Saturday, October 29, 2005

You Duped Me Lord's list of great novels

Like Cindy Swanson (see previous post), Mark Mossa took the occasion of Time magazine's list of 100 best books to come up with a list of his own. Hey, any list that can mix Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells...

Actually, I lifted these books from his list in part so I'd have an excuse to include that last book. I haven't read The Rise of Silas Lapham in years, but I remember it got under my skin, in the good way that good books do. But I'm just about the only William Dean Howells fan around here. (Sigh.) Most people, in fact, seem to have never heard of him. How nice someone else is keeping this book on the still-alive-and-talking list (as opposed to the nobody-remembers-anymore list).

It also gives me an excuse to ask if anybody knows how in the Sam Hill that last name "Lapham" is supposed to be pronounced? I suppose it's a good old New England name that all halfway-educated Easterners know, but I haven't got a clue. I've heard it every which way, which doesn't help.

Mossa has a rather more varied and broad-ranging list than my very few examples can show. I suggest you go take a look.

(And, hey, if you post your own list of great books, please leave a note in the comments here. I'm busier than usual lately and can't make the blog rounds like I used to. I'll be counting on you guys for more tips than usual for a while.)

1 comment:

Mark Mossa, SJ said...


You might be interested to know that just down the street from my new digs in Cambridge is a house in which William Dean Howells lived! I walk by it just about every day and try to absorb some of its spirit!
Btw, the subject of my Master's thesis, Harold Frederic, was a friend of Howells.

In grad school when I first read the book, we pronounced the name like "lafum" but I can't tell you for sure if that's the proper pronounciation.