125 Essential Literary Works (that I’ve read so far)

This list was published in its original form as the 100 Most Personally Influential Books on my Book Jones Review blog back in 2009. It is, as a matter of course, limited to books I have read. I have updated it here as 125 Essential Literary Works (that I’ve read so far) for 2014. Below is the complete list. I will subsequently post partial lists to include my thoughts, comments, links, etc… on each book. Do you agree, disagree? What would you add or delete from the list. Feel free to comment. Enjoy.

Fiction

Novels:

  1.  1984 – George Orwell
  2.  The Cider House Rules – John Irving
  3.  The Grapes Of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  4.  The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemmingway
  5.  Winesburg, Ohio – Sherwood Anderson
  6.  Narcissus and Goldmund – Hermann Hesse
  7.  Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  8.  Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov
  9.  A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  10. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  11. Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  12. The Lord Of The Flies – William Golding
  13. Geek Love – Katherine Dunn
  14. World’s End – T. Corraghessan Boyle
  15. Libra – Don DeLillo
  16. Light In August – William Faulkner
  17. The Chronicles of Prydain – Lloyd Alexander
  18. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
  19. The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
  20. The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  21. The Fixer – Bernard Malamud
  22. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
  23. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
  24. Swann’s Way – Marcel Proust
  25. One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovitch – Aleksandr Solzenitsyn
  26. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  27. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  28. Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  29. The World According to Garp – John Irving
  30. Ironweed – William Kennedy
  31. Ulysses – James Joyce
  32. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  33. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  34. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
  35. To The Lighthouse – Virginia Wolffe
  36. Darkness At Noon  – Arthur Koestler
  37. Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories – Ryünosuke Akutagawa
  38. The Wrecker – Robert Louis Stevenson
  39. The Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  40. Carmilla – Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  41. The Jungle Books  – Rudyard Kipling
  42. The War at the End of the World  – Mario Vargas Llosa
  43. The Elementary Particles  – Michel Houellebecq
  44. My Antonia  – Willa Cather
  45. Bring Up The Bodies  – Hilary Mantel
  46. Born In Exile – George Gissing
  47. Norwood  – Charles Portis
  48. Titus Groan  – Mervyn Peake
  49. Loving  – Henry Green
  50. The Patrick Melrose Novels  – Edward St Aubyn
  51. A Song of Ice and Fire #1-5: A Game of Thrones/A Clash of Kings/A Storm of Swords/A Feast for Crows/A Dance With Dragons – George R.R. Matin

Short Stories:

  1. Hills Like White Elephants – Ernest Hemmingway
  2. The Cask of Amontillado – Edgar Allan Poe
  3. A Perfect Day For Bananafish – J. D. Salinger
  4. The Swimmer – John Cheever
  5. The Things They Carried – Tim O’ Brien
  6. A Country Doctor – Franz Kafka
  7. A Rose For Emily – William Faulkner
  8. The Lottery – Shirley Jackson
  9. If The River Was Whiskey – T. Corraghessan Boyle
  10. Adams – George Saunders
  11. Chicxulub – T. Corraghessan Boyle
  12. A Painful Case – James Joyce
  13. People Like That Are The Only People Here – Lorrie Moore
  14. Virga Vay and Allan Cedar – Sinclair Lewis
  15. Flight – John Steinbeck
  16. Low Men In Yellow Coats – Stephen King
  17. A Bottle Of Milk For Mother – Nelson Algren
  18. Youth – Joseph Conrad
  19. The Shadow over Innsmouth – H. P. Lovecraft
  20. Three Stories: Chance, Soon, Silence – Alice Munro
  21. Fat – Raymond Carver
  22. The Tell-Tale Heart – Edgar Allan Poe
  23. The Ransom of Red Chief – O’Henry
  24. We Didn’t – Stuart Dybek
  25. The Canterville Ghost – Oscar Wilde
  26. The Dead  – James Joyce
  27. The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber  – Ernest Hemmingway
  28. The Masque of the Red Death – Edgar Allan Poe

Drama:

  1. Death Of A Salesman – Arthur Miller
  2. The Odd Couple – Neil Simon
  3. Macbeth – William Shakespeare
  4. Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare
  5. The Crucible – Arthur Miller
  6. The Drunkard – Eugene O’Neill
  7. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
  8. The Sandbox – Edward Albee
  9. An Enemy Of The People – Henrik Ibsen
  10. King Lear – William Shakespeare

Poetry:

  1. Jabberwocky – Lewis Carroll
  2. The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe
  3. The Red Wheelbarrow – William Carlos Williams
  4. Beowulf – Anonymous
  5. The Second Coming – W. B. Yeats
  6. My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun – William Shakespeare
  7. If – Rudyard Kipling
  8. Richard Cory – Edward Arlington Robinson
  9. The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost
  10. Kublai Khan – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  11. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock  – T.S. Eliot

Non-Fiction

Memoir:

  1. Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
  2. Black Boy – Richard Wright
  3. On Writing – Stephen King
  4. Writing Down The Bones – Nathalie Goldberg
  5. Out Of Africa – Isak Dinesen
  6. The Drinking Life – Pete Hamill
  7. Just Kids  – Patti Smith
  8. Twelve Years a Slave  –  Solomon Northup

True Crime:

  1. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  2. A Civil Action – Jonathan Harr

History:

  1. Schindler’s List – Thomas Kennealy
  2. The Civil War – Shelby Foote
  3. The Gangs of New York – Herbert Asbury

Social Sciences:

  1. The World Is Flat – Thomas L. Friedman
  2. The God Delusion – Richard Hawkins

Biography/Autobiography

  1. Einstein – Walter Issacson
  2. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – Laura Hildebrand
  3. Passage of Power  – Robert A. Caro

Travel/Adventure

  1. Blue Highways – William Least Heat-Moon
  2. The Heart of the Sea – Nathaniel Philbrick

Reference:

  1. The Great Books – David Denby
  2. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 3rd Ed.
  3. Roget’s Thesaurus
  4. The Book of Lists – David Wallechinsky and Amy Wallace
  5. 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die  – Peter Boxall
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125 Essential Literary Works (that I’ve read so far)

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