I'm a reader, big time. I have about 2,700 books
in my collection. (Can't wait for all information to be digitally
stored!) These are some of my favorites well, the ones I'd
recommend divided up into Drama, Novels, Poetry, and Short
Stories. I was going to divide them by genre, but felt that would
only reinforce how a lot of good work gets ignored.
I put my nonfiction
favorites on another page.
- Aeschylus Agamemnon.
- Euripides Hippolytus, Iphigenia at Aulus,
Iphigenia at Taurus, and Medea.
- Victor Hugo Ruy Blas.
- Henrik Ibsen An Enemy of the People.
- Ayn Rand Night of January the 16th. I'd
like to see it made into a film.
- Jean-Paul Satre The Flies. After reading No
Exit, which I did not like, I was surprised he wrote
- William Shakespeare Of course! My favorites from
him are Hamlet, Julius Ceasar, King Lear, Macbeth,
Measure for Measure, Othello, and Richard
- Sophocles King Oedipus and Antigone.
My favorite of the ancient tragedians.
- Edmond Rostand Cyrano de Bergerac.
- Peter S. Beagle The Last Unicorn. This is
a thinking person's fantasy novel. The Innkeeper's
- Andrei Bulgakov The Master and Margarita
and his short stories.
- Ramsey Campbell Ancient Images.
- Jonathan Carroll The Land of Laughs and
others. Another thinking person's fantasy writer.
- Adolfo Bioy Casares The Invention of Morel and A Plan for Escape.
Short jaunt through a surreal world.
- Raymond Chandler Just about any of his novels.
- Robert R. Chase Shapers and Crucible.
I wish he would write more!
- Philip K. Dick Clans of the Alphane Moon.
Satire that is not vicious. Dick always seems to like his
characters too much to be vicious.
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment
and The Idiot.
- Greg Egan Quarantine.
- Anatole France Thais and Penguin Island. Thais is my favorite by him.
- E. M. Forster A Passage to India.
- John Gardner Grendel. "Beowulf"
from the monster's perspective. Well-written and fun to
- Knut Hamsun Hunger and Victoria.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne The Blithedale Romance.
- Sheri Holman The Dress Lodger. Well
written, but very gruesome.
- T. E. D. Klein The Ceremonies. I wish he
would write more novels!
- Pär Lagerkvist Barabbas and The
Sybil. I feel Barabbas is the better of the
- Stanislaw Lem Solaris,
Fiasco, and Eden. Lem is a lot like Olaf
Stapeldon, an idea man. He comes up with great ideas.
Even the stories are good, though the characterization is
not as strong.
- Coram McCarthy All the Pretty Horses.
Memorable characters, engaging prose at times bordering
on poetry, and moving scenes.
- Carson McCullers The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
- Bernard Malamud The Fixer and his short
- Edward Plunkett (a.k.a. Lord Dunsany) The King
of Elfland's Daughter and The Charwoman's Shadow.
Two great and very different fantasy novels.
- Ayn Rand We the Living, Anthem,
and The Fountainhead. The last is my favorite of
hers. For the record, I did not like Atlas
- Mary Renault The Mask of Apollo. She has
a knack for leaving me drained.
- Christopher Rice A Density of Souls. A great novel and an emotional roller coaster. It's perhaps overwritten at times, but I loved it nonetheless.
- Joanna Russ And Chaos Died.
- Bruce Sterling Schismatrix and Heavy
Weather. The former is one of my favorite science
- Michael Swanwick Vacuum Flowers.
- Jacques Anatole François Thibault (a.k.a Anatole France)
Penguin Island and Thaïs. Both
great, though in different ways.
- Jim Thompson The Killer Inside Me. Can't
take him too seriously, but his writing is intense.
- Rose Tremaine Music and Silence.
- Sigrid Undset Gunnar's Daughter. She
manages to capture the spirit of the old sagas, yet this
is a modern novel.
- Vernor Vinge All his novels! His A Fire Upon
the Deep is one of my favorite science fiction
- Ian Watson The Embedding and Miracle
Visitors. Two very good science fiction novels.
- Walter Jon Williams Angel Station, Hardwired, and
Voice of the Whirlwind. The first is my favorite
- Robert Anton Wilson The Earth Will Shake.
I was a sort of pen pal of Robert Shea, the coauthor of
Wilson's more well known The Illuminatus Trilogy,
a few years before his death.
- Matthew Arnold "Dover Beach."
- William Blake Too many to list here.
- John Berryman "He Resigns" and many of his Dream Songs.
- Constantine P. Cavafy "The God Abandons
Antony" and "The Footsteps" from the
Keeley and Sherrard translation.
- Amy Clampitt "Medusa."
- Emily Dickenson Many! She is a master word-smith.
- H.D. Her poetry is so alive, especially
"Along the Yellow Sand" and "Oread."
- Rita Dove "Persephone, Falling" and
"Persephone Underground." I'm a sucker for
- Robert Frost Too many to mention.
- Dana Gioia "Labyrinth without a
Minotaur" and "Summer Storm."
- John Gray "Elegy Written in a Country
Churchyard," of course.
- Lars Gustafsson "A Letter to a Tyrant,"
the Christopher Middleton translation.
- Seamus Heaney Especially his "Lustral
Sonnet." "So Greek with consequence" from
that poem is one of the most memorable phrases I've ever
- Robinson Jeffers "Rock and Hawk" and
- Omar Khayyam The Rubaiyat, of course! The Edward
- Giacomo Leopardi The Eamon Grennan translation
(from the Italian, if you haven't guessed) Selected
Poems. I know they say poetry is what's lost in
translation. Grennan has found a way to translate poetry
- Edwin Muir "The Labyrinth," "The
Good Town," "Oedipus," "The
Usurpers," and "A Trojan Slave." The first
is one of my favorite poems. Sadly, he remains out of
- Michael Pettit "Legless Boy Climbing in and
out of Chair" and "Woman Jumping from Rock to
Rock." The former contains the powerful ending,
"There's no trick to this."
- Pindar "Nemean VIII" in almost any
- Edgar Allen Poe "Annabel Lee" and
- Edwin Arlington Robinson "The Pity of the
Leaves" and some others.
- Theodore Roethke "Root Cellar" and
- Arseny Tarkovsky "First Meetings." This
poem appears in his son's film The Mirror. It's
- Alfred Lord Tennyson "The Eagle,"
"Ulysses," and others. See sample below.
- Chidiock Tichborne The one written on the eve of
his execution, of course.
- William Wordsworth His "The Daffodils"
is one of my favorite poems.
- James Wright "A Blessing" and several
§ Short Stories
- Peter S. Beagle The stories in Giant Bones and
Others. These are a thinking person's fantasy
- Algernon Blackwood "The Willows" is, for
me, the archetypal story of the fantastic (in Todorov's
sense). I think that's his best for that effect, though
several others of his come close.
- Jorge Luis Borges I like most of his short
stories, but I think of them less as works of art than
- Andrei Bulgakov "The Fatal Eggs" and
other of his surreal science fiction tales.
- Italo Calvino Many in the Tim Parks' translation Numbers
in the Dark and Other Stories.
- Ramsey Campbell Lots from Demons by Daylight
and his later collections. (I've only managed to find one
tale from his The Inhabitants of the Lake which
I liked also.)
- Raymond Carver "Cathedral."
- Greg Egan "Planck Dive" and others. He's
one of the leading edges of hard science fiction.
- William Gibson I think he's a better short story
writer than a novelist.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne Quite a few, including
"Young Goodman Brown."
- Ernest Hemingway "The Killers," "Hills Like White Elephants," and others.
- Henry James "The Aspern Papers," which
is classified as a novella, but I never was all that good
at telling where the short story ends and the novella
begins not to mention where the novellete or novel
- T. E. D. Klein "The Events at Poroth
Farm," everything in The Dark Gods, and
"Ladder." See my comment under novels.
- Flannery O'Connor "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," "Good Country People," and "A View of the Woods".
- Bruce Sterling The Crystal Express is
probably his best collection to date.
- Vernor Vinge A good portion, but especially
- Flower in the crannied wall,
- I pluck you out of the crannies,
- I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
- Little flower but IF I could
- What you are, root and all, and all in all,
- I should know what God and man is.
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