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Writers’s reading lists: Leo Tostoy

From Tolstoy’s Letters, under the heading “WORKS WHICH MADE AN IMPRESSION,” Tolstoy divides his reading list into five distinct life-stages — and ranks each title.


  • “Great”:
  1. Tales from The Thousand and One Nights (public library): The 40 Thieves, Prince Qam-al-Zaman
  2. Pushkin’s Poems (public library): “Napoleon”
  • “V. great”:
  1. The Little Black Hen (public library) by Pogorelsky
  • “Enormous”:
  1. The story of Joseph from The Bible (public library)
  2. The Byliny (public library) folk tales: Dobrynya Nikitich, Ilya Muromets, Alyosha Popovich

14 – 20

  • “Great”:
  1. The Conquest of Mexico (public library) by William Prescott
  2. Tales of Good and Evil (public library) by Nikolai Gogol: “Overcoat,” “The Two Ivans,” “Nevsky Prospect”
  • “V. great”:
  1. A Sentimental Journey (public library) by Laurence Sterne
  2. A Hero for Our Time (public library) by Mikhail Lermontov
  3. The Hapless Anton by Dmitry Grigorovich
  4. Polinka Saks (public library) by Aleksandr Druzhinin
  5. A Sportsman’s Notebook (public library) by Ivan Turgenev
  6. Dead Souls (public library) by Nikolai Gogol
  7. Die Räuber (public library) by Friedrich Schiller
  8. Yevgeny Onegin (public library) by Alexander Pushkin
  9. Julie, or the New Heloise (public library) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • “Enormous”:
  1. The Gospel of Matthew (public library): “Sermon on the Mount”
  2. The Confessions (public library) by Jean Jacques-Rousseau
  3. Emile: Or on Education (public library) by Jean Jacques-Rousseau
  4. “Viy” from The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol (public library)
  5. David Copperfield (public library) by Charles Dickens

20 – 35

  • “Great”:
  1. Poems (public library) by F.T. Tyutchev
  2. Poems (public library) by Koltsov
  3. The Iliad / The Odyssey (public library) by Homer*
  4. Poems (public library) by Afanasy Fet
  5. The Symposium and The Phaedo (public library) by Plato
  • “V. great”:
  1. Hermann and Dorothea (public library) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  2. Notre-Dame de Paris (public library) by Victor Hugo

35 – 50

  • “Great”:
  1. The novels of Mrs. Henry Wood
  2. The novels of George Eliot
  3. The novels of Anthony Trollope
  • “V. great”:
  1. The Iliad / The Odyssey (public library) by Homer*
  2. The Byliny (public library)
  3. Xenophon’s Anabasis (public library)
  • “Enormous”:
  1. Les Misérables (public library) by Victor Hugo

50 – 63

  • “Great”:
  1. Discourse on Religious Subject (public library) by Theodore Parker
  2. Robertson’s Sermons (public library)
  • “V. great”:
  1. The Book of Genesis (public library)
  2. Progress and Poverty (public library) by Henry George
  3. The Essence of Christianity (public library) by Ludwig Feuerbach
  • “Enormous”:
  1. The Complete Gospels* (public library)
  2. Pensées (public library) by Blaise Pascal
  3. Epictetus
  4. Confucius and Mencius
  5. The Lalita-Vistara: Or Memoirs Of The Early Life Of Sakya Sinha (public library) by Rajendralala Mitra
  6. Lao-Tzu

Writers’s reading lists: Gabriel García Márquez

From “Living to Tell the Tale” – Deckle Edge – by Gabriel García Márquez

  1. The Magic Mountain (public library) by Thomas Mann
  2. The Man in the Iron Mask (free ebook | public library) by Alexandre Dumas
  3. Ulysses (free ebook | public library) by James Joyce
  4. The Sound and the Fury (public library) by William Faulkner
  5. As I Lay Dying (public library) by William Faulkner
  6. The Wild Palms (public library) by William Faulkner
  7. Oedipus Rex (free ebook | public library) by Sophocles
  8. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (free ebook | public library) by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  9. Moby-Dick (free ebook | public library) by Herman Melville
  10. Sons and Lovers (free ebook | public library) by D.H. Lawrence
  11. The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights (free ebook |public library)
  12. The Metamorphosis (public library) by Franz Kafka
  13. The Aleph and Other Stories (public library) by Jorge Luis Borges
  14. The Collected Stories (public library) by Ernest Hemingway
  15. Point Counter Point (public library) by Aldous Huxley
  16. Of Mice and Men (public library) by John Steinbeck
  17. The Grapes of Wrath (public library) by John Steinbeck
  18. Tobacco Road (public library) by Erskine Caldwell
  19. Stories (public library) by Katherine Mansfield
  20. Manhattan Transfer (public library) by John Dos Passos
  21. Portrait of Jennie (public library) by Robert Nathan
  22. Orlando (public library) by Virginia Woolf
  23. Mrs. Dalloway (public library) by Virginia Woolf

“Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism” by Lorraine Daston

In this collection we find examples anthropomorphism in diverse fielse such as philosophy, anthropology, storytelling.
How useful an argument tool is applied is telling of how we appreciate seen our values displayed in caricatures and proxies as intellectual and moral mirrors.

Writers’s reading lists: Stephen King’s Reading Lists for Writers

In the afterword to On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King shares the following:

 “These are the best books I’ve read over the last three or four years, the period during which I wrote The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Hearts in Atlantis, On Writing, and the as-yet-unpublished From a Buick Eight. In some way or other, I suspect each book in the list had an influence on the books I wrote….These are the ones that worked for me, that’s all. But you could do worse, and a good many of these might show you some new ways of doing your work. Even if they don’t, they’re apt to entertain you. They certainly entertained me.”

And then on the 10th anniversary edition:
“At the end of the original edition of On Writing, I listed about a hundred books which entertained and taught me.  The publisher’s suggested I update the list for this new edition, so here are eight-plus more – the best things I’ve read between 2001 and 2009.  As I said in the 2000 edition of the book… you could do worse.”

  1. Peter Abrahams, End of Story
  2. Peter Abrahams, The Tutor
  3. Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
  4. Kate Atkinson, One Good Turn
  5. Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake
  6. Mischa Berlinski, Fieldwork
  7. Benjamin Black [pseudo.], Christine Falls
  8. Peter Blauner, The Last Good Day
  9. Roberto Bolaño, 2666
  10. David Carr, The Night of the Gun
  11. John Casey, Spartina
  12. Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union
  13. Lee Child, The Jack Reacher novels, starting with Killing Floor
  14. Michael Connelly, The Narrows
  15. Mark Costello, Big If
  16. Michael Cunningham, The Hours
  17. Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
  18. Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
  19. Richard Dooling, White Man’s Grave
  20. David Downing, Zoo Station
  21. Andre Dubus, The Garden of Last Days
  22. Leif Enger, Peace Like a River
  23. Frederick Exley, A Fan’s Notes
  24. Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End
  25. Jonathan Franzen, Strong Motion
  26. Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections
  27. Neil Gaiman, American Gods
  28. Meg Gardiner, Crosscut
  29. Meg Gardiner, The Dirty Secrets Club
  30. William Gay, The Long Home
  31. Robert Goddard, Painting the Darkness
  32. Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants
  33. Steven Hall, The Raw Shark Texts
  34. Mark Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War
  35. Charlie Huston, The Hank Thompson Trilogy
  36. Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke
  37. Garrison Keillor (ed), Good Poems
  38. Sue Monk Kid, The Secret Life of Bees
  39. Chuck Klosterman, Fargo Rock City
  40. Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  41. John le Carré, Absolute Friends
  42. Dennis Lehane, The Given Day
  43. Elmore Leonard, Up in Honey’s Room
  44. Jonathan Letham, The Fortress of Solitude
  45. Laura Lippman, What the Dead Know
  46. Bentley Little, Dispatch
  47. Bernard Malamud, The Fixer
  48. Yann Martel, Life of Pi
  49. Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
  50. Ian McEwan, Atonement
  51. James Meek, The People’s Act of Love
  52. Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry
  53. Patrick O’Brian, The Aubrey/Maturin Novels
  54. Stewart O’Nan, The Good Wife
  55. Joyce Carol Oates, We Were the Mulvaneys
  56. George Pelecanos, Hard Revolution
  57. George Pelecanos, The Turnaround
  58. Tom Perrotta, The Abstinence Teacher
  59. Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes
  60. DBC Pierre, Vernon Little God
  61. Annie Proulx, Fine Just the Way It Is
  62. Michael Robotham, Shatter
  63. Philip Roth, American Pastoral
  64. Philip Roth, The Plot Against America
  65. Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children
  66. Richard Russo, Bridge of Sighs
  67. Richard Russo, Empire Falls
  68. Dan Simmons, Drood
  69. Dan Simmons, The Terror
  70. Curtis Sittenfeld, American Wife
  71. Tom Rob Smith, Child 44
  72. Scott Snyder, Voodoo Heart
  73. Neil Stephenson, Quicksilver
  74. Donna Tartt, The Little Friend
  75. Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace 
  76. Joseph Wambaugh, Hollywood Station
  77. Robert Warren Penn, All the King’s Men
  78. Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger
  79. Mark Winegardner, Crooked River Burning
  80. Mark Winegardner, The Godfather Review
  81. David Wroblewski, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
  82. Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
  1. Peter Abrahams, A Perfect Crime
  2. Peter Abrahams, Lights Out
  3. Peter Abrahams, Pressure Drop
  4. Peter Abrahams,Revolution #9
  5. James Agee, A Death in the Family
  6. Kirsten Bakis, Lives of the Monster Dogs
  7. Pat Barker, Regeneration
  8. Pat Barker, The Eye in the Door
  9. Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
  10. Richard Bausch, In the Night Season
  11. Peter Blauner, The Intruder
  12. Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
  13. T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Tortilla Curtain
  14. Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods
  15. Christopher Buckley, Thank You for Smoking
  16. Raymond Carver, Where I’m Calling From
  17. Michael Chabon, Werewolves in Their Youth
  18. Windsor Chorlton, Latitude Zero
  19. Michael Connelly, The Poet
  20. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Free eBook – Gutenberg / Kindle)
  21. K.C. Constantine, Family Values
  22. Don DeLillo, Underworld
  23. Nelson DeMille, Cathedral
  24. Nelson DeMille, The Gold Coast
  25. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (Free eBook – Gutenberg / Kindle)
  26. Stephen Dobyns, Common Carnage
  27. Stephen Dobyns, The Church of Dead Girls
  28. Roddy Doyle, The Woman Who Walked into Doors
  29. Stanely Elkin, The Dick Gibson Show
  30. William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
  31. Alex Garland, The Beach
  32. Elizabeth George, Deception on His Mind
  33. Tess Gerritsen, Gravity
  34. William Golding, Lord of the Flies
  35. Muriel Gray, Furnace
  36. Graham Greene, A Gun for Sale (aka This Gun for Hire)
  37. Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana
  38. David Halberstam, The Fifties
  39. Pete Hamill, Why Sinatra Matters
  40. Thomas Harris, Hannibal
  41. Kent Haruf, Plainsong
  42. Peter Hoeg, Smilla’s Sense of Snow
  43. Stephen Hunter, Dirty White Boys
  44. David Ignatius, A Firing Offense
  45. John Irving, A Widow for One Year
  46. Graham Joyce, The Tooth Fairy
  47. Alan Judd, The Devil’s Own Work
  48. Roger Kahn, Good Enough to Dream
  49. Mary Karr,  The Liars’ Club
  50. Jack Ketchum, Right to Life
  51. Tabitha King, Survivor
  52. Tabitha King, The Sky in the Water
  53. Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
  54. Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
  55. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  56. Bernard Lefkowitz, Our Guys
  57. Bentley Little,  The Ignored
  58. Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
  59. W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence (Free eBook – Gutenberg)
  60. Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain
  61. Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
  62. Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes
  63. Alice McDermott, Charming Billy
  64. Jack McDevitt, Ancient Shores
  65. Ian McEwan, Enduring Love
  66. Ian McEwan, The Cement Garden
  67. Larry McMurtry, Dead Man’s Walk
  68. Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Zeke and Ned
  69. Walter M. Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz
  70. Joyce Carol Oates, Zombie
  71. Tim O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods
  72. Stewart O’Nan, The Speed Queen
  73. Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
  74. Richard North Patterson, No Safe Place
  75. Richard Price, Freedomland
  76. Annie Proulx, Close Range: Wyoming Stories
  77. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
  78. Anna Quindlen, One True Thing
  79. Ruth Rendell, A Sight for Sore Eyes
  80. Frank M. Robinson, Waiting
  81. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  82. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban
  83. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  84. Richard Russo, Mohawk
  85. John Burnham Schwartz, Reservation Road
  86. Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
  87. Irwin Shaw, The Young Lions
  88. Richard Slotkin, The Crater
  89. Dinitia Smith, The Illusionist
  90. Scott Spencer, Men in Black
  91. Wallace Stegner, Joe Hill
  92. Donna Tartt, The Secret History
  93. Anne Tyler, A Patchwork Planet
  94. Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus
  95. Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
  96. Donald Westlake, The Ax