Book List

In no particular order, this is a list of my favourite writers/books. Of course, it is incomplete.

Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle, Pale Fire and Speak, Memory and literary lectures
Franz Kafka
Geoff Dyer
JG Ballard
Simone de Beauvoir
Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook
Hélène Cixous
Judith Butler
Peter Handke’s The Weight of the World
Søren Kierkegaard
Marguerite Duras
JM Coetzee
Robert Walser
Roland Barthes
Nadine Gordimer’s The Pickup
Rilke’s Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
Pascal Quignard’s The Roving Shadows
John William’s Stoner
Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea
AM Homes
Patrick Leigh Fermor
Jay Griffith’s Wild: An Elemental Journey
Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s War and War
Mahmoud Darwish’s Memory for Forgetfulness
Samuel Beckett
Simon Critchley
Noam Chomsky
Roger Deakin
Carlos Fuentes’s Diana: The Goddess Who Hunts Alone
Ruth Reichl’s Endless Feast
Teju Cole’s Open City
Jenny Erpenbeck’s The Visitation
Gabriel Josipovici’s What Ever Happened to Modernism? and The Lessons of Modernism
Virginia Woolf’s later novels and diaries
Jospeh Heller’s Something Happened
WG Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn
Don DeLillo’s Underworld
Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia
Kate Chopin’s The Awakening
Marcel Proust
Clarice Lispector’s Água Viva
Dante’s Divine Comedy
Kate Zambreno’s Heroines
Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych
James Joyce’s Ulysses
Richard Power’s The Time of our Singing
Will Ferguson’s Hokkaido Highway Blues

15 in 15

Via Anecdotal Evidence, I enjoyed a 15 minute indulgence in a tweaked literary parlour game: “name the fifteen books that have most influenced your thinking, that you have found yourself referring to most often in reflection, speech, and writing.” No apologies for for an odd mix:

  1. Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary
  2. Gustave Flaubert – Sentimental Education
  3. Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment
  4. Harold Bloom – The Western Canon
  5. Richard Powers – The Time of Our Singing
  6. Jean-Paul Sartre – Nausea
  7. Alberto Manguel – The Library at Night
  8. Søren Kierkegaard – Either/Or
  9. Marcel Proust – In Search of Lost Time
  10. Fyodor Dostoyevsky – The Idiot
  11. Christopher Alexander – A Pattern Language
  12. Roger Deakin – Wildwood
  13. Alan Flusser – Dressing The Man
  14. Julian Barnes –  Nothing to Be Frightened Of
  15. J. P. Donleavy – The Ginger Man

These are the first that came to mind. Sixteenth would have been Mark Helprin’s A Soldier of the Great War. Where is Philip Roth, William Gibson, Robert Heinlein? Of course, ten years ago the list would be different, as it will ten years hence. On reflection I am bemused that Nabokov and Beckett did not make the cut. In a couple more weeks, Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain may prove an omission.