Fifty favorite books

by sentimentalsurrealist

From the perspective of someone who, of course, hasn’t read every work of fiction, blah blah blah, but considers himself well-read. Here we go. Note that I’m more into contemporary fiction than the classics, so you know, biases, but this is my perspective. Non-hierarchical, except for the number one. I’m leaning to original works, i.e. novels and short stories, over collections, because it’s just easier that way. Generally there’s only room here for one per author, but I had to make a few exceptions.

1. David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
2. Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
3. James Joyce, Ulysses
4. Fyodor Dostoevsky, the Brothers Karamazov
5. Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones
6. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
7. William Gaddis, the Recognitions
8. Don DeLillo, Underworld
9. Roberto Bolano, 2666
10. William Shakespeare, Othello
11. Kurt Vonnegut, the Sirens of Titan
12. Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
13. Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon
14. Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
15. Lydia Davis, Varieties of Disturbance
16. Franz Kafka, the Trial
17. William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!
18. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
19. Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
20. Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
21. Clarice Lispector, the Hour of the Star
22. Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge
23. Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, Or the Evening Redness in the West
24. Don DeLillo, White Noise
25. Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
26. William Shakespeare, Hamlet
27. Flann O’Brien, the Third Policeman
28. Samuel Beckett, the Unnameable
29. William Gaddis, J R
30. Alan Moore, Watchmen
31. Joseph Heller, Catch-22
32. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
33. Philip K. Dick, Ubik
34. William H. Gass, Omensetter’s Luck
35. Albert Camus, the Stranger
36. Richard Wright, Native Son
37. Zadie Smith, White Teeth
38. Angela Carter, the Bloody Chamber and Other Stories
39. Carson McCullers, the Heart is a Lonely Hunter
40. Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
41. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
42. Junot Diaz, the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
43. Salman Rushdie, the Satanic Verses
44. William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
45. Donald Barthelme, Sixty Stories
46. Paul Auster, City of Glass
47. Ann Quinn, Berg
48. Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
49. Adam Levin, the Instructions
50. John Barth, the Sot-Weed Factor

Have you got a favorites list? Publish it in the comments box!