Recommended Summer Reading (or reading for any season): A-Z

(**this post is a long work in progress; book covers, blurbs, hyperlinks and revisions will appear--incrementally--over time**)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Jules Verne / illus. Alphonse de Neuville
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 2010: Odyssey Two (1982) 2061: Odyssey Three (1987) by Arthur C. Clarke
A Book of Common Prayer (1977) We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (2006) Play It As It Lays (1970) by Joan Didion 
A Clockwork Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess
A Death in the Family (1938) by James Agee
alphabet (1981) by Inger Christensen
Alphabetical Africa (1974) by Walter Abish
An American Tragedy (1925) by Theodore Dreiser
Apes of God, The (1930) by Wyndham Lewis
Ariel (1965) by Sylvia Plath
Arthur Rimbaud (1961) by Enid Starkie

A Season in Hell (1873) by Arthur Rimbaud
At the Mountains of Madness (1936) by H.P. Lovecraft
Ava (1993) by Carole Maso 
Black Light: A Novel (1966; rev. 1980) by Galway Kinnell
Book About Books, The: The Anatomy of Bibliomania (1930) by Holbrook Jackson
Book of Disquiet, The (written 1920s-30s; published 1982) by Fernando Pessoa
Bridge of San Luis Rey, The (1927) by Thornton Wilder
Cardboard Castles (1996) by Mark Axelrod
Cathedral (1983) by Raymond Carver
Château D'Argol ~ Julien Gracq (1938)
Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (1975)
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) by Thomas de Quincey
Crime and Punishment (1866) by Fyodor Dostoyevksy
Darconville's Cat (1981) by Alexander Theroux 
David Copperfield (1865) by Charles Dickens
Days Between Stations (1985)  Rubicon Beach (1986) These Dreams of You (2012) by Steve Erickson
Death of a Salesman (1949) by Arthur Miller
Desert Solitaire (1968) by Edward Abbey
Divine Comedy, The (12th century, was it?) by Dante Alighieri w/Pape illustrations
Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time (2010) by Joseph Frank 
Dog Soldiers (1974) by Robert Stone
Dune (1965) Children of Dune (1976) /
The Dune Encyclopedia (1984) by Frank Herbert
East of Eden (1952) by John Steinbeck
Entering Fire (1986) by Rikki Ducornet
Executioner's Song, The (1979) by Norman Mailer
Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, The (2012) ed. by Johnathan Lethem
Fathers and Sons (1862) by Ivan Turgenev
First Circle, The (1968) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
First Love and Other Sorrows (1958) by Harold Brodkey
Flight of the Goose: A Story of the Far North (2005) by Lesley Thomas
Flowers of Evil (1857)
~ Charles Baudelaire
Foucault's Pendulum (1988) by Umberto Eco
Foundation (1951) Foundation and Empire (1952) Second Foundation (1953) by Isaac Asimov
Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road (2002) by Neil Peart
Going Places (1969) by Leonard Michaels...if you see anything by him anywhere, buy it--or discreetly steal it if you have to
Gravity's Rainbow (1973) by Thomas Pynchon
Great Divorce, The (1945) The Screwtape Letters (1942) by C.S. Lewis
Hard Rain Falling (1966) by Don Carpenter...his fourth novel, but the first novel he published, which helps explain why it is so wise beyond its years for a "first novel".
Heart of Darkness (1899) by Joseph Conrad
Hopscotch (1963) by Julio Cortázar
House of Leaves (2000) by Mark Danielewski
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) by Dr. Seuss
Hunger's Brides (2005) by Paul Anderson
If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945) by Chester Himes
If on a winter's night a traveler (1979) by Italo Calvino
Infinite Jest (1996) by David Foster Wallace
Islandia (1941) by Austin Tappan Wright
Jesus' Son: Stories (1992) by Denis Johnson
Les Miserables (1862) by Victor Hugo
Less Than Zero (1985) by Bret Easton Ellis
Adrift on the Nile (1966), an Egyptian
Less Than Zero, only better, by Naguib Mahfouz
Place Last Seen (2000)
by Charlotte McGuinn Freeman
Lord of the Flies (1954) by William Golding
Lord of the Rings (1954) by J.R.R. Tolkien
Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, The (1974) by Heinrich Böll
Lost in the Funhouse (1968) by John Barth
Meaning of Culture, The (1929)/Porius (1951) by John Cowper Powys
Miss Lonelyhearts (1933) by Nathanael West
Miss Macintosh, My Darling (1965) by Marguerite Young 
Mulligan Stew (1979) by Gilbert Sorrentino
Night Shift (1978) 'Salem's Lot (1976) Skeleton Crew (1985) by Stephen King
Nine Stories (1953) by J.D. Salinger
Norton Anthology of American Literature: Volume 1 (1989) ed. by ???
Plowing the Dark (2000) by Richard Powers
Poems: Wadsworth Handbook and Anthology (1978) ed. by Charles Frederick Main 
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The (1916) by James Joyce
Safety of Objects: Stories, The (1990) by A.M. Homes 
Secret Teachings of All Ages, The (1928) by Manly P. Hall
Selected Poems of Langston Hughes (1959)
Selected Short Stories (1963) by Henry James; read it for "The Last of the Valerii" alone.
Selected Stories (2009) by Stefan Zweig

The Sheep Look Up (1973)
by John Brunner

Sheltering Sky, The (1949) by Paul Bowles
Shock Treatment (1990) by Karen Finley 
Siddhartha (1922) by Herman Hesse
Sixty Stories (1981) by Donald Barthelme
Smiles on Washington Square: A Love Story of Sorts (1985) The Voice in the Closet (1979) by Raymond Federman
Stories of John Cheever, The (1978)
Swann's Way (1922) by Marcel Proust
Suttree (1979) Blood Meridian (1985) Outer Dark (1968) by Cormac McCarthy
The Jungle (1905) by Upton Sinclair
The Painted Bird (1965) by Jerzy Kosinski, true story or not (I don't care if he made it up or not), what a wild horrific trip through childhood, on the run from the holocaust.
The Plague (1947) by Albert Camus
The Rebel Angels (1981) by Robertson Davies
The Recognitions (1955) by William Gaddis
The San Gabriels: The Mountain Country from Soledad Canyon to Lytle Creek (1991) by John W. Robinson, more than a local travel guide: history, anthropology, mining, water rights, politics, "trail resorts" from The Great Hiking Era (1898-1938), before the Great Flood of '38 came and wiped out 90% of the stream side resorts and trails. Beautiful coffee-table book.
The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake (1983), twisted but tender, hopeless yet optimistic renderings of southern, West Virginian, life
The Things They Carried (1990) by Tim O'Brien, a self indictment on personal cowardice and courage.
The Tunnel (1995) by William H. Gass, hellish man from the holocaust; heavenly prose, poetry, erudition, literary name-dropping and allusions, textual acid trips, confabulated historical fiction. 
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994-95) by Haruki Murakami, one of the best dreams I've ever had.
3 by Flannery O'Connor (1962)
Two Fields that Face and Mirror Each Other (2001) by Martin Nakell, by my second university advisor and English/creative writing professor, and those aren't the only reasons I included it!
War and Peace (1869) by Leo Tolstoy, it only has the entire cosmology of human existence in it.
We (1924) by Yevgeny Zamyatin, could we call this the most innovative, influential novel of the 20th century? Yes we could, Enrique. See, I told you.
Wittgenstein's Mistress (1988) by David Markson, the most dense short novel of the 20th century? Was she sane or mad? How many Ph.D.s does a person need to unpack its multiplicity of meanings?
Women and Men (1987) by Joseph McElroy, just breathe....and enjoy the ride, this rich, philosophical read that's 250,000 words longer than War and Peace
Yawning Heights, The (1976) by Aleksandr Zinovyev, I learned more about the latter days of the former-Soviet Union from this first novel--a satire--that got its author exiled from his country.


Séamus Duggan said...

Lots of favourites and selections from my wish list here. I'll be back for ideas. Must read Porius, which I've had for ages. It's been over ten years since I went through a Powys phase - (Owen Glendower; A Glastonbury Romance) and I should read more.
I also have Yawning Heights, Lost in the Funhouse and House of Leaves mouldering on my shelves.

Enrique Freeque said...

Hi Séamus,

Funny you'd mention Owen Glendower--I just got it myself, along with Weymouth Sands, via a $50 gift card for father's day. I think you might be the first person I've met who knows about The Yawning Heights, a novel which arguably helped topple the former-U.S.S.R. but then fell victim to the fact that no one is interested in it anymore because the U.S.S.R. isn't around anymore…Or might it be coming back? Who knows. Thx for dropping by.