Favorite Fiction


I read a boatload of nonfiction, especially memoirs, from 2005 to 2012 as I was writing a memoir, but I’m reading more fiction again. And when I come across novels and short story collections that please and amaze me—or when I recall beloved ones—I’m adding them to this list.

Berry, Wendell. Jayber Crow. (Slow at first but intensely rewarding.)

Black, Alethea. I Knew You’d Be Lovely (Stories. Review & Q&A.)

Coetzee, J. M. Disgrace

Conrad, Joseph. Lord Jim

Diaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Noted.)

Dillard, Annie. The Maytrees. (A shimmering work of art. Reviewed.)

Doctorow, E.L. Ragtime

Erdrich, Louise. The Round House

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby

Ford, Richard. Canada. (Mesmerizing. Reviewed.)

Franzen, Jonathan. Freedom. (Truly a great novel; amazing.)

Guest, Judith. Ordinary People

Hamilton, Jane. A Map of the World

Heller, Joseph. Catch-22

Irving, John. A Prayer for Owen Meany

——. The World According to Garp

Joyce, James. The Dubliners

Klinkenborg, Verlyn. Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile

Marchart, Bruce. The Wake of Forgiveness

Martel, Yann. Life of Pi

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick

McCarthy, Cormac. Blood Meredian.(Astonishing, prose, story.)

——No Country for Old Men.

Meloy, Maile. Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It: Stories

Percy, Walker. The Last Gentleman

Persig, Robert M. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values

Piazza, Tom. City of Refuge

Powers, Kevin. The Yellow Birds (Reviewed.)

Roorbach, Bill. Life Among Giants. (A friend’s book, complex and yeasty.)

Styron, William. The Confessions of Nat Turner. (Reviewed & Reviewed.)

Updike, John. Rabbit, Run

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse Five

Wallace, David Foster. Infinite Jest (Review 1, Review 2.)

Williams, John. Butcher’s Crossing

——. Stoner

Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse

2 responses to “Favorite Fiction

  1. Clay Cormany

    Richard, I’m always humbled every time I visit your blog. Your ability to make regular postings here while forging ahead with your memoir and being an avid reader is amazing. The list above is a testament to that ability.

    Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey novels have always been a good read for me. O’Brian is very adroit in blending the plots of his stories with historical facts about England’s struggle with Napoleonic France. He also shows how two men with different personalities (and occasionally different priorities) can still forge a durable friendship. Best of all perhaps, he reminds us there was once a time when almost no technology was available to help solve problems. Intelligence, intuition, and cleverness — not to mention dumb luck — were the key variables that determined success and failure. There are violent sequences in the novels, but they don’t dominate the storylines. Some knowledge of nautical terminology is helpful but not necessary to enjoying Jack Aubrey’s many adventures on the high seas.

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