Return to Brian Kiteley's home page


These are books in no particular order that have mattered to me a great deal in my reading and writing life.   I do not mean to exclude books or writers here, but I want to pass on to students and young writers a sense of shape in one’s history as a reader.   You may note that much more often than not I recommend only one book by an author.   I hope, this way, to give you an interesting introduction to these writers’ works.

First off, you should take a look at Donald Barthelme's list of suggested readings.

Now here's mine:

Benjamin Lee Whorf, Language, Thought, and Reality
Roy Mottahedeh, The Mantle of the Prophet
Timothy Mitchell, Colonizing Egypt
Amitav Ghosh, In an Antique Land
Lila abu Lughod, Veiled Sentiments

Thomas Richards, The Imperial Archive: Knowledge and the Fantasy of Empire
James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture and Routes
Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia

Jackson Bate, Keats (a biography)
Frances Steegmuller, Flaubert and Madame Bovary
Edward Said, Covering Islam and Beginnings
Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation
George Steiner, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky and Language and Silence
Guy Davenport, The Geography of the Imagination
Cynthia Ozick, Metaphor and Memory
William Gass, The World Within the Word
Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses
Perry Miller, Errand into the Wilderness
Susan Howe, My Emily Dickinson and The Birth-Mark
Maxime Rodinson, Mohammad (a biography)
Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power
Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization and Discipline and Punish
James Miller, The Passion of Michel Foucault (a biography)
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, The Hidden Life of Dogs
Henri Michaux, Major Ordeals of the Mind
Walter Benjamin, Illuminations and Reflections
William Appelman Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy

Howard Zinn, The People’s History of America
David Shields, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle
Max Rodenbeck, Cairo: the City Victorious

Henry Adams, The Education of... and Mont St. Michel and Chartres
John Graves, Goodbye to a River
Robert Byron, The Road to Oxiana

Elias Canetti, Voices of Marrakesh
Tobias Schneebaum, Where the Spirits Dwell
Chris Offutt, The Same River Twice

Bernard Cooper, Maps to Anywhere
MFK Fisher, Gastronomical Me

Julia Child, My Life in France

Primo Levi, Survival at Auschwitz, Periodic Table
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita and The Heart of a Dog
Jim Crace, Continent
Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North
Abdelrahman Munif, Cities of Salt

Waguih Ghali, Beer in the Snooker Club
Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym
Washington Irving, Mohammad (a biography), Tales of the Alhambra

Nabokov, Mary, Details of a Sunset, A Russian Beauty, Speak, Memory
Eduardo Galeano, Memory of Fire (a trilogy), Open Veins
Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past
Robert Glück, Jack the Modernist
Frederic Tuten, The Adventures of Mao on the Long March
Alifa Rifaat, Distant View of a Minaret
Naguib Mahfouz, Midaq Alley, Miramar, and The Palace Walk
E.M. Forster, Howards End
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities and Baron of the Trees
Isak Dinesen, Winters Tales
Isaac Babel, Collected Stories
Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr Ripley
Margaret Atwood, Surfacing
Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, The Animal Wife
Frederic Prokosch, The Asiatics
Norman Rush, Whites
Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son
Jane Bowles, My Sister’s Hand in Mine
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky and Collected Stories
Bruno Schulz, Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass and Street of the
Amitav Ghosh, The Glass Palace
Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood
Cynthia Ozick, The Pagan Rabbi
Jayne Anne Phillips, Black Tickets
Tim O’Brien, Going After Cacciato, The Things They Carried
Hemingway, In Our Time
Yasunari Kawabata, Palm-of-the-Hand Stories
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina and The Cossacks
Christina Stead, The Man Who Loved Children
Rikki Ducornet, The Jade Cabinet and Gazelle
Carole Maso, AVA
Robert Walser, Selected Stories
James Lasdun, Three Evenings
Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
Anita Desai, In Custody
Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses
E.L. Doctorow, World’s Fair and The Book of Daniel
Beth Nugent, City of Boys and Live Girls
Robert Coover, Pricksongs and Descants
Sigrid Nunez, A Feather on the Breath of God and
Mitz (a biography of Virginia and Leonard Woolf's    

R.D. Skillings, In a Murderous Time
Heidi Jon Schmidt, Darling?
Paul Valery, Monsieur Teste
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
J.G. Ballard, Crash
David Foster Wallace, Oblivion
Padgett Powell, Typical
Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2
Grace Paley, Collected Stories
Donald Barthelme, Sixty Stories, Forty Stories, and The King
Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities
Franz Kafka, A Letter to His Father and Parables and Paradoxes
Samuel Beckett, More Pricks Than Kicks and Proust
John Updike, The Coup
Evelyn Waugh, Handful of Dust
Christa Wolf, No Place on Earth
Graham Swift, Waterland
Josh Russell, Yellow Jack
Ben Marcus, The Age of Wire and String
Brian Evenson, Altman’s Tongue and Contagion
Jane Brox, Here and Nowhere Else
Eli Gottlieb, The Boy Who Went Away

 Back to Brian Kiteley's home page