A snarkling reading list

A few days ago, Miss Snark invited her readers to nominate three “aweful” books:

They should be relatively recent, within ten years of first publication. Novels you loved, novels that made you see the world in a new way, novels that made you give up writing for a month cause you couldn’t imagine writing that well.

She kicked it off by nominating three herself:

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
Motherless Brooklyn by Jon Letham
Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

Then her readers took over.

I just compiled the list: 285 284 283 books (excluding dupes). Just in time for your summer vacation!

(Note: I didn’t cross-check any of these. I didn’t try to exclude books that didn’t meet Miss Snark’s criteria — e.g. some are over 10 years old. I didn’t include authors’ names when a book title wasn’t specified. I just copied the comments into a word file, edited outanything that wasn’t a title/author, did an alphanumeric sort and deleted dupes.)

1632 by Eric Flint
A College of Magics, by Caroline Stevermer
A Conspiracy of Paper, David Liss
A Home At the End Of the World, by Michael Cunningham
A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving
A PRAYER FOR THE DYING, Stewart O’Nan
A Soldier of the Great War, Mark Helprin
A Sudden Country by Karen Fisher
A Very English Agent, Julian Rathbone
A Widow for One Year by John Irving (1998)
A Year in Provence By Peter Mayle
ABOUT GRACE, Anthony Doerr
Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood
American Gods: by Neil Gaiman
An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth
AN INVISIBLE SIGN OF MY OWN by Aimee Bender
Angle of Repose, Stegner’s
Anthem by Ayn Rand
AS MEAT LOVES SALT by Maria McCann
Ash by Mary Gentle
AT SWIM, TWO BOYS by James O’Neill
Atrix Wolfe by Patricia A. McKillip
BAG OF BONES by Stephen King
Baroque Cycle, Neal Stephenson.
Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
Baudolino, Umberto Eco
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
Beloved, Toni Morrison
BOY’S LIFE by Robert McCammon
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
Castles Burning, Magda Denes
Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle
Child of God, by Cormac McCarthy
CHOKE, by Chuck Palahniuk
City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Clumsy, by Jeffrey Brown
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
COMING HOME TO YOU, Fay Robinson
Coming Through Slaughter~ Michael Ondaatje
Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
Crimson Petal & the White, Michel Faber
Crocodile on the Sandbank, Elizabeth Peters
Cruddy – Lynda Barry
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Digrace by j.m. coetzee
DOOMSDAY BOOK, Connie Willis
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Dreamtigers by Jorge Luis Borges, which is actually a collection of various pieces.
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, ZZ Packer
Earthly Powers, by Anthony Burgess
Einstein’s Dreams by Aaron Lightman
EMPIRE FALLS, Richard Russo
Ender Series, Orsen Scott Card
EUREKA STREET by Robert McLiam Wilson
EVA MOVES THE FURNITURE, by Margot Livesey
Eveless Eden by Marianne Wiggins
EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED by Jonathan Safran Foer
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins (1986)
Fevre Dream – George R. R. Martin
Fight Club
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb
Foreigner Series by C. J. Cherryh
Fortress of Solitude–Jonathan Lethem
Foucalt’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz
Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
Galveston, Sean Stewart
GATES OF FIRE by Steven Pressfield
GILEAD, by Marilynne Robinson (2004)
Girl Talk, by Julianna Baggott
Girl With a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
Gone for Good by Harlan Coben
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
GOODBYE, CHUNKY RICE
Green Grass Running Water by Thomas King
Harry Potter
History of Love
His Dark Materials Series, Philip Pullman
Hocus, Jan Burke
Homestead by Rosina Lippi
Hominids by Robert Sawyer
Hotel World–Ali Smith
House of Leaves by Danielewski
House of Sand and Fog
Housekeeping–Marilynn Robinson
HOW I LIVE NOW by Meg Rosoff
How We Die by Sherwin B. Nuland
Hyperion:Cantos, by Dan Simmons
IDEAS OF HEAVEN by Joan Silber
INCOMPETENCE by Rob Grant
Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
ISLAND OF THE DAY BEFORE by Umberto Eco
Jazz by Toni Morrison
JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL, Susannah Clarke
Journey into Moonlight by Antal Szerb
JURASSIC PARK
Just One Look by Harlan Coben
Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
Katherine by Anya Seton
Keeping Watch by Laurie King
Kiss Me, Judas by Will Christopher Baer
KISSING IN MANHATTAN, David Schickler
KITE RUNNER
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
L. A. Confidential by James Ellroy
Lamb by Christopher Moore
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquival
LIVES OF THE MONSTER DOGS by Kirsten Bakis
Living on Love – The Messenger by Klaus Joehle
LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green
Looking for Ali Brandi by Melina Marchetta
LULLABY, by Chuck Palahniuk
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Memoir from Antproof Case, Mark Helprin
MICROSERFS by Douglas Coupland
MIDDLESEX by Jeffery Eugenes
Misery, Stephen King
Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, Jonathan Letham
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
My Voice Will Go With You by Sidney Rosen
MYSTIC RIVER, Dennis Lehane
Neuromancer_ William Gibson
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
No Great Mischief, Alistair MacLeod
Norweigan Wood, Haruki Murakami
Old Boys, Charles McCarry
Ombria in Shadow by Patricia McKillip
One Good Turn, Witold Rybczynski
One Hundred Years of Solitude
ORYX AND CRAKE by Margaret Atwood
Otherland (all four books) by Tad Williams
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Outlandish Companion, Diana Gabaldon
Passage by Connie Willis (2001)
PATTERN RECOGNITION by William Gibson
PEOPLE OF PAPER, Salvador Plascencia
Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
PETTY TREASON and POINT OF HONOUR, Madeleine Robins
Possession by A S Byatt
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
QUARANTINE by Jim Crace
Queen of the South – Arturo Perez Reverte
RIDING WITH THE QUEEN, Jennie Shortridge
ROMAN BLOOD by Steven Saylor
Runaway by Alice Munro.
SABBATH’S THEATRE, Roth
Saint Maybe, Ann Tyler
SAVAGE THUNDER by Johanna Lindsey
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Servants of the Map, Andrea Barrett
SHALIMAR THE CLOWN by Salman Rushdie
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
SIAM MIAMI by Morris Renek
Slammerkin, Emma Donoghue
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson.
SPECIMEN DAYS, Michael Cunningham
SPIN, by Robert Charles Wilson (2005)
STANDING IN A RAINBOW by Fannie Flagg
STILL LIFE WITH WOODPECKER by Tom Robbins
Storm of Swords by George RR Martin.
Sunshine by Robin McKinley (2003)
SWEET DREAM BABY, Sterling Watson
Sword of Shadow series: A Cavern of Black Ice & A Fortress of Grey Ice, JV Jones
Tales of Burning Love by Louise Erdrich
Talyn by Holly Lisle
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY by Michael Chabon
The Angel of Darkness, Caleb Carr
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
THE BEHOLDER by Thomas Farber
The Bird Artist by Howard Norman
The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
THE BOOK THIEF, by Markus Zusak
The Border Trilogy (ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, THE CROSSING, CITIES OF THE PLAIN), Cormac McCarthy
The Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart
The Burning Land & The Awakened City by Victoria Strauss
The Centaur by John Updike
The Club Dumas (or any of the books by Arturo Perez-Reverte)
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid~ Michael Ondaatje
The Color of Distance & Through Alien Eyes by Amy Thomson
THE CONFESSIONS OF MAX TIVOLI, Andrew Sean Greer
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
The Crimson Petal and The White by Michael Faber
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud? By Ben Sherwood
The Disenchanted by Budd Schulberg
The Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters
The First Betrayal by Patricia Bray
The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Stephen King
The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The Grass Widow, Teri Holbrooke
The Ground Beneath her Feet by Salman Rushdie
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
The Hot Rock by Donald Westlake
The Hottest State, Ethan Hawke.
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Known World, Edward P. Jones
The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (and Watchmen), Alan Moore
The Light Ages, by Ian McLeod
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Lives and Loves of a She Devil, Faye Weldon
The London Pigeon Wars, by Patrick Neate
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
The Madam, by Julianna Baggott
The Mammoth Cheese by Sheri Holman
THE MASTER Colm Toibin
The Mists of Avalon by Marian Zimmer-Bradley
The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie
THE NAMESAKE and INTERPRETER OF MALADIES by Jhumpra Lahiri
THE NIGHT COUNTRY, Stuart O’Nan
The Other Wind, Ursula K. LeGuin
The People of Paper by Salvador Plasencia
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver
The Power of One by Bryce Courtney
THE PRAISE SINGER by Mary Renault
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Republic of Love by Carol Shields
The Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills
The Road Home_ Jim Harrison
THE ROOFER by Erica Orloff
The Rule of Four, Odd Thomas, The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Elaine Corvidae
The Sandman: Season of Mists, Neil Gaiman
The Secret History, Donna Tartt.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (2002)
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx
The Short Day Dying by Peter Hobbs
The Soloist by Mark Salzman
The Sound of Waves, Mishima
THE SPARROW by Mary Doria Russell
The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue
The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Tree of Man, Patrick White
The Wheel of Time Series
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami
THE WOODEN SEA by Jonathan Carroll
THE ZOO WHERE YOU’RE FED TO GOD by Michael Ventura
THIS BLINDING ABSENCE OF LIGHT by Tahar Ben Jelloun
To Say Nothing of the Dog , Connie Willis
TO THE POWER OF THREE by Laura Lippman
Tourist Season, Carl Hiaasen
Tropic of Night by Michael Gruber
Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow by David Gemmell
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
UNDER THE WOLF, UNDER THE DOG by Adam Rapp
Unless by Carol Shields
We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lionel Schriver
WELCOME TO THE WORLD, BABY GIRL by Fannie Flagg
What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg
White Teeth and On Beauty, Zadie Smith
Wild Swans by Jung Chang
Winter and Night S.J. Rozan
Winter’s Orphans – Elaine Corvidae
Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
Wittgenstein’s Mistress, David Markson
Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind
WONDER WHEN YOU’LL MISS ME by Amanda Davis
WONDERBOYS by Michael Chabon
Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks

UPDATE: Welcome, snarklings! And thank you Miss Snark for the link!

[tags] books, reading list [/tags]

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34 Responses to A snarkling reading list

  1. Kristy says:

    Thanks, Kirsten!

  2. Kirsten says:

    You’re welcome!!

    Of course, now we have to think about READING all these!!!

    LOL

  3. Ceri says:

    Excellent list! Thank you for compiling it.

    For ease of people looking them up (which is to say, I’m not trying to be nitpicky), “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” was written by Susanna Clarke (It’s listed as “Marks”).

  4. Kirsten says:

    Thank you for catching that, Ceri!

    I made the correction on the list :-)

  5. Kira says:

    Wow, what a list! Some of my favorites are here, like the Lovely Bones and the Time Traveler’s Wife. Thanks for doing this!

  6. Kirsten says:

    You’re welcome, Kira, but all I did was a bit of editing — the real credit goes to Miss Snark & her readers.

  7. Leslea says:

    Just fyi…It’s the “His Dark Materials” series, by Philip Pullman (not The Dark Materials).

    It’s a reference to Paradise Lost. :)

    The series is a reworking of the Adam & Eve tale.

  8. Kirsten says:

    Thanks, Leslea, made that change too!

    As I said, I didn’t try to check anyone’s work before I did this — I just pasted the comments into a word file, deleted everything except the titles/authors, and did an alphanumeric sort :-)

    So please, if anyone notices any errors, let me know!

    I’ve never read Pullman — I find CS Lewis’s Narnia books enchanting and think Pullman’s criticism of him was way off-base, if not perverse — it’s hard to read when your hackles are up, can’t settle back comfortably in the chair :-)

  9. chj says:

    Thanks, K. I read through all one hundred and however many of the comments at Snark’s and have been putting off going back and making notes. It seems that where older novels are concerned I’m well read, but I haven’t even heard of many of these recent titles.

    I’ll just save the link to this page. You’ve made this easy for me.
    c.

  10. HawkOwl says:

    Cool. Another error: “Mandolin, Corelli” is probably meant to be “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis de Bernieres.

    Thanks for compiling it. :)

  11. Kirsten says:

    Thanks! Fixed!

  12. Stephen says:

    A true labour of love, and a useful resource. I’ve read maybe 50 of the books – the trick is to find the time to identify and then actually read the 150 or so of the rest that I am sure I would enjoy.

    Just to add another little bit of pedantry, the His Dark Materials trilogy includes , so you are effectively listing it twice.

  13. Stephen says:

    Last comment lost the crucial words “The Golden Compass” after “includes”…

  14. Kirsten says:

    Hi, Stephen, 50 of them, wow — you’re way ahead of me! I’ve always been at a loss when it comes to navigating newer books — partly because I’ve started so many disappointed me, and who has the time — partly because there’s plenty to read in the classics. But I’ve already picked out a few of these titles (hooray for lunch breaks!) and I can’t wait to dig in . . .

  15. rachel says:

    Another correction: what you list as “Fun House” by Alison Bechdel should be “Fun Home”.

  16. Joan says:

    Thank you for compiling them in a handy list. I find the books other readers (and writers) enjoy are usually those I’ll like. It was also gratifying to see some of my favorites listed.

    Now to add this to my favorites. Thanks again.

  17. Kirsten says:

    Thanks, Rachel,

    I found one too — someone had typed Robert Sawyer Huminids, should be Hominids . . .

  18. Bay says:

    What a lovely resource, Kirsten! I’m in awe of your amazing capacity for organization. I also like your blog, so I’m glad the list led me here.

    Thank you so much for compiling the list!

  19. Kirsten says:

    Thank you Bay, that’s very kind!

  20. dana says:

    Thank you, Kirsten, for compiling this. You’ve created a valuable reference list. I’m enjoying looking around your blog, too.

    I’m surprised to see that I’ve read 47 of these books, & 9 more are waiting in my to-be-read pile. There are also a half-dozen or so on the list that I’ve *tried* to read, but gave up on because they were dull — or worse. There’s a little something for everyone here, though, with a wide variety of tastes represented.

    I caught a duplication: Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book is listed twice, once with “The”, once without.

  21. Kirsten says:

    Thanks Dana — and you know what this means — there are only 284 books on the list, not 285. Hooray!

  22. ralph_nadir says:

    I’ve read 31 of the books listed, so far. Oh, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon, is also listed twice…the first time, as Kavalier and Klay, with no author designated, and the second time, with the proper title. (except is is Clay, and not Klay, as listed)

  23. Kirsten says:

    Cool Ralph, now we’re down to 283!

    I just wish I’d waited a couple of days to print out my copy. Not that it matters, it’ll take me years of poking around in used book stores to even find copies of all these, let alone actually read them. (Now going to buy them online, I want to spend my money with the local used bookstores for this particular project.)

    I’m off to a bad start, too — I came home from my first post-list-book-buying trip with a book that’s not even listed, A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (they didn’t have a copy of An Equal Music). I’ve started reading it. It’s 1474 pages . . . my edition of Tom Jones is only 916 and that’s with footnotes.

  24. mckoala says:

    This is a great source of reference, thank you! Much easier to trawl through.

    Sssh…whisper it…don’t tell whoever nominated An Equal Music….but I vastly prefer A Suitable Boy…good choice…sssh

  25. Kirsten says:

    LOL

    Your secret is safe with me!!!

  26. Debra Kemp says:

    Will you be doing an update of the list to include titles posted later? Someone very kindly suggested my title after you already posted the current list. Alas, I don’t know who to thank.

  27. Kirsten says:

    Hi, Debra,

    Was it on the same comment thread as the original list?

  28. Pingback: KirstenMortensen.com » Blog Archive » Awefull update

  29. Debra Kemp says:

    Hi, Debra,

    Was it on the same comment thread as the original list?

    >>

    Yes, at about the time you were putting your list live, in fact. Or right after. Thanks for asking.

    Debra

  30. Tommi says:

    How come my book didn’t make the list. Talk about bad… schucks.
    tgs

  31. Kirsten says:

    Don’t feel bad, none of mine did, either :-D

  32. Kate says:

    Got 16 and two halves (books recently started but not yet finished). There are at least 2 books mentioned both with and without ‘The’ in front: Fingersmith and The Crimson Petal and the White.

  33. Pingback: KirstenMortensen.com » Blog Archive » “Cold Mountain,” by Charles Frazier

  34. Pingback: Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » Linktopia: Alphabet Soup Edition

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