Century of Books

My project to read the top 100 English-language books of the twentieth century.

Location: San Francisco, United States

I am an Australian writer and blogger living in San Francisco. Visit my professional site at caitlinfitzsimmons.com, or my travel and food blog at Roaming Tales or my personal blog at The Niltiac Files. I am also on Twitter as @niltiac. See the full list of books or visit me on BookCrossing.

17 May 2006

More women authors

Over seventy per cent of the authors on my list are male and I think this is a flaw in the list. I don't believe in quotas and I am not going to deliberately make the list fifty-fifty as the books have to make it on their own merits. However, there is the counter argument that my list is based largely on The Canon - mainly American men writing literary fiction in mid twentieth century. It's hard to say whether the lack of female authors is because of a lack of great output or because they do not get the recognition that the male writers do - in the same way that genre or children's writing is often marginalised even when it's great.

I am trying to think whether I have missed out anyone essential and so far I have come up with Carol Shields with The Stone Diaries and Anne Tyler with Breathing Lessons (which both won the Pulitzer prize). I would be interested to know what my readers think - should these two be added and if so who would we remove? And are there any other glaring omissions from the list?

Keep in mind the boundaries of the list - the books must be published between 1900 and 1999, must be written originally in English (no translations) and only novels are eligible.


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