Reading lists

All books referenced on Gilmore Girls from Black, White & Read Books

100 Best Novels from Modern Library

100 Best Nonfiction from Modern Library

Both lists from Modern Library are actually two lists: the Board’s List and the Reader’s List. But there’s a lot of overlap. 

MA Reading List from The University of Arizona

The reading list for the MA is designed to develop students’ general knowledge of the history and diversity of literatures in English, encouraging a broad, structured understanding of the discipline while allowing candidates the opportunity for considerable choice to accommodate their individual interests. While acknowledging literary-historical traditions as an important ground of knowledge, the MA Reading List attends to the variety of individual preferences, the increasing diversity of canonical texts, and the changing nature of literary canonicity.

MFA Reading List [PDF] from University of North Carolina Wilmington

100 Books to read in a lifetime from the Amazon Books editors

Super convenient! Shop straight from the list! OMG!

An algorithmic The Greatest Books list compiled from a bunch of best-of book lists

This list is generated from 114 “best of” book lists from a variety of great sources. An algorithm is used to create a master list based on how many lists a particular book appears on. Some lists count more than others.

Back to School Reading List from Literary Hub

As tens of thousands (millions?) of MFA students return to class, we decided to check in with their teachers and find out what books are being taught to the next generation of writers. Some of this crowd-sourced syllabus draws from the literary canon as we know it, but some of it doesn’t, and instead offers a look at what books might someday achieve the status of classic.

Essay and Opinion Reading List from Gotham Writers

Memoir Reading List from Gotham Writers

The 100 Greatest American Novels, 1893-1993 from Book Riot

So I decided to draw up a list–a list of major works that would serve as a starting point and overview of 20th Century American fiction. And then the trouble began. As you might imagine, there are all sorts of problems with any such list: what does important mean? are only American authors included? Are 1900 and 2000 meaningful start and end dates? Do you list multiple works from authors?

A Food Writing Book List from The Tart Little Piggy

Low-residency MFA program from Seattle Pacific University

Stephen King’s Reading List for Writers from Aerogramme Writers’ Studio

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.

Ernest Hemingway’s Reading List for a Young Writer from Open Culture

Hemingway wrote down a list of two short stories and 14 books and handed it to Samuelson.

Reading List for English Majors from Elon University

This list is intended only as a general guide to significant works of literature and writings on composition, not a required reading list. Important selections or authors are highlighted in red. The selections are arranged by historical period and genre, not by the national origin of the authors.

Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books from NPR

Our panel of experts reviewed hundreds of the most popular nominations and tossed out those that didn’t fit the survey’s criteria (after — we assure you — much passionate, thoughtful, gleefully nerdy discussion).

President Obama’s Reading List from The New York Times

The Times’s chief book critic, Michiko Kakutani, recently sat down with President Obama to ask him about his life as a reader. During the course of the interview, the president praised several books and authors. And he talked about books that he had given his daughter Malia, including “The Golden Notebook” by Doris Lessing, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez and “The Woman Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingston. Here are a few other authors he singled out, along with some of his words about them.

Tolstoy’s Reading List: Essential Books for Each Stage of Life from Brain Pickings

But despite his wide and prolific reading, Tolstoy did consider specific books especially important and influential in his development. At the age of sixty-three, in a letter to a friend, he compiled such a list of the books that had most impressed him over the course of his life.

33 Books on How to Live from Maria Popova of Brain Pickings

So, with the discomfort of that inescapable disclaimer, I approached my private, subjective, wholly non-exhaustive selection of thirty-three books to sustain modern civilization and the human spirit — books at the intersection of introspection and outrospection, art and science, self and society.Above all, books that help us (or, at least, have helped me) learn how to live — how to make sense of ourselves, our world, and our place in it.

David Bowie’s Formative Reading List of 75 Favorite Books from Brain Pickings

Although all but two of the books were published within Bowie’s lifetime — with the exceptions published within two years of his birth — he makes up for the presentism bias with an extraordinary diversity of disciplines, topics, and sensibilities, ranging from poetry to history to theory of mind, with plenty of fiction and a few magazines for good measure.

The 40 Books that Saved My Life from James Altucher

If I can remember the books, then it means they had some impact on me. If I can’t remember them, then why would I recommend them?

For each one of these books: either they made me a better person, or I felt, even as I was reading them, that my IQ was getting better. Or, in the case of fiction, I felt like my writing was getting better by reading the book.

Or I simply escaped to another world. I like to travel to other worlds. To pretend to be a character in someone else’s story.

I think if you can find even one takeaway in a book that you remember afterwards, then it’s a great book.