emile. Paris
  40. Zola, Emile. Pot-Bouille. a.k.a. Pot Luck, Piping Hot, or Restless House

Science Fiction

  1. Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale
  2. Capek, Karel. R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots)
  3. Herbert, Frank. Dune
  4. London, Jack. Before Adam
  5. London, Jack. The Iron Heel
  6. Piper, H. Beam. The Edge of the Knife
  7. Piper, H. Beam. Flight from Tomorrow
  8. Piper, H. Beam. Genesis
  9. Piper, H. Beam. Omnilingual
  10. Piper, H. Beam. Police Operation
  11. Simak, Clifford D. The Big Front Yard and Other Stories
  12. Simak, Clifford D. A Death in the House and Other Stories
  13. Simak, Clifford D. Good Night, Mr. James and Other Stories
  14. Simak, Clifford D. I Am Crying All Inside and Other Stories
  15. Simak, Clifford D. Mastodonia
  16. Wells, H. G. The Time Machine
  17. Williams, Jay and Raymond Abrashkin. Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint
  18. Wylie, Philip. Gladiator

Horror Fiction

  1. Lagerlöf, Selma. The Treasure
  2. Poe, Edgar Allen. Some Words with a Mummy
  3. Zola, Emile. The Death of Olivier Becaille

Mystery & Crime Fiction

  1. Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  2. Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur. The Hound of the Baskervilles
  3. Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur. A Study in Scarlet
  4. Shaftel, George Armin. Mystery on Dead Man Reef
  5. Simenon, Georges. Dirty Snow
  6. Simenon, Georges. The Late Monsieur Gallet. a.k.a. Maigret Stonewalled
  7. Simenon, Georges. The Night at the Crossroads. a.k.a. The Crossroad Murders

Comics & Graphic Novels

  1. DC Comics. Showcase Presents: Strange Adventures, Volume 1
  2. Evanier, Mark. Kirby: King of Comics
  3. Miller, Frank. Sin City a.k.a. Sin City: The Hard Goodbye

Art & Art History

  1. Ainslie, Patricia. Images of the Land: Canadian Block Prints, 1919-1945
  2. Downs, Linda Banks, et al. Diego Rivera: A Retrospective
  3. Reesman, Jeanne Campbell. Jack London, Photographer
  4. Reyes Palma, Francisco. Leopoldo Mendéz: Oficio de Grabar
  5. Silcox, David P. The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson
  6. Stewart, Hilary. Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast
  7. Tomkins, Calvin. Off the Wall: Robert Rauschenberg and the Art World of Our Time

History & Archaeology

  1. Ambrose, Stephen E. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West
  2. Foster, Lynn V. Handbook to Life in the Ancient Maya World
  3. Gray, Charlotte. Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike
  4. Heyerdahl, Thor. Kon-Tiki
  5. Mann, Charles C. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Biography & Memoir

  1. Chernow, Ron. Washington: A Life
  2. Krakauer, John. Into the Wild
  3. Labor, Earle. Jack London: An American Life
  4. London, Jack. John Barleycorn
  5. London, Jack. The Road
  6. Reiss, Tom. The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
  7. Wheeler, Joseph Mazzini. A Biographical Dictionary of Freethinkers of All Ages and Nations

Science & Nature

  1. Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species
  2. Haeckel, Ernst. The Riddle of the Universe
  3. Stott, Carole, et al. Space: From Earth to the Edge of the Universe
  4. Thoreau, Henry David. Walden


  1. Epictetus. Discourses
  2. Irvine, William B. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
  3. Marcus Aurelius. Meditations
  4. Russell, Bertrand. The Problems of Philosophy

Foreign Language

  1. DeFrancis, John. Beginning Chinese Reader (Parts I and II)
  2. DeFrancis, John. Intermediate Chinese Reader (Parts I and II)

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