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Reflections of a working writer and reader



The Top Ten

After that mammoth list from yesterday, I thought you’d appreciate something smaller. This is culled from The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books Edited by J. Peder Zane. His Top 10 list is derived from the top 10 lists of “125 of the world’s most celebrated writers”* combined:

    1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    2. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
    3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
    4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
    5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    6. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
    7. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
    8. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
    9. The Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
    10. Middlemarch by George Eliot

*The above list was compiled from the combined input of the following writers:

Lee K. Abbott, Sherman Alexie, Kate Atkinson, Paul Auster, Melissa Bank, Russell Banks, John Banville, Julian Barnes, Andrea Barret, Madison Smartt Bell, Chris Bohjalian, T.C. Boyle, Judy Budnitz, James Lee Burke, Peter Cameron, Bebe Moore Campbell, Ethan Canin, Philip Caputo, Peter Carey, Michael Chabon, Fred Chappell, Sandra Cisneros, Pearl Cleage, Michael Connelly, Douglas Coupland, Jim Crace, Stanley Crawford, Michael Cunningham, Edwidge Danticat, Robb Forman Dew, Chitra Divakaruni, Emma Donoghue, Margaret Drabble, David Anthony Durham, Clyde Edgerton, Percival Everett, Karen Joy Fowler, Jonathan Franzen, Paula Fox, Alan Furst, Mary Gaitskill, G.D. Gearino, Denise Gess, Gail Godwin, Arthur Golden, Mary Gordon, Michael Griffith, Allan Gurganus, Barry Hannah, Donald Harington, Jim Harrison, Kathryn Harrison, Kent Haruf, Adam Haslett, Elizabeth Hay, Carl Hiaasen, Alice Hoffman, A.M. Homes, Andrew Hudgins, John Irving, Ha Jin, Heidi Julavits, Ken Kalfus, Thomas Keneally, A.L. Kennedy, Sue Monk Kidd, Haven Kimmel, Stephen King, Walter Kirn, Wally Lamb, David Leavitt, Jonathan Lethem, Margot Livesey, David Lodge, Norman Mailer, Thomas Mallon, Ben Marcus, Valerie Martin, Bobbie Ann Mason, Dennis McFarland, Patrick McGrath, Erin McGraw, David Means, Claire Messud, Lydia Millet, Susan Minot, David Mitchell, Lorrie Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, Stewart O’Nan, Robert B. Parker, Ann Patchett, Iain Pears, George Pelecanos, Tom Perrotta, Arthur Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Richard Powers, Reynolds Price, Francine Prose, Annie Proulx, Jonathan Raban, Ian Rankin, Roxana Robinson, Louis D. Rubin Jr., James Salter, George Saunders, Cathleen Schine, Jim Shepard, Anita Shreve, Alexander McCall Smith, Lee Smith, Elizabeth Spencer, Scott Spencer, Adriana Trigiani, Scott Turow, Barry Unsworth, Vendela Vida, Susan Vreeland, David Foster Wallace, Anthony Walton, Jennifer Weiner, Robert Wilson, Tom Wolfe and Meg Wolitzer

5 Responses to “The Top Ten”

  1. I’m a sucker for lists too. I have to admit to experiencing a childish thrill at seeing that Fitzgerald made both lists. I’d have been mightily dismayed if he hadn’t.

    jb says: Heart-warming, isn’t it, when something that good is appreciated?

  2. Dick says:

    Two Brits & a bunch of johnny foreigners. What about John Buchan, Captain W.E. Johns & Sapper? Poor show all round…

    jb says: Hi Dick. Biggles was my real father. It was great to read about him, his brilliant adventures in the skies, knowing that I was his bastard. . .

  3. Diana says:

    I was a little bit disappointed in this book. I’d hoped for more obscure revelations; I already knew that Anna Karenina and Lolita are great books! I’ve really only skimmed it at this point but I hope in going back through I can find some surprises amongst those lists.

    jb says: I haven’t read it, Diana, and probably won’t. So if you do find any surprises there, it would be really good to hear about it.

  4. Thank you John. Being rewarded with this list of lively classics, is like a flash of a gem!

    Chekhov & Flaubert are personal favourites.

    jb says: It’s a good list. On the right day I could have come up with something very similar myself.

  5. Patty says:

    Interesting list. I would love the see the individual lists of the writers as well though 🙂

    jb says: I think you’ll need to buy the book for that, Patty.