Monday, January 25, 2010

Conservative Books

Over at The Corner they've published their list of top ten conservative novels:

1. Advise and Consent, by Allen Drury

2. Midcentury, by John Dos Passos

3. Mr. Sammler's Planet, by Saul Bellow

4. The Time It Never Rained, by Elmer Kelton

5. The Thanatos Syndrome, by Walker Percy

6. The Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe

7. Shelley's Heart, by Charles McCarry

8. Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

9. Freddy and Fredericka, by Mark Helprin

10. No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy

I haven't read a single one of them. No, not even The Bonfire of the Vanities. That one, and No Country for Old Men, are the only two I've ever even heard of. Anybody read any of these? Your reviews are appreciated. There's a discussion at John J. Miller's place here.


Jim said...

I read Advise and Consent a couple of times, old book based on 50's cold war politics. Don't know that I would call it particularly conservate. Was written by Allen Drury I believe.

Sandy said...

Not even ONE of them!

Chris M. said...

The only one of these I've read is Bonfire of the Vanities. I don't think I've ever read anything by Tom Wolf that I didn't enjoy. I read two other novels by TW. I liked both of them very much in spite of the fact that they were not great.
All of his stuff will probably endure to some extent since he feels and conveys circumstances and people so clearly that in times to come people will be able to easily get the particular feel of late 20th century America from his books. Bonfire makes you feel that you know what it is like to be a fat cat bond trader, a drunken expat Brit reporter or an NYPD detective of Irish descent. In some ways it reminds me of the novels Dickens and Dostoevsky wrote for periodical publication. They were always very topical with fully drawn, living characters. And they will probably be read widely as long as the human race survives.
But Bonfire is better than the rest of his novels because there is so much more unity and focus to the plot. A Man in Full was the name of one of them and I can't remember the other. But they wandered all over the place. I don't mind the wandering since I enjoy the never ending exploration of characters and odd corners of humanity. But I can see how it could be crazy making to many readers.
I wonder how much the list is colored by NRO's emphasis on politics.

Bob Belvedere said...

Advise And Consent is a great book if you want to understand how the Senate worked in the late '50s/early '60s, but, be warned, its a long one, like Tom Clancy in his middle phase [but much better written]. Allen Drury was a DC reporter who knew where a lot of bodies were buried and understood how the Capital worked.

If you're not a fan of long, detailed novels, the movie version is very well done.