Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1937

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I feel a bit weird about being torn between Zora Neale Hurston and Tolkien lol

It's wild that there will be another 21 of these polls before we get to the one Jorge Amado I've read

rob, Thursday, 28 January 2021 22:40 (two months ago) link

Got the Bruno but haven't read it (it's way off in my Collier Brothers stacks). I'll go w Hurston's Art Folk Pop anime tapestry of the Vagabond Beauty's quests, with powers ov crowds surging through. Florida as hell.

dow, Thursday, 28 January 2021 23:45 (two months ago) link

An Answer From The Silence by Max Frisch -- his first? novel, surprisingly sexy failed mountaineering quest; very good

Thieves Like Us by Edward Anderson -- top-tier noir grimness

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien -- nobody needs this described

Swastika Night by Murray Constantine -- phenomenally prescient novel set in a Nazi-conquered future world of homosexual ubermensch who worship the god Hitler "who was not Born, but Exploded" -- brilliant and dark (author's real name Katherine Burdekin)

Theatre by W. Somerset Maugham -- fun

Uncommon Danger by Eric Ambler -- one of his best books, great espionage on a train novel

Mouchette by Georges Bernanos -- a very good and deeply depressing book about a girl who is raped and things just get worse from there

Wolf Amongst Wolves by Hans Fallada -- Weimar-falling-apart brilliance; love this book

Ali And Nino by Kurban Said -- real oddity, Islamophilic adventures story by Traven-like mystery person, very good

The Bachelor Of Arts by R.K. Narayan -- I love Narayan, this is one of his better books

The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat -- mad and great

Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz -- brilliant; children are terrifying and teaching is hell

Journey By Moonlight by Antal Szerb -- also brilliant, fucking love this book

Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass by Bruno Schulz - ditto

This is a hard one! I'd argue that Swastika Night, The Hobbit, The Blind Owl, Ferdydurke, Sanatorium, Journey by Moonlight and Wolf Among Wolves are ALL masterpieces in their different ways. Fucking hell, 1937 was full of good shit.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Friday, 29 January 2021 00:04 (two months ago) link

I continue to be staggered by the breadth of your reading, James.

Heavy Messages (jed_), Friday, 29 January 2021 00:34 (two months ago) link

I love Journey By Moonlight, I’m pathetically ignorant of most of the list but it gets my vote.

JoeStork, Friday, 29 January 2021 00:41 (two months ago) link

Swastika Night sounds wild.

jmm, Friday, 29 January 2021 01:44 (two months ago) link

jed__, I have achieved nothing else in life.

Swastika Night really is brilliant.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Friday, 29 January 2021 07:02 (two months ago) link

Yeah, Hobbit is the first book I ever read by myself and it's kind of my happy place, can't be very objective about it. Those damn movies were a travesty.

Apart from that I've only read the Heyadat and while I can certainly agree with James that it's mad, I'm not really wired to enjoy decadentist dirges about how the protagonist is such a perv and a drug fiend. Points for not being at all what I was expecting from an Iranian (or anywhere, really) novel of 1937.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 29 January 2021 09:44 (two months ago) link

must get around to making a list of the titles in this series and then never get around to reading through it.
But would at least have a starting point, I have a list of Ford Maddox Ford's essential books over time from teh back of his book trying to establish a canon. Not got through that either. BUt did finally read through his text after a couple of different goes with a loing interval in between.

Stevolende, Friday, 29 January 2021 10:05 (two months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Sunday, 31 January 2021 00:01 (two months ago) link

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

System, Monday, 1 February 2021 00:01 (two months ago) link

I have to say, ilx loving Tolkien without shame has been shocking me this week, what with the ~problematic~ aspects, the fact that he's a bona fide English Culture Hero, and the overwhelming odour of nerd-dom, I expected someone to take a serious crack. (tbc I like the books, and my mother reading us The Hobbit from the fronts seat during road trip vacations is a cherished childhood memory)

rob, Monday, 1 February 2021 00:09 (two months ago) link

loving Tolkien without shame has been shocking me

so, your point is that we should all be ashamed of ourselves?

Compromise isn't a principle, it's a method (Aimless), Monday, 1 February 2021 02:05 (two months ago) link

Ilxor are nerds.

I'm considering giving the hobbit and lotr a go this year, once I'm finished with proust (so no time too soon)

Dusty Benelux (jim in vancouver), Monday, 1 February 2021 02:09 (two months ago) link

i went to reread the Hobbit last year and decided against it within 5 pages.

koogs, Monday, 1 February 2021 02:18 (two months ago) link

I intensely dislike Tolkien and all he inspired to the point of complete indifference, and I get a lot of people feel different about it. Having said that TEN votes is still more than I expected. Onwards and upwards imo.

A Scampo Darkly (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 1 February 2021 08:49 (two months ago) link

I dislike high fantasy that has different "races" of human-like beings inspired by racial or cultural stereotypes. I don't think designing the world before designing the story is a particularly good idea either. But I have never finished one of Tolkien's books so take that with a grain of salt.

wasdnuos (abanana), Monday, 1 February 2021 09:18 (two months ago) link

You could probably come up with problematic aspects for all sorts of books that have won this! Also note UK ilxor allergy to National Culture has a cut-off date - not like there's any screeds on here against Ealing studios or Enid Blyton.

I was indoctrinated into fantasy nerdom at an impressionable age and so love Tolkien unreservedly, though I can totally understand why others wouldn't. But The Hobbit is just a nice warm children's book, mostly unconnected to any high fantasy world building. The movies tried to make it fit that mold and that's part of why they're an absolutely rotten experience.

People surprised by this result should steel themselves for the moment the Moomins start showing up here imo.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 1 February 2021 11:50 (two months ago) link

UK ilxor allergy to National Culture has a cut-off date

Ah that's a good point, which hadn't occurred to me.

rob, Monday, 1 February 2021 13:55 (two months ago) link

wd have voted for journey by moonlight. love that book.

Lord of the RONGS (Fizzles), Monday, 1 February 2021 14:23 (two months ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1938

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 1 February 2021 15:22 (two months ago) link

not like there's any screeds on here against Ealing studios or Enid Blyton.

Enid Blyton was a fucking racist iirc

emil.y, Monday, 1 February 2021 15:33 (two months ago) link

Look away if worried about spoilers:
Happy Ending of T's saga (incl. The Hobbit as seemingly lighter-weight genesis seed etc.) is actually so tragironic---Anti-Quest and sacrifice of magic is nec. to deliver from evil, but Middle Earth will become Western Europe, and the King is White Male Saviour, dominant species at last, and we all know how that's gone, and author, between the World War he barely survived, like some of his patched-up characters, and another WW just ahead, provides the one of this clearly enough that tragirony extends to and through order of race, species etc.. not to say it nec. absolves him from all other judgments/readings)(but that was my take on it when reading several years ago)

dow, Monday, 1 February 2021 22:10 (two months ago) link

*Savior*, sorry.

dow, Monday, 1 February 2021 22:11 (two months ago) link

Provides the "tone* of this clearly enough

dow, Monday, 1 February 2021 22:12 (two months ago) link

The Blind Owl is really something out of time, as is Journey by Moonlight. We should leave the Tolkien to ILE lol.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 2 February 2021 00:21 (two months ago) link

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