Must Reads, Current 2016-11-21T11:01:31+00:00

In the past, pre-BIP, I always made a list of Must Reads for each year to be sure that I would read those books that I otherwise found a reason to avoid. Either they had the air of a musty classic or I knew they were the sort of book that demands more from a reader.

Flipping pagesI would resolve to read a certain number of those books annually and it ensured an influx of somewhat more challenging reads.

Now, with so many inspiring events and community reading projects, there is no shortage of such books in the stacks of current reading.

So the idea of my annual Must Reads is no longer necessary in the same way, and I have found myself veering from these lists and making different kinds of lists.

Nonetheless, there are specific titles that I don’t want to lose track of, so I’m going to continue to list them, but lift the pressure of having to read a certain number yearly.

I’ve also returned to the early lists and included the titles that remained on the lists of possibilities for those years (dating back to 1999) after I’d elected to read others on the list instead. But I have also deleted the individual works by authors who have been listed as my Must-Read-Everything authors or included in another project.

If I’m ever stuck for “the next book”, I’ll have a look at this list and maybe then I’ll have a look at one of these books instead.

Recent Additions:
*something by Richard Brautigan
*something by Georges Perec
*Maryse Condé’s I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem
*Julio Cortazàr’s Hopscotch 
*Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ The Yearling
*David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest
*Louise Erdrich’s Tracks
*Ernesto Quinoñez’s Bodega Dreams
*Jessamyn West’s The Friendly Persuasion
*Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast
*W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz
*John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany
*Linda Hogan’s Solar Storms

* Robert Bolaño’s 2666
* David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas
* something by Samuel R. Delaney
* China Miéville’s King Rat
* something by Ngùgi wa Thiong’o
✔something by Chinua Achebe
✔ something by Sawako Ariyoshi
* Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls
✔Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place
✔Anchee Min’s Red Azalea
* Kathleen Winsor’s Forever Amber
✔ Louise Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner
✔ Zadie Smith’s On Beauty
✔Alan Paton’s Too Late the Phalarope
* Honoré de Balzac’s Cousin Bette
Lewis Hyde’s The Gift
* Robert Bringhurst’s A Story as Sharp as a Knife
✔ Sheila Burnford’s Incredible Journey
* Bruno Schulz’ The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories
* Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being
* Elizabeth Arthur’s Antarctic Navigation
* Katherine Porter’s Ship of Fools
* Rudyard Kipling’s Kim
✔Cordelia Strube’s The Barking Dog
✔ Wangerin’s The Book of the Dun Cow
* Keri Hulme’s The Bone People
* Kiana Davenport’s Shark Dialogues
* Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth
* Wendell Berry’s A Place on Earth
* A.S. Byatt’s The Biographer’s Tale
* Pauline Melville’s The Ventriloquist’s Tale
* Olive Schreiner’s Story of an African Farm
* Rosina Lippi’s Homestead
* Loida Maritza Pérez’s Geographies of Home
✔Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth
* George Gissing’s The Odd Women
* Jane Rogers’ Mr. Wroe’s Virgins
* Terry Griggs’ Rogue’s Wedding
* Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex
* Dawn Powell’s Angels on Toast
✔A. S. Byatt’s Angels and Insects
* Charles Palliser’s The Quincunx
* Martha Cooley’s The Archivist
✔* Lesley Marmon Silko’s Gardens in the Dunes
✔* Marge Piercy’s Gone to Soldiers
✔ Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale
* Colette’s Cheri and Last of Cheri
* Toni Cade Bambera’s Gorilla My Love