I wanted to compile a list of books I really like, both for my own reference and if anyone wants a recommendation and happens to care about my opinion. Especially if you already like some of the books on the list, you'll proabably be partial to the others. Works in the public domain (chiefly stuff before 1929) are provided with links for downloading from Project Gutenberg, a web site that collects public domain work for download and whom I've done some volunteer work proofreading for at the Distributed Proofreaders site. This is a work in progress; I'll probably be adding more books and more commentary on each of the books later, as well as links to the Amazon.com pages of the non-public domain work, so that I can get that 15% commission. Some of these books are very famous, some are not. I simply picked my favorites. Enjoy.
How to Tell a Story and Other Writings
Sketches, New and Old
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Huck Finn gets taken for granted sometimes, and we tend to get assigned it in Middle School. As an adult you're much more likely to realize that it really is as brilliant as everyone has always said it is. The thing to remember is that it's as much about how it's written as what it's written about. Personally, I recommend reading the essay "How to Tell a Story," then reading "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calavarus County" from Sketches, and then reading Huck, as I think they inform each other.
The Adventures of Caleb Williams or Things as They Are
Brilliant 18th century proto-noir novel by the father of Mary Shelley (of Frankenstein fame). Longtime considered an anarchist classic, it had new attention brought to it following the work of lit critic Michel Foucault because of how it plays into the modern ideas of paranoia and being watched.
The Damnation of Theron Ware
Notes from the Underground (aka Notes from Underground)
The Stars My Destination
Philip K. Dick
Jorge Luis Borges
Everything he has every written, but especially,
The Garden of the Forking Paths (much of which is also published in Ficciones)
Gabrial Garcia Marquez
100 Years of Solitude
My friend Jason made the calim that this is the single greatest novel of the 20th century. I tried, but could not think of another single novel that could go in the ring with it.
Love in the Time of Cholera
Probably the best American writer of the second half of the 20th century. His ouvre as a whole I think can go up against Garcia Marquez as a whole.
Yes, Gravity's Rainbow.
Fables and Recollections
Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth
From Hell (with Eddie Campbell)
Tough, Tough Toys for Tough Tough Boys
The Sea Came in at Midnight
Everything The Divinci Code wants to be and much, much more.
David Foster Wallace
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
If you haven't read Paul Auster, the man is like unto a God. And he lives in my borough.
The Book of Illusions
Brett Easton Ellis
Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Circling the Drain
Live from Golgotha
More as I think of them.
Posted by Eric Rosenfield at April 16, 2004 11:06 PM