Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Book Lists

A new year is approaching, and for a lot of people, it will bring resolutions. Yet I still haven't yet quite recovered from the trauma of watching a year ago as half a dozen radical queer feminist anti-racist activists resolved for New Year's to read as many books as possible on various lists of "great books" that were 90% white men, with Toni Morrison tacked onto the end to give the list a superficial varnish of so-called diversity. So in an effort to prevent repeating such horrors this year, I hunted all over the Internet for a reasonably diverse list of truly good literature, and I came up with only one (at least, only one that isn't limited to a particular nationality or gender, such as "great books by British women") that I consider worthy of support: the Orange Prize for Fiction's "50 Essential Reads by Contemporary Authors". It's better at gender diversity than at racial or national diversity, but it's definitely the best fairly comprehensive list I can find anywhere, by a long shot. So I decided to make a book meme out of it. You know how it works: bold the ones you read.

A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Being Dead by Jim Crace
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
Faith Singer by Rosie Scott
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Fred and Edie by Jill Dawson
Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Grace Notes by Bernard MacLaverty
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman
Hotel World by Ali Smith
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
Misery by Stephen King
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg

Money by Martin Amis
Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Riders by Jilly Cooper
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
The Golden Notebook by Doris M. Lessing
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
(I'm currently reading this!)
The Rabbit Books (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit at Rest) by John Updike
Regeneration by Pat Barker

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
The Tin Drum by Günter Grass
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
The Women's Room by Marilyn French
Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
Unless by Carol Shields
What a Carve-Up by Jonathan Coe
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
White Teeth by Zadie Smith

If you're interested in more specialized book lists, I also like Feminista!'s "100 Great 20th Century Works of Fiction by Women".

Here's my book meme for that one. The ones I've read are in bold; the ones I own but haven't read yet are in italics.

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge
Gorilla, My Love by Toni Cade Bambara
Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
Regeneration by Pat Barker

Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Possession by A. S. Byatt
Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
So Far From God by Ana Castillo
My Antonia by Willa Cather
The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Elders and Betters by Ivy Compton-Burnett
Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr
The Radiant Way by Margaret Drabble
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta
Tracks by Louise Erdrich
At Freddie's by Penelope Fitzgerald
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame
The Women's Room by Marilyn French
The Mind-Body Problem by Rebecca Goldstein
July's People by Nadine Gordimer
The Rest of Life by Mary Gordon
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
When Rain Clouds Gather by Bessie Head
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
The Furies by Janet Hobhouse
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The Haunting Of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Tripmaster Monkey by Maxine Hong Kingston
Obasan by Joy Kogawa
The Fire-Dwellers by Margaret Laurence
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Golden Notebook by Doris M. Lessing

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning
Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers
Mama by Terry McMillan
Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Anagrams by Lorrie Moore
Beloved by Toni Morrison

Wife by Bharati Mukherjee
Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro
A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch
You Must Remember This by Joyce Carol Oates
House of Splendid Isolation by Edna O'Brien
A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen
Enormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley
The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
Black Tickets by Jayne Anne Phillips
Braided Lives by Marge Piercy
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter
The Golden Spur by Dawn Powell
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
The King Must Die by Mary Renault
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Housekeeping by Marilynn Robinson
The God of Small Things by Arundati Roy

Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing by May Sarton
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve
Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart
The Age of Grief by Jane Smiley
The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead
Three Lives by Gertrude Stein
Angel by Elizabeth Taylor
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
If Morning Ever Comes by Anne Tyler
Away by Jane Urquhart
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Life and Loves of a She-Devil by Fay Weldon
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Frost in May by Antonia White
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
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