13 September 2007

Reading recommendations from 'cross the pond

Remember those lists of books that English teachers, high culture mavens, and librarians publish for insecure high schoolers aiming at good colleges? "50 books you must read before college!" or "500 books an educated high school graduate should have read." I always felt a little sheepish that I'd never read most of them. I got into a good college anyway. I still haven't read most of them. I don't feel deprived. At least I recognized most of the titles.

This list from the Guardian Unlimited (UK) is full of books I've never even heard of. Well, it is British. But the people who created the list aren't all British.

The first half is, "How did we miss these?" The second list is "How did we miss these? Part 2."

The list is intoduced this way: "Far from the fame and glamour of the Booker and bestsellers is a forgotten world of literary treasures - brilliant but underrated novels that deserve a second chance to shine. We asked 50 celebrated writers to nominate their favourites..."

I don't know about the books, but the recommendations are good reading. The list of "celebrated writers" is also British. I recognized A. S. Byatt. But there are temptations in the list. If you're looking for something unusual (from an American perspective) to read, check out the list and call your library.

  • Lanark (1981) by Alasdair Gray
  • A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955) by Flannery O'Connor
  • Angel (1957) by Elizabeth Taylor
  • The Wind From Nowhere (1961) by JG Ballard
  • The Obscene Bird of Night (1970) by Jose Donoso
  • Midnight (1936) by Julien Green
  • New Perspective (1980) by K Arnold Price
  • The Reef (1912) by Edith Wharton
  • Strange Fits of Passion (1991) by Anita Shreve
  • Belchamber (1904) by Howard O Sturgis
  • Pendennis (1850) by William Makepeace
  • The Drinker (1950) by Hans Fallada
  • Incandescence (1979) by Craig Nova
  • The Case of Comrade Tulayev (1948) by Victor Serge
  • Any Human Heart (2002) by William Boyd
  • Labyrinths (1971) by Christopher Okigbo
  • The Tortoise and the Hare (1954) by Elizabeth Jenkins
  • The Balloonist (1977) by MacDonald Harris
  • The Long Ships (1941-45) by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson
  • As Meat Loves Salt (2001) by Maria McCann
  • Season of Migration to the North (1966) and Tayeb Salih
  • The Cottagers (2006) by Marshall N Klimasewiski
  • Rasselas (1759) by Samuel Johnson
  • Amanda and the Million Mile High Dancer (1985) by Carol De Chellis Hill
  • Life With a Star (1949) by Jiri Weil
  • Eden Eden Eden (1970) by Pierre Guyotat
  • Why Did I Ever (2001) by Mary Robison
  • The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1972) by George V Higgins
  • Death and Nightingales (1992) by Eugene McCabe
  • The Complete John Silence Stories (1908) by Algernon Blackwood
  • Blaming (1976) by Elizabeth Taylor
  • Riddley Walker (1980) by Russell Hoban
  • Langrishe, Go Down (1966) by Aidan Higgins
  • The Conclave (1992) by Michael Bracewell
  • Blood Kin (2007) by Ceridwen Dovey
  • The Short Stories of Breece D'J Pancake (collected in 1983) by Breece D'J Pancake
  • The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) by James Hogg
  • The Unconsoled (1995) by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Pig and Pepper (1936) by David Footman
  • The Gentleman of the Party (1934) by AG Street
  • Bear v. Shark (2001) by Chris Bachelder
  • Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (1971) by Elizabeth Taylor
  • Some Do Not (1924), No More Parades (1925), A Man Could Stand Up (1926) by Ford Madox Ford
  • Pereira Declares: A Testimony (first published in Spanish, 1994) by Antonio Tabucchi
  • No Pain Like This Body (1972) by Harold Sonny Ladoo
  • Obasan (1981) by Joy Kogawa
  • Hunger (1890) by Knut Hamsun
  • Portrait of a Young Man Drowning (1962) by Charles Perry
  • The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1975) by David Nobbs
  • The Law of Dreams (2006) by Peter Behrens

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