Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Lists: My Favorite Written Works


The second of my lists - last week, the best TV shows - is titled My Favorite Written Works because it includes novels, plays, poems and at least one piece of nonfiction.

The list is by no means my list of what I consider to be the greatest works ever written, although many of the titles are most certainly among them. Instead, this list represents the top 100 (plus 50 runners-up) works that have most inspired, influenced or helped to develop my love of reading.

That being said, this list will be the most incomplete of the lists (next week, best albums and, the following week, the great movies by decade as well as my favorite films of 2013). Obviously, it takes a lot longer to read a book than it does to watch a movie or listen to an album.

As is the case with all four lists I'm posting on this blog, this one is subject to updates. So, below I've listed a number of books considered to be great that I have on my list to read. As I make my way through them, they may or may not be added to the list.




These works I have yet to read:

A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter M. Miller Jr.)
Cities on the Plain (Cormac McCarthy)
The Crossing (Cormac McCarthy)
Dead Babies (Martin Amis)
Deadwood (Pete Dexter)
The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)
Hawskmoor (Peter Ackroyd)
The Heart of the Matter (Graham Greene)
Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace)
Jitterbug Perfume (Tom Robbins)
The Killer Inside Me (Jim Thompson)
Libra (Don DeLillo)
Nausea (Jean-Paul Sartre)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Ken Kesey)
The Quiet American (Graham Greene)
The Portrait of a Lady (Henry James)
The Recognitions (William Gaddis)
The Room (Hubert Selby Jr.)
Sabbath's Theatre (Philip Roth)
Stones from the River (Ursula Hegi)
A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
USA Trilogy (John Dos Passos)
V. (Thomas Pynchon)
Vanity Fair (William Makepeace Thackeray)
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (Haruki Murakami)
And a number of other plays by William Shakespeare

Here are my Runners-Up (It was too difficult to round it down to 100):
The Adventures of Augie March (Saul Bellow)
All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)
The Atrocity Exhibition (J.G. Ballard)
Bel Canto (Ann Patchett)
The Blind Assassin (Margaret Atwood)
Blood Done Sign My Name (Timothy B. Tyson)
A Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz)
Case Histories (Kate Atkinson)
City On Fire (Garth Risk Hallberg)
A Coffin for Dmitrios (Eric Ambler)
A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole)
Daisy Miller (Henry James)
Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller)
Dissident Gardens (Jonathan Lethem)
Drop City (T.C. Boyle)
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (Tom Wolfe)
The Emigrants (W.G. Sebald)
Empire Falls (Richard Russo)
Everything is Illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer)
Finnegans Wake (James Joyce)
The Flamethrowers (Rachel Kushner)
Fourth of July Creek (Smith Henderson)
Geek Love (Katherine Dunn)
The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)
Half of a Yellow Sun (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
High Rise (J.G. Ballard)
The History of the Siege of Lisbon (Jose Saramago)
If on a Winter's Night, a Traveller (Italo Calvino)
I Married a Communist (Philip Roth)
The Interestings (Meg Wolitzer)
Interpreter of Maladies (Jhumpa Lahiri)
Kafka on the Shore (Haruki Murakami)
The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
Labyrinths (Jorge Luis Borges)
Less Than Zero (Bret Easton Ellis)
The Line of Beauty (Alan Hollinghurst)
The Magus (John Fowles)
Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides)
Money: A Suicide Note (Martin Amis)
My Name is Red (Orhan Pamuk)
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (Michael Chabon)
Naked Lunch (William Burroughs)
The Namesake (Jhumpa Lahiri)
Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)
Oliver Twist (Charles Dickens)
Persuasion (Jane Austen)
Portnoy's Complaint (Philip Roth)
Purity (Jonathan Franzen)
The Red Badge of Courage (Stephen Crane)
The Road (Cormac McCarthy)
The Russian Debutante's Handbook (Gary Shteyngart)
Samaritan (Richard Price)
Savage Night (Jim Thompson)
The Shining (Stephen King)
The Starboard Sea (Amber Dermont)
A Star Called Henry (Roddy Doyle)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (David Wroblewski)
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (David Foster Wallace)
Swamplandia! (Karen Russell)
Ten Thousand Saints (Eleanor Henderson)
Tree of Smoke (Denis Johnson)
Tropic of Cancer (Henry Miller)
A Visit from the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan)
Waiting (Ha Jin)
Waiting for the Barbarians (J.M. Coetzee)
The Wasp Factory (Iain Banks)
We Are Not Ourselves (Matthew Thomas)
Where the Sidewalk Ends (Shel Silverstein)

And, finally, for my Top 100 (alphabetically):
2666 (Roberto Bolano)
Absalom, Absalom! (William Faulkner)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)
All the Pretty Horses (Cormac McCarthy)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay (Michael Chabon)
American Pastoral (Philip Roth)
Anna Karenina  (Leo Tolstoy)
As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner)
Atonement (Ian McEwan)
Beloved (Toni Morrison)
Billy Budd (Herman Melville)
Bleak House (Charles Dickens)
Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
The Castle (Franz Kafka)
Catch 22 (Joseph Heller)
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
The Collected Works of Edgar Allen Poe (Edgar Allen Poe)
The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen)
Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
The Death of Artemio Cruz (Carlos Fuentes)
Don Quixote  (Miguel de Cervantes)
Dracula (Bram Stoker)
Dubliners (James Joyce)
Emma (Jane Austen)
The Emperor's Children (Claire Messud)
A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S. Thompson)
The Fortress of Solitude (Jonathan Lethem)
Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
Freedom (Jonathan Franzen)
The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
Gravity's Rainbow (Thomas Pynchon)
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Hamlet (William Shakespeare)
The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
Howards End (E.M. Forster)
Howl (Allen Ginsberg)
The Human Stain (Philip Roth)
Hunger (Knut Hamsun)
In Search of Lost Time, vols. I-VII (Marcel Proust)
Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
Julius Caesar (William Shakespeare)
King Lear (William Shakespeare)
The Known World (Edward P. Jones)
The Leopard (Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa)
Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov)
Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
Macbeth (William Shakespeare)
Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert)
The Magic Mountain (Thomas Mann)
The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka)
Middlemarch (George Eliot)
Midnight's Children (Salman Rushdie)
Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
Motherless Brooklyn (Jonathan Lethem)
My Antonia (Willa Cather)
The New York Trilogy (Paul Auster)
Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell)
No Exit (Jean-Paul Sartre)
Notes from the Underground (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
The Odyssey (Homer)
On Beauty (Zadie Smith)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
On the Road (Jack Kerouac)
Othello (William Shakespeare)
Pale Fire (Vladimir Nabokov)
Le Pere Goriot (Honore de Balzac)
The Plague (Albert Camus)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (James Joyce)
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)
Sailor and Lula: The Complete Novels (Barry Gifford)
The Savage Detectives (Roberto Bolano)
The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
The Secret Agent (Joseph Conrad)
The Secret History (Donna Tartt)
Sons and Lovers (D.H. Lawrence)
The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner)
Special Topics in Calamity Physics (Marisha Pessl)
The Stand (Stephen King)
The Stranger (Albert Camus)
Sula (Toni Morrison)
The Tin Drum (Gunter Grass)
Telegraph Avenue (Michael Chabon)
Tess of the d'Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy)
To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolfe)
The Trial (Franz Kafka)
Ulysses (James Joyce)
Underworld (Don DeLillo)
War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)
White Noise (Don DeLillo)
White Teeth (Zadie Smith)
Women in Love (D.H. Lawrence)
Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

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