Your Favorite Authors’ Favorite Books of All Time


One of the most popular interview questions for writers is “what are you reading right now,” or for the more adventurous, “what are your own favorite books of all time?” The idea is, of course, twofold — that you can get a good suggestion and peek into that writer’s mind at the same time. We recently came across a list of David Foster Wallace’s favorite books, and aside from some very sensical choices (obviously he’d love The Screwtape Letters), we were kind of surprised — there was much more suspense and horror fiction than we would have expected from the giant of post-modernism. Curious, we decided to investigate the favorite books of some of our other favorite authors, to get a little reading-list inspiration and possible insight into their own internal workings. Predictable or not-so predictable, their choices are all pretty interesting — and we have now reading material for a month. Click through to get some reading advice from the best sources around, and let us know whose list most inspires you (or most matches your own) in the comments.

David Foster Wallace

The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis The Stand, Stephen King Red Dragon, Thomas Harris The Thin Red Line, James Jones Fear of Flying, Erica Jong The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein Fuzz, Ed McBain Alligator, Shelley Katz The Sum of All Fears, Tom Clancy

[via Christian Science Monitor ]

Jennifer Egan

All time favorites: The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison Middlemarch, George Elliot David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

More recent favorites: Underworld, Don DeLillo A Flag for Sunrise, Robert Stone The Transit of Venus, Shirley Hazzard Birds of America, Lorrie Moore

[via WNYC]

Zadie Smith

Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov High Windows, Philip Larkin Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston Middlemarch, George Eliot

[via Oprah Magazine ]

Gary Shteyngart

Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc Native Speaker, Chang-rae Lee An Obedient Father, Akhil Sharma Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov Herzog, Saul Bellow Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald Barney’s Version, Mordecai Richler Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev

[via Barnes & Noble]

Karen Russell

The Waves, Virginia Woolf Geek Love, Katherine Dunn The Complete Stories, Flannery O’Connor Rule of the Bone, Russell Banks The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury

[via Bomblog and Barnes & Noble Review]

Jeffrey Eugenides

The Aeneid, Virgil Varieties of Religious Experience, William James Middlemarch, George Eliot Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov Herzog, Saul Bellow Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth The Boys of my Youth, JoAnne Beard

[via Barnes & Noble]

Jonathan Franzen

Continental Drift, Russell Banks Seize the Day, Saul Bellow The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles The Chaneysville Incident, David Bradley Ms. Hempel Chronicles, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell White Noise, Don DeLillo The End of Vandalism, Tom Drury The Hamlet, William Faulkner Desperate Characters, Paula Fox Something Happened, Joseph Heller Jesus’ Son and Angels, Denis Johnson Corregidora, Gayl Jones Independent People, Halldór Laxness The Assistant: A Novel, Bernard Malamud A Gate at the Stairs, Lorrie Moore Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison The Beggar Maid, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage and Runaway by Alice Munro A Personal Matter, Kenzaburō Ōe Eustace Chisholm and the Works, James Purdy Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie In Persuasion Nation, George Saunders Enemies: A Love Story and The Family Moskat, Isaac Bashevis Singer The Greenlanders, The Age of Grief, and Ordinary Love & Good Will, Jane Smiley Endless Love, Scott Spencer The Man Who Loved Children, Christina Stead Taking Care, Joy Williams

[via Oprah’s Book Club]

Haruki Murakami

Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Castle, Franz Kafka

[via the Vintage/Anchor Tumblr]

David Mitchell

One Man’s Justice, Akira Yoshimura A Tomb for Boris Davidovich, Danilo Kis Miracle Fair, Wislawa Szymborska The Fish Can Sing, Halldór Laxness Under the Skin, Michel Faber The World Without Us, Alan Weisman

[via The Week]

Vendela Vida

The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov Clarissa, Samuel Richardson Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami A Heart So White, Javier Marías

[via The Top Ten ]