I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

If you post comments here at Theos Project, please know that I will respond and engage your thoughts in a timely manner.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Human Narrative Project----In the Beginning

Well, my friends, it is time to roll back the curtain and reveal the list.

Me and my crack team of fiction-ologists have been working day and night, night and day, to put together the top 100 novels.

The Project: Read and blog through 100 novels

I am proud of this list. It brings together novels with beautiful language and literary quality and explores the nature of our shared human condition. In order to better explore the diversity of our humanness, I have diverged widely from the standard "white guys" top 100 novels list, dominated largely by white male authors. My list includes novels with authors from diverse ethnic backgrounds, authors with different sexual orientations, works by women authors, subject matters of deep historic and spiritual significance, and representation of authors from all continents (with perhaps the exception of the north and south pole!).

Special thanks to you, my readers and friends, for your many ideas and suggestions. I started out with a list of about 110 or 120 and then with the input of all my friends and fellow bloggers I probably had close to 200 quality novels to try to sift through. So, cuts had to be made. There were tears. But I am really happy with this list.

The Plan: The first novel will be.....drumroll please......fumbling with the envelope......where are my glasses???.......ah, here they are........To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (Thanks to my good friend Nicole!)

And the crowd goes wild.

We will begin discussion of Mockingbird in November. On November 1, I will post my review of the novel. From there, the month of November will be dedicated to Mockingbird, so I will take the liberty of going deeper into certain themes, characters, or ideas of the text that strike me as particularly profound or blogworthy.

I also want to extend these discussions to other blogs, if there is interest. So, if you read Mockingbird and decide to write up a post on your blog, let me know, and I would be happy to link to it from Theos Project. There is so much to say about these novels, that I want to extend the discussion and open up the dialog as much as possible.

As important as it is to develop a list that attempts to diversify, it is equally important to have discussions that explores the legitimacy of our different perspectives.

My general plan is to give advance notice of which novels we will be discussing. In general, I want to try to blog a novel a month. But realistically, when we get to novels like Joyce's Ulysses and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, a bit more time may be required.

Lastly, I would like to start an email list for those who would like to receive updates in their inbox of the most recent happenings of Project Fiction. You can email me your email address: erdman31@gmail.com. Or you can leave your email in the comment section.

So, here it is, the official list:
as html doc.:
or as a .pdf:

Thanks again (I can't thank you enough!) to all of you for your excellent insights and help in compiling this list. I am very excited to explore our humanness together.


aeyn edwards said...

I am looking forward to this.


Jared said...

What a wonderfully diverse selection Jon! It looks to be a veritable treasure trove ripe with invaluable literary works. Count me in!

Jared said...

Now the next logical step would have to be a Top 100 Films list...(hint, hint)

john doyle said...

Jared, I saw on your (moribund) blog that you're interested in theory issues related to gaming. Do you know Ian Bogost? He designs games, teaches gaming at Georgia Tech, and writes very philosophically about the subject.

Jared said...

John, I would have to concur that my blog is in a very comatose state! (Converting one blog to another can be a tedious process, and I may switch to Wordpress) As for Mr. Bogost, yes I am very familiar with his work. His "procedural rhetoric" is brilliant. (If only the industry as a whole would apply it...) One of the few men that could compare would have to be Jonathan Blow. He single-handedly designed Braid (see here: braid-game.com) which gave me hope for the medium of games in its entirety. He's shifting paradigms, challenging preconceived notions of what a game should be, and innovating in what was thought to be a dead genre. (My avatar would be the game's protagonist.) In the off-chance you happen to be interested, Braid deals saliently with the subject of time (ie, time dilation, parallel dimensions, bi-directional arrow of time), among other themes which I would hate to spoil here. Suffice to say it's one of the most profound experiences I've ever had in ANY medium. (I'm not surprised he cites David Lynch as an inspiration!) Alas, I digress. Just a few personal musings...

john doyle said...

I don't know much about gaming, Jared, having encountered Bogost indirectly through the "Speculative Realists" in philosophy. Bogost has begun adopting some of their ideas about the ontological primacy of objects -- I suppose the crossover was inevitable in light of object-oriented programming. I'm glad to know that Bogost is well thought of in his field, since some of the philosophers who read his stuff but who don't know "ludology" think of him as a name-dropper and a dilettante. Now that you've enthused about him and this fellow Blow I might make more of an effort to read up on this stuff a bit more.

john doyle said...

Oh, and I too am a big David Lynch fan, and would include Mulholland Drive in my top 100, maybe even in my top ten.

Jared said...

John, I see you are referring to a much broader spectrum, encompassing interactivity both virtually and in reality. Another instrumental figure I must recommend would be James Paul Gee, who recently delved into some similar territory, albeit with a different approach. Also, a link to Blow's rants: http://www.number-none.com/blow/rants.html
Lynch's oeuvre is essentially flawless other than the horrendous Dune, which he attributed to the infamous "Alan Smithee", probably out of sheer embarrassment.

Jared said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared said...

I see my hyperlinking skills are a tad rusty... Blow's Rants

Jared said...

Also, my apologies for inadvertently hijacking this comments thread. Back to the task at hand...

Jonathan Erdman said...


No worries. The point of my blog is to be hijacked! So, basically, in a certain sense there is no such thing as hijacking.

Top 100 movie projects is definitely a worthwhile venture. Let me get this novel project up off the ground, and then we will see what the next step is.

Thanks for your enthusiasm.

Bev said...

Hey, great choice for top novel! I totally agree (either To Kill a Mockingbird or Cry, the Beloved Country, in my opinion)!! Have fun reading!

letseatcake said...

I'm doing this as well, though it doesn't look like my reviews are as extensive as yours. It might be interesting to compare though :)


I'll keep up on yours!