Three Literary Lists for 10-10-10

You may have noticed (and probably don’t care) that today is October 10, 2010, 0r 10/10/10 (or 10.10.10, or 10-10-10, or whatever iteration you prefer). But some people like lists. So, with very little thought put into the process, here are three literary lists to celebrate 10 Oct. 10–

Ten Ridiculous Character Names

1. Stephen Dedalus (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses, James Joyce. Even Stephen ponders how ridiculous and overdetermined his name is)

2. Major Major Major Major (Catch-22, Joseph Heller)

3. Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien. Sure, he’s a hobbit, but “Bilbo Baggins” is still pretty much off the silly scale)

4. Brackett Omensetter (Omensetter’s Luck, William Gass)

5. Horselover Fat (VALIS, Philip K. Dick)

6. Milkman Dead (Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison)

7. Humbert Humbert (Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov)

8. Lionel Essrog (Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Lethem)

9. Tie:  Wang-Dang Lang/Peter Abbott/Candy Mandible/Judith Prietht/Biff Diggerance (David Foster Wallace suffers from Pynchon-fever in his début novel, Broom of the System)

10. Tie: Benny Profane/Oedipa Maas/Tyrone Slothrop/Zoyd Wheeler/Rev. Wicks Cherrycoke et al. — (Various novels by Thomas Pynchon. Yes, Pynchon should probably get his own list)

Ten Excellent Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic Novels That Aren’t Brave New World or 1984

1. Riddley Walker, Russell Hoban

2. Camp Concentration, Thomas Disch

3. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

4. Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood

5. The Hospital Ship, Martin Bax

6. Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs

7. VALIS, Philip K. Dick

8. Ronin, Frank Miller

9. Ape and Essence, Aldous Huxley

10. The Road and Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy

Ten Movies Better Than or Equal to the Books On Which They Were Based

1. The Godfather

2. The Shining

3. The Thin Red Line

4. Children of Men

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

6. Trainspotting

7. No Country for Old Men

8. The Grapes of Wrath

9. There Will Be Blood

10. Jaws

2 thoughts on “Three Literary Lists for 10-10-10”

  1. Nice lists!

    “A Canticle for Leibowitz” by Walter M. Miller Jr. is a good one for the Post-Apocalyptic list because it starts Post-Apocalypse, things get better, and then there’s another apocalypse. Post-post-apocalypse!

    I tend to think that Fincher’s “Fight Club” is better than Palahnuik’s novel.

    We were just discussing better movies than books at the office… I’ll have to send your post around…


    1. Thanks, Nathan. I’ve never read A Canticle, but I’ll look for it at the used bookstore I frequent.

      I would put Fight Club on the list; I tried to read the book after the movie, but found it difficult to stomach. The lists are, quite literally, the product of 10 or 15 minutes of brainstorming…I’m sure there are other great examples.


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