Reading List

Reading List

I tried to write down all the books and authors that my professors told me would be good to read to help develop my writing and just for the sheer joy of reading compelling stories and solid writing. Here’s a good sized list of them (in no particular order and with links), in case any of you are interested in that sort of thing. I personally can’t vouch for many of them; I put them here as much for my own reference as for anybody else’s. If you are interested in more, I can make another list of some of the things we actually read in class (there are a few books at the bottom, but mostly we read articles and stories and chapters of books).

Joan Didion
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Gay Talese
V.S. Naipaul
Hemingway’s Short Stories
Eudora Welty
Anton Chekov
Anne Tyler
Huckleberry Finn
The Scarlet Letter
Leaves of Grass
Collected Works of Shakespeare
Nathanael West Miss Lonelyhearts
Elmore Leonard When the Women Come Out to Dance

Virginia Wolff A Room of Ones Own
Charles Dickens A December Vision (his social journalism)
E.M. Forester Aspects of the Novel
Percy Lubbock The Craft of Fiction
Prefaces (at least) to Henry James’s novels
Frances Fitzgerald Cities on a Hill
James Agee Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Thornton Wilder The Bridge of San Luis Rey
John Hersey Into the Valley
Aristotle’s Poetics
Andrew Radford English Syntax
Wayne Booth The Rhetoric of Fiction
James B. Stewart Follow the Story

Other books I read for school and enjoyed enough to share with you:
Jason DeParle American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation’s Drive to End Welfare
Janet Malcolm The Journalist and the Murderer
Joseph Mitchell (anything by Mitchell is great) Up in the Old Hotel
Norman Sims The Literary Journalists
William Finnegan Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder Country
John Hersey Hiroshima

7 thoughts on “Reading List

  1. That’s quite the list. I’ll have to read some of them. I read a lot but sometimes I’m reading things purely for entertainment. I should broaden my horizons.

  2. I happen to know that some of these will do if you are just in it for the entertainment value as well. Or maybe I am one of those people who are easily entertained.

  3. OH MY GOSH!!!!! how, HOW?, just how???? did you read my mind???!?


    i was in the shower today (you read my mind while i was in the shower you sneak! haha) and that is where i get some ideas and i was thinking about this reading list that i saw of gwyneth paltrows this morning and how i love seeing other peoples reading lists and wouldnt it be cool if every once in a while i put up other peoples reading lists on my blog and that way i (and anyone else who reads my blog and is interested) would have a record of some great lists….etc. etc. etc.

    and then this afternoon i read this!! and a great list to boot.

    would you mind if i put you up as the first list on my blog? it really seems like fate :) let me know!

  4. nice list!

    we read Anne Tyler the Accidental tourist for our book club a while back. It was really interesting, in a weird way, but I liked it.

  5. Hello! you don’t know me or atleast not yet. I guess we will soon become family in a long distance sort of way. Your sister Becca, is marrying my brother Jon. Becca told me how cute your blog was and that I needed to check it out. So here I am, also now located in NY!! I told becca that I was trying to think of decorating ideas for our new house when we were getting ready to move out and she told me that you just painted and decorated too and to check out your neat stencils that Micah had made. LOVE the silvarware in the kitchen….that is so fun. You and your husband are very talented and creative. Thanks for letting me visit your blog! I would love for you to visit mine too, but I am private, so if you want you can email me at and give me your address so I can send you an invite.

    Stacey Pyne =)

  6. I have a copy of Shakespeare’s Complete Works and a lofty goal to finish the whole thing. Someday! I loved A Room of One’s Own and just finished Hemingway’s first book of short stories. It was a quick, enjoyable read. Thanks for posting this–I love seeing professor’s reading lists. Another writer you might like (or maybe already do) is Flannery O’Connor. I learned about her from one of my screenwriting professors. And I’m excited to check out those books from Lost. I hadn’t even thought of doing that.

  7. Very cool, thanks. I really ought to write down my own goal reading list. There are so many I run across here and there and think, “ooh! I’ve always meant to read that…” then I promptly forget again.

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