Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1985

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Poll Results

OptionVotes
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy 9
White Noise by Don DeLillo 6
Hard Boiled Wonderland by Haruki Murakami 4
City Of Glass by Paul Auster 3
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 2
Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez 2
Masters Of Atlantis by Charles Portis 2
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson 2
Satantango by László Krasznahorkai 1
Last Letters From Hav by Jan Morris 1
Illywhacker by Peter Carey 1
A Maggot by John Fowles 1
Old Masters by Thomas Bernhard 1
Perfume by Patrick Suskind 1
Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid 1
A Day in Ostrobothnia by Antti Tuuri 0
The Execution Of Justice by Friedrich Dürrenmatt 0
The White Castle by Orhan Pamuk 0
The Book About Milutin by Danko Popović 0
World's Fair by E.L. Doctorow 0
Gaku Stories by Makoto Shiina 0
The Virgin by Bayo Adebowale 0
The Mystery Of The Sardine by Stefan Themerson 0
The Sand Child by Tahar Ben Jelloun 0
A Perfect Peace by Amos Oz 0
Peace On Earth by Stanislaw Lem 0
Tainaron by Leena Krohn 0
The Time Wanderers by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky 0
The Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes 0
Sozaboy by Ken Saro-Wiwa 0
The Parable Of The Blind by Gert Hoffmann 0
Simon And The Oaks by Marianne Fredriksson 0
Contact by Carl Sagan 0
The Final Passage by Caryl Phillips 0
Johnny, My Friend by Peter Pohl 0
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis 0
Song Of Kali by Dan Simmons 0
Always Coming Home by Ursula K Le Guin 0
Carpenter's Gothic by William Gaddis 0
Days Between Stations by Steve Erickson 0
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card 0
Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor 0
Word Of Honor by Nelson DeMille 0
The Battle Of Pollocks Crossing by J.L. Carr 0
The Good Terrorist by Doris Lessing 0
Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd 0
A Dangerous Encounter by Ernst Junger 0
Rich Like Us by Nayantara Sahgal 0
Echoes by Maeve Binchy 0
The Comeback by Ed Vega 0


Daniel_Rf, Friday, 16 July 2021 10:06 (three months ago) link

Interesting that pom put his cut off date regarding a slump in the novel as an artform here because 1985 does seem quite a bit livelier than the years preceding it!

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 16 July 2021 10:07 (three months ago) link

Some big novels here! Is anyone going to dare vote for Ender's Game? Maybe Blood Meridian will do well, I have tried to read that several times but cannot get into it at all.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 16 July 2021 10:15 (three months ago) link

😎

pomenitul, Friday, 16 July 2021 10:30 (three months ago) link

This is one of the toughest ones yet but I'm tempted to go with Auster for purely sentimental reasons, as I got into his work at precisely the right time in my life.

pomenitul, Friday, 16 July 2021 10:32 (three months ago) link

I've read eleven of these, my best count yet by far. Morris, Ackroyd or McCarthy for me.

Neil S, Friday, 16 July 2021 10:36 (three months ago) link

Is anyone going to dare vote for Ender's Game?

Someone voted for The Mists Of Avalon!

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 16 July 2021 10:48 (three months ago) link

Read 9 of the these. I think it'd be Jeanette Winterson, McCarthy or DeLillo.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Friday, 16 July 2021 10:58 (three months ago) link

Masters of Atlantis, the funniest novel I’ve ever read.

Chris L, Friday, 16 July 2021 11:12 (three months ago) link

The true answer is probably Blood Meridian but who else is going to vote for Satantango? So László K gets my vote! I will shamefacedly admit to getting ten pages into Always Coming Home back in the day and giving up out of boredom, maybe I'd appreciate it more nowadays. Probably not.

It's her most preachy and worst imo.

At Easter I had a fall. I don't know whether to laugh or cry (ledge), Friday, 16 July 2021 11:20 (three months ago) link

choice of two biggies here... going for the one i've read more times.

koogs, Friday, 16 July 2021 11:33 (three months ago) link

(Days Between Stations / Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit)

that said, i can never remember what's in which eriksson novel. a lot of his images have stayed with me over the years but what's in which book is vague. i'm guessing this is the one with the LONG train journey but it could be the one with the sand, or the frozen narrowboat or the bottle or the film.

koogs, Friday, 16 July 2021 11:45 (three months ago) link

A good year for novels. The problem I have with choosing in years like this is the vast discrepancy in how long ago I've read some of these. I think the most recent one I've read is "City of Glass" and that was probably 10 years ago. Next most recent would be "Days Between Stations". And the rest even longer ago than that, with "Ender's Game" something I read in the '80s, and "White Noise", "Love in the Time of Cholera" and "Less than Zero" during the '90s. My tendency is to overrate the ones I've read more recently, since they are fresher in my mind.

o. nate, Friday, 16 July 2021 13:21 (three months ago) link

Some other things I've read from this year that didn't make the cut: "Lake Wobegone Days" by Garrison Keillor, "Dayworld" by Philip Jose Farmer, "Galapagos" by Vonnegut.

o. nate, Friday, 16 July 2021 13:34 (three months ago) link

Galapagos is the first Vonnegut I read, a pretty good one too.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 16 July 2021 13:38 (three months ago) link

I don't remember much about the Murakami, but I think I liked it. Only other options for me are Auster and Card.

jmm, Friday, 16 July 2021 13:38 (three months ago) link

Murakami's essential skeeviness about his female characters gets harder and harder for me to take, although how much his narrators are an extension of his own opinions is difficult to know.

Probably going to vote for that one but yeah feel the same way.

Two Severins Clash (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 16 July 2021 14:09 (three months ago) link

Satantango is a fine book, but I literally don't remember anything from it (except for a little bit of context) that isn't a scene or image from the movie. Big-screen excitement and glamour win again.

Halfway there but for you, Friday, 16 July 2021 14:25 (three months ago) link

I've only read Handmaid's Tale and Perfume from the list. I own the Themerson and always wanted to get round to the Winterson but not actually read them. Not actually that excited by many others on the list despite everyone getting all up in a flurry about it being a good year (I guess this is the place to get in your convincing arguments for each book, though).

emil.y, Friday, 16 July 2021 14:46 (three months ago) link

Agree that Galapagos is a good Vonnegut, though. I imagine the cuts are getting fairly brutal?

emil.y, Friday, 16 July 2021 14:47 (three months ago) link

choice of two biggies here...

So many biggies on this list I truly don't know which two you mean!

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 16 July 2021 14:50 (three months ago) link

When I was a teenager in the 80s The Handmaid's Tale and Ender's Game each blew my mind but only the former holds up and that's what I voted for.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 16 July 2021 14:52 (three months ago) link

But don't sleep on Illywhacker which is weird and great (and not even the best Carey) and which would win for me in most of these years

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 16 July 2021 14:53 (three months ago) link

bunch of heavy hitters this year

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 16 July 2021 15:14 (three months ago) link

might vote for my hero jeanette winterson

i actually really loved city of glass when i read it ten years ago and gave a thought toward voting for it

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 16 July 2021 15:15 (three months ago) link

murakami sucks imo but hard boiled wonderland was the closest i came to enjoying him

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 16 July 2021 15:17 (three months ago) link

I guess this is the place to get in your convincing arguments for each book, though

I was just noting the presence of lots of books that are often cited as the best or one of the best by a well-known author (though of this course this may not be unanimous), including for authors I've never read (like McCarthy and Atwood). I haven't read that much by Auster, but "City of Glass" seems a good distillation of his strengths, and is probably what I'll vote for.

o. nate, Friday, 16 July 2021 15:26 (three months ago) link

20 something me would have voted for White Noise, but I think it’s Annie John

horseshoe, Friday, 16 July 2021 17:52 (three months ago) link

i have never been able to like Love in the Time of Cholera, even though One Hundred Years of Solitude is undeniable.

horseshoe, Friday, 16 July 2021 17:54 (three months ago) link

I must have missed the year with Norman Rush’s Mating, dammit!

horseshoe, Friday, 16 July 2021 17:55 (three months ago) link

Mating is '91 I think?

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Friday, 16 July 2021 18:07 (three months ago) link

i have never been able to like Love in the Time of Cholera, even though One Hundred Years of Solitude is undeniable.

― horseshoe

Interesting. I didn't like 100 YoS but my friend tried to convince me that LitToC was better and I should still give it a try.

emil.y, Friday, 16 July 2021 18:10 (three months ago) link

I'm struggling to choose between my two, I think they're both good books - I feel like Perfume is a much more sensual read with more interestingly-crafted prose, but that it says something pretty bad about my personality if I choose it over Handmaid's Tale. I mean, I guess my personality *is* pretty bad, but I don't want to admit to that.

emil.y, Friday, 16 July 2021 18:13 (three months ago) link

I didn't like 100 YoS but my friend tried to convince me that LitToC was better and I should still give it a try.

Haven't read either since high school but my memory is that your reaction to 100YoS is a pretty good indication of whether the whole GGM project is right for you

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 16 July 2021 18:41 (three months ago) link

As usual, lots of familiar names and titles, but have only read a few, will go for The Handmaid's Tale. which is still being told in the corridors ov memory and elsewhere (haven't seen the series, don't remember the movie)

dow, Friday, 16 July 2021 23:06 (three months ago) link

Blood Meridian, over Handmaid's Tale, from a stacked field

Nature's promise vs. Simple truth (bernard snowy), Saturday, 17 July 2021 14:11 (three months ago) link

Voted Masters of Atlantis, Portis, here. Perfect summation of the weird little cults that sprang up at the ragged fringes of US life before the internet turned them monstrous.

it is to laugh, like so, ha! (Aimless), Sunday, 18 July 2021 00:42 (three months ago) link

Blood Meridian over Perfume

fix up luke shawp (darraghmac), Sunday, 18 July 2021 01:02 (three months ago) link

Old Masters. His best.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 18 July 2021 08:46 (three months ago) link

is the latter real-autobiography version of Oranges worth reading?

koogs, Sunday, 18 July 2021 11:03 (three months ago) link

* later

koogs, Sunday, 18 July 2021 11:04 (three months ago) link

I don't know how much ground it re-covers (surely it would be interesting from that pov anyway) but I enjoyed it.

At Easter I had a fall. I don't know whether to laugh or cry (ledge), Sunday, 18 July 2021 11:27 (three months ago) link

I just finished Blood Meridian, so that over White Noise over Love in the Time of Cholera over City of Glass.

I wonder what I will think in a few years.

Carlos Santana & Mahavishnu Rob Thomas (PBKR), Sunday, 18 July 2021 12:14 (three months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Monday, 19 July 2021 00:01 (three months ago) link

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

System, Tuesday, 20 July 2021 00:01 (three months ago) link

Where'd my vote go? i am not good at computer

koogs, Tuesday, 20 July 2021 04:30 (three months ago) link

I was expecting The Handmaid's Tale to walk this, exacting descriptions of scalpings more popular on ilb though

cryptkeepers are different (Matt #2), Tuesday, 20 July 2021 08:44 (three months ago) link

Didn't know if I thought it was going to win but did think it'd get more than two votes - has the by all accounts terrible tv show hurt its rep?

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 20 July 2021 09:28 (three months ago) link

I wonder who voted for A Maggot? It's certainly unlike most other novels though I would never read it again.

Neil S, Tuesday, 20 July 2021 09:30 (three months ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1986

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 20 July 2021 10:52 (three months ago) link

Count me too as startled by low showing of Handmaid's Tale (of which I made up half the vote) -- at the time EVERYBODY read this, EVERYBODY praised it. My teen son read it and dug it last year so it's not like it doesn't still work.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 20 July 2021 18:32 (three months ago) link


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