Me and Edgar first encountered each other in seventh grade, when I was 13. I think it was love at first sight when we read one of the short story collections. Not only they were morbid and depicted the horrible nature of evil I thought he himself was like one of his tragic characters. This edition was a great chance to finish the rest that I hadn't come across. Illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley, Harry Clarke etc.
27. Thérèse Raquin - Émile Zola (1867) 4 / 5
One of Zola's most famous realistic novels, Therese Raquin is a clinically observed, sinister tale of adultery and murder among the lower classes in nineteenth-century Parisian society. Zola's shocking tale dispassionately dissects the motivations of his characters--mere "human beasts", who kill in order to satisfy their lust--and stands as a key manifesto of the French Naturalist movement, of which the author was the founding father.
Deals with inner torture and consists of some very gruesome scenes. There's nothing special about the story itself, it's how it is told. Pressing and intense atmosphere in that little dusty shop where fear, dread and paranoia are constantly lingering and the ghost of a bloated corpse reminds you of your evil.
28. The Leopard - Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (1958) 3 / 5
The Leopard is set in Sicily in 1860, as Italian unification is coming violently into being, but it transcends the historical-novel classification. E.M. Forster called it, instead, "a novel which happens to take place in history." Lampedusa's Sicily is a land where each social gesture is freighted with nuance, threat, and nostalgia, and his skeptical protagonist, Don Fabrizio, is uniquely placed to witness all and alter absolutely nothing.
The embodiment of melancholy and beautiful language. Not so much a particular story, more like a portrait of a fading era.
29. Paradise Lost - John Milton (1667) 4 / 5
The poem concerns the Judeo-Christian story of the Fall of Man; the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's purpose, stated in Book I, is to "justify the ways of God to men" and elucidate the conflict between God's eternal foresight and free will.
30. The Bloody Chamber - Angela Carter (1979) 4 / 5
Carter relates traditional fairy tales through her own unique perspective. The mind of the modern feminist unravels the mysteries of the subconscious and its related symbolism.
Beautifully written gothic and feminist stories based on famous fairytales. They're like more developed and flowery versions of the originals, a world I'd love to be sucked into. On a closer look you notice they all study womanhood, taking the opening short story away from the "handsome prince rescues the helpless girl" - scenario.
31. The Road - Cormac McCarthy (2006) 1 / 5
Violence, in McCarthy's postapocalyptic tour de force, has been visited worldwide in the form of a "long shear of light and then a series of low concussions" that leaves cities and forests burned, birds and fish dead and the earth shrouded in gray clouds of ash. In this landscape, an unnamed man and his young son journey down a road to get to the sea.
The writing is too stark and laconic for my taste. It does have this hopeless and oppressing atmosphere (especially when you know that someday the world will look like this) but it's also horribly monotonic. At times it feels like some horrendous list and doesn't give the reader any chance to connect with the characters at an emotional level.
32. The Threepenny Opera - Bertolt Brecht (1928) 5 / 5
Brutal, scandalous, perverted, yet humorous, hummable, and with a happy ending—Bertolt Brecht’s revolutionary masterpiece The Threepenny Opera is a landmark of modern drama that has become embedded in the Western cultural imagination. Through the love story of Polly Peachum and “Mack the Knife” Macheath, the play satirizes the bourgeois of the Weimar Republic, revealing a society at the height of decadence and on the verge of chaos.
33. Medea - Euripides (431 BC) 3 / 5
One of the most powerful and enduring of Greek tragedies, masterfully portraying the fierce motives driving Medea's pursuit of vengeance for her husband's insult and betrayal.
34. Iphigeneia at Aulis - Euripides (405 BC) 2 / 5
A stern critique of Greek culture, Iphigeneia at Aulis condemns the Trojan War, depicting the ugly and awesome power of political ambition. Agamemnon's sacrifice of his daughter Iphigeneia to facilitate the Greek Armies advance on Troy is marvelously conveyed by Merwin, as he impressively recreates the broad array of moral and emotional tones with which Euripides has invested one of the most moving plays in the history of drama.
35. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury (1962) 3 / 5
Memorable story of two boys, James Nightshade and William Halloway, and the evil that grips their small Midwestern town with the arrival of a "dark carnival" one Autumn midnight. How these two innocents, both age 13, save the souls of the town (as well as their own), makes for compelling reading on timeless themes. What would you do if your secret wishes could be granted by the mysterious ringmaster Mr. Dark?
I loved the concept and the way it was written. Although at some point I started losing my interest and I think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd read it when I was younger.
36. The Black Dahlia - James Ellroy (1987) 2 / 5
A young woman's mutilated body is found in a Los Angeles vacant lot. The story is seen through the eyes of Bucky Bleichert, ex-prize fighter and something of a boy wonder on the police force. There is no relief or humor as Bleichert arrives at a grisly discovery.
I saw the movie first and though I quite disliked it I came to the conclusion after reading the book that I preferred the visualised story. I hated the way it was written. Overwhelming detailing of the case wasn't saved by last part where things actually started to be interesting. Despite all this it was still better than the horribly generic contemporary crime fiction with barely no character development.
37. Paris: The Biography of a City - Colin Jones (2004) 3 / 5
Moving from prehistoric tribal habitation through Roman times, medieval uncertainty and splendor, early modern religious wars, Enlightenment, revolution, and two world wars, Jones examines how rulers, economy, religion and violence have shaped the city. With a concrete sense of place, he evokes the layering of history revealed in the monuments and less visible remnants of the past.
Damn, it was a real chore at times. Too much in a list form to keep me interested the whole time.
38. Paris Was a Woman: Portraits from the Left Bank - Andrea Weiss (1995) 5 / 5
A rare profile of the female literati in Paris at the turn of the century, this "scrapbook" of their work--along with Weiss's lively commentary--highlights the political, social, and artistic lives of the renowned lesbian and bisexual Modernists, including Colette, Djuana Barnes, and Sylvia Beach. 150 photos.
39. Angels in America I & II - Tony Kushner (1992) 5 / 5
Set in New York City in the mid-1980s, Act One of Millennium Approaches introduces us to the central characters. As the play opens, Louis Ironson, a neurotic, gay Jew learns his lover, Prior Walter, has AIDS. As the play and Prior's illness progress, Louis becomes unable to cope and moves out.
40. The Crucible - Arthur Miller (1953) 2 / 5
Based on historical people and real events, Arthur Miller's play uses the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence unleashed by the rumors of witchcraft as a powerful parable about McCarthyism.