A Very Eclectic (and Personal) Reading List

Published on: June 2nd, 2013

I make a habit of keeping track of what I read for literary (and not-so literary) pleasure.  It started as a way to share favorites with students and friends when memory fails as it often does. (I can remember what I read five years ago, but don’t ask me what I read last month.) Memory not withstanding, this list—which is emphatically not canonical—has over time become an archive of writers I admire, and not incidentally, places and countries I’m drawn to, have lived in and can’t get back to fast enough, or have never laid eyes on in the first place. It will be obvious to anyone who cares to read on that, in fact, I’m not as well traveled a reader as I’d like to be. There is an embarrassing paucity of titles from the southern hemisphere, to name just one region. I am clearly a global provincial—something I plan to remedy by reading even more.
[Susan Yelavich]

Italo Svevo (Confessions of Zeno)
Carlo Levi (Christ Stopped at Eboli)
Mary Taylor Simeti (Persephone’s Island)
Simonetta Agnello Hornby (The Almond Picker)
Leonardo Sciascia (The Owl)
Cesare Pavese (The Moon and the Bonfires)
Alessandra Lavagnino (The Librarians of Alexandria: A Tale of Two Sisters)
Giuseppe di Lampedusa (The Leopard)
Alessandro Piperno (The Worst Intentions)
Alberto Moravia (Two Women)
Elena Ferrante (The Days of Abandonment)
Alessandro Baricco (The City)
Lia Levi (The Jewish Husband)
Carlo Emilio Gadda (That Awful Mess on Via Merulana)
Ottavio Cappellani (Sicilian Tragedee)
Italo Calvino (The Baron in the Trees, Invisible Cities, The Road to San Giovanni, etc.)
Roberto Calasso (The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony)
Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana)
Iris Origo (War in Val D’Orcia)
Elio Vittorini (Conversations in Sicily, foreword by Ernest Hemingway)
Stefano Benni (Timeskipper)

Philip Roth (American Pastoral, The Human Stain)
Robert Coover (Pinocchio in Venice)
Eudora Welty (Delta Wedding)
Dawn Powell (My Home is Far Away)
Edith Wharton (The Age of Innocence)
Theodore Dreiser (Sister Carrie)
Willa Cather (My Antonia)
Myla Goldberg (Bee Season)
Annie Proulx (The Shipping News, Accordion Crimes)
James Salter (Light Years)
Arthur Phillips (Prague)
Paul Bowles (The Sheltering Sky)
Djuna Barnes (Nightwood)
Ann Patchett (Bel Canto)
T. Coraghessan Boyle (World’s End)
Raymond Carver (Cathedral)
Tim O’Brien (The Things They Carried)
Shirley Hazzard (The Transit of Venus) (b. Australia)
Richard Ford (Independence Day)
Gary Shteyngart (Absurdistan, Super Sad True Love Story)
Allen Kurzweil (A Case of Curiosities)
Don de Lillo (Libra, The Names, etc.)
Nicholson Baker (The Mezzanine, You & I)
Norman Rush (Mating)
James Purdy (Malcolm)
Bruce Sterling and William Gibson (The Difference Engine)
Joyce Carol Oates (Them)
Thomas Pynchon (V.)
Walker Percy (The Moviegoer)
William Faulkner (Light in August)
Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses)
Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay)
Louis Begley (Wartime Lies)
William Gaddis (Carpenter’s Gothic)
Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex)
Paul Theroux (Hotel Honolulu)
Walter Abish (How German Is It)
Ursula Hegi (Stones from the River)
Darryl Pinckney (High Cotton)
Susan Sontag (The Volcano Lover, non-fiction: On Photography)
Richard Sennett (The Craftsman) non-fiction
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem) non-fiction
Sherry Turkle, ed. (Evocative Objects: Things We Think With) non-fiction
Dave Hickey (Air Guitar) non-fiction
Mary McCarthy (The Stones of Florence, Venice Observed, Correspondence with Hannah Arendt) non-fiction
Luc Sante, (Kill All Your Darlings) non-fiction
R.W.B. Lewis (Dante, A Life) non-fiction

William Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park)
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights)
George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss)
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the d’Urbervilles)
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
Graham Greene (The Heart of the Matter)
Martin Amis (The Rachel Papers, London Fields, The Information)
Julian Barnes (England, England)
John le Carré (A Small Town in Germany, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold)
Salman Rushdie (The Enchantress of Florence)
A. S. Byatt (Possession)
William Boyd (Armadillo, A Good Man in Africa)
Henry James (The Ambassadors)
Zadie Smith (White Teeth)
John Banville (The Untouchable)
Monica Ali (Brick Lane)
Ian McEwan (The Cement Garden, Amsterdam, Atonement)
Pat Barker (Regeneration Trilogy)
Bruce Chatwin (Utz)
Rose Tremain (Music and Silence)
Tobias Jones (The Dark Heart of Italy) non-fiction
Rebecca West (Black Lamb Grey Falcon) non-fiction
Olivia Manning: Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy

Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake)
Catherine Bush (Minus Time)

James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
Elizabeth Bowen (The Death of the Heart)
John Banville (The Untouchable)

Peter Handke (The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick)

Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)

José Saramago (The History of the Siege of Lisbon, The Cave, Death Interrupted, Baltasar and Blimunda, etc.)

Orhan Pamuk (My Name is Red, Snow, Other Colors, etc.)

Slobodan Novak (Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh)

Danilo Kiš (Garden, Ashes; A Tomb for Boris Davidovich)
Zoran Zivkovic (Hidden Camera)
Ivo Andric (Bridge on the Drina; Bosnian Chronicle)

Middle Eastern:
Abdelrahman Munif (Cities of Salt)
Kurban Said (Ali and Nino) ideally to be read with Tom Reiss’s The Orientalist, a biography of the author Kurban Said, a.k.a. Essad Bey.

Marcel Proust (Remembrance of Things Past)
Stendhal (The Charterhouse of Parma, The Red and the Black)
Gustav Flaubert (Madame Bovary, Dictionary of Received Ideas)
Marguerite Duras (The Lover) Marguerite Yourcenar (The Memoirs of Hadrian)

Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)

Ivan Klima (Waiting for the Darkness, Waiting for the Light)
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)

Vladimir Nabokov (Ada, Mary, Pnin, Lolita, Speak Memory)
Vladimir Voinovich (Fur Hat)
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace, Anna Karenina)

Thomas Mann (The Magic Mountain)
W. G. Sebald (Austerlitz) B
ernhard Schlink (The Reader)

Kobo Abé (The Box Man)

(Authors listed according to the countries where books are set.)

Michael Dibdin
Donna Leon
Andrea Camilleri
Magdalen Nabb
Conor Fitzpatrik

Barbara Nadel

Benjamin Black, aka John Banville
Tana French

Rebecca Pawel

Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
Kjell Eriksson
Stieg Larsson

Arnaldur Indriðason

Georges Simenon

Europe and Central Europe: 
Alan Furst

Jo Nesbø

Marek Krajewski

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