One Hundred Books for Tara


Last year some of my friends gave me an essential list of poetry collections I really needed to read. As someone who rarely touches poetry it was a bit of a challenge, but I made it through all the recommendations and actually discovered I have a (limited), appetite for poetry.

This year my friend Tara, who hasn’t read much else but poetry for the last few years, asked me for some prose recommendations. I started off trying to make a list of 10 books. This was impossible. There are too many great books in the world. I ended up with this -completely off the top of my head- list of one hundred books which I wish I hadn’t already read so I could have the pleasure of discovering them for the very first time.

Most are desperately obvious. Some are wild cards and some are books which have been important to me in the past and aren’t my go to books any more. Some are absolutely amazing books. As I said, in no particular order, these are the first 100 books which come to my mind. I hope Tara enjoys some of them.

  1. Gunter Grasse “The Tin Drum”
  2. Salman Rushdie “Midnight’s Children”
  3. Marilynne Robinson “Housekeeping”
  4. Vladimir Nabakov “Pale Fire”
  5. Colum McCann “Let The Great World Spin”
  6. Flannery O’Connor “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
  7. Nicole Krauss “The History of Love”
  8. Jonathan Safran Foer “Everything is Illuminated”
  9. Bram Stoker “Dracula”
  10. Emily Bronte “Wuthering Heights”
  11. Claire Keegan “Antarctic”
  12. George Saunders “Civilwarland in Bad Decline”
  13. Nancy Mitford “Love in a Cold Climate”
  14. John Steinbeck “East of Eden”
  15. Karen Russell “St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves”
  16. Kevin Barry “There Are Little Kingdoms”
  17. Philip Roth “American Pastoral”
  18. Etgar Keret “The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God”
  19. Thomas Hardy “The Woodlanders”
  20. Aimee Bender “Wilful Creatures”
  21. John Ajvide Lindqvist “Let the Right One In”
  22. Ernest Hemingway “The Old Man and the Sea”
  23. Richard Brautigan “The Abortion”
  24. Paul Auster “The New York Trilogy”
  25. John Updike “Rabbit Series”
  26. Barbara Kingsolver “The Poisonwood Bible”
  27. Neil Gaiman “American Gods”
  28. Jenny Offil “The Department of Speculation”
  29. William Faulkner “The Sound and the Fury”
  30. Elizabeth Taylor “The Blush”
  31. Michael Chabon “Wonderboys”
  32. Jonathan Leathem “The Fortress of Solitude”
  33. Eimear McBride “A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing”
  34. Tobias Wolff “This Boy’s Life”
  35. Haruki Murakami “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles”
  36. Carson McCullers “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”
  37. Lauren Van Den Berg “The Isle of Youth”
  38. Colm Toibin “Blackwater Lightship”
  39. Douglas Coupland “Life After God”
  40. Patrick Suskind “Perfume”
  41. John Irving “A Prayer for Owen Meany”
  42. John McGahern “That They May Face the Rising Sun”
  43.  Truman Capote “In Cold Blood”
  44. Margaret Atwood “The Handmaid’s Tale”
  45. Andrew Millar “Pure”
  46. Virginia Woolf “A Room of Her Own”
  47. Kazuo Ishiguro “The Remains of the Day”
  48.  Naomi Alderman “Disobedience”
  49. Jonathan Franzen “The Corrections”
  50. Graham Greene “The End of the Affair”
  51. Iain Banks “The Wasp Factory”
  52. Don Delillo “White Noise”
  53. Jeffrey Eugenides “Middlesex”
  54. James Ellroy “LA Confidential”
  55. Ali Smith “How to be Both”
  56. Matthew Thomas “We Are Not Ourselves”
  57. Agota Kristof “The Notebook”
  58. Glenn Patterson “The International”
  59. Hilary Mantel “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher”
  60. Gabriel Garcia Marquez “One Hundred Years of Solitude”
  61. Kazuo Ishiguro “The Remains of the Day”
  62. Ian McEwan “On Chesil Beach”
  63. Samantha Harvey “Wilderness”
  64. Janet McNeill “The Maiden Dinosaur”
  65. Donna Tartt “The Secret History”
  66. Ben Lerner “10:04”
  67. Bernie McGill “The Butterfly Cabinet”
  68. Francois Sagan “Bonjour Tristesse”
  69. Junot Diaz “Drown”
  70. Angela Carter “Wise Children”
  71. Agatha Christie “The Mirror Cracked From Side to Side”
  72. Alice Munro “Collected Short Stories”
  73. Edna O’Brien “The Country Girls”
  74. Carys Davies “The Redemption of Galen Pike”
  75. Brian Moore “The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne”
  76. Jhumpa Lahiri “The Interpreter of Maladies”
  77. David Park “The Truth Commissioner”
  78. Christopher Isherwood “A Single Man”
  79. Donal Ryan “The Thing About December”
  80. William Trevor “Felicia’s Journey”
  81. Michael Cunningham “The Hours”
  82. Max Porter “Grief is the Thing With Feathers”
  83. Cormac McCarthy “The Road”
  84. Roddy Doyle “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha”
  85. T.C. Boyle “Drop City”
  86. Nick Cave “And the Ass Saw the Angel”
  87. Emma Donghue “Room”
  88. Robert McLiam Wilson “Eureka Street”
  89. Yann Martel “Self”
  90. Michael Ondaatje “The English Patient”
  91. Patrick deWitt “The Sisters Brothers”
  92. James Lasdun “It’s Beginning to Hurt”
  93. Italo Cavino “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller”
  94. Raymond Carver “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”
  95. Jeanette Winterson “Oranges are not the Only Fruit”
  96. Lorrie Moore “Anagrams”
  97. Patrick McCabe “The Butcher Boy”
  98. Joseph O’Connor “Star of the Sea”
  99. Carys Bray “A Song for Issy Bradley”
  100. Chaim Potok “My Name is Asher Lev”



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