Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Alberto Manguel's Non-Canonical List of Favorite Books

When Ron and I are looking for something to read, we're going to start using this list, because we've read fewer of the books on it than on any other list we've ever seen.

Aeschylus, The Orestaeia
Akhmatova, Anna, The Complete Poems
Albee Edward, A Delicate Balance
Andalusian Poems
Arciniegas, German, Biography of the Caribbean
Aries, Philippe, The Hour of Our Death
Asimov, Isaac, I, Robot
Atwood, Margaret, The Handmaid's Tale
Aubrey, John, Brief Lives
Auden, W.H., Collected Poems
Augustine, The Confessions
Barker, Pat, The Regeneration Trilogy
Baum, L. Frank, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Beckett, Samuel, Happy Days
Beckford, William, Vathek
Biedma, Jaime Gil de, Longing: Selected Poems
Bioy Casares, Adolfo, The Dream of Heroes
Blake, Nicholas, The Beast Must Die
Blake, William, The Complete Poems
Bonnefoy, Yves, New and Selected Poems
Borges, Jorge Luis, Fictions
Bouvier, Nicholas, The Scorpion-Fish
Bradbury,Ray, The Martian Chronicles
Breton, Andre, Nadja
Brown, Sir Thomas, Urn Burial
Buchan, James, Frozen Desire: The History of Money
Bulgakov, Mikhail, The Master and Margarita
Bunyan, John, Pilgrim's Progress
Burgess, Anthony, A Clockwork Orange
Burroughs, William, Naked Lunch
Byron, George Gordon, Don Juan
Byron, Robert, The Road to Oxiana
Calasso, Roberto, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony
Calvino, Italo, If on a Winter's Night a Traveller
Camus, Albert, The Outsider
Carpentier, Alejo, Kingdom of This World
Carr, J.L. A Month in the Country
Carroll, Lewis, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Carson, Anne, The Beauty of the Husband
Cary, Joyce, The Horse's Mouth
Catullus, The Complete Poems
Celan, Paul, Selected Poems and Prose
Celine, Louis Ferdinand, Voyage to the End of the Night
Cercas, Javier, Soldiers of Salamis
Cernuda, Luis, Selected Poems
Cervantes, Miguel de, Don Quixote
Chateaubriand, Francois Rene de, Memoirs from Beyond the Grave
Chesterton, G.K., The Man Who Was Thursday
Collodi, Carlo, The Adventures of Pinocchio
Conrad, Joseph, Victory
Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
Denevi, Marco, Rose at Ten
Dickens, Charles, Our Mutual Friend
Dickson Carr, John, The Black Spectacles
Diderot, Denis, Jacques the Fatalist and His Master
Dinesen, Isak, Seven Gothic Tales
Doblin, Alfred, Berlin Alexanderplatz
Donne, John, The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, The Hound of the Baskervilles
Eliot, T.S., Four Quartets
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, Essays
Fanon, Franz, The Wretched of the Earth
Faulkner, William, The Sound and the Fury
Findley, Timothy, The Wars
Fitzgerald, Penelope, The Blue Flower
Flaubert, Gustav, Bouvard and Pecuchet
Ford, Richard, Wildlife
Forster, E.M. A Passage to India
Fuentes Carlos, The Death of Artemio Cruz
Gallant, Mavis, From the Fifteenth District
Garcia Lorca, Federico, Poet in New York and The House of Bernarda Alba
Garner, Alan, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
Genet, Jean, Our Lady of the Flowers
Gibbon, Edward, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Gibson, William, Neuromancer
Goethe, J.W. von, Faust
Golding, William, Lord of the Flies
Gombrowicz, Witold, Ferdydurke
Gosse, Edmund, Father and Son
Grahame, Kenneth, The Wind in the Willows
Greene, Graham, The Power and the Glory
Grimm, Wilhelm and Jakob, Household Tales
Hawkes, John, Second Skin
Hedayat, Sadegh, The Blind Owl
Heine, Heinrich, Germany, A Fairy Tale
Hemingway, Ernest, The Old Man and the Sea
Hernandez, Miguel, Selected Poems
Hersey, John Hiroshima
Hsueh-Chin, Tsao, Dream of the Red Chamber
Huggan, Isabel, The Elizabeth Stories
Hughes, Robert, A High Wind in Jamaica
Ibn, Hazm, The Ring of the Dove
James, Henry, The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James, Ulysses
Kadare, Ismail, The File on H.
Kafka, Franz, Diaries and the Trial
Kawabata, Yunishiro, the House of Sleeping Beauties
Kinglake, A.W., Eothen
Kipling, Rudyard, Kim
Labe, Louise, Complete Poetry and Prose
Lagerkvist, Par, The Dwarf
Lampedusa, Giuseppe di, The Leopard
Larkin, Phillip, Collected Poems
Las Casas, Bartolome de, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies
Lawrence, D.H., Women in Love
Lazarillo of Tormes
Le Carre, John, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold
Le Guin, Ursula K., The Word for World is Forest
Lear, Edward, The Complete Nonsense Book
Lem, Stanislaw, Solaris
Lessing, Doris, Briefing for a Descent into Hell
Levi, Primo, The Periodic Table
Lopez, Barry, Arctic Dreams
Maalouf, Amin, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
Machado de Assis, J.M., Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas
Magris, Claudio, The Danube
Malouf, David, An Imaginary Life
Mann, Thomas, The Magic Mountain
Marai, Sandor, Embers
Matthiessen, Peter, The Snow Leopard
Maugham, Somerset, Cakes and Ale
McEwan, Ian, Enduring Love
Melville, Herman, Moby-Dick
Menocal, Maria Rosa, The Ornament of the World
Miles, Rosalind, The Women's History of the World
Mishima, Yukio, The Sea of Fertility
Mistry, Rohinton, A Fine Balance
Montaigne, Michel de, The Essays
Moore, Brian, Cold Heaven
Morris, Jan, Venice
Munro, Alice, The Progress of Love
Nabokov, Vladimir, Pale Fire
Nooteboom, Cees, In the Mountains of the Netherlands
Novalis, Fragments
Nuwas, Abu, Diwan al gazal: Love Poems
O'Brien, Flann, The Third Policeman
O'Connor, Flannery, A Good Man Is Hard to Find
Orwell, George, 1984 and Down and Out in Paris and London
Outram, Richard, Selected Poems 1960-1980
Ovid, Metamorphosis
Oz, Amos, A Tale of Love and Darkness
Ozick, Cynthia, The Messiah of Stockholm
Pavese, Cesare, Disaffection: Complete Poems
Pessoa, Fernando, The Book of Disquiet
Petronius, Satyricon
Pirenne, Henri, Medieval Cities
Plato, Timaeus
Pliny the Younger, Letters
Plutarch, Parallel Lives
Pogue Harrison, Richard, The Dominion of the Dead
Pound Ezra, The Cantos
Powys, T.F. Mr. Weston's Good Wine
Prescott, William H., History of the Conquest of Mexico and Peru
Proust, Marcel, In Search of Lost Time
Purdy, James, The Nephew
Quevedo, Francisco de, Selected Poetry
Racine, Jean, Phedre
Rankin, Nicholas, Dead Man's Chest
Read, Herbert, The Green Child
Rendell, Ruth, A Judgement in Stone
Richler, Mordecai, Barney's Version
Rilke, Rainer Maria, The Selected Poetry of Rainier Maria Rilke
Rimbaud, Arthur, Complete Works
Rolfe, Frederick, Hadrian the Seventh
Roth, Joseph, The Radetzky March
Rulfo, Juan, Pedro Paramo
Saki, Short Stories
Salinger, J.D., The Catcher in the Rye
Saroyan, William, The Human Comedy
Schama, Simon, Citizens
Schulz, Bruno, Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass
Schwob, Marcel, Imaginary Lives
Sebald, W.G. Austerlitz
Shakespeare, William, King Lear
Shelley, Mary, Frankenstein
Simenon, Georges, The Wedding of Monsieur Hire
Skvorecky, Josef, The Engineer of Human Souls
Sophocles, Ajax and Antigone
Spark, Muriel, Memento Mori
St. John of the Cross, Collected Works
Steinbeck, John, The Grapes of Wrath
Steiner, George, After Babel
Stevenson, Robert Louis, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Stone, I.F., The Trial of Socrates
Stoppard, Tom, The Invention of Love
Sturgeon, Theodore, More Than Human
Svevo, Italo, The Conscience of Zeno
Szabo, Magda, Katarina Street
Tabucchi, Antonio, Declares Pereira
Thomas, Dylan, The Poems
Thoreau, Henry David, Walden
The Thousand and One Nights
Toibin, Colm, The Master
Transtromer, Tomas, New Collected Poems
Trevor, William, Collected Stories
Tuchman, Barbara, A Distant Mirror
Tunstrom, Goran, The Christmas Oratorio
Tutuola, Amos, The Palm-Wine Drinkard
Twain, Mark, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Vargas Llosa, Mario, The Time of the Hero
Verlaine, Paul, One Hundred and One Poems
Verne, Jules, Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Warner, Marina, Alone of All Her Sex
Wells, H.G., The Island of Dr. Moreau
White, Patrick, Voss
Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass
Wilbur, Richard, Collected Poems
Wilde, Oscar, The Happy Prince and Other Stories and The Importance of Being Earnest
Williams, Tennessee, Suddenly, Last Summer
Yourcenar, Marguerite, Memoirs of Hadrian
Zola, Emile, L'Assomoir

You'll notice that Manguel's favorites are not always the best or most famous work by each author listed. For instance, while I agree that Don Juan is probably the best thing Byron ever wrote, it's not a widely accepted view, and Le Guin's The Word for World is Forest--although it won the Hugo--is not as well-known as her Earthsea Trilogy. Also, I can't imagine there are very many people who prefer Williams' Suddenly Last Summer to A Streetcar Named Desire.

13 comments:

Nymeth said...

Hooray - thank you so much for sharing!

FreshHell said...

I've read a handful of these but I can see how it would give you something to work towards.

Avid Reader said...

This looks like a fantastic list. I'm going to have to add it to my TBR.

Ron Griggs said...

I think that William Gibson's classic sci-fi novel is "Neuromancer" instead of "Necromancer". In the book, people connect to the net with direct brain/nervous system connections.

Trapunto said...

I am reading this book too. I haven't got to the list yet, but from the books he's mentioned so far, I think his tastes must reflect his international background.

I, Robot??

Science Fiction is very personal. Asimov is nails on a chalkboard, for me.

Jeanne said...

I'm turning 50 tomorrow and can no longer deny that after half a century of almost perfect eyesight, I can't tell the difference in small print between a "u" and a "c" so I confused William Gibson's Neuromancer (the first cyberpunk novel, which can be said to have pre-dated and predicted the internet) with Peter Teuthold's Necromancer, an 18th-century Gothic novel. I've read the former, from Manguel's list. I plan to read the latter sometime soon.

Trapunto, I'm mulling over your assertion that SF is very personal. Why would that be true? Hmm.

Jodie said...

Think I've read 8 on that list and want to read oh 150. So many books! I can't say the Greene isn't the best of his work because I haven't read that yet, but...Brighton Rock is amazing so I suspect it might not be the best.

readersguide said...

This does look like a good list. And Happy Birthday!

Trapunto said...

As to science fiction, it's territory is the exotic and theoretical. The borders where it crosses over from those into silliness and strained premises are different for different people.

Also a lot of sci-fi fans are willing to overlook pretty bad writing in a writer with good ideas.

Jeanne said...

Jodie, The Power and the Glory is also my favorite Graham Greene.

Trapunto, true; I'm willing to overlook bad writing in SF if the ideas are good.

Ron Griggs said...

I have to agree with Trapunto that most of Asimov's writing is very dated and most of the charm remaining is nostalgic for me.

Some "Golden Age" sci-fi still has appeal to me--Fritz Leiber, C. L. Moore, Ray Bradbury--but like just about any genre fiction, most writers don't transcend their time. (File under Why I can't read Agatha Christie any more...)

Care said...

It thrills me to say that I've read five of these. I sort of expected the count to be zero. And many are on my wishlist. How many of these are also on the Must-Read-Before-You-Die list, I wonder.
Happy Belated Birthday Jeanne!

Vincent said...

I was reading the Manguel list on his site (I'm a convinced Manguel fanatic) and spotted the typo of Necromancer for Neuromancer. Glad it's already been noticed - And while we're about it how about "Newromancer", "Netromancer", "Negromancer", "Nextromancer" ....
But Manguel is a master. His essays enlighten and make you laugh and weep at the same time