Novel recommendations

hush-syrup asked: What are ten of your favorite novels? What are ten works you think everybody (intelligent) should read? Who are ten of your favorite underrated authors?

This is a tough one. No matter what I put down, I’ll think of more later. Putting them in proper categories will take time – here’s the first draft of important works.

Some of my favorites:

Moby Dick – Melville – for me, this novel is the foundation of all modern literature, so I reread it constantly. When I can’t sleep, I pick a random chapter and listen to the audiobook.

Lolita – Nabokov – what happens when Moby Dick is rewritten perversely

Pale Fire – Nabokov – the best novel yet written, at least until my new novel is finished

Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Hardy – I named my daughter Tess. Honestly, any Hardy would do equally well.

Sons & Lovers -Lawrence – because I can’t really choose between this and Women in Love and the Rainbow

The Possessed – Dostoevsky – the most interesting of the Dostoevskys, with Karamazova and Crime and Punishment

Dangerous Liasons – De Laclos – the best exploration of the possibilities of the epistolary novel

Recherche – Proust – One of the finest novels ever written – magnificent in every way

Naked Lunch – Burroughs – changed my concept of fiction writing more than any author before

London Fields – Martin Amis – also named my daughter after Nicola Six. The best allegory for writing since Lolita. The Information is just as good.

Babel Tower – incredible work by Byatt

Lost Illusions – Balzac

Nana, The Masterpiece – Zola

Love in the Time of Cholera – the one novel by Garcia Marquez that I really care for.

Middlemarch – Eliot

Bleak House – Dickens

Infinite Jest – Wallace

Gravity’s Rainbow – Pynchon

The Recognitions – Gaddis

Light in August – Faulkner – Any of Faulkner’s novels are equally magnificent

This Side of Paradise – Fitzgerald

The Sun Also Rises – Hemingway

Don Quixote – A must read for anyone, anywhere, anytime

The Subterraneans – I’m not overly fond of Jack Kerouac, but this novel is shoulders above anything else he wrote

The Alexandria Quartet – Durrell – anything by Durrell

Sexus – Miller – anything by Henry Miller

Doctor Faustus – Thomas Mann

Group Portrait with Lady – Boll

Man without Qualities – Musil

Night and Day – Woolf – anything at all by Virginia Woolf. She has no equal.

Wuthering Heights – Bronte – not for the story so much as for the incredible dreary poetry

Unbearable Lightness of Being – Kundera or anything else by him

Lesser known great works:

Tieta – Jorge Amado

Fortunata & Jacinta – Galdos

The Doll – Boleslaw Prus

City of Night – Rechy

Book of Memories, Parallel Stories – Nadas

The Sleepwalkers – Broch

New Grub Street – George Gissing

Ask the Dust – John Fante

Things intelligent readers really should read include Ulysses by Joyce, Shakespeare, Milton, Homer, Thousand Nights and One Night, Decameron, the romantic poets (Keats, Shelley, Byron, Coleridge) and Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book.

About David Cain

David Cain, literary author, bon vivant, rogue romantic poet - author of Witch, Song of Songs, Journals of Lord Malinov, Erotic Romances and others ...
This entry was posted in fiction, literature, novels, personal, reading, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Novel recommendations

  1. See, I knew I should have gone to Penn or Syracuse or Bucknell instead of South Florida. Sigh. I have a lot of catching up to do. Maybe next lifetime. Does Elmore Leonard count?

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