I Pay Rapt Attention

101 Books I must must must read.

I reference this enough that it may as well exist here. I’m totally open to suggestions, though the waiting list to get onto this list is something like 50 books long right now… oh well.

1. Pale Fire – Nabokov

2. The Convalescent- Jessica Anthony Feast of the Goat- Mario Vargas Llosa*
3. Sometimes a Great Notion- Ken Kesey
4. Stoner- John Williams*
5. A Minor Apocalypse – Tadeusz Konwiki*
6. Human Croquet- Kate Atkinson
7. Baltasar and Blimunda- Jose Saramago
8. Infinite Jest- David Foster Wallace*
9. Ancestral Voices- Etienne van Heerden
10. Edie: American Girl – Jean Stern
11. Angle of Repose- Wallace Stegner*
12. Slouching Towards Bethlehem- Joan Didion
13. Gilead- Marilyne Robinson
14. Behind the Scenes at the Museum – Kate Atkinson Reality is Broken- Jane McGonigal (preordered, thank you very much!)
15. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union- Michael Chabon*
16. On Chesil Beach- Ian McEwan

17. Under Fire- Henri Barbusse
18. Ernst von Saloman- The Questionnaire
19.Exile: A novel- Peter Weiss
20. Atonement- Ian McEwan
21. The Famished Road- Ben Okri
22. Savage Beauty – Nancy Milford
23. The Invention of Curried Sausage- Uwe Timm
24. Oryx and Crake- Margaret Atwood
25. Rabbit Hole- David Lindsay-Abaire
26. The Road- Cormac McCarthy
27. Suttree- Cormac McCarthy*
28. Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides Age of Huts – Ron Silliman
29. Anna in the Tropics- Nilo Cruz
30. Animal Farm
31. Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami
32. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman- Haruki Murakami
33. After Dark- Haruki Murakami
34. Snow- Orhan Pamuk*
35. Jailbird- Kurt Vonnegut
36. Timequake- Kurt Vonnegut
37. The God of Small Things- Arundhati Roy*
38. The Ground Beneath Her Feet- Salman Rushdie
39. The Satanic Verses- Salman Rushdie
40. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs- Chuck Klosterman
41. Fargo Rock City- Chuck Klosterman
42.The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life- Andy Raskin
43. Grendel – John Gardner*
44. Guns, Germs and Steel- Jared Diamond
45. Collapse- Jared Diamond
46. Blink- Malcolm Gladwell
47. The Tipping Point- Malcolm Gladwell
48. The Black Swan- Nassim Nicholas Taleb
49. Remains of the Day- Kazuo Isuiguro Tree of Codes – Jonathan Safran Foer (also preordered, thank you very much.)

50. Petropolis- Anya Ulinich
51. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter- Kim Edwards
52. Pattern Recognition- William Gibson
53. Spook Country- William Gibson
54. More than Human- Ramez Naam
55. Street Wars- Tom Hayden
56. The Giant’s House- Elizabeth McCracken
57. What is the What- Dave Eggers
58. A Spot of Bother- Mark Haddon
59. The Internationalist- Anne Washburn
60. Tea & Sympathy- Robert Anderson
61. Tree of Smoke- Denis Johnson
62. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA- Tim Weiner
63. The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop?- Francisco Goldman
64. The Year of Fog- Michelle Richmond
65. Peony in Love- Lisa See
66. Travels with Herodotus- Ryszard Kapuscinski
67. Little, Big- John Crowley
68. As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial- Derrick Jensen & Stephanie McMillan
69. The Alchemist- Paul Coelho
70. Ashes and Diamonds- Jerzy Andrzejewski
71. Unaccustomed Earth- Jhumpa Lahiri  Authenticity- Gilmore and Pine
72. Fragile Things- Neil Gaiman*
73. A Reader for the Sleepless- ed. Steven Lee Beeber
74. The Year of Living Biblically- AJ Jacobs
75. 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl- Daniel Pinchbeck
76. Infinite Ascent- David Berlinski
77. If on a winters night, a traveler- Italo Calvino*
78. Rhode Island Notebook- Gabriel Gudding
79. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines- Janna Levin
80. The Naked Lunch- William Burroughs
81. St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves- Karen Russell
82. Fear, Some- Douglas Kearney
83. Against the Day- Thomas Pynchon
84. Blindness- Jose Saramago
85. On Ugliness- Umberto Eco
86. Portable Dorothy Parker
87. Charles Baudelaire: 20 Prose Poems
88. The Book of Words- Jenny Erpenheck
89. Falling Man- Don Delillo*
90. The Hummingbird’s Daughter- Luis Alberto Urrea
91. I Want To Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now- Damien Hirst
92. Moby Dick- Herman Melville
93. Cabot Wright Begins- James Purdy
94. American Pastoral- Philip Roth
95. A Moveable Feast- Ernest Hemingway
96. Century of Wind- Eduardo Galeano*
97. Zelda- Nancy Milford
98. Tender is the Night- F. Scott Fitzgerald*
99. Midnight’s Children- Salman Rushdie
100. Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine- George M. Taber
101. Tibor Kalman, Perverse Optimist- Peter Hall, ed.

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2 Responses

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  1. David Edmon said, on July 21, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Of course there are a million things I could recommend if I let myself think about it so I’m not going to let myself think about it because I’d rather not overload your server and such, but:
    if you like the McCarthy I’d recommend Blood Meridian, Or The Evening Redness in the West (not so much because of how I feel about it–I’m not finished yet–but because of how critics seem to feel that it’s his best and one of America’s best ever)
    actually a better way of putting that is: if you don’t like the McCarthy on your list then wait a few years and give Blood Meridian a try.
    Not that Atonement and On Chesil Beach aren’t great (actually ya know what’s great about the latter? It’s so short it’s almost like a novel that happens in real time–minus the memory chapters), but I think Saturday is McEwan’s best.
    Yay Infinite Jest. Yay What is the What. Yay Middlesex. Yay–okay, I’m stopping now.

  2. jewpunk said, on May 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    You ever end up reading “AWAKE! A Reader for the Sleepless”????????


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