Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I got this idea from a Kevin Brockmeier reading--apparently he hands out his top 50 (which he explains includes few classics because he's being entirely honest) books to the audience. Which is just brilliant, really. How many times are authors asked to cite their influences?

Not that anyone's asking, but here are mine. This month, week, moment, anyway. But I will refrain from changing and adapting it for at least 24 hours.

Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes
Possession by A.S. Byatt
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary
Happy All the Time by Laurie Colwin
The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
Break It Down by Lydia Davis
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Anything by George Eliot, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda in particular
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer
China To Me by Emily Hahn
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom by Amy Hempel
Oyster by Janette Turner Hospital
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Obasan by Joy Kogawa
The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Time Will Darken It by William Maxwell
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Sisters by Mary S. Lovell
The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
Birds of America by Lorrie Moore
Hopeful Monsters by Nicholas Mosley
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Iris Murdoch (everything I’ve read so far, which isn’t much considering how prolific she was)
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New by Adrienne Rich
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
The Way It Is: Poems by William Stafford
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Waterland by Graham Swift
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Slaughter-house 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
Sleepwalking by Meg Wolitzer
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates


Virago said...

To use your own words, this list is a treasure trove. Thanks for posting. I wonder how long it took you to make the list....

nadir said...

alright misha your post prompted the list maker in me. this is in no order and i am sure 3 weeks from now it would be quite different as well....

my top 50 works of fiction

1. random acts of senseless violence - jack womack
2. his dark materials trilogy - phillip pullman
3. play it as it lays - joan didion
4. the great gatsby - f scott fizgerald
5. cathedral - raymond cahndler
6. post office - charles bukowski
7. breakfast of champions - kurt vonnegut
8. watchmen - alan moore & dave gibbons
9. portrait of a lady - henry james
10. snowcrash - neal stephenson
11. the historical illuminatus trilogy - robert anton wilson
12. the grapes of wrath - john stienbeck
13. underworld - dom dillio
14. fortress of solitude - johnathan latham
15. a home at the end of the world - micheal cunningham
16. sandman - neil gaiman & various
17. valis - phillip k dick
18. traplines - eden robinson
19. the wind-up bird chronicle - haruki murakami
20. invisible man - ralph ellison
21. the lord of the rings - j.r.r. tolken
22. middle kingdom - andrea barrett
23. moby dick - herman melville
24. to kill a mockingbird - harper lee
25. the invisibles - grant morrison
26. invisible monsters - chuck palahniuk
27. the perks of being a wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
28. youth in revolt - c.d. payne
29. give me liberty - frank miller & dave gibbons
30. skin - peter milligan
31. native son - richard wright
32. slapstick - kurt vonnegut
33. x-men: the dark phoenix saga - chris claremont & john byrne
34. jinx - brian michael bendis
35. the amazing adventures of kavalier and clay - michael c habon
36. v for vendetta - alan moore & david loyd
37. the beach - alex garland
38. the black cauldron - lloyd alexander
39. the house on mango street - sandra cisneros
40. the velveteen rabbit - margery williams
41. maus - art spiegelman
42. amnesiascope - steve erickson
43. moonshadow - j.m. dematteis
44.. the dark knight returns - frank miller & klaus janson
45. calvin and hobbes - bill waterson
46. skinny legs and all - tom robbins
47. the castle - franz kafka
48. neromancer - william gibson
49. the stranger - albert camus
50. blankets - craig thompson

Jessica said...

Great list and there are a few books on there that I haven't read. I'll be sure to look for them at the library. At the moment, my favourite book is called "Fugitive Pieces" by Anne Michaels. I highly recommend it...

mishareads said...

I loved "Fugitive Pieces" too! Her poetry is also quite good.

Alicia P. said...

Hi Meesh,
Just finished Mariana by Monica oh damn I forgot her last name. Pubbed by Persephone in London. Totally thought of you. I loved it!
XO, a

NonAnon said...

Oh, Laurie Colwin! What a pleasure to find her on someone's top 50 list. She wrote good foodie nonfiction too but in this case her fiction's the winner, in my opinion. Nice list. Fun to read and I can only imagine fun to make?

mishareads said...

To nonanon,

Laurie Colwin is the best! I still haven't read "Home Cooking" but I hear it's wonderful.
I recommend her books a lot because they are fun and enjoyable while being really smart.