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December 9th, 2010 / 10:27 pm
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Suggested Reading List for My Spring 2011 Fiction Workshop

(Because if you’re going to make a writer of yourself, you must read your brains out.) *

All Things, All at Once, Lee K. Abbott
The Box Man, Kobo Abe
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
The Children’s Hospital, Chris Adrian
A Death in the Family, James Agee
Man In His Time, Brian W. Aldiss
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Sherman Alexie
Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison
My Life in Heavy Metal, Steve Almond
Telegrams of the Soul, Peter Altenburg
Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson
Dora Flor and Her Two Husbands, Jorge Amado
Elect Mr Robinson for a Better World, Donald Antrim
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
The Rector of Justin, Louis Auchincloss
Obabakoak, Bernardo Axtaga
The Music of Chance, Paul Auster
Red Cavalry Stories, Isaac Babel
The Mezzanine, Nicholson Baker
Going to Meet the Man, James Baldwin
The Sweet Hereafter, Russell Banks
The Smallest People in the World, Keith Banner
Nightwood, Djuna Barnes
A History of the World in 8 1/2 Chapters, Julian Barnes
60 Stories, Donald Barthelme
The Lives of Rocks, Rick Bass
The Stories of Richard Bausch
First Light, Charles Baxter
The Lost Ones, Samuel Beckett
The Collectors, Matt Bell
Mr Sammler’s Planet, Saul Bellow
Town Smokes, Pinckney Benedict
25th Hour, David Benioff
Correction, Thomas Bernhard
2666, Roberto Bolano
Labyrinths, Borges
The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles
After the Plague, TC Boyle
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
On the Yard, Malcolm Braly
Rumors of Rain, Andre Brink
Things That Fall from the Sky, Kevin Brockmeier
Fay, Larry Brown
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
Scorch Atlas, Blake Butler
The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M Cain
Tobacco Road, Erskine Caldwell
If On A Winter’s Night a Traveler, Italo Calvino
American Salvage, Bonnie Jo Campbell
The Palace Thief, Ethan Canin
Hard Rain Falling, Don Carpenter
The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter
Where I’m Calling From, Raymond Carver
Spartina, John Casey
The Professor’s House, Willa Cather
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
The Big SLeep, Raymond Chandler
Collected Stories, Eileen Chang
Among the Missing, Dan Chaon
Farewell I’m Bound to Leave You, Fred Chappell
The Stories of John Cheever
Falconer, John Cheever
Awakening, Kate Chopin
“Gusev,” Anton Chekhov
Oh Baby, Kim Chinquee
House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
We’re in Trouble, Christopher Coake
Disgrace, J M Coetzee
Witz, Joshua Cohen
Diary of a Rapist, Evan S Connell
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
Hopscotch, Julio Cortazar
Bargains in the Real World, Elizabeth Cox
The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane
A Feast of Snakes, Harry Crews
The Passage, Justin Cronin
Flesh and Blood, Michael Cunningham
The Green Age of Asher Witherow, M Allen Cunningham
House of Leaves, Mark Danieliewski
The Dew Breaker, Edwidge Danticat
In the Gloaming, Alice Elliott Dark
The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
The Circus in Winter, Cathy Day
Great Jones Street, Don DeLillo
Mao II, Don DeLillo
Underworld, Don DeLillo
Drown, Junot Diaz
The Man in the High Castle, Philip K Dick
Play It As It Lays, Joan Didion
Interstate, Stephen Dixon
I. and End of I., Stephen Dixon
City of God, E L Doctorow
The Shell Collector, Anthony Doerr
The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky
Clown Girl, Monica Drake
Selected Stories, Andre Dubus
House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III
Geek Love, Katherine Dunn
The Lover, Marguerite Duras
Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco
Permutation City, Greg Egan
How the Water Feels, Paul Eggers
The Magic Kingdom, Stanley Elkin
Happy Baby, Stephen Elliott
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
The Black Dahlia, James Ellroy
Silence, Shusaku Endo
For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, Nathan Englander
The Plague of Doves, Louise Erdrich
Altmann’s Tongue, Brian Evenson
The Wavering Knife, Brian Evenson
Erasure, Percival Everett
Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
A Fan’s Notes, Frederick Exley
Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha, Edward Falco
As I Lay Dying, Faulkner
Absalom! Absalom!, Faulkner
The Short Stories of F Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald
The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford
The Sportswriter, Richard Ford
Independence Day, Richard Ford
The French Lieutenant’s Woman, John Fowles
Poachers, Tom Franklin
The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
The Recognitions, Wm. Gaddis
Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill
The Stories of Mavis Gallant
as much Gabriel Garcia-Marquez as possible, starting with Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Grendel, John Gardner
In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, Wm Gass
Welding with Children, Tim Gautreaux
I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down, Wm. Gay
Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
The House of Breath, Wm Goyen
Museum of the Weird, Amelia Gray
The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene
Hunger, Knut Hamsun
Adverbs, Daniel Handler
Airships, Barry Hannah
Bats Out of Hell, Barry Hannah
Legends of the Fall, Jim Harrison
“Rollerball Murder,” Wm Harrison
The Lime Twig, John Hawkes
The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne
Stranger in a Strange Land, Heinlein
The Pacific, Mark Helprin
some stories from Hemingway
The Complete Works of Marvin K Mooney, Christopher Higgs
High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
The Cider House Rules, John Irving
The Lottery, Shirley Jackson
Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson
All Aunt Hagar’s Children, Edward P Jones
all of Kafka
The Master of Go, Yasunari Kawabata
The Last Temptation of Christ, Nikos Kazantzakis
all of Imre Kertesz’s novellas
Pacazo, Roy Kesey
Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid
Different Seasons, Stephen King
Carrie, Stephen King
Hearts in Atlantis, Stephen King
The Stand, Stephen King
The Shining, Stephen King
Steps, Jerzy Koszinski
The Orange Eats Creeps, Grace Krilanovich
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Kundera
From Old Notebooks, Evan Lavender-Smith
Independent People, Halldor Laxness
Mystic River, Dennis Lehane
Rum Punch, Elmore Leonard
a couple of J T LeRoy books
The Fifth Child, Doris Lessing
The Fortress of Solitude, Jonathan Lethem
Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Lethem
The Year of A Thousand Good Prayers, Yiyun Li
Richard Yates, Tao Lin
Stories in the Worst Way, Gary Lutz
Cairo Trilogy, Naghub Mahfouz
some Bernard Malamud novels
A Death in Venice, Thomas Mann
In Country, Bobbie Ann Mason
My Life in CIA, Harry Mathews
All of Cormac McCarthy, starting with Child of God
The Cement Garden, Ian McEwan
The Collected Stories of Leonard Michaels
at least one novel from James A. Michener
“Lust,” Susan Minot
about three weeks in Mishima
Hue and Cry, James Alan McPherson
The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven, Rick Moody
“People Like That,” Lorrie Moore
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Friend of My Youth, Alice Munro
Open Secrets, Alice Munro
Hateship, Loveship, Alice Munro
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami
Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami
The Man Without Qualities, Robert Musil
A House for Mr Biswas, Naipaul
Pale Fire, Nabokov
Lolita, Nabokov
The Assignation, Joyce Carol Oates
In the Lake of the Woods, Tim O’Brien
The Violent Bear It Away, Flannery O’Connor
Kentucky Straight, Chris Offutt
“I Stand Here Ironing,” Tillie Olsen
The Shawl, Cynthia Ozick
Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
The Collected Stories of Grace Paley
The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake
Refresh, Refresh, Benjamin Percy
The Devil in the Hills, Cesare Pevase
Pale Horse, Pale Rider, Katherine Anne Porter
at least one Charles Portis novel
Knockemstiff, Donald Ray Pollock
The Collected Stories of J F Powers
Clockers, Richard Price
Close Range, Annie Proulx
Mason & Dixon, Thomas Pynchon
An Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
Charity, Mark Richard
Sabbath’s Theater, Philip Roth
American Pastoral, Philip Roth
Mating, Norman Rush
The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
some Salinger
A Sport and a Pastime, James Salter
some Saramago
The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, George Saunders
The Reader, Bernhard Schlink
all of Christine Schutt except the newest novel
a couple of Sebald novels
Collected Stories, Isaac Bashevis Singer
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Solzhenitsyn
Sophie’s Choice, Wm. Styron
“The Old Forest,” Peter Taylor
Girls in the Grass, Melanie Rae Thon
some Tolstoy and Tolkien
A Bit on the Side, Wm Trevor
at least one Anne Tyler novel, swear to god
Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut
Breakfast of Champions, Vonnegut
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, Brady Udall
some Deb Olin Unferth stories
Rabbit Tetralogy, John Updike
What the World . . ., Laura van den Berg
The Bear Bryant Funeral Train, Brad Vice
The William T. Vollman Reader
Oblivion, David Foster Wallace
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace
All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren
“Against Specificity,” Douglas Watson
some Eudora Welty stories
The Intuitionist, Colson Whitehead
Exciteability, Diane Williams
The Quick & the Dead, Joy Williams
Stoner, John Williams
“The Farmer’s Daughters,” Wm Carlos Williams
“Bullet in the Brain, ” Tobias Wolff
some Virginia Woolf novels
some Daniel Woodrell
Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
*I’ve left out 98% of the important books you should read, but this should get you started on the fiction.