#9 – The Light of Day by Graham Swift

21 02 2009

I finished The Light of Day by Graham Swift over one week ago.  My extreme dislike of this book turned me off of both reading and writing.  For the past week it seemed as if my brain cells were better off being rotted by the television. 

Swift’s writing style takes a bit of getting used to, but that wasn’t the cause of my aversion.  It almost seemed as if Swift was telling a different story than I was reading.  The reader is made to think that they will discover why a murder occurred at the end of the book; a murder that is the central plot of the book.  There is never any question as to whodunit, the question is why.  But the reason is never revealed and the reader is left wishing they’d never picked up this book to begin with.

This book should be removed from the list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die.

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#7 – Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

3 02 2009

I picked up Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger at the recommendation of my friend and fellow book club member, Ms. PH

An interrelated compilation of two stories from Salinger’s Glass series, Franny and Zooey is a short read. I had previously enjoyed reading Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories, both works of Salinger. 

The much shorter Frannyrevolves around a weekend outing of the title character and her boyfriend.  Her behavior grows more erratic as the story unfolds.  She reveals that she has recently read a book called The Way of the Pilgrim and that it has inspired her to attempt to pray without ceasing as it is recommended in scripture.  Saying the “Jesus Prayer” constantly is a sure path to enlightenment.  At the end of the story she faints and returns to her family.  Zooeyis the story of Franny’s nervous breakdown and her family’s reaction to it.  At the urging of their mother, Zooey (Franny’s older brother) attempts to break through to Franny.  Much of the family’s background is revealed through their conversations, as well as some insight in to the purpose behind Franny’s actions.

One thing I noticed about Salinger’s writing in  Franny and Zooey is that the majority of the plot is revealed through conversation.  This is an unique technique and nothing is lost in the telling of the story.

I haven’t decided yet how I feel about this book.  I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t love it.  Like some great literature, the value of this book may not have been in the reading but in the lesson it imparts.





1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

18 01 2009

I very much enjoyed the last book that I read – Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham.  It isn’t often that I become totally engrossed in a book, so I set out to compile a more comprehensive list of literary suggestions. 

I chose Of Human Bondage from the list of 100 Best Novels compiled by the Modern American library.  I was previously exposed to several of the books on that list in high school and college.  Realizing this made me start seeking a list of novels that are typically part of the college English curriculum.  First I visited the Cliff’s Notes website with hopes that the list of available study guides would assist me better in preparing my own list of books to read. 

Several google searches later I stumbled across a list of books whose sole purpose is to suggest to the bibliophile what he/she should do to become more well read.  Currently the most popular of such publications is Boxall’s 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

The complete list is below.  I have already read several of the titles, and have highlighted those in red.  As I went through and highlighted the books that I am certain I have read in the past, I had a fond remembrance of each one – American Pastoral is probably my favorite book of all time.  If you haven’t read it, pick it up.  Roth doesn’t disappoint.  Other favorites include The Handmaid’s Tale and Invisible Man.   Hopefully all of these books are the kind that leave something behind with the reader.

I will use these and several other lists to make literary reading suggestions for myself.  This list, for its sheer volume, has the most appeal to me.  There is no way that I will read all of these books, as some topics and genres do not appeal to me, but I think combing through this list will keep me busy for quite some time.

Have you read any of these?  Is there anything that I should move to the top of the list?  I don’t care what order I read them in, I just want to always be reading a good book!  Is there something you feel should have made the list, but didn’t (perhaps Brave New World or The Count of Monte Cristo)?  My To-Be-Read list is not exclusive of the list below.  It is an ever changing and ever growing thing. 

2000s

  • Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Saturday – Ian McEwan
  • On Beauty – Zadie Smith
  • Slow Man – J.M. Coetzee
  • Adjunct: An Undigest – Peter Manson
  • The Sea – John Banville
  • The Red Queen – Margaret Drabble
  • The Plot Against America – Philip Roth
  • The Master – Colm Tóibín
  • Vanishing Point – David Markson
  • The Lambs of London – Peter Ackroyd
  • Dining on Stones – Iain Sinclair
  • Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
  • Drop City – T. Coraghessan Boyle
  • The Colour – Rose Tremain
  • Thursbitch – Alan Garner
  • The Light of Day – Graham Swift
  • What I Loved – Siri Hustvedt
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
  • Islands – Dan Sleigh
  • Elizabeth Costello – J.M. Coetzee
  • London Orbital – Iain Sinclair
  • Family Matters – Rohinton Mistry
  • Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
  • The Double – José Saramago
  • Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Unless – Carol Shields
  • Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
  • The Story of Lucy Gault – William Trevor
  • That They May Face the Rising Sun – John McGahern
  • In the Forest – Edna O’Brien
  • Shroud – John Banville
  • Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Youth – J.M. Coetzee
  • Dead Air – Iain Banks
  • Nowhere Man – Aleksandar Hemon
  • The Book of Illusions – Paul Auster
  • Gabriel’s Gift – Hanif Kureishi
  • Austerlitz – W.G. Sebald
  • Platform – Michael Houellebecq
  • Schooling – Heather McGowan
  • Atonement – Ian McEwan
  • The Corrections – Jonathan Franzen
  • Don’t Move – Margaret Mazzantini
  • The Body Artist – Don DeLillo
  • Fury – Salman Rushdie
  • At Swim, Two Boys – Jamie O’Neill
  • Choke – Chuck Palahniuk
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • The Feast of the Goat – Mario Vargos Llosa
  • An Obedient Father – Akhil Sharma
  • The Devil and Miss Prym – Paulo Coelho
  • Spring Flowers, Spring Frost – Ismail Kadare
  • White Teeth – Zadie Smith
  • The Heart of Redness – Zakes Mda
  • Under the Skin – Michel Faber
  • Ignorance – Milan Kundera
  • Nineteen Seventy Seven – David Peace
  • Celestial Harmonies – Péter Esterházy
  • City of God – E.L. Doctorow
  • How the Dead Live – Will Self
  • The Human Stain – Philip Roth
  • The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  • After the Quake – Haruki Murakami
  • Small Remedies – Shashi Deshpande
  • Super-Cannes – J.G. Ballard
  • House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Blonde – Joyce Carol Oates
  • Pastoralia – George Saunders

1900s

  • Timbuktu – Paul Auster
  • The Romantics – Pankaj Mishra
  • Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
  • As If I Am Not There – Slavenka Drakuli?
  • Everything You Need – A.L. Kennedy
  • Fear and Trembling – Amélie Nothomb
  • The Ground Beneath Her Feet – Salman Rushdie
  • Disgrace – J.M. Coetzee
  • Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami
  • Elementary Particles – Michel Houellebecq
  • Intimacy – Hanif Kureishi
  • Amsterdam – Ian McEwan
  • Cloudsplitter – Russell Banks
  • All Souls Day – Cees Nooteboom
  • The Talk of the Town – Ardal O’Hanlon
  • Tipping the Velvet – Sarah Waters
  • The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
  • Glamorama – Bret Easton Ellis
  • Another World – Pat Barker
  • The Hours – Michael Cunningham
  • Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho
  • Mason & Dixon – Thomas Pynchon
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  • Great Apes – Will Self
  • Enduring Love – Ian McEwan
  • Underworld – Don DeLillo
  • Jack Maggs – Peter Carey
  • The Life of Insects – Victor Pelevin
  • American Pastoral – Philip Roth
  • The Untouchable – John Banville
  • Silk – Alessandro Baricco
  • Cocaine Nights – J.G. Ballard
  • Hallucinating Foucault – Patricia Duncker
  • Fugitive Pieces – Anne Michaels
  • The Ghost Road – Pat Barker
  • Forever a Stranger – Hella Haasse
  • Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
  • The Clay Machine-Gun – Victor Pelevin
  • Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
  • The Unconsoled – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Morvern Callar – Alan Warner
  • The Information – Martin Amis
  • The Moor’s Last Sigh – Salman Rushdie
  • Sabbath’s Theater – Philip Roth
  • The Rings of Saturn – W.G. Sebald
  • The Reader – Bernhard Schlink
  • A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
  • Love’s Work – Gillian Rose
  • The End of the Story – Lydia Davis
  • Mr. Vertigo – Paul Auster
  • The Folding Star – Alan Hollinghurst
  • Whatever – Michel Houellebecq
  • Land – Park Kyong-ni
  • The Master of Petersburg – J.M. Coetzee
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
  • Pereira Declares: A Testimony – Antonio Tabucchi
  • City Sister Silver – Jàchym Topol
  • How Late It Was, How Late – James Kelman
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
  • Felicia’s Journey – William Trevor
  • Disappearance – David Dabydeen
  • The Invention of Curried Sausage – Uwe Timm
  • The Shipping News – E. Annie Proulx
  • Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh
  • Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
  • Looking for the Possible Dance – A.L. Kennedy
  • Operation Shylock – Philip Roth
  • Complicity – Iain Banks
  • On Love – Alain de Botton
  • What a Carve Up! – Jonathan Coe
  • A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  • The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields
  • The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The House of Doctor Dee – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Robber Bride – Margaret Atwood
  • The Emigrants – W.G. Sebald
  • The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  • Life is a Caravanserai – Emine Özdamar
  • The Discovery of Heaven – Harry Mulisch
  • A Heart So White – Javier Marias
  • Possessing the Secret of Joy – Alice Walker
  • Indigo – Marina Warner
  • The Crow Road – Iain Banks
  • Written on the Body – Jeanette Winterson
  • Jazz – Toni Morrison
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • Smilla’s Sense of Snow – Peter Høeg
  • The Butcher Boy – Patrick McCabe
  • Black Water – Joyce Carol Oates
  • The Heather Blazing – Colm Tóibín
  • Asphodel – H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)
  • Black Dogs – Ian McEwan
  • Hideous Kinky – Esther Freud
  • Arcadia – Jim Crace
  • Wild Swans – Jung Chang
  • American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
  • Time’s Arrow – Martin Amis
  • Mao II – Don DeLillo
  • Typical – Padgett Powell
  • Regeneration – Pat Barker
  • Downriver – Iain Sinclair
  • Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord – Louis de Bernieres
  • Wise Children – Angela Carter
  • Get Shorty – Elmore Leonard
  • Amongst Women – John McGahern
  • Vineland – Thomas Pynchon
  • Vertigo – W.G. Sebald
  • Stone Junction – Jim Dodge
  • The Music of Chance – Paul Auster
  • The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien
  • A Home at the End of the World – Michael Cunningham
  • Like Life – Lorrie Moore
  • Possession – A.S. Byatt
  • The Buddha of Suburbia – Hanif Kureishi
  • The Midnight Examiner – William Kotzwinkle
  • A Disaffection – James Kelman
  • Sexing the Cherry – Jeanette Winterson
  • Moon Palace – Paul Auster
  • Billy Bathgate – E.L. Doctorow
  • Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Melancholy of Resistance – László Krasznahorkai
  • The Temple of My Familiar – Alice Walker
  • The Trick is to Keep Breathing – Janice Galloway
  • The History of the Siege of Lisbon – José Saramago
  • Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
  • London Fields – Martin Amis
  • The Book of Evidence – John Banville
  • Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
  • Foucault’s Pendulum – Umberto Eco
  • The Beautiful Room is Empty – Edmund White
  • Wittgenstein’s Mistress – David Markson
  • The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie
  • The Swimming-Pool Library – Alan Hollinghurst
  • Oscar and Lucinda – Peter Carey
  • Libra – Don DeLillo
  • The Player of Games – Iain M. Banks
  • Nervous Conditions – Tsitsi Dangarembga
  • The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul – Douglas Adams
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams
  • The Radiant Way – Margaret Drabble
  • The Afternoon of a Writer – Peter Handke
  • The Black Dahlia – James Ellroy
  • The Passion – Jeanette Winterson
  • The Pigeon – Patrick Süskind
  • The Child in Time – Ian McEwan
  • Cigarettes – Harry Mathews
  • The Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe
  • The New York Trilogy – Paul Auster
  • World’s End – T. Coraghessan Boyle
  • Enigma of Arrival – V.S. Naipaul
  • The Taebek Mountains – Jo Jung-rae
  • Beloved – Toni Morrison
  • Anagrams – Lorrie Moore
  • Matigari – Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
  • Marya – Joyce Carol Oates
  • Watchmen – Alan Moore & David Gibbons
  • The Old Devils – Kingsley Amis
  • Lost Language of Cranes – David Leavitt
  • An Artist of the Floating World – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Extinction – Thomas Bernhard
  • Foe – J.M. Coetzee
  • The Drowned and the Saved – Primo Levi
  • Reasons to Live – Amy Hempel
  • The Parable of the Blind – Gert Hofmann
  • Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
  • The Cider House Rules – John Irving
  • A Maggot – John Fowles
  • Less Than Zero – Bret Easton Ellis
  • Contact – Carl Sagan
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  • Perfume – Patrick Süskind
  • Old Masters – Thomas Bernhard
  • White Noise – Don DeLillo
  • Queer – William Burroughs
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Legend – David Gemmell
  • Dictionary of the Khazars – Milorad Pavi?
  • The Bus Conductor Hines – James Kelman
  • The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis – José Saramago
  • The Lover – Marguerite Duras
  • Empire of the Sun – J.G. Ballard
  • The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
  • Nights at the Circus – Angela Carter
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
  • Blood and Guts in High School – Kathy Acker
  • Neuromancer – William Gibson
  • Flaubert’s Parrot – Julian Barnes
  • Money: A Suicide Note – Martin Amis
  • Shame – Salman Rushdie
  • Worstward Ho – Samuel Beckett
  • Fools of Fortune – William Trevor
  • La Brava – Elmore Leonard
  • Waterland – Graham Swift
  • The Life and Times of Michael K – J.M. Coetzee
  • The Diary of Jane Somers – Doris Lessing
  • The Piano Teacher – Elfriede Jelinek
  • The Sorrow of Belgium – Hugo Claus
  • If Not Now, When? – Primo Levi
  • A Boy’s Own Story – Edmund White
  • The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  • Wittgenstein’s Nephew – Thomas Bernhard
  • A Pale View of Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Schindler’s Ark – Thomas Keneally
  • The House of the Spirits – Isabel Allende
  • The Newton Letter – John Banville
  • On the Black Hill – Bruce Chatwin
  • Concrete – Thomas Bernhard
  • The Names – Don DeLillo
  • Rabbit is Rich – John Updike
  • Lanark: A Life in Four Books – Alasdair Gray
  • The Comfort of Strangers – Ian McEwan
  • July’s People – Nadine Gordimer
  • Summer in Baden-Baden – Leonid Tsypkin
  • Broken April – Ismail Kadare
  • Waiting for the Barbarians – J.M. Coetzee
  • Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  • Rites of Passage – William Golding
  • Rituals – Cees Nooteboom
  • Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  • City Primeval – Elmore Leonard
  • The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
  • The Book of Laughter and Forgetting – Milan Kundera
  • Smiley’s People – John Le Carré
  • Shikasta – Doris Lessing
  • A Bend in the River – V.S. Naipaul
  • Burger’s Daughter – Nadine Gordimer
  • The Safety Net – Heinrich Böll
  • If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Calvino
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • The Cement Garden – Ian McEwan
  • The World According to Garp – John Irving
  • Life: A User’s Manual – Georges Perec
  • The Sea, The Sea – Iris Murdoch
  • The Singapore Grip – J.G. Farrell
  • Yes – Thomas Bernhard
  • The Virgin in the Garden – A.S. Byatt
  • In the Heart of the Country – J.M. Coetzee
  • The Passion of New Eve – Angela Carter
  • Delta of Venus – Anaïs Nin
  • The Shining – Stephen King
  • Dispatches – Michael Herr
  • Petals of Blood – Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
  • Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
  • The Hour of the Star – Clarice Lispector
  • The Left-Handed Woman – Peter Handke
  • Ratner’s Star – Don DeLillo
  • The Public Burning – Robert Coover
  • Interview With the Vampire – Anne Rice
  • Cutter and Bone – Newton Thornburg
  • Amateurs – Donald Barthelme
  • Patterns of Childhood – Christa Wolf
  • Autumn of the Patriarch – Gabriel García Márquez
  • W, or the Memory of Childhood – Georges Perec
  • A Dance to the Music of Time – Anthony Powell
  • Grimus – Salman Rushdie
  • The Dead Father – Donald Barthelme
  • Fateless – Imre Kertész
  • Willard and His Bowling Trophies – Richard Brautigan
  • High Rise – J.G. Ballard
  • Humboldt’s Gift – Saul Bellow
  • Dead Babies – Martin Amis
  • Correction – Thomas Bernhard
  • Ragtime – E.L. Doctorow
  • The Fan Man – William Kotzwinkle
  • Dusklands – J.M. Coetzee
  • The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum – Heinrich Böll
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – John Le Carré
  • Breakfast of Champions – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • Fear of Flying – Erica Jong
  • A Question of Power – Bessie Head
  • The Siege of Krishnapur – J.G. Farrell
  • The Castle of Crossed Destinies – Italo Calvino
  • Crash – J.G. Ballard
  • The Honorary Consul – Graham Greene
  • Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
  • The Black Prince – Iris Murdoch
  • Sula – Toni Morrison
  • Invisible Cities – Italo Calvino
  • The Breast – Philip Roth
  • The Summer Book – Tove Jansson
  • G – John Berger
  • Surfacing – Margaret Atwood
  • House Mother Normal – B.S. Johnson
  • In A Free State – V.S. Naipaul
  • The Book of Daniel – E.L. Doctorow
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
  • Group Portrait With Lady – Heinrich Böll
  • The Wild Boys – William Burroughs
  • Rabbit Redux – John Updike
  • The Sea of Fertility – Yukio Mishima
  • The Driver’s Seat – Muriel Spark
  • The Ogre – Michael Tournier
  • The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
  • Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick – Peter Handke
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
  • Mercier et Camier – Samuel Beckett
  • Troubles – J.G. Farrell
  • Jahrestage – Uwe Johnson
  • The Atrocity Exhibition – J.G. Ballard
  • Tent of Miracles – Jorge Amado
  • Pricksongs and Descants – Robert Coover
  • Blind Man With a Pistol – Chester Hines
  • Slaughterhouse-five – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles
  • The Green Man – Kingsley Amis
  • Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
  • The Godfather – Mario Puzo
  • Ada – Vladimir Nabokov
  • Them – Joyce Carol Oates
  • A Void/Avoid – Georges Perec
  • Eva Trout – Elizabeth Bowen
  • Myra Breckinridge – Gore Vidal
  • The Nice and the Good – Iris Murdoch
  • Belle du Seigneur – Albert Cohen
  • Cancer Ward – Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
  • The First Circle – Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
  • Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend is Laid – Malcolm Lowry
  • The German Lesson – Siegfried Lenz
  • In Watermelon Sugar – Richard Brautigan
  • A Kestrel for a Knave – Barry Hines
  • The Quest for Christa T. – Christa Wolf
  • Chocky – John Wyndham
  • The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe
  • The Cubs and Other Stories – Mario Vargas Llosa
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
  • The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Pilgrimage – Dorothy Richardson
  • The Joke – Milan Kundera
  • No Laughing Matter – Angus Wilson
  • The Third Policeman – Flann O’Brien
  • A Man Asleep – Georges Perec
  • The Birds Fall Down – Rebecca West
  • Trawl – B.S. Johnson
  • In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  • The Magus – John Fowles
  • The Vice-Consul – Marguerite Duras
  • Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
  • Giles Goat-Boy – John Barth
  • The Crying of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon
  • Things – Georges Perec
  • The River Between – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
  • August is a Wicked Month – Edna O’Brien
  • God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater – Kurt Vonnegut
  • Everything That Rises Must Converge – Flannery O’Connor
  • The Passion According to G.H. – Clarice Lispector
  • Sometimes a Great Notion – Ken Kesey
  • Come Back, Dr. Caligari – Donald Bartholme
  • Albert Angelo – B.S. Johnson
  • Arrow of God – Chinua Achebe
  • The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein – Marguerite Duras
  • Herzog – Saul Bellow
  • V. – Thomas Pynchon
  • Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Graduate – Charles Webb
  • Manon des Sources – Marcel Pagnol
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – John Le Carré
  • The Girls of Slender Means – Muriel Spark
  • Inside Mr. Enderby – Anthony Burgess
  • The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
  • The Collector – John Fowles
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
  • A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  • Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Drowned World – J.G. Ballard
  • The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
  • Labyrinths – Jorg Luis Borges
  • Girl With Green Eyes – Edna O’Brien
  • The Garden of the Finzi-Continis – Giorgio Bassani
  • Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein
  • Franny and Zooey – J.D. Salinger
  • A Severed Head – Iris Murdoch
  • Faces in the Water – Janet Frame
  • Solaris – Stanislaw Lem
  • Cat and Mouse – Günter Grass
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
  • Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
  • The Violent Bear it Away – Flannery O’Connor
  • How It Is – Samuel Beckett
  • Our Ancestors – Italo Calvino
  • The Country Girls – Edna O’Brien
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  • Rabbit, Run – John Updike
  • Promise at Dawn – Romain Gary
  • Cider With Rosie – Laurie Lee
  • Billy Liar – Keith Waterhouse
  • Naked Lunch – William Burroughs
  • The Tin Drum – Günter Grass
  • Absolute Beginners – Colin MacInnes
  • Henderson the Rain King – Saul Bellow
  • Memento Mori – Muriel Spark
  • Billiards at Half-Past Nine – Heinrich Böll
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
  • The Leopard – Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
  • Pluck the Bud and Destroy the Offspring – Kenzaburo Oe
  • A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
  • The Bitter Glass – Eilís Dillon
  • Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning – Alan Sillitoe
  • Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris – Paul Gallico
  • Borstal Boy – Brendan Behan
  • The End of the Road – John Barth
  • The Once and Future King – T.H. White
  • The Bell – Iris Murdoch
  • Jealousy – Alain Robbe-Grillet
  • Voss – Patrick White
  • The Midwich Cuckoos – John Wyndham
  • Blue Noon – Georges Bataille
  • Homo Faber – Max Frisch
  • On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  • Pnin – Vladimir Nabokov
  • Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
  • The Wonderful “O” – James Thurber
  • Justine – Lawrence Durrell
  • Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
  • The Lonely Londoners – Sam Selvon
  • The Roots of Heaven – Romain Gary
  • Seize the Day – Saul Bellow
  • The Floating Opera – John Barth
  • The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley – Patricia Highsmith
  • Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  • A World of Love – Elizabeth Bowen
  • The Trusting and the Maimed – James Plunkett
  • The Quiet American – Graham Greene
  • The Last Temptation of Christ – Nikos Kazantzákis
  • The Recognitions – William Gaddis
  • The Ragazzi – Pier Paulo Pasolini
  • Bonjour Tristesse – Françoise Sagan
  • I’m Not Stiller – Max Frisch
  • Self Condemned – Wyndham Lewis
  • The Story of O – Pauline Réage
  • A Ghost at Noon – Alberto Moravia
  • Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  • Under the Net – Iris Murdoch
  • The Go-Between – L.P. Hartley
  • The Long Goodbye – Raymond Chandler
  • The Unnamable – Samuel Beckett
  • Watt – Samuel Beckett
  • Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis
  • Junkie – William Burroughs
  • The Adventures of Augie March – Saul Bellow
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain – James Baldwin
  • Casino Royale – Ian Fleming
  • The Judge and His Hangman – Friedrich Dürrenmatt
  • Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
  • The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
  • Wise Blood – Flannery O’Connor
  • The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson
  • Memoirs of Hadrian – Marguerite Yourcenar
  • Malone Dies – Samuel Beckett
  • Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham
  • Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  • The Opposing Shore – Julien Gracq
  • The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  • The Rebel – Albert Camus
  • Molloy – Samuel Beckett
  • The End of the Affair – Graham Greene
  • The Abbot C – Georges Bataille
  • The Labyrinth of Solitude – Octavio Paz
  • The Third Man – Graham Greene
  • The 13 Clocks – James Thurber
  • Gormenghast – Mervyn Peake
  • The Grass is Singing – Doris Lessing
  • I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  • The Moon and the Bonfires – Cesare Pavese
  • The Garden Where the Brass Band Played – Simon Vestdijk
  • Love in a Cold Climate – Nancy Mitford
  • The Case of Comrade Tulayev – Victor Serge
  • The Heat of the Day – Elizabeth Bowen
  • Kingdom of This World – Alejo Carpentier
  • The Man With the Golden Arm – Nelson Algren
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
  • All About H. Hatterr – G.V. Desani
  • Disobedience – Alberto Moravia
  • Death Sentence – Maurice Blanchot
  • The Heart of the Matter – Graham Greene
  • Cry, the Beloved Country – Alan Paton
  • Doctor Faustus – Thomas Mann
  • The Victim – Saul Bellow
  • Exercises in Style – Raymond Queneau
  • If This Is a Man – Primo Levi
  • Under the Volcano – Malcolm Lowry
  • The Path to the Nest of Spiders – Italo Calvino
  • The Plague – Albert Camus
  • Back – Henry Green
  • Titus Groan – Mervyn Peake
  • The Bridge on the Drina – Ivo Andri?
  • Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • Cannery Row – John Steinbeck
  • The Pursuit of Love – Nancy Mitford
  • Loving – Henry Green
  • Arcanum 17 – André Breton
  • Christ Stopped at Eboli – Carlo Levi
  • The Razor’s Edge – William Somerset Maugham
  • Transit – Anna Seghers
  • Ficciones – Jorge Luis Borges
  • Dangling Man – Saul Bellow
  • The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • Caught – Henry Green
  • The Glass Bead Game – Herman Hesse
  • Embers – Sandor Marai
  • Go Down, Moses – William Faulkner
  • The Outsider – Albert Camus
  • In Sicily – Elio Vittorini
  • The Poor Mouth – Flann O’Brien
  • The Living and the Dead – Patrick White
  • Hangover Square – Patrick Hamilton
  • Between the Acts – Virginia Woolf
  • The Hamlet – William Faulkner
  • Farewell My Lovely – Raymond Chandler
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
  • Native Son – Richard Wright
  • The Power and the Glory – Graham Greene
  • The Tartar Steppe – Dino Buzzati
  • Party Going – Henry Green
  • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  • Finnegans Wake – James Joyce
  • At Swim-Two-Birds – Flann O’Brien
  • Coming Up for Air – George Orwell
  • Goodbye to Berlin – Christopher Isherwood
  • Tropic of Capricorn – Henry Miller
  • Good Morning, Midnight – Jean Rhys
  • The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
  • After the Death of Don Juan – Sylvie Townsend Warner
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – Winifred Watson
  • Nausea – Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
  • Cause for Alarm – Eric Ambler
  • Brighton Rock – Graham Greene
  • U.S.A. – John Dos Passos
  • Murphy – Samuel Beckett
  • Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Years – Virginia Woolf
  • In Parenthesis – David Jones
  • The Revenge for Love – Wyndham Lewis
  • Out of Africa – Isak Dineson (Karen Blixen)
  • To Have and Have Not – Ernest Hemingway
  • Summer Will Show – Sylvia Townsend Warner
  • Eyeless in Gaza – Aldous Huxley
  • The Thinking Reed – Rebecca West
  • Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  • Keep the Aspidistra Flying – George Orwell
  • Wild Harbour – Ian MacPherson
  • Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner
  • At the Mountains of Madness – H.P. Lovecraft
  • Nightwood – Djuna Barnes
  • Independent People – Halldór Laxness
  • Auto-da-Fé – Elias Canetti
  • The Last of Mr. Norris – Christopher Isherwood
  • They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? – Horace McCoy
  • The House in Paris – Elizabeth Bowen
  • England Made Me – Graham Greene
  • Burmese Days – George Orwell
  • The Nine Tailors – Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Threepenny Novel – Bertolt Brecht
  • Novel With Cocaine – M. Ageyev
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice – James M. Cain
  • Tropic of Cancer – Henry Miller
  • A Handful of Dust – Evelyn Waugh
  • Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Thank You, Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse
  • Call it Sleep – Henry Roth
  • Miss Lonelyhearts – Nathanael West
  • Murder Must Advertise – Dorothy L. Sayers
  • The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas – Gertrude Stein
  • Testament of Youth – Vera Brittain
  • A Day Off – Storm Jameson
  • The Man Without Qualities – Robert Musil
  • A Scots Quair (Sunset Song) – Lewis Grassic Gibbon
  • Journey to the End of the Night – Louis-Ferdinand Céline
  • Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  • Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
  • To the North – Elizabeth Bowen
  • The Thin Man – Dashiell Hammett
  • The Radetzky March – Joseph Roth
  • The Waves – Virginia Woolf
  • The Glass Key – Dashiell Hammett
  • Cakes and Ale – W. Somerset Maugham
  • The Apes of God – Wyndham Lewis
  • Her Privates We – Frederic Manning
  • Vile Bodies – Evelyn Waugh
  • The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
  • Hebdomeros – Giorgio de Chirico
  • Passing – Nella Larsen
  • A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
  • Red Harvest – Dashiell Hammett
  • Living – Henry Green
  • The Time of Indifference – Alberto Moravia
  • All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz – Alfred Döblin
  • The Last September – Elizabeth Bowen
  • Harriet Hume – Rebecca West
  • The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
  • Les Enfants Terribles – Jean Cocteau
  • Look Homeward, Angel – Thomas Wolfe
  • Story of the Eye – Georges Bataille
  • Orlando – Virginia Woolf
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence
  • The Well of Loneliness – Radclyffe Hall
  • The Childermass – Wyndham Lewis
  • Quartet – Jean Rhys
  • Decline and Fall – Evelyn Waugh
  • Quicksand – Nella Larsen
  • Parade’s End – Ford Madox Ford
  • Nadja – André Breton
  • Steppenwolf – Herman Hesse
  • Remembrance of Things Past – Marcel Proust
  • To The Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
  • Tarka the Otter – Henry Williamson
  • Amerika – Franz Kafka
  • The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  • Blindness – Henry Green
  • The Castle – Franz Kafka
  • The Good Soldier Švejk – Jaroslav Hašek
  • The Plumed Serpent – D.H. Lawrence
  • One, None and a Hundred Thousand – Luigi Pirandello
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
  • The Making of Americans – Gertrude Stein
  • Manhattan Transfer – John Dos Passos
  • Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Counterfeiters – André Gide
  • The Trial – Franz Kafka
  • The Artamonov Business – Maxim Gorky
  • The Professor’s House – Willa Cather
  • Billy Budd, Foretopman – Herman Melville
  • The Green Hat – Michael Arlen
  • The Magic Mountain – Thomas Mann
  • We – Yevgeny Zamyatin
  • A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
  • The Devil in the Flesh – Raymond Radiguet
  • Zeno’s Conscience – Italo Svevo
  • Cane – Jean Toomer
  • Antic Hay – Aldous Huxley
  • Amok – Stefan Zweig
  • The Garden Party – Katherine Mansfield
  • The Enormous Room – E.E. Cummings
  • Jacob’s Room – Virginia Woolf
  • Siddhartha – Herman Hesse
  • The Glimpses of the Moon – Edith Wharton
  • Life and Death of Harriett Frean – May Sinclair
  • The Last Days of Humanity – Karl Kraus
  • Aaron’s Rod – D.H. Lawrence
  • Babbitt – Sinclair Lewis
  • Ulysses – James Joyce
  • The Fox – D.H. Lawrence
  • Crome Yellow – Aldous Huxley
  • The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
  • Main Street – Sinclair Lewis
  • Women in Love – D.H. Lawrence
  • Night and Day – Virginia Woolf
  • Tarr – Wyndham Lewis
  • The Return of the Soldier – Rebecca West
  • The Shadow Line – Joseph Conrad
  • Summer – Edith Wharton
  • Growth of the Soil – Knut Hamsen
  • Bunner Sisters – Edith Wharton
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
  • Under Fire – Henri Barbusse
  • Rashomon – Akutagawa Ryunosuke
  • The Good Soldier – Ford Madox Ford
  • The Voyage Out – Virginia Woolf
  • Of Human Bondage – William Somerset Maugham
  • The Rainbow – D.H. Lawrence
  • The Thirty-Nine Steps – John Buchan
  • Kokoro – Natsume Soseki
  • Locus Solus – Raymond Roussel
  • Rosshalde – Herman Hesse
  • Tarzan of the Apes – Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – Robert Tressell
  • Sons and Lovers – D.H. Lawrence
  • Death in Venice – Thomas Mann
  • The Charwoman’s Daughter – James Stephens
  • Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
  • Fantômas – Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre
  • Howards End – E.M. Forster
  • Impressions of Africa – Raymond Roussel
  • Three Lives – Gertrude Stein
  • Martin Eden – Jack London
  • Strait is the Gate – André Gide
  • Tono-Bungay – H.G. Wells
  • The Inferno – Henri Barbusse
  • A Room With a View – E.M. Forster
  • The Iron Heel – Jack London
  • The Old Wives’ Tale – Arnold Bennett
  • The House on the Borderland – William Hope Hodgson
  • Mother – Maxim Gorky
  • The Secret Agent – Joseph Conrad
  • The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
  • Young Törless – Robert Musil
  • The Forsyte Sage – John Galsworthy
  • The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
  • Professor Unrat – Heinrich Mann
  • Where Angels Fear to Tread – E.M. Forster
  • Nostromo – Joseph Conrad
  • Hadrian the Seventh – Frederick Rolfe
  • The Golden Bowl – Henry James
  • The Ambassadors – Henry James
  • The Riddle of the Sands – Erskine Childers
  • The Immoralist – André Gide
  • The Wings of the Dove – Henry James
  • Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Buddenbrooks – Thomas Mann
  • Kim – Rudyard Kipling
  • Sister Carrie – Theodore Dreiser
  • Lord Jim – Joseph Conrad

1800s

  • Some Experiences of an Irish R.M. – Somerville and Ross
  • The Stechlin – Theodore Fontane
  • The Awakening – Kate Chopin
  • The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
  • The War of the Worlds – H.G. Wells
  • The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells
  • What Maisie Knew – Henry James
  • Fruits of the Earth – André Gide
  • Dracula – Bram Stoker
  • Quo Vadis – Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau – H.G. Wells
  • The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
  • Effi Briest – Theodore Fontane
  • Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
  • The Real Charlotte – Somerville and Ross
  • The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Born in Exile – George Gissing
  • Diary of a Nobody – George & Weedon Grossmith
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • News from Nowhere – William Morris
  • New Grub Street – George Gissing
  • Gösta Berling’s Saga – Selma Lagerlöf
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  • The Kreutzer Sonata – Leo Tolstoy
  • La Bête Humaine – Émile Zola
  • By the Open Sea – August Strindberg
  • Hunger – Knut Hamsun
  • The Master of Ballantrae – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Pierre and Jean – Guy de Maupassant
  • Fortunata and Jacinta – Benito Pérez Galdés
  • The People of Hemsö – August Strindberg
  • The Woodlanders – Thomas Hardy
  • She – H. Rider Haggard
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
  • Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • King Solomon’s Mines – H. Rider Haggard
  • Germinal – Émile Zola
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  • Bel-Ami – Guy de Maupassant
  • Marius the Epicurean – Walter Pater
  • Against the Grain – Joris-Karl Huysmans
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich – Leo Tolstoy
  • A Woman’s Life – Guy de Maupassant
  • Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The House by the Medlar Tree – Giovanni Verga
  • The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
  • Bouvard and Pécuchet – Gustave Flaubert
  • Ben-Hur – Lew Wallace
  • Nana – Émile Zola
  • The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Red Room – August Strindberg
  • Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
  • Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  • Drunkard – Émile Zola
  • Virgin Soil – Ivan Turgenev
  • Daniel Deronda – George Eliot
  • The Hand of Ethelberta – Thomas Hardy
  • The Temptation of Saint Anthony – Gustave Flaubert
  • Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  • The Enchanted Wanderer – Nicolai Leskov
  • Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne
  • In a Glass Darkly – Sheridan Le Fanu
  • The Devils – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Erewhon – Samuel Butler
  • Spring Torrents – Ivan Turgenev
  • Middlemarch – George Eliot
  • Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll
  • King Lear of the Steppes – Ivan Turgenev
  • He Knew He Was Right – Anthony Trollope
  • War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  • Sentimental Education – Gustave Flaubert
  • Phineas Finn – Anthony Trollope
  • Maldoror – Comte de Lautréaumont
  • The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  • Thérèse Raquin – Émile Zola
  • The Last Chronicle of Barset – Anthony Trollope
  • Journey to the Centre of the Earth – Jules Verne
  • Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  • Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens
  • Uncle Silas – Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Water-Babies – Charles Kingsley
  • Les Misérables – Victor Hugo
  • Fathers and Sons – Ivan Turgenev
  • Silas Marner – George Eliot
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  • On the Eve – Ivan Turgenev
  • Castle Richmond – Anthony Trollope
  • The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
  • The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  • The Marble Faun – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Max Havelaar – Multatuli
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • Oblomovka – Ivan Goncharov
  • Adam Bede – George Eliot
  • Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Hard Times – Charles Dickens
  • Walden – Henry David Thoreau
  • Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  • Villette – Charlotte Brontë
  • Cranford – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lonely – Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • The Blithedale Romance – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The House of the Seven Gables – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Moby-Dick – Herman Melville
  • The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  • Shirley – Charlotte Brontë
  • Mary Barton – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë
  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
  • Agnes Grey – Anne Brontë
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
  • The Count of Monte-Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  • La Reine Margot – Alexandre Dumas
  • The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  • The Purloined Letter – Edgar Allan Poe
  • Martin Chuzzlewit – Charles Dickens
  • The Pit and the Pendulum – Edgar Allan Poe
  • Lost Illusions – Honoré de Balzac
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Dead Souls – Nikolay Gogol
  • The Charterhouse of Parma – Stendhal
  • The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby – Charles Dickens
  • Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  • The Nose – Nikolay Gogol
  • Le Père Goriot – Honoré de Balzac
  • Eugénie Grandet – Honoré de Balzac
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Victor Hugo
  • The Red and the Black – Stendhal
  • The Betrothed – Alessandro Manzoni
  • Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper
  • The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner – James Hogg
  • The Albigenses – Charles Robert Maturin
  • Melmoth the Wanderer – Charles Robert Maturin
  • The Monastery – Sir Walter Scott
  • Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott
  • Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  • Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  • Persuasion – Jane Austen
  • Ormond – Maria Edgeworth
  • Rob Roy – Sir Walter Scott
  • Emma – Jane Austen
  • Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Absentee – Maria Edgeworth
  • Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  • Elective Affinities – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Castle Rackrent – Maria Edgeworth

1700s

  • Hyperion – Friedrich Hölderlin
  • The Nun – Denis Diderot
  • Camilla – Fanny Burney
  • The Monk – M.G. Lewis
  • Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho – Ann Radcliffe
  • The Interesting Narrative – Olaudah Equiano
  • The Adventures of Caleb Williams – William Godwin
  • Justine – Marquis de Sade
  • Vathek – William Beckford
  • The 120 Days of Sodom – Marquis de Sade
  • Cecilia – Fanny Burney
  • Confessions – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Dangerous Liaisons – Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
  • Reveries of a Solitary Walker – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Evelina – Fanny Burney
  • The Sorrows of Young Werther – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Humphrey Clinker – Tobias George Smollett
  • The Man of Feeling – Henry Mackenzie
  • A Sentimental Journey – Laurence Sterne
  • Tristram Shandy – Laurence Sterne
  • The Vicar of Wakefield – Oliver Goldsmith
  • The Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole
  • Émile; or, On Education – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Rameau’s Nephew – Denis Diderot
  • Julie; or, the New Eloise – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Rasselas – Samuel Johnson
  • Candide – Voltaire
  • The Female Quixote – Charlotte Lennox
  • Amelia – Henry Fielding
  • Peregrine Pickle – Tobias George Smollett
  • Fanny Hill – John Cleland
  • Tom Jones – Henry Fielding
  • Roderick Random – Tobias George Smollett
  • Clarissa – Samuel Richardson
  • Pamela – Samuel Richardson
  • Jacques the Fatalist – Denis Diderot
  • Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus – J. Arbuthnot, J. Gay, T. Parnell, A. Pope, J. Swift
  • Joseph Andrews – Henry Fielding
  • A Modest Proposal – Jonathan Swift
  • Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
  • Roxana – Daniel Defoe
  • Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe
  • Love in Excess – Eliza Haywood
  • Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
  • A Tale of a Tub – Jonathan Swift

Pre-1700

  • Oroonoko – Aphra Behn
  • The Princess of Clèves – Marie-Madelaine Pioche de Lavergne, Comtesse de La Fayette
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
  • Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • The Unfortunate Traveller – Thomas Nashe
  • Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit – John Lyly
  • Gargantua and Pantagruel – Françoise Rabelais
  • The Thousand and One Nights – Anonymous
  • The Golden Ass – Lucius Apuleius
  • Aithiopika – Heliodorus
  • Chaireas and Kallirhoe – Chariton
  • Metamorphoses – Ovid
  • Aesop’s Fables – Aesopus




#4 Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham

18 01 2009

In an effort to expand my horizons, understand more literary references and challenge my brain I am attempting to read some of the Classics this year.  The first book I chose was Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham.

The back cover describes the book as a “classic bildungsroman” – a novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character.  Having to look up the definition of a word on the book jacket made me wonder what I was getting myself into.  I persevered, started the book and found it to be a very engaging story. 

First published in 1915, this book tells the story of Phillip Carey, a young man who is forced to bear many crosses. 

He is born with a club foot, a handicap that he is very sensitive about.  Orphaned at a young age, he goes to live with his uncle and aunt – a childless Vicar and his wife.  As a young adult he sets out on several different paths before finding his calling in medicine.  Like all humans, he has to make his own journey.  His time spent studying art in Paris and later living in abject poverty while working as a dress designer contribute to the formation of his character, which later makes him a successful doctor. 

Throughout the book he befriends various artists and intellectuals.  He gets drunk on conversation and is invigorated by new concepts and ideas.   

One of the prominent story lines in this novel is Phillip’s obsession with the despicable Mildred.  Although he can find no redeeming quality in her, he cannot stop his infatuation.  Their affair vastly alters the course of Phillip’s life.  Although Phillip knows that Mildred is only using him, he so desperately wants to spend time with her that he enables her to exploit him again and again.  When the affair was finally over, I was thrilled to see her go.     

In Chapter XXVIII, Maugham does justice to the struggle of man losing his faith.  Some of the character’s reasoning was similar to my own processes.  I really enjoyed this chapter and read it several times.  

Later in the story, Phillip contemplates the concept of abstract morality, that was first put forth to him in Chapter XXVIII :

“When Philip ceased to believe in Christianity he felt that a great weight was taken from his shoulders; casting off the responsibility which weighed down every action, when every action was infinitely important for the welfare of his immortal soul, he experienced a vivid sense of liberty.  But he knew now that this was an illusion.  When he put away the religion inwhich he had been brought up, he had kept unimpaired the morality which was part and parcel of it.  He made up his mind therefore to think things out for himself.  He determined to be swayed by no prejudices.  He swept away the virtues and the vices, the established laws of good and evil, with the idea of finding out the rules of life for himself…” 

Certainly writing a book about sexual obsession and the loss of one’s religion in 1915 was quite scandalous.  Maugham was one of the great Realists of his time and I fully intend to read more of his work.





#3 – Fifteen Minutes of Shame by Lisa Daily

9 01 2009

When I requested a free swag bag for my book club from author Lisa Daily, she included a signed copy of her upcoming novel, Fifteen Minutes of Shame.  The book is primo chick lit and a fast read to boot.

When relationship expert Darby Vaughn’s own marriage unexpectedly goes terribly awry she is forced to deal with it in the public eye.  While promoting her latest relationship book on The Today Showshe is blindsided by a reporter who informs her that there is an article in the morning newspaper proclaiming that her husband has filed for divorce.  In order to save her career and keep the respect of her fans, she attempts to weather the storm using her own advice.  With the support of her friends “The Dreamgirls”, she is able to begin to move on.  Her publicist sets her up on some highly public “dates” with a famous basketball player and a young model.  Her hijinks with these men and those that she meets starring on a reality dating show are very amusing.  In the end, Darby finds true love in an unexpected place.

A prevalent issue in this novel is stepparent’s rights.  Darby’s ex-husband, Will, was the guardian of two young children from a previous marriage.  Since Will travelled frequently, Darby acted as their primary caretaker for the duration of their marriage.  The divorce deals an ugly blow to Darby when she realizes that she will no longer be able to see the children she thinks of as her own.  Daily does a very informative job exposing the lack of stepparent’s rights in the United States.

It is understandable that a person going through a divorce might not want to allow their estranged spouse to see their stepchildren.  But, at one point in time the two people loved each other enough to get married, so each party must possess  some redeeming qualities.  I think it would be extremely hard on a child to no longer be able to see a person who parented them.

Daily is a relationship expert in real life.  This is her first novel.  This knowledge forces the reader to wonder if anything in the book is taken from her own experience.  Certainly the book idea was born out of wondering what effect an ugly public breakup would have on her own career. 

Although I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others, I do not think it is the right fit for the book club I belong to.