Must Reads, Current 2018-06-04T10:25:42+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 (LIfe: A User’s Manual)
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