Skip to content

Reflections of a working writer and reader



JM Coetzee – Five Books for Critics

Nobel Prize winner, J.M. Coetzee, gave the National Book Critics Circle a list of five books he believes reviewers should have in their libraries.

The Iliad. – the standard for the narrative of action.

Aristotle, Poetics. – the terms for all later debate on the truth claims of history versus the truth claims of poetry.

Cervantes, Don Quixote. – source-book for all writers of fiction.

Rousseau, Confessions. – reminds us how hard it is to tell the truth.

Dostoevsky, Brothers Karamazov. – shows us what the novel of ideas can achieve.

One Response to “JM Coetzee – Five Books for Critics”

  1. john baker says:

    Doris Lessing’s five books were quite different:
    The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
    Anna Karenin, by Leo Tolstoy
    Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding
    Remembrance of Things Past, by Marcel Proust
    Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll