Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1962

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holy shit guys this year

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov 12
We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson 4
The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick 3
The Woman In The Dunes by Kobo Abe 3
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing 2
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury 2
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut 2
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess 2
Explosion In A Cathedral by Alejo Carpentier 1
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle 1
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard 1
Another Country by James Baldwin 1
Island by Aldous Huxley 1
The Kindly Ones by Anthony Powell 1
A Murder Of Quality by John Le Carré 1
Dead Cert by Dick Francis 1
Aangan by Khadija Mastoor 0
Children Of Their City by Per Anders Fogelström 0
Chowringhee by Sankar 0
L'Aventure ambiguë by Cheikh Hamidou Kane 0
The Letter For The King by Tonke Dragt 0
The Time Of The Doves by Mercè Rodoreda 0
The Rebellion Of The Rats by Fernando Soto Aparicio 0
Psalm 44 by Danilo Kiš 0
Passenger by Zofia Posmysz 0
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 0
The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata 0
The Mouse On The Moon by Leonard Wibberley 0
I Can See The Sun by Nodar Dumbadze 0
The Garden Of The Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani 0
Burning Grass by Cyprian Ekwensi 0
Timm Thaler by James Kruss 0
The Night In Lisbon by Erich Maria Remarque 0
The IPCRESS File by Len Deighton 0
The Jewels Of Aptor by Samuel R. Delany 0
Morte D'Urban by J.F. Powers 0
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey 0
Ship Of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter 0
Big Sur by Jack Kerouac 0
The Cry Of The Owl by Patricia Highsmith 0
Day by Elie Wiesel 0
The Hunter by Richard Stark 0
Leaving Cheyenne by Larry McMurty 0
The Reivers by William Faulkner 0
Shalako by Louis L'Amour 0
The Slave by Isaac Singer 0
The Golden Rendevouz by Alistair McLean 0
The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side by Agatha Christie 0
Trap For Cinderella by Sébastien Japrisot 0
The Evil Hour by Gabriel Garcia Márquez 0


Daniel_Rf, Monday, 26 April 2021 08:42 (two months ago) link

Other works of note: P.D. James' debut "Cover Her Face"; "Portrait Of A Young Man Drowning", Charles Perry's only novel; "Alligator", a Bond spoof by Chroistopher Cerf and Michael K. Frith; Mack Reynold's satirical sci-fi "Black Man's Burden"; "Fail Safe", a nuclear paranoia novel by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler; Irving Wallace's "The Prize", a novel about the Nobel; Ngaio Marsh's "Hand In Glove" (the inspiration for the Smiths song title?); William S. Burrough's cut-up "The Ticket That Exploded"; the Strugatsky's "Space Apprentice"; "Sherlock Holmes Of Baker Street", a fictional biography by William S. Baring-Gould; as well as entries by regulars Ian Fleming ("The Spy Who Loved Me"), J.B. Priestley ("The Shapes Of Sleep"), Iris Murdoch ("An Unofficial Rose") and Georges Simenon ("Maigret And The Saturday Caller").

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 26 April 2021 08:48 (two months ago) link

So this is a tough one for me - was fully expecting to vote for Kawabata's "The Old Capital" once it came up, difficult to describe without indulging in clichés about Japanese literature - subtle, haunting, deceptively simple. But this year also has "Another Country", which opened my teenage mind to other experiences, an introduction to African American and queer literature both; meanwhile Richard Stark's "The Hunter" (the source material for "Point Blank") is one of the greatest crime novels I've ever read, just relentlessly cruel and terse and hard and funny. It's probably more perfect at being what it is than "Another Country", but "Another Country" widened my horizons while "The Hunter", at its heart, just allowed me to revel in some very unsavoury lizard brain impulses, so I'll happily give it to Baldwin, don't care if that's virtue signalling or what have you.

Should also give a quick shout out to "Big Sur", the Altamont to the Woodstock of "On The Road", an unnerving novel about losing your damn mind. The narrator's mum calling him up to tell him his old cat has died, that birds gathered where she buried him as if in tribute, has really stuck with me.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 26 April 2021 08:54 (two months ago) link

Lot of books that were my 13-year-old self's favorite books here.

avatar of a kind of respectability homosexual culture (Eric H.), Monday, 26 April 2021 13:17 (two months ago) link

The Woman in Dunes, which I enjoyed as much as the film adaptation (and Tōru Takemitsu's typically stellar score).

pomenitul, Monday, 26 April 2021 13:56 (two months ago) link

pale fire gonna run away with this, right

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 26 April 2021 14:00 (two months ago) link

The Golden Notebook.

I loved Bassani and Ballard too.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 26 April 2021 14:08 (two months ago) link

Abe edges out Dick, Vonnegut, Stark, Ballard and L'Engle for me, these choices are only going to get more difficult.

john p. coltrane in hot pursuit (Matt #2), Monday, 26 April 2021 14:40 (two months ago) link

Uhhh The Woman in *the* Dunes.

Apparently the original Japanese title is closer to 'Sand Woman'.

3xp

pomenitul, Monday, 26 April 2021 14:52 (two months ago) link

The Woman in Dunes, which I enjoyed as much as the film adaptation (and Tōru Takemitsu's typically stellar score).

― pomenitul

Yes, I'm very keen to read this (and other Kōbō Abe works) after watching the Teshigahara films. The version I saw was translated as Woman of the Dunes, which made more sense to me, as a stronger, deeper relationship between the person and the sand.

emil.y, Monday, 26 April 2021 15:31 (two months ago) link

Anyway, a tough year but I'm pretty sure this has to be Pale Fire for me, it's right up there. Going to give it a short while just to properly assess (and also make sure I haven't missed anything in the list).

emil.y, Monday, 26 April 2021 15:33 (two months ago) link

Don't remember the exc Pale File or The Jewels of Aptor (teen Delaney's enjoyable first published novel) well enough for them to win over The Man In The High Castle, which even if you haaated the streaming version, which I never saw but I know several people who found it frustrating, you should def. stay with the novel for a while; it's not that much like anything else.

dow, Monday, 26 April 2021 16:17 (two months ago) link

Ooh missed out on a couple: We Have Always Lived In The Castle is creepy and it's sort of astounding that it's by the same author of Haunting Of Hill House; Hill House is very much rooted in the "real world", or at least the mid-century country house simulacrum of same, with the supernatural intruding on its character's lives; We Have Always Lived In The Castle just plunges you into this grotesque southern gothic nightmare from the get-go, despite no actual supernatural elements.

Read and enjoyed The Man In The High Castle but don't think I really "got" it. Do love the quip Dick made that it's not alternate history, it's about our current history. Very Adam Curtis.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 27 April 2021 08:27 (two months ago) link

I love the ending of The Man in the High Castle, never has a rug been more throughly pulled from under feet. Gotta be Pale Fire for me though. Honourable mention to the super creepy Something Wicked This Way Comes.

I took drugs recently and why doesn't the UK? (ledge), Tuesday, 27 April 2021 09:40 (two months ago) link

four or five books I love here (though none from my favourites list) - throwing a vote to the one of these I fear will be overlooked.

Camaraderie at Arms Length, Tuesday, 27 April 2021 09:51 (two months ago) link

Interesting that nobody's talking about A Clockwork Orange here. It's another one where the popular culture version of it has taken over the source material, but imo it is a very good book. Up against a lot of competition, but not even one mention surprises me.

emil.y, Tuesday, 27 April 2021 15:20 (two months ago) link

It feels like the '60s is really getting underway here with Ken Kesey, Vonnegut, PKD, etc. I've only read two of these: "Man In The High Castle" and "A Wrinkle In Time". My choice would be L'Engle's classic, which blew my mind as a young reader.

o. nate, Tuesday, 27 April 2021 16:59 (two months ago) link

Of the notable books I've read from this list I'll have to go with Pale Fire, in spite of my quarrels with Nabokov over the smug cleverness he revels in in that book. It was an amazing achievement in spite of its author's unconcealed contempt for his readers and nearly everyone else on the planet.

sharpening the contraindications (Aimless), Tuesday, 27 April 2021 17:22 (two months ago) link

Kubrick was right to cut out the last chapter of A Clockwork Orange.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 27 April 2021 17:29 (two months ago) link

Of the notable books I've read from this list I'll have to go with _Pale Fire_, in spite of my quarrels with Nabokov over the smug cleverness he revels in in that book. It was an amazing achievement in spite of its author's unconcealed contempt for his readers and nearly everyone else on the planet.

When Vladdie’s in town...

A Stop at Quilloughby (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 27 April 2021 17:47 (two months ago) link

Saw latest post first, thought of Vlad The Impaler Fire

dow, Tuesday, 27 April 2021 22:22 (two months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 28 April 2021 00:01 (two months ago) link

This is the hardest so far. Love the Shirley Jackson, Kesey, Dick and Vonnegut but on reflection I think this has to be Another Country.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 28 April 2021 06:12 (two months ago) link

Mugged? Burgled? Run over? Kesey, Dick and Vonnegut are the lawyers for you.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 28 April 2021 06:14 (two months ago) link

lol

btw guys I have zero knowledge of what Burgess is well-regarded beyond the Orange so here's yer chance to lobby me for future inclusions

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 28 April 2021 07:39 (two months ago) link

I read another Burgess, a fairly grim seedy spy novel set on a ship, it was bad.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 28 April 2021 08:13 (two months ago) link

Only just seen the Ballard. The Drowned World is great but second tier, I think. Besides, I'll have plenty of opportunity. to vote for him later.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 28 April 2021 08:52 (two months ago) link

This was a crazy hard choice before I kneejerk voted for Pale Fire

Call of Scampi: Slack Nephrops (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 28 April 2021 09:22 (two months ago) link

Solzhenitsyn loomed large for a while before his rebranding as an anti-everything talking head ... I have no idea how his reputation stands these days, but A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is powerful

iirc I enjoyed Garcia Márquez, Deighton, Delany, Faulkner, Le Carré, and Burgess; Stark, Dick, Jackson, and Abe are great; Kerouac is not so hot; Nabokov is the canonically correct winner

I voted for Ballard for sentimental reasons ... I agree it's not his best novel, but it feels like the one that best splits the difference between classic SF and Ballardianism

I see quite a few titles I ought to have read here ... I've enjoyed all of Baldwin's non-fiction but haven't attempted any of the novels yet, I wonder if this would be a good one to start with

Brad C., Wednesday, 28 April 2021 15:37 (two months ago) link

It was the one I started with and I got hooked, so I'd say yeah.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 28 April 2021 15:38 (two months ago) link

Anything but Pale Fire.

Cocteau Twinks (jed_), Wednesday, 28 April 2021 15:59 (two months ago) link

btw guys I have zero knowledge of what Burgess is well-regarded beyond the Orange so here's yer chance to lobby me for future inclusions

― Daniel_Rf

Honestly not sure, tbh. Having a look over his bibliography and the only ones I recognise are the Enderby novels, which I haven't read and don't look that much like my kind of thing. I will warn you that we're getting very close to the point where I will expect you to include every single BS Johnson and Ann Quin novel so I can vote for them and shout about it.

emil.y, Wednesday, 28 April 2021 17:03 (two months ago) link

Earthly Powers for one thing, re Burgess.

A Stop at Quilloughby (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 28 April 2021 18:02 (two months ago) link

I will warn you that we're getting very close to the point where I will expect you to include every single BS Johnson and Ann Quin novel so I can vote for them and shout about it.

― emil.y, Wednesday, 28 April 2021 17:03 (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

This is what I am hanging around here for.

Tim, Wednesday, 28 April 2021 19:56 (two months ago) link

If we can make requests, I want to vote for J.B. Priestley's Lost Empires in 1965, please (not knowing what else is coming in 1965)

American Fear of Scampos (Ed), Wednesday, 28 April 2021 23:58 (two months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Thursday, 29 April 2021 00:01 (two months ago) link

I've had Pale Fire on my shelf for the best part of 25 years. Thread, I will read it this year.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Thursday, 29 April 2021 06:05 (two months ago) link

Huh, I didn't expect Baldwin to win this, but I didn't expect mine to be the only vote, either.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 29 April 2021 09:18 (two months ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1963

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 29 April 2021 10:11 (two months ago) link

two months pass...

I wasn't sure where to put this but... If one has recently watched Point Blank and would like to read some Richard Stark does one a) need to start with The Hunter ii) read the series in order?

I have been in a lot of corridors today, trying to walk as loudly as possible.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Monday, 5 July 2021 19:51 (two weeks ago) link

Would be interesting to compare book and movie, but bookwise I started with the last, Dirty Money, which picked up right where the one before left off, and had no mystifying references to anything. Stark talk here over the years, most recently from noob me and some experts responding: Crime Fiction, S/D

dow, Monday, 5 July 2021 20:32 (two weeks ago) link

An all-time classick crime movie for sure.

dow, Monday, 5 July 2021 20:33 (two weeks ago) link

I have a bias towards reading series in order, but I wouldn't worry about it too much with the Parker books ... there are some recurring characters, but they aren't developed in ways that are likely to be confusing if you read the books out of sequence. (I've only read the pre-Comeback books, so maybe the later books have more continuity.)

Brad C., Monday, 5 July 2021 20:37 (two weeks ago) link

Cheers both - I've ordered a couple and will see. And aye, what a film.

As with most things, I'm a dilettante (grew up on Hardy Boys and Hitchcock's Investigators; sprawled since then); I can see that thread is going to cost me a fortune!

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Monday, 5 July 2021 20:59 (two weeks ago) link

Agreed you can just start wherever but I see no real reason NOT to start with The Hunter - it's a great introduction to the character and sufficiently different from the film to not feel deja vu.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 6 July 2021 09:53 (two weeks ago) link


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