Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1978

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Poll Results

OptionVotes
Life: A User's Manual by Georges Perec 6
The World According To Garp by John Irving 4
The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan 2
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald 2
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle 1
Yes by Thomas Bernhard 1
Sitt Marie Rose by Etel Adnan 1
Success by Martin Amis 1
Requiem For A Dream by Hubert Selby Jr. 1
Plumb by Maurice Gee 1
The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch 1
Dancer From The Dance by Andrew Holleran 1
Tales Of The City by Armistead Maupin 1
A Sleeping Life by Ruth Rendell 0
The Virgin In The Garden by A.S. Byatt 0
A Piece Of The Night by Michèle Roberts 0
Livia by Lawrence Durrell 0
Kayar by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai 0
Badenheim 1939 by Aharon Applefeld 0
Missing Person by Patrick Modiano 0
The Wrench by Primo Levi 0
Tree by F. Sionil José 0
Rumours Of Rain by André Brink 0
The Old Man by Yury Trifonov 0
Judith by Brian Cleeve 0
The Faculty Of Useless Knowledge by Yury Dombrovsky 0
The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross 0
Broken April by Ismail Kadare 0
Jake's Thing by Kingsley Amis 0
The Human Factor by Graham Greene 0
Son Of The Morning by Joyce Carol Oates 0
Shosha by Isaac Singer 0
Running Dog by Don De Lillo 0
Now And Forever by Danielle Steel 0
The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser 0
A Good School by Richard Yates 0
The Eye Of The Heron by Ursula K Le Guin 0
The Coup by John Updike 0
The Stand by Stephen King 0
Survivor by Octavia Butler 0
The Two Of Them by Joana Russ 0
A Few Green Leaves by Barbara Pym 0
Eye Of The Needle by Ken Follet 0
Countess by Josephine Edgar 0
The Chelsea Murders by Lionel Davidson 0
Tirra Lirra By The River by Jessica Anderson 0
Women by Charles Bukowski 0
What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson 0
The Wanderground by Sally Miller Gearhart 0
F*ggots by Larry Kramer 0


Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 10:28 (one month ago) link

I am noticing that due to my old fogey tastes my grasp of which authors are canonical/well regarded is starting to slip and this will only get worse as we move nearer to the present - apologies in advance.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 10:29 (one month ago) link

Can imagine The Stand winning this!

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 10:30 (one month ago) link

Requiem For A Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.
Yes by Thomas Bernhard
Life: A User's Manual by Georges Perec

I'll vote for Perec, who I loved a lot more than I do these days (the book with 'Species of Spaces' is what I'd return to) but Life is really fine.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 10:37 (one month ago) link

i voted for The Shining but wouldn't vote for The Stand, i don't think (and haven't). which is probably the influence of the film.

koogs, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 12:46 (one month ago) link

Failed to vote in the last couple of these but slamming that button down for Perec this year.

emil.y, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 14:59 (one month ago) link

I've read a few of them from this year but mostly in my teens, and I could make an attempt at defending, say, The Cement Garden and Women, but I no longer know if I would feel the same way about them as I did then.

Fortunately L:AUM is amazing and I don't have to face those quandaries at all, ahahahaha.

emil.y, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 15:02 (one month ago) link

I have a lot of time for McEwan up to the early 80s, at which point the self-indulgence starts to kick in. Think "Saturday" may be the worst widely-acclaimed novel I've ever read.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 22 June 2021 15:14 (one month ago) link

Using my King vote for The Dead Zone. At least three good-to-great gay novels here, and I'm tossing my vote to Dancer From The Dance.

i carry the torch for disco inauthenticity (Eric H.), Tuesday, 22 June 2021 15:26 (one month ago) link

xp "Up to the early 80s" means only his first two novels! I'll rep for most of them up to and including 'Atonement' but yep 'Saturday' is a precipitous drop. 'The Cement Garden' has strong first novel vibes. I've also read 'The Stand', 'The Sea, The Sea' and 'Life: A Users Manual', out of those the last is the clear winner.

I also like the short story collections, so you could call it 5 books, which is more than many! Atonement was a good film.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 22 June 2021 15:36 (one month ago) link

Voting The World According to Garpbecause it expands beyond the limits of novelist Garp himself (crucially, it's third-person narrative). Maybe too anecdotal, but good yarns, recurring subplot lines. This was the book that got everybody in Collegetown (and even some parents in Hometown!)reading fiction just for pleasure again. Of course, there wasn't much on cable yet, no video stores had showed up hereabouts, but still.

dow, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 16:11 (one month ago) link

I loved Garp when I was 17, wrote my big A-level English Literature essay on it, scared to revisit it though.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 22 June 2021 16:18 (one month ago) link

I read Garp in pretty much one hit in a bedroom in Helsinki and am glad to leave it in there in its perfect form. Despite my username I'm notified remotely interested in Bukowski any more. And The Stand I did re-read a couple of years back and it goes on and on (not today mention the 'magical' black and disabled characters).

I have a similar relationship with McEwan to most here. Enduring Love would be my departure point I think.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 22 June 2021 16:50 (one month ago) link

I read "Garp" way back when it was the omnipresent Irving on people's bookshelves. Later in the '90s it was supplanted by "A Prayer for Owen Meany" (which I never read).

o. nate, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 16:55 (one month ago) link

I read The Cement Garden in preparation for seeing the movie, and found the book told the story so well I had no interest in seeing the movie afterwards.

Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 17:16 (one month ago) link

Write-in vote for "Billy Phelan's Greatest Game" by William Kennedy.

o. nate, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 17:50 (one month ago) link

I should have read that. Did read several other Kennedys in the 80s, when he was in bloom. May well vote for Ironweed when we get to '83. Has some of the same characters as BPGC. O Albany, in the early 20th Century.

dow, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 20:56 (one month ago) link

The film of The Cement Garden is as good as the book, captures its atmosphere really well.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 22 June 2021 21:03 (one month ago) link

I didn't expect to be disappointed by the film, I just thought the book was visual and tactile enough that I wouldn't get any more out of seeing it.

Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 21:05 (one month ago) link

xxp Actually WK was in bloom way before that, but there were all of these reprints and new books in rapid succession, seemed liked (I belonged to QPBC, Quality Paperback Book Club). Esp. when the screen adaptation (which he wrote) of Ironweed came out, with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep (Kael panned it, I think, but I liked it, thought it conveyed the somber, seamyy. sometimes desperate, vitality-mortality and momentum of the novel pretty well).

dow, Tuesday, 22 June 2021 21:07 (one month ago) link

xp you should check out First Love, Last Rites, very similar in feel and I don't think he's ever written anything better.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 22 June 2021 21:10 (one month ago) link

It is also kind of horrifying though

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 22 June 2021 21:11 (one month ago) link

Wait, is this the year Tim was excited about? Where's the football stickers annual?

emil.y, Wednesday, 23 June 2021 16:22 (one month ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 24 June 2021 00:01 (one month ago) link

Life a user’s manual is great if you like an unaccountably large number of references to octagons

Clara Lemlich stan account (silby), Thursday, 24 June 2021 00:43 (one month ago) link

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

System, Friday, 25 June 2021 00:01 (one month ago) link

"Wait, is this the year Tim was excited about?"

Indeed it was.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 25 June 2021 07:34 (one month ago) link

I missed The Bookshop, that's a good one.

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1979

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 25 June 2021 13:57 (one month ago) link

I missed The Bookshop, that's a good one.

Yes. That’s what I voted for.

Rich Valley Girl, Poor Valley Girl (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 26 June 2021 21:18 (one month ago) link

I was the other vote for it. :)

What's It All About, Althea? (Aimless), Saturday, 26 June 2021 21:33 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

I had to dip out of these threads for a bunch of IRL reasons but yes this was the one I was waiting for and yes thanks everyone for voting for the correct number 1.

Tim, Friday, 30 July 2021 12:29 (four days ago) link

Glad to have been of service.

emil.y, Friday, 30 July 2021 12:44 (four days ago) link


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