If You Put It In A List, They Will Read: Esquire’s 75 Books I Should’ve Read

So. It seems Esquire magazine, pulpy guru of all things manly, published a list of 75 novels every man should read. I’m generally a little leery of such things–I hate the glib little descriptions. “Plain And Simple: The Dead.” Fuck off–but I actually am kind of impressed. 75 books, all of which I’ve read have impacted me and my view of myself as a man… And not a single Ted Bell book. Bravo, Esquire. Bravo.

Anyway, and this seems to be going around the blogosphere a bit, here’s the list and here’s how I did.
Raymond Carver – What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
John Cheever – Collected Stories
James Dickey – Deliverance
John Steinbeck – The Grapes Of Wrath
Cormac McCarthy – Blood Meridian
Fyodor Dostoevsky – The Brother Karamazov
Edward P. Jones – The Known World
Studs Terkel – The Good War
Philip Roth – American Pastoral
Flannery O’Connor – A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Tim O’Brien – The Things They Carried
James Salter – A Sport And A Pastime
Jack London – The Call Of The Wild
Martin Amis – Time’s Arrow
John McPhee – A Sense Of Where You Are
Hunter S. Thompson – Hell’s Angels: A Strange And Terrible Saga
Ralph Ellison – Invisible Man
James Joyce – Dubliners
John Updike – Rabbit, Run
James M. Cain – The Postman Always Rings Twice
Robert Stone – Dog Soldiers
Daniel Woodrell – Winter’s Bone
Jim Harrison – Legends Of The Fall
Malcolm Lowry – Under The Volcano
Norman Mailer – The Naked And The Dead
W.C Heinz – The Professional
Ernest Hemingway – For Whom The Bell Tolls
Michael Herr – Dispatches
Henry Miller – Tropic Of Cancer
Richard Yates – Revolutionary Road
William Faulkner – As I Lay Dying
Michael Shaara – The Killer Angels
Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse-Five
Robert Penn Warren – All The King’s Men
Ken Kesey – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
William Styron – Sophie’s Choice
Frederick Exley – A Fan’s Notes
Kingsley Amis – Lucky Jim
Haruki Murakami – The Wind Up Bird Chronicle
Patrick O’Brian – Master And Commander
Kent Haruf – Plainsong
John Kennedy Toole – A Confederacy Of Dunces
Russell Banks – Affliction
Tobias Wolff – This Boy’s Life
Mark Helprin – Winter’s Tale
Saul Bellow – The Adventures Of Augie March
Charles Bukowski – Women
Stephen Wright – Going Native
Joseph Conrad – Heart Of Darkness
John Le Carré – The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Crack-Up
George Saunders – Civilwarland In Bad Decline
Leo Tolstoy – War & Peace
Stephen King – The Shining
Sherwood Anderson – Winesburg, Ohio
Herman Melville – Moby Dick
Salman Rushie – Midnight’s Children
Jorge Luis Borges – Labyrinths
Tom Wolfe – The Right Stuff
Richard Ford – The Sportswriter
James Ellroy – American Tabloid
Alex Haley – The Autobiography Of Malcolm X
Richard Ben Cramer – What It Takes
Dashiell Hammett – The Continental Op
Graham Greene – The Power And The Glory
William Maxwell – So Long, See You Tomorrow
Richard Wright – Native Son
James Agee & Walker Evans – Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Wallace Stegner – Angel Of Repose
David McCullough – The Great Bridge
Jack Kerouac – The Dharma Bums
Larry McMurtry – Lonesome Dove
Vladimir Nabokiv – Lolita
Don DeLillo – Underworld
Mark Twain – The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

Only 13 out of the 74. Not bad; not great, but not bad. And 74, you say? Shouldn’t there be 75? I’m disqualifying the Graham Greene novel on the basis of how unbelievably horrid ‘The Comedians’ was.

And that, as they say, is that.


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