Saturday, July 12, 2008

The big read: second edition meme

So, ever since this post about fiction that the NEA would like us to have read, I've been mulling its incompleteness. These lists are lists precisely because they're not all-encompassing, but I can't help but think that there were some truly glaring omissions (unfortunately, many of them by non-white authors):
  • My Antonia (Willa Cather)
  • East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
  • Beloved (Toni Morrison)
  • The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
  • Native Son (Richard Wright)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle)
  • The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoevsky)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)
  • The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende)
  • Siddhartha (Herman Hesse)
  • Roots (Alex Haley)
  • The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
As well as some I just really loved, that made me want to grab passersby by the lapels and ask if they'd read them:
  • The Sparrow (Mary Doria Russell--searing)
  • The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (Louise Erdrich)
  • Jayber Crow (Wendell Berry)
  • Kafka on the Shore (Haruki Murakami)
  • Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (Christopher Moore--will make you laugh 'til you have hiccups; also remarkably well-researched)
  • Staggerford (Jon Hassler)
  • A Thousand Acres (Jane Smiley)
  • I Know This Much Is True (Wally Lamb)
  • Saturday (Ian MacEwan)
  • A Lesson Before Dying (Ernest Gaines)
  • One True Thing (Anna Quindlen)
  • The Short History of a Prince (Jane Hamilton)
  • A Map of the World (Jane Hamilton)
  • The Lords of Discipline (Pat Conroy)
  • Giants in the Earth (Per Rolvaag)
  • Montana, 1948 (Larry Watson)
  • Blue Shoe (Anne Lamott)
  • Peace Like a River (Leif Enger)
  • The Time of Our Singing (Richard Powers)
  • Straight Man (Richard Russo)
  • Plainsong (Kent Haruf)
  • Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons (Lorna Landvik--I have a special attachment to this one; it's not just a fun summer read, but she's a daughter of the congregation I serve; the action takes place in a neighborhood I know...and, rumor has it, several of the prototype "housewives" are members of my church)
  • Bastard Out of Carolina (Dorothy Allison)
  • Rubyfruit Jungle (Rita Mae Brown)
  • The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
So, that's 12 "I'm horrified that they weren't on the list" books, and 25 "given my druthers, I'd add these, too..." books.

What would yours be? Consider yourself tagged; I'd really like to know!


don't eat alone said...

Great list. I'd add

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
A Passage to India by E M Forster
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

I know there are more. Those are the ones for now.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Well, I've read 9 of the first 12 and 5 of the rest.

Oh, and 3 of Milton's. :-)

Choralgirl said...

Oh, yeah, Milton, good call. I've read the Morrison and the Cather; Paton is in my "to read" stack and I just put the Stegner on my Amazon wish list.

Ruth, I'm not surprised, you smarty. ;-)

Choralgirl said...

Now that I think about it, I also want to add "Harold and the Purple Crayon" by Crockett Johnson, and the "Old Turtle" books by Douglas Wood.