OK, I'll go first with my nominations. I know we're only allowed ten. If I get a great idea after I've posted, can I withdraw one and substitute another? All right. Here goes:
Humphrey Clinker - Tobias Smollett
For several years, we've read something from the 18th century (Defoe, Diderot, Sterne). It would be fun to continue to do so. I thought of Richardson (too long and, I've always suspected, too boring), maybe a Fielding I haven't read (still a good idea, but I've read his most famous novel), and even de Laclos (but I've already read Les liaisons dangereuses, and I suspect everyone else has too). I've read Roderick Random by Smollett and enjoyed it. HC is widely considered his most famous and funniest novel.
Elective Affinities - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
This has long sounded like an interesting novel to me. Goethe is a major artist, and I've only read Faust. This novel of marital infidelity (I believe) sounds like his most interesting. It has been a subject of considerable debate for two centuries. Is it moral or immoral, satire or tragedy, etc.? It sounds like a good subject for discussion.
The Eustace Diamonds - Anthony Trollope
I read The Way We Live Now and enjoyed it. I hoped to put a Dickens on this list that I haven't read, but I can't seem to generate much enthusiasm for his lesser known novels. Trollope may not be Dickens, but he is considered one of the masters of the English novel. I've always associated him with Dickens (for some reason). Why The Eustace Diamonds, the third novel of the Palliser sequence? Well, I doube that I'll read them all. This is regularly recommended as a the most enjoyable. Besides, The Lifetime Reading Plan suggests starting here.
The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
Oh, I don't know. We all enjoyed reading The Woman in White. I'm interested in reading his other most famous novel, which is also considered to be the first detective novel in English.
Which brings us to:
At some point recently, we thought about reading classics of a genre. These two invented the modern style of crime/private eye novel (very different from Doyle, Christie, etc.) I'm not really ready to propose specific works, but I suggest that we read both since their novels are relatively short. From Hammett, I'm fond of Red Harvest, the first and most relentless of his novels. The Maltese Falcon is the most frequently cited, but I think that's mostly because of the famous movie. They're all good. If we pick them, we can discuss which novel(s) we want to read. Similarly, with Chandler, The Big Sleep is the best known, but again I think this is partly because of the famous film. I think possibly Farewell, My Lovely or The Long Goodbye, but we can decide later. Incidentally, in many ways Hammett and Chandler are very different. Comparing them would be fun.
The Good Soldier - Ford Madox Ford
Widely considered his best novel, especially if you exclude the tetrology Parade's End. I've intended to read him for years. I think this novel might be an interesting companion piece to Elective Affinities. It's on many "best" lists, including Bloom, Smiley, Burt, The Modern Library, etc.
Suttree - Cormac McCarthy
I thought Blood Meridian was amazing, but the violence and horror are not really right for our group. Besides, I've read it :^) I thought that The Road was disappointing. Suttree is often listed as one of McCarthy's finest novels. Apparently, it is both humorous and very sad -- quite unlike his ferocious works.
I've got some other idea, but I think these seven (counting Hammett and Chandler as one) are enough for today.
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